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My First House


Tomgirl
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Finally realizing a dream. Since I was about 8 I have wanted to build a dollhouse. I am now 47. My husband gave me the Magnolia kit as a wedding gift this past September. Told me it is his mission to help me realize my dreams. I finally have some time to get started. I looked thru some of the previous posts for answers and already have to say THANK YOU for the information. I'm on my way!!!!!

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Amber, you go, girl! :D :welcome: to the forum. Sounds like you're off to a good start. Be sure to take photos along the way, both to share in the gallery that you can start here after 5 posts and for your own reference when later on you start to wonder how you did this or that or where electrical lines are located or ... whatever!

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Welcome, Amber,

What a wonderful husband! An enabler, we would call him here :) Yes, ma'am. You have just become part of a wonderful addiction. Whatever you need, if you don't find it here, just ask. This is a fantastic forum, filled with fantastic people. You've found a very special place.

Have fun,

Morgan

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Welcome to the little family, Amber; I got started building dollhouses when I was just a couple of years older than you. Next to the Glencroft the Magnolia has been my favorite build so far. It's an elegant design. Don't forget to check out the Team Magnolia building blog to see what some of us did to the kit. Mine was unfinished, so people could see what the bare, unbashed kit looks like. To see what I did with it, hover your cursor over my username and click on the wee picture icon in the box that opens up to go to my gallery to the album "Dressing Maggie"; and I did sort of get carried away...

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Hi Amber and welcome to the group ! :D This is a fantastic site with loads of information and inspiration . I'm waiting for the mailman to bring me my Magnolia , look forward to seeing your Magnolia bloom ! Happy building ! :bangin:

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Thank you all for the warm welcome!!! Yeah, DM (Darling Man) is definitely a keeper. With some generous assistance from Josie (my kitty), I got started and just finished the windows. French doors are next!!! It's going to be slow going until after the holidays. Hopefully I will have more time to become a more active member. Pics are on the way and so am I... :D -Amber

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Hi Holly. Why do you do that? My instructions started me on preparing the casings for the windows and gluing the plastic window things in. I have a shoebox that I'm putting the pieces in so they don't get lost. -Amber

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Hi Holly. Why do you do that? My instructions started me on preparing the casings for the windows and gluing the plastic window things in. I have a shoebox that I'm putting the pieces in so they don't get lost. -Amber

Sometimes when you read the instruction and dry fit you realize that if you put the windows and doors on before assembling the shell, some parts might not go in place (like with the Fairfield) or, what with my arthritic hands and fingers and natural klutziness, because finishing the decorating after windows and doors are in I shall (NOT might) totally ruin the acetate inserts, I have far better outcomes if I sometimes do the build out of the order given in the instructions (I don't use hot glue, either).

In the case of the Magnolia it was quite different from the way I usually build, where I decorate as I build; for the building team's Magnolia blog Ii was asked to build the bare kit, unfinished and "as is" so people could follow along the plain build. Since I was going to go back and finish decor, bash an extra room, etc, the windows and doors are hanging in place for their pictures with dabs of poster putty; and then I took them off and worked in my usual order, except doing all the floor, wall and ceiling finishing with the house shell already assembled.

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Hi again Amber, just to chime in on the order of assembly after reading lots of advice etc I decided to build the shell and decorate etc without the windows and doors in and am really pleased I did, I think it would have been really fiddly to try to do touch ups etc,. The windows and doors are going in easily on the assembled house. Once I'd done my dry fit I worked out what order I could actually do things in. Anyway that's what worked for me; from what I've read and seen there is really no right or wrong way (except the use of hot glue!) so do what works best for you. Looking forward to seeing your Magnolia take shape :).

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Hey, Amber, I'm going to chime in too. I get your strategy in doing the small pieces first. However, if you wait until you are ready to use them, it really does work better. I used to make and sell simple 4 room houses, mostly from Greenleaf kits. I've made countless houses using a quick method of finishing. Here's the deal. You will find your groove after you've built a few houses. I start with the dry fit and obsess over every detail. I plan out each step. Windows and doors are after the shell is complete and I use a big fat emery board to make sure each window casing and door fits perfect, before painting and assembly. I also like to do all of my wallpapering, floors and cielings before assembly. I like to work flat. Some people like to assemble the shell, then decorate. You will learn what works best for you over time but the planning and research are really important IMO.

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Wow!!! Thanks for all the advice on construction. I didn't realize that a dry build would be so important. Definitely will back up, park the shoe box on the back burner and start with the dry build. And the hot glue gun has been put away. Any suggestions on which type of glue is better to use. I have wood glue and white craft glue (Ailene's I think). Also, I noticed that when I removed pieces from the sheets, some of the wood flakes of the back. I have been gluing these pieces back in. Should I be doing this? DM suggested priming the entire sheet before I removed anymore pieces but doesn't seem right.

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You can use either wood glue or white glue, whichever you prefer. Gluing the loose plies together as you remove the pieces is a good idea.

If you prime the whole sheet, you may find the primer fills in the edges of the pieces enough to make removing them a challenge. Also, you may not want to prime clear to the edges of every piece. There will be a better bond at the joints if you're gluing raw wood to raw wood. When the house is in dry fit, you can mark with a pencil where the overlaps are, so when you take it apart, you can prime each piece while it's lying flat. The pencil marks will tell you which bits to leave unpainted.

It sounds as if you're getting your groove on. :thumb:

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I also take the time to mask off the areas I don't want to get paint/ primer on. I have a preference for gluing wood to wood with carpenter's wood glue, and use the clear-drying white tacky glue for the acetate window and door iinserts. Hot glue is easy to remove with a hair dryer and old credit card (I use an old metal putty knife, but an old table knife from the thrift store works as well).

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Hi Amber, I use a glue called Quick Grip (green and yellow tube). I also use Aleene's turbo tacky glue. In my builds, I find that to hold the house together the Quick Grip works best for me. The Aleene's I use for smaller stuff, but even then I am wary as it warps paper like Elmer's Glue does. I make sure that what I am using Aleene's on is not an original and that I can remake or get another copy of it before I use it.. To glue cloth for wallpaper/carpet to the walls/floors I use the Aleene's, as Quick Grip tends to not work as well (IMO), on larger areas such as walls. I like the Quick Grip as it does just that, grips quick. When you are the only one to hold pieces while trying to fit others with it, this is priceless. And if you have to move that piece within a short time you can pull the pieces apart (gently) and reposition them. I have found draw backs to Quick Grip, but also to Aleene's. Though they will remain my primary glues (as long as I can still get the Quick Grip), I haven't truly dared to try any other glue since I found Quick Grip. I don't know what I will do if they stop selling Quick Grip at Micheal's (the 2 other stores I was getting it at have stopped selling it). Prior to Quick Grip I used wood glue and that took FOREVER to grip and assist me. I think I created a whole new vocabulary with the wood glue when I was using it (lol).

There are lots and lots of glues and adhesives out there. Everyone has their favorites. You can take advice from folks, but I would suggest that trying a few different ones would be a good idea. I started with my Quick Grip in the smallest sized tube I could get. Fought my daughter about using the Aleene's for a long time until she got me a small bottle of it (sort of a sample). I am not generally one to let things go to waste, so, I tried it. I wouldn't use Aleene's to build my houses, but for other parts of it, I will.

You will find your 'go to' adhesive. It may take some time, but you will. Some folks are lucky to find their favorite from the get-go, others of us have to go through trial and error (lol). I have never tried hot glue and don't ever plan on trying (though it has been suggested many times to me). Just the concept of it baffles me, I guess. I mean, why take the time to mess around with loading some machine and waiting for it to heat or whatever it does when it would take you ten to twenty times less to open the cap on a tube/bottle and spread it/bead it where you want it?

As for the wood splitting/slivering in the back, I use my carpenters knife to gently try to cut through. This sometimes doesn't do the job, but for the most part it works (very small curved pieces -such as hearts in roof trim- don't accept the blade). If a piece doesn't come out as it should after that, I have been known to glue (Aleene's) it back in and it does well, usually. I have seen suggestions to sand the back of the sheet before trying to punch out pieces, though I haven't tried it. Again, you will find what works for you, but it may take some trial and error.

Good luck to you! We all look forward to seeing your house when its done. I'd say progress pictures as well, but I have a tendency to forget to take them myself while I build and create. I just get so into the house that my thoughts don't extend into that arena for the most part. I might grab an occasional in-progress picture, but not always. Also, I can be fidgetty about some things I do and if I took a picture and later it was different then when I began, it would frustrate me (guess that's the best explanation).

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I do prefer wood glue, but I also use lots of clamps (DH told me at the ouutset of building my first ever dh kit that I couldn't have too mini clamps!) of all kinds to hold things together whilst the glue dries; I also use a lot of heavy duty steel staples in my Stanley stapler to reinforce joins.

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Thanks for the tips. Th dry build is working out well. Love the Emory boards!! DM thought I was nuts until I pointed out that using these for the fretwork we do would be a great help. Well home for the holidays. Will post some pics after the holidays. Merry Christmas to the wonderful Greenleaf Family!!! -Amber

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