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Hi there Greenfield community! I've been lurking for several weeks on the forum and finally worked up the guts to post.

I gave away my childhood dollhouse and extensive collection in my teenage years - I thought I grew out of the hobby. Little did I know that I would become massively obsessed with creating a new dollhouse in my mid-twenties! I believe it is due to this middle point in my life, where I have a growing career and finally have money, but don't have enough to buy a house, and I don't have anyone to buy one with, yet. Solution: make my own miniature version. For that reason, I am drawn to more modern, glam styling reminiscent of West Elm and all of the bright white, grey and gold styling of Pinterest. What can I say.

For my first build ever, I chose the modest Greenfield Arthur. I thought four rooms wouldn't overwhelm me too much, and it was an inexpensive kit that I could cut my teeth on.

I'd like to get some of the community's feedback on what techniques I've used so far, and also ask for some help.

1) I popped out of die-cuts only the pieces that each step called for to prep. I sanded lightly those pieces, then primed (latex primer from Home Depot). Sanded again, sometimes primed again, and sanded again. For the little pieces of trim and the stairs and such, I actually painted primer over the entire sheet while the pieces were still die-cut in the sheet. Good/bad? Yay/Nay? I did this to most of the main pieces (base, second floor, sides, partitions and roofing) before I even pieced them together for a dry build.

2) THEN I dry fitted the main pieces together. I found that most of the slots didn't fit, so I ended up using an exacto knife to ensure they fit flush with their counterpart. I used masking tape to hold it together.

3) At this point, I knew that It was going to be more difficult to wallpaper and install flooring while the house was constructed; so I opted for wallpapering and flooring before the house was glued together, while the pieces were flat. This was an option given in the handy Warm-Up Instructions in the kit. So far in all of my research, I haven't seen much of that done, is there a huge disadvantage to doing these items before it's glued together?? See my photos for my handmade hardwood floors and one side of wallpaper so far. What I did was made sure the pieces were nice and primed and sanded so that they were smooth, then sprayed them with spray adhesive, then laid the piece onto my paper, right away. After that, I took my exacto knife and cut around the piece and through the window holes.

4) ROOKIE MISTAKE NUMBER ONE: I wallpapered the wrong side of the house on accident. I'll put that in the books.

5) ROOKIE MISTAKE NUMBER TWO: I wallpapered the right side of the house, but I put the piece down on the wrong side of the paper. I had to quickly rip it off and turn it around. Now there is a little sticky darkness on my paper. Sad day. It's easy enough to cover with a picture frame or painting, but still. I'm sort of a perfectionist.

6) So, right now the status of my house is that most of the interior walls are intermittently taped together in the dry fit, but I'm stuck on what color to paint the bedroom.

  • Kitchen - Bottom right corner room - marble flooring and subway white tile wall accent on right side, still unsure of other walls' color. Probably white.
  • Living Room - Bottom left corner room - reclaimed wood style hardwood and white brick accent wall (should I do actual textured brick, or wallpaper?? Any good suggestions for where to get this?) I want to put a pink fireplace on this wall. Chic!
  • Bathroom - upper right corner room - grey longitudinal stripes and pink walls, fabulous gold hexagonal tiling for flooring (yay for cute scrapbook paper!)
  • Bedroom - upper left corner room - grey latitudinal stripes with whitewashed boarding (created with large popsicle sticks) that goes up to the window height. Still debating on other walls in this room and also the flooring. I have nothing for the bedroom really figured out at all.

 

 

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Lindsay, looks great so far. I have been drinking apple vodka (5:30pm on a Friday night; sunshine after a long and cold winter; what can I say?) so won't comment too much on the order of construction/decorating,  but there are many ways to do it, and everyone does things differently and it also varies depending on the house. I think priming before construction is good as it can be hard to get into corners to sand once constructed. I tend to do most of my decorating once my house is constructed though. I want my wallpaper to match perfectly, for example, and I also sometimes change my mind once the house is up and I can see it clearer. Whatever works for you! And also, welcome!!

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Decorating flat is certainly easier, imo but does complicate things if you are trying to tapewire for lighting. I try to wait until absolutely necessary before gluing walls together. It varies as to how much I do ahead of time. 

Looks like you have a good handle on thinking things through. I keep a notebook and computer file with ideas, sketches, goofs, successes, inspirations, etc. Helps in the future for other builds or if you are rehabbing your build later on.

Priming while still in the sheets can make it extremely difficult to remove them without breaking, esp. the tinier trim pieces. You might have to cut them with a utility knife to release the paint.

You can purchase premade bricks from places like miniatures.com. You can hand make them,  also create it with paperclay directly on the wall or with a Bromley stencil system. Otterine has a wonderful blog where she demonstrated using skinny sticks as bricks. Lots of methods to try.

Welcome and good luck. 

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Welcome to the little family, Lindsay.  You have some interesting ideas for your Arthur, and I like what I've seen so far.  Once you have made five posts you can put your pictures into an album in the Gallery.  Once you have made fifty posts you can make a blog about your build.

ROOKIE MISTAKE NUMBER 1:  Being a perfectionist.  Real life houses have slightly warped shakes and siding, I have looked carefully and seen this.  Realism is more effective than perfection in this hobby, and a lot of it can be achieved with smoke and mirrors.  Some of our best bashing ideas come from making mistakes, so we look on them as learning opportunities.  I have learned a lot.

From personal experience I have learned the bitter lesson about priming pieces still in the wood sheets.  Pay attention to what Selkie posted about doing that, it is a true saying and worthy of all to be believed!  I also learned in that same build that I had to go back and sand off the primer where I wanted to glue parts together. By the way, the instructions with my Arthur read to use hot glue.  Do NOT do this; any good carpenter's wood glue will do the job.

As you have said you've been lurking here for a while, did you run across any of the many post concerning dry fitting the kit before you start and as you build?  You will find this to be your most helpful step in getting all the pieces to fit together as you shave sand your tabs and slots for a more perfect fit.  I also find the dry fit helps me to decide what order to build in.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions.  IMHO this forum exists to mentor new builders and to be a resource for experienced miniaturists, and answering question is the way to do this.

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I mess up all the time... figuring out how to fix it is a big part of this hobby. I also hate reading directions and get impatient (so now you know why I mess up all the time). C'est la vie.

The Arthur is a gem and a good choice to start. Enjoy it - even those vodka moments! And welcome - you are home now!

 

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Lindsay, looks great so far. I have been drinking apple vodka (5:30pm on a Friday night; sunshine after a long and cold winter; what can I say?) so won't comment too much on the order of construction/decorating,  but there are many ways to do it, and everyone does things differently and it also varies depending on the house. I think priming before construction is good as it can be hard to get into corners to sand once constructed. I tend to do most of my decorating once my house is constructed though. I want my wallpaper to match perfectly, for example, and I also sometimes change my mind once the house is up and I can see it clearer. Whatever works for you! And also, welcome!!

Shannon - your apple vodka comments are much appreciated! Feel free to let loose ;) thanks for the welcome.

It's good to hear that you prime first, construct, and then decorate. I think that's what I will do next time since I already am not favoring some of my wallpaper choices. I guess I could always go over them later! Enjoy your weekend.

 

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Decorating flat is certainly easier, imo but does complicate things if you are trying to tapewire for lighting. I try to wait until absolutely necessary before gluing walls together. It varies as to how much I do ahead of time. 

Looks like you have a good handle on thinking things through. I keep a notebook and computer file with ideas, sketches, goofs, successes, inspirations, etc. Helps in the future for other builds or if you are rehabbing your build later on.

Priming while still in the sheets can make it extremely difficult to remove them without breaking, esp. the tinier trim pieces. You might have to cut them with a utility knife to release the paint.

You can purchase premade bricks from places like miniatures.com. You can hand make them,  also create it with paperclay directly on the wall or with a Bromley stencil system. Otterine has a wonderful blog where she demonstrated using skinny sticks as bricks. Lots of methods to try.

Welcome and good luck. 

Selkie - great advice about priming in the sheets. You're right, I believe this may present a problem for the smaller pieces! I sort of dont love the trimming that the Arthur kit comes with, anyway... It's possible that I choose to bash that part and do it my own way ;) thanks for your reply!

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Welcome to the little family, Lindsay.  You have some interesting ideas for your Arthur, and I like what I've seen so far.  Once you have made five posts you can put your pictures into an album in the Gallery.  Once you have made fifty posts you can make a blog about your build.

ROOKIE MISTAKE NUMBER 1:  Being a perfectionist.  Real life houses have slightly warped shakes and siding, I have looked carefully and seen this.  Realism is more effective than perfection in this hobby, and a lot of it can be achieved with smoke and mirrors.  Some of our best bashing ideas come from making mistakes, so we look on them as learning opportunities.  I have learned a lot.

From personal experience I have learned the bitter lesson about priming pieces still in the wood sheets.  Pay attention to what Selkie posted about doing that, it is a true saying and worthy of all to be believed!  I also learned in that same build that I had to go back and sand off the primer where I wanted to glue parts together. By the way, the instructions with my Arthur read to use hot glue.  Do NOT do this; any good carpenter's wood glue will do the job.

As you have said you've been lurking here for a while, did you run across any of the many post concerning dry fitting the kit before you start and as you build?  You will find this to be your most helpful step in getting all the pieces to fit together as you shave sand your tabs and slots for a more perfect fit.  I also find the dry fit helps me to decide what order to build in.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions.  IMHO this forum exists to mentor new builders and to be a resource for experienced miniaturists, and answering question is the way to do this.

Thanks! It's hard to turn off the perfectionism, but I suppose that that is what my first build will be all about - like you said, learning a lot from making mistakes. I have read a lot about dry fitting before gluing anything, yes. So far I've just used masking tape to dry fit everything together before I glue. I was told that hot glue was a no-no, but that regular Elmer's wood glue was also not good. Any suggestions?

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I use Titebond (green label) wood glue for construction portions where weight and stability count most and all the Alenes tacky glues for smaller things.

I've used other wood glue brands and haven't noticed any disastrous issues.

Solvent glues like E6000, Omni and Quick Grab are good for items that don't shake hands well like glass and metals, etc. It can melt some plastics though. Check labels for which are which. There is a website called "This to That" that is helpful in selecting the right glue for the right job.

As to those small trims and extra pieces, I suggest hanging onto them for future projects. They'll come in handy for building furniture, making shelves, trimming an odd thing here or there. I'm a packrat with all those scraps.  sigh ...

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...I was told that... regular Elmer's wood glue was also not good...

I wonder who told you that.  I have used whatever carpenter's wood glue was on sale, and whether plain, Titebond  or Probond, Elmer's makes them all and I have had excellent results from all of them.

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Hello and welcome!

It looks like you're off to a great start! I don't think there's any one single right or wrong way to build, and sometimes, the house (or parts of the house) will dictate the order of construction. I'm fussy about construction, and like to make sure joints are tight and smooth, so I tend to do a lot of puttying and sanding after parts are glued together, so finishing with paint or wallpaper is what works for me. I'm in the middle of doing something that I suspect I did the hard way, but I'll know better for next time.

For decorating....for me it kind of goes like it does in real life. I start out with a vision and plan for a room, and what I end up is never the same, although usually some form of what I envisioned. Sometimes getting one room finished kind of guides the next, or you find a great piece of furniture or accessory that help sets the tone. I like to keep in mind what the thing will look like when viewed as a whole, so that there's some flow from room to room. 

Have fun and keep us posted on your progress!     

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Welcome to the forum, Lindsey! That is one of a kind start!

I've worked with several wood glues, and I can say I prefer Gorilla - only because I feel it is less runny than some of the others.

I pretty much second everything the others have said. There is no right or wrong way to build - it's a matter of preference. When you build your third or fourth, you'll find yourself agreeing..... hahaha.

 

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