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It’s been nearly a decade since I built a dolhouse.... last time I took nearly 2 years to build a laurel dollhouse. I’m starting up again since I now have 3 little girls of my own and I want to build one for my oldest’s 8th birthday next summer. I’m looking at all of the “hacks” to make it simpler and faster this time around. I have two questions: 

1. do you paint and wallpaper before building the shell or after? 
And

2. Has anyone ever built the shell and spray painted it with good results? 
 

I’ve always just hand painted everything and it took forever! Looking to see if spray painting can be a good time saver. 

Edited by feuz86
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Hi Rachel. Welcome to the forum. :wave:

Spray paint is a good way to seal the wood before decorating. Just be sure to put tape over any surfaces you wish to stain. You can paint over stain but you can't stain over paint.

As for decorating before or after assembly, it depends ...

1) on the design of the house -- we suggest putting the house into dry fit to determine if there are going to be hard to reach places that need to be addressed before completing the build. Dry fit = assembly using tape. When everything fits and you can see what's ahead, then take it apart and start gluing

2) on your personal style of working. Some folks paint and wallpaper prior to assembly, some decorate a floor level  at a time while building, and some decorate after the shell is complete.  

Consider, too, if you are going to electrify. Depending on the style of the house, you may want to do it as you go or wait until assembly is complete.

In short, there is no right way. What works for you is what's best for you. :) 

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7 hours ago, feuz86 said:

...two questions: 

1. do you paint and wallpaper before building the shell or after? 
And

2. Has anyone ever built the shell and spray painted it with good results? 
 

I’ve always just hand painted everything and it took forever! Looking to see if spray painting can be a good time saver. 

With three little girls you'll be building more than one house.

1.  As KathieB says, it depends.  I always dry fit, sometimes more than once (sort of like measure twice, cut once).  Mostly I decorate the inside as I build.  What takes me a LOT of extra time is all the prep work I do before painting anything, as I mask off all surfaces I will glue (like door and window trims, areas I need to pre-assemble before finishing the rest of the build.

2.  I used spray paint on ONE dollhouse, the Dura-Craft Cambridge, and I was not happy with the results; my light coats still had drips and runs and of course I had lots of hand-painting touch up work to do, since I had masked all the doors and windows.  Maybe it's just me, but brush painting doesn't take me all that long (I have already primed all the surfaces I'm not going to stain, and I use flat white interior latex paint for a primer, so I've already done one coat of paint).

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