This ended up being a long post, so I made it a two-parter.
That title is a bit misleading. Today, I did not build. I painted.
And, I learned a ton. So, grab a drink and snack. There’s a lot going on in this.
Here’s where the dollhouse is at construction wise:
It looks the same as when I last worked on it (namely, when I glued it together and let it dry). This, to me, is a good sign.
I’m not loving working in the basement. It’s cold, the lights are weird, and I don’t have a proper table to work on. So, I moved my work into the kitchen.
This was a mistake, but, I’ll get to that. I did learn two important things, though.
Things I learned
First, my partially assembled dollhouse fits through doors! Which, I figured it would, but, still. It’s good to know I’ll be able to move the Keeper’s House later if I want. It didn’t feel unusually heavy, but there are no roof, stairs or room dividers, so there’s a good chance my opinion will change after I’m done with assembly.
Second, the dollhouse shell (because that’s what it is right now) feels quite sturdy. I was knocking it around, standing it on its end to paint it, and other less than gentle things and it felt really solid. Like, it wouldn’t fall apart once I took the tape off.
I tested that theory because, you know, I had to. And, it worked! I took the tape off, and nothing fell apart. I even pulled at the pieces a little, and while they flexed a little, nothing felt wobbly, or like I could pull it apart easily. Phew.
Way to go, tacky glue!
Speaking of tacky glue, here’s a picture of tacky glue that seeped out from a joint that I guess I missed.
It’s hard to tell, but the glue really did dry clear. It looks “wet” in this picture, even though it’s really not. As I paint over the dried glue, we’ll see what happens.
How’d the Paint Job Turn Out?
Then I assessed my primer job. Because I’ve been researching how to paint dollhouse clapboard, I knew to look “under” the clapboard. Because this isn’t actual clapboard, there’s really no “under.” There’s a groove that goes a little under, but the clapboard is really all one piece.
You get the idea, though. The point is, I needed to look in and “under” those grooves to make sure the primer got in there. Here’s what I saw:
The primer did not get all the way “under” the clapboard. Lesson learned. I’ve got to hold the brush differently and make sure the primer gets everywhere.
Also, as you can see, there’s a bunch of “stuff” on the paint. Bumps, pieces of wood, what looks like wood fiber. I expected this since that’s what happens when you paint raw wood. But, I sanded the pieces after the primer dried, so I’m not sure what’s happening. Maybe I didn’t do such a great job sanding. Or, maybe this is normal.
I’m Not Good At Following Rules
Now, before I go any further, I should point out that this is part where I totally deviated from the instructions. There’s still a ton more build to do, but, I opted to skip it and do it later. Given how the rest of this adventure goes, (keep reading), I totally made the right call.
Another thing I’ve learned via research is that I shouldn’t paint where I’m going to glue pieces on to the dollhouse. That mostly applies to joints. Drips aside, I made sure to avoid some of these connections (or, at least, not get more paint on them) when I primed.
Because I know I’m a bit “sloppy” when I painted, I taped of certain ages with painter’s tape. Like so:
Here’s the finished tape job:
And the reverse:
This was pretty easy to do. I use small sections of tape and made sure to line the straight edge (not the edge I ripped off) with the edge of the dollhouse piece. I could use an Exacto knife to cut straight lines but, if you knew me, that would make you laugh. This is a far more efficient method for me to tape off edges.
I also didn’t bother trimming the excess edges. I overlapped them or let them be. You can see it in the reverse pic. Why did I do this? Well, like I said, straight lines are exactly my thing. But, more importantly, in my experience, having that excess edge helps me yank the tape off when I’m done. There’s a clean, unpainted piece of tape I can grab in case removing the tape is tough (which can happen).
I have some unprimed edges, but that’s by design.
When I did the initial priming on the front piece, I kept the primer off the edges (like I’m supposed to). Only, I ended up with part of an unfinished front. I’m actually kind of glad it happened because now I’ve got a small, unfinished piece to compare side-by-side with a primed piece.
What Paint Did You Choose?
I ended up going with craft paint. Acrylic, to be specific. As you keep reading, you’ll understand why I’m overjoyed by acrylic paint and how I’m totally sure I made the right call.
I suck at picking out colors. Really. My house is what you would politely call “earth tones.” My biggest goal in life is to be less afraid of patterns.
But, I’ve researched color theory, so I have some idea of how to pick colors (not patterns). Also, there are some great tools that can help the hapless figure this stuff out. I was going to go with a monochromatic scheme. That is, for those of you that don’t know, the same color for all the paints, but in different hues or tones (like, dark blue, blue, and light blue).
My original plan was also to dye the accent pieces (door, trim) a cherry brown color. But, after researching how to dye small wood pieces, I had second thoughts. So, I grabbed some paint for that, too. Here’s what I ended up with:
I knew I wanted to paint the house blue. This Keeper’s House (in my mind) is down at the seashore and blue is very seashore like, so, that’s how I got to it. I grabbed Bright Blue (it just kinda spoke to me). Then, thinking I still might want to do a monochromatic scheme, I also got Mediterranean Blue and Sailing Sky. Here’s what they look like out of the bottle and next to each other:
Frankly, I can’t tell the difference between Bright Blue and Mediterranean blue, so I took a toothpick and spread them out a little. The difference is there, but subtle:
I also picked out Bright Yellow to use as an accent color and as a contrast on the blue. Maybe. I hope the stain works, too. But, I’m miles away from worrying about that.
After looking at everything, I decided Bright Blue still spoke to me, so I got to painting.
Not to leave you in suspense, but you’ll have to read Part 2 to find out how this ends!