Finally, time to get to work!
Because I’m a planner, I didn’t just open the box and start building. Before the kit even arrived I researched all the things I need to do before I start building. I thought I had it all covered. Spoiler alert! Not even close.
But, one thing at a time.
Pick a Place
I decided to do this project in the basement. My crack research told me that I should be careful where I assemble my miniature dollhouse. Even though it’s miniature, that doesn’t make it tiny. I found some advice about how miniature dollhouses don’t fit through doors once they’re assembled.
All I planned on doing was checking out the pieces and making sure they were all there. And, checking for damage. Hence, working in the basement for this project. The box is pretty small, (pic), but I knew I was going to spread everything out and that would mean a lot of space.
Also, I knew I wouldn’t be able to repack the box, and I didn’t want tiny wood pieces all over the family room.
Once the pieces were out and I checked them over, I knew the Keeper’s House would be small enough to fit through the door if I ever move it.
My research told me to paint the pieces before assembly. Which means the pieces have to have a place to dry without leaning or stacking on each other. Again, that requires a large spot for drying. And, it needs to be out of the way, so they don’t get bumped to (or have stuff spilled on them, or whatever else could happen in a day).
Keeping all of this in mind, and, knowing what was going to come in the near future, the basement became the logical spot for this first build.
Time to Unpack
With that settled, it was time to unpack.
First, I got the plastic wrap off the package. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Then, I made sure it had the right label on the box (it does), then opened the small box. In it, I found the tacky glue and the right color shingle dye. Awesome.
In case you’re wondering, that yellow stuff in the dye bag is rubber gloves. Since, you know, permanent dye and all. I glanced at the dye directions quickly and saw it said the dye would take four to five days to dry!
I knew that was coming, though. Well, kind of. Real Good Toys mentioned you should dye shingles well in advance of the project. It just didn’t specify how long. That was fine. But, then reading through the instructions (more on that in a minute), I could see that the shingles alone were going to be quite the project. I put that to the side in favor of checking out the main attraction.
I opened the box, which was easy enough, then dumped the parts onto my ping pong table. And by dumped, I mean gently slid onto the table. Because not only did I not want to damage the parts, I would never have heard the end of it if I damaged the ping pong table!
This is what I had:
OK. Cool. I started sorting the parts by type and ended up with this:
Everything looked in order but, I knew that wasn’t enough. I’ve assembled enough IKEA furniture over the years to know that I needed to double check everything. So, I took the instructions and flipped to the page with the parts list.
Some of the parts were obvious. Like, the ones with the triangle tops and clapboard on the side are obviously the sides. But, figuring out the difference between the base and the roof? That required a tape measure.
Again, easy enough. In fact, on the first page of the instructions, it says “measure and identify the parts.” Good call!
But, once I started getting down to the finer points of the parts list (like groove fill, and door base), I realized I had no idea what I was looking for. I flipped through the rest of the instructions and kind of got it, but kind of didn’t.
When You Don’t Know, Skip Ahead
So, I did the next logical thing and started putting some of it together!
Yes, it’s braced because I just fit it in the grooves to see what was what and I held the roof piece up just so I could see. That helped me figure out a few more parts.
At “strip wood” I was lost again. It said there should be four of them. I found this:
and figured that was right. But then I was supposed to find stair stringer and trim, and I didn’t know what to look for. That’s when I realized I had this bag of parts: picture.
At that point, I decided to have lunch!
Still Searching, Still Lost
After lunch, I tried to tackle the parts again but noped out of that. It was just a lot. Instead, I read the instructions cover to cover figuring that would help.
And, it did. Mostly.
I learned that I should give everything a base coat of paint before I put it together. Some enthusiasts agree with this, others do not. The big thing I learned is that if you do paint prior to assembly, keep the paint out of the assembly grooves and other edges. You can’t glue them together once painted.
For this first time out, I think I’m going to use regular old white primer (like I would with any wall) to start. That should give me a good base. As for colors, well… I don’t know yet.
Then there was a whole discussion about sanding. I’ll get into that later when I actually paint. The big thing I learned was that I need to pick out the colors before I go much further with the painting. So, that’s the next task.
The instructions also suggest I figure out what I want to wire because it’s easier to get that together and install some of it before the dollhouse is assembled.
That made me laugh. Let’s just say electricity will not be a part of this project.
After all those prep instructions came the assembly instructions.
This project has 32 assembly steps. And, you have to do steps 1 through 8 without stopping.
It actually doesn’t look that hard. But, I haven’t tried it. So, I could be totally wrong. We’ll find out, I guess.
I also checked out the shingle dye instructions. I’ll talk more about it in a future post, but let’s just say that right now, I’m not dying the shingles. Even if it takes a week, I’m at least a month away from needing shingles. I think. We’ll see what happens.
So, up next, I guess, is picking out the paint.
Advice? Suggestions? Positive vibes? I could use it all! Comment away!