Beacon Hill: More Light Fixtures and Top

Gradually moving on with the Beacon Hill.


The beginning of a new chandelier. I need to make 24 of the little dangly things, eight on each candle holder.


The most invaluable tools when making light fixtures: Needlepoint tweeters, round-nosed pliers, and forceps. The iced tea is essential as well.


While glue dries on the fixture, I put the roof onto the house to see where I’ll need to cut it for my adventure in dividing the house in two. I didn’t want to take off too much.


Looks like I’ll cut it right there. Time to bring out my trusty table saw.


Next stage of the chandelier.


Adding the candle sockets and bulbs (Cir-Kit sells the candle sockets; HBS sells the bi-pin bulbs).


Chandelier done with the bottom parts glued in place.


Wiring the chandelier through the ceiling.


I had originally intended for this chandelier to go in the second floor stairwell, but it looks better in the bathroom–goes with the wallpaper. I’ll make something a little more rustic for the hall. This is going to be one wild bathroom.


The test–it lights! Yay! I never thought I’d be able to make my own lights, and they’d turn out so pretty. Who knew?

I have more beads and also some old, broken lights from when I gutted The Big House. I’m looking at those old lights and thinking “spare parts.” I’m going to take those spare parts, play with new jewelry findings, and see what I can come up with. Maybe a mess! But it’s fun to play.

While I’m making light fixtures, I’m going to start painting the outside of the house. In the instructions for the Beacon Hill, the porch is next on the agenda. I need the base of the house painted before I glue on porch railings.

I’ll keep working!


Beacon Hill: Third floor, Roof prep, and Oops


Now that I have the staircase railings started and the tower front on, I’m moving up to the third floor.


I’m focusing on the tower side of the house, since I cut my Beacon Hill in half. I’ll do the other half when I put the other part of the house together on its own.

The above picture shows interior 3rd floor walls 4 and 5, which go on the right side (as you look at the house), or as I call it, the tower or porch side.


The walls slot together like this …


… and go onto the third floor like this.


Because I’m finishing as I go, I gave my walls a light coat of paint to prep for wallpaper.



I decided to use scrapbook paper to keep on with my shabby chic theme.


Now for the roof! I skipped the chimney section of the instructions, as I am sticking with the tower / porch side of the house only. The pieces here are: Mansard roof base (thick right-angled piece on the left; above it the Mansard roof base trim right; back roof edge (the long, narrow piece); the Mansard roof support back; and the pile of mansard roof supports. Also the Mansard roof top (the ceiling of the third floor).


These pieces are fairly straightforward. This is the Mansard roof base on the right side of the house (as you look at the house).


The walls added in–notice the ends of the walls go into slots in the base.



The “roof support, back” has two notches in it–to go on the two tabs of the wall.


The rest of the supports go around into the slots.


The support on the left doesn’t have a notch in its nose. This one goes against the tower wall, where there is no slot on the roof  base.


Pretty straightforward so far. I’m not going to put the roof panels on yet–the supports aren’t even glued. I want to do more with interior decorating and electrics first.


Oops number One: In my zeal to move on, I totally missed a step. There are two long wood strips called “second floor back edge” and “third floor back edge.” Because I’m not using the interior walls, I didn’t see the instructions for this (which were at the bottom of the section on interior walls). Basically, they are long strips that finish the back edges of the house.

But–since I already put the long vertical strip on to hide the tape wiring, I had to cut the pieces to size.


Fortunately, they were easy to cut with a saw and miter box.

Then I had to paint the backside of them, because I’ve already finished the ceilings in the rooms, so I didn’t want to glue them on until they were painted.


Here they are glued in place to finish the back edges. The interior sides are painted the vintage white color I’m using for the rooms. I’ll paint the outside either the house or house trim color.

Oops Number Two:

I realized when looking at the roof piece, that I really need the interior wall of the third floor (the one that would go between the tower and the part of the house I cut away). The wall needs to support the roof.

So I grabbed the third floor interior wall, stuck the door I’d punched out back in, and wallpapered it.


Because I cut the third floor in half, I cut away the slots that take the wall notches. I decided to glue a strip on the underside of the second floor ceiling to support it (finishing the strip to look like molding on the ceiling below).


Once the wallpaper was on, I stuck the wall in place.

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Now it’s glued in and attached to the tower.


I plan to put a wall on the empty side, but thought I could wait–however if I want to figure out where I can cut the roof top, I needed to see where it would land on the top walls … And so, the wall is back in. It looks weird now, hanging in space, but there will be more walls below it.



Now that I have *that* done, I’m going to stop building and continue with lighting fixtures and flooring.

I’ll be making another chandelier!


Warning, buying findings and putting them together is addicting …


Beacon Hill: Finishing the Stairs and Moving On



Once the lights downstairs were finished, I could add the flooring to the staircase hall. Now, I can go on to putting in the railings and posts of the staircase.

Just a note: I advise getting out wood sheet 27 with all the staircase posts and rails and the schematic drawing for sheet 27 and staring at both until you figure out what is what. It helps to take a pencil and label the pieces on the sheet so you’re familiar with them, and you know what they are when you punch them out.

Notice that there are a bunch of pieces marked “staircase posts.” Those are used in most places, except at bottom of the first floor, bottom of the second floor, and the end of one end of the shorter second-floor bannister railing. I mention it, because my instructions weren’t that clear. I’ll note in bold where those are.


The instructions start you off prepping the banisters that will go around the staircase openings. I opted to do the second floor only and do the third floor once I have the flooring in up there.



The three pieces where they will go.


Pre-gluing the shortest banister and longest at right angles.


Next I painted to go with the rest. Posts and top rails will be stained.

For sealing the wood, I’ve started to use Dura Clear Ultra Matte from Folk Art. I paint a coat of white (or whatever color) then a coat of Ultra Matte, then a second coat of paint, the finish with gloss varnish (also Dura Clear). Find Dura Clear in Michaels or other craft stores.


Posts are glued flat on the ends of the railings. The instructions were a little unclear, and it took me a while to figure out that the flat side is glued to the flat part of the railings. I thought they went on the ends, but no.

NOTE: One end of this railing section is narrower than the other (on the left hand side in my photo). The right side here gets a regular “staircase post”, the other gets the “Second floor narrow post trim.”


Here are the railing sections with the posts glued on and the top and bottom rails glued on. The top and bottom rails actually do go on the edges.


Putting the railing sections aside, we start adding posts and rails to the staircase itself. This first one, at the bottom of B is the “First floor long post trim.”


Now I add the corner post between A&B  (This is Piece A & B Corner trim). The notch goes over the railing section. The short top rail goes on piece B.


“Pieces A&F corner trim” goes on the outside of F like this (one end has an angle that follows the angle of the staircase, and a notch to go over upper railing section). The top rail A goes on top of the railing.



The posts at the top of the stairs–again, they go flat against the railing sections, not on the ends. (These are some of the ones labeled “staircase posts.”)


Railings, of course, go on top of the railing sections.


Last, I put in the prepared railing sections that go around the staircase on the second floor.



At the bottom of the second staircase is the “Second floor long post trim.” Rail goes up the stairs on top of the long railing section. A notch in this rail helps fit it against the opening to the third floor.

I’m stopping there–I’ll do the third floor later. Plus there are “Post Caps” that go on the top of the posts.

I’m not sure I like the unfinished look of the staircase posts, as though someone bought 2x4s at the hardware store and made a staircase. But I’ll probably trim them later, or I’ll see what kind of trimming the instructions has us do.


Now I can at last put on the tower front. I had to do some slot trimming, plus I had a bit of warpage, but painters tape is helpful to hold things in place while the glue dries.


The tower all in place from the inside.

Next I’ll continue decoration and move up to the third floor and start on the roof.

Beacon Hill: Electricity and Making my Own Lighting Fixtures

I realized I needed to stop and plan the electricity before I finished the staircases (with railings and posts), because:

I want to do chandeliers

Chandelier wires will run up to the floor above

I need to have the wiring in place before I can put the flooring in

I need to put the flooring in before I can finish the staircases.

I had the mad idea to make my own lighting fixtures for this house, which turned out much better than I expected! (photos below)

So, here we go. I decided to do tape wiring–I will do mostly ceiling lights, so tape will go on the floors, where it will be hidden by flooring (which I won’t glue all the way down so it can be removed for repairs)

I pondered a long time how to run the tape, considering I had already finished some of the walls.

I hit on building a small wall in the back and running the tape up the inside of that, hidden from all eyes.


A 1-inch by 1/8-inch wood strip. The strip not only hides the tape but the raw edges of the interior walls.


Tape runs up the inside of the board, which will later be painted.


Comes out on the floors.


This is as far as I’ve gone–floor of the third story. When I get more walls and the roof on, I’ll continue. You’ll notice my messy folds. I prefer to fold rather than splice, because splices can come undone. I learned to do this from the book: Dollhouse Lighting: Electrification in Miniature (

Now: The lighting fixtures.


Here are some of my supplies. I had to go buy a storage box at a craft store for these along with what I already have.


I had in mind to make a “porcelain” chandelier using instructions found in the book “Bangles, Baubles, and Beads,” sold by JAR / JAF Miniatures (click on “Books” ; they also have the electrification book)


Findings being glued on the main chandelier wheel. This will be electrified, but by a single bulb while the candles are faked.


The basic chandelier put together.


A glossy white coat transforms it.


Next, I painted the leaves with Kelly green tube acrylic paint (Liquitex).


I wasn’t certain of the color for the roses until I put it on, but I like it! The pink is also Liquitex tube acrylic paint (found in the artists section of craft stores or art supply stores). The color for roses and leaves is dry-brushed on very carefully. No globs!


The finished chandelier (except for the candles)


It lights! (Getting the wires through the medallion and the upper floor involved a bit of colorful language. Even the cats ran.)


I’ve added the candles.

Now–this chandelier doesn’t give out much light, because the bulb glows through the bottom finding. Looks pretty, but not much illumination.


So I said, What the heck? Let’s add a sconce. I have the findings on hand.


This is a modification of a sconce in JAR / JAF’s book–I didn’t have the exact findings, but these were very close. The candle light socket and flame bulb can be purchased inexpensively from CirKit Concepts (  Click “Light bulbs”)


I stuck it here on the wall by the turn of the stairs. It will be hard to see once all the walls are on, but it will light up the corner.




Both lamps in place.


Another shot of the lights.

Yay! Now that those problems are solved (and I’ve stopped cursing), I will now put in the flooring! So I can finish the stairs and stop obsessing about them.


Beacon Hill: Second Floor Staircase

After the complicated first floor staircase, the second floor staircase is pretty straightforward. (Breathe a sigh of relief).


The pieces, from left to right: The staircase stringers, a top rail (can’t remember which one right now, but it’s not used until later), below that, the three staircase backs, above those the first riser (mark it!), then the other risers, which for this staircase are all the same size. Then I have a couple of third floor rails (these will be placed on top of the thin gothic-looking panels on each staircase and the landings).


Most of the posts and rails (and all the rail caps) for finishing the staircases are on this sheet. I decided to mark them while they were still on the sheet and not punch them out yet. I will be working on the electricity and the floors before I put in the railings, and this way, I don’t lose them (unless I lose the whole sheet–no!!)


This is sheet 15, which has the railing sections, some of them already used for the first-floor staircase. For the second floor, you need the railing you see in the middle.


I’m keeping a small box to hold the little pieces–the top rail sections I won’t use until later, the backs of the staircase, the treads. Handy for not losing all the small bits.


Make sure to mark the first riser (my “2” means first riser, second floor). It’s different from the others and easily misplaced.


Beginning: The first riser (the narrow one you marked), the uppermost riser, and a random middle riser (both of these are just risers from the main pile) are glued to one side of the staircase. Squares help keep them, well, square.


Adding the second side. I propped it with one of the bottom staircase pieces to help it stay square while drying.


Add the rest of the risers all the way up.


This is the railing section that will go on the stairs. The instructions say to put on the treads first, but because I want to paint the staircase, but stain the treads, I’m gluing the railing on first. I could have painted everything beforehand, but I didn’t have the patience.


The railing in place. It helps to lay the staircase on the table with the railing on bottom, to make sure it glues nice and tight. Weighting it is not a bad idea.


Staircase backs glued in place and clamped until dry.


Everything painted and ready for the treads.


I sanded the edges of the treads after staining them, to show a little wear and tear.


All the stained treads in place. The unpainted side of the staircase will go against the wall.


Another shot of the staircase ready to go.


The second floor in place and waiting. I made sure I had the walls painted and finished before I put in any staircases. Easier than painting or papering around the stairs!


It’s fairly easy to insert the staircase and glue it in place. I haven’t actually glued mine yet in case I need to fix something.

This was a much simpler staircase! But it looks nice.

I will wait to do the rails and posts around it and the first-floor staircase until after I figure out the flooring. Piecing flooring around the posts will be too tricky, I think.


I have more of the walls up, including the outside wall (this will be the bathroom), and the ceilings finished.

Next I’m going to figure out the electricity. I plan to have only ceiling fixtures, with the wires going up through the ceiling to attach to the copper tape on the floor above (then flooring will cover the tape). I haven’t planned any sconces thus far.

Now, that is the plan. What actually happens might be a different thing.

I have some ideas on how to lay the tape wiring so I’m not snaking over walls I’ve already finished. I was going to slide tape between walls and floors, but everything fits together so tightly that idea isn’t going to work. I’ll see what I can come up with.


Beacon Hill: First Floor Staircase, Part 2

Continuing from my previous post:


After I deepened the notch in the second floor for trim piece F, it slid right in and fit over the staircase. This is looking from the front of the house.


Next, trim piece D is fitted over this side, again resting in a notch in the second floor. Now to paint.


Paint added. I should have painted the trim first (had to mask off the ceiling wallpaper so I wouldn’t ruin it), but I was afraid that the painted trim wouldn’t fit right–paint makes wood swell and warp. Oh well. It’s done now!


Here is the painted trim on the other side of the staircase, looking from the back of the house. Notice I didn’t punch out the holes on the D trim. I’m going to leave it in and add a false little door to make it look like it leads to stairs to the basement.


Over in the kitchen, I added wallpaper to the back wall, and a border of paper to the right wall.

Next I need to paint the second floor and ready it for wallpaper so I can go on to the next step, the second-floor staircase. In the staircase hall, I’ll paint the walls and paper the ceiling. The room above the kitchen will be the bathroom, which I will paper.

Next time–Second floor staircase. After I paint like crazy.

Beacon Hill: First floor staircase

I’ve made a start on the staircase. There are not nearly enough photos in the instructions for my liking, and the instructions themselves can be a tad confusing, so I’ve taken a ton of photos and hopefully will help others building this house.


Here’s a photo of sheet 12 (in my kit). I took it and of sheet 10, below, because I found it hard to locate the small pieces in the middle of these giant pieces of wood! Above is  the two landing pieces and the first riser (as well as treads and risers next to it). Below are G and H (staircase backs).

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I hit a snag when looking for pieces A and B. They are on sheet 5, on a piece that was leftover from one of the main front walls (it’s what’s leftover after you punch out one of the big bay window openings). That’s fine, and normally I would have kept it safely and clearly labeled, but then I moved. And couldn’t find this piece anywhere!

I hunted high and low and finally found it–very last piece at the bottom of the box. Of course!

Below are the pieces laid out, more or less in order.


From left to right: A, B&C (two identical pieces), D, F, E (to the right of F); below those G and H. The two square pieces are the landings, and then I have piles of treads and risers.  I wrote all the letters on the pieces to keep them organized.


The treads (on the right) are wider than the risers.


It’s a good idea to clearly label the first riser, as it’s different from the others, but similar enough to get lost.


Start with pieces A, B, and C



They fit like this, notches and end of A into the slots.


Another shot of A, B, and C together.


The instructions say to put piece F next. It was confusing to me how it went on, but I finally figured out it’s like this. However, it’s hard to glue F in without something for it to rest on, so I set it aside and put together the next pieces first.


Piece D (my pencil-marked letter D is sideways here) goes onto the end of piece A, forming a wall.


Piece D being glued to the A,B, C assembly. (The light colored wood is a sanding block I’m using to keep the pieces squared.)


Piece E leads up from the backs of pieces B and C and glues onto piece D (confused yet?)


Here is E and D glued onto the A, B, C assembly.


Now I can add piece F–the end of it can rest on piece E.


Pieces A, B, C, D, E, and F, all glued together!


Another view of the basic carcass together.


Piece H goes on the back of the staircase between pieces D and F. Piece G (not shown) inserts into that open space above H.


The whole thing with pieces G and H in place.


The first riser goes on the bottom step. Make sure it’s flush top and bottom. Don’t trust resting it on your work surface to make it flush. There’s a tab on the bottom of piece A, so nothing sits quite straight.


The treads and risers go on like this. I haven’t glued anything here, because I want to paint the staircase and stain the treads. I’ll put the treads on last.


Just a note–I had to cut the notch in piece F deeper, because when I started to put on the risers, I noticed that F and D didn’t quite match up. Once I notched it more, the riser (one that goes up the next turn here) went across straight.


All the risers are on! Time to stop to paint.


Cuteness break. Ok, onward.


I have my steps and risers painted white. The unpainted back here will go against a wall and won’t be seen.


Another shot of the painted steps. Again I’m painting two coats of white, a coat of gloss, coat of white, coat of gloss. This wood is thirsty.


Next, the trim. These are the two trim pieces to be put on the staircase before it’s inserted into the house. Punch out the rectangles and the rectangle with angle cut out and save them.


The two trim pieces will fit on like this.


Pre-gluing the trim to each other at a right angle.


Trim glued in place.


The three panels glued back in place.


I coated the back of the panels thoroughly, using a cut up credit card to spread the glue.


Here is the staircase all nice and painted.


With treads and landings added.

The basic staircase is  ready to go inside the house.


Slots in the floor for the staircase.



Having cut apart the house actually made it easier for me to install the staircase. Maybe if you didn’t glue in the hall / living room partition right away it would help. (??)


The staircase inside the house as you look from the front (without the front tower wall on)


Staircase inside looking from the back.


Trim for piece F.


This trim piece fits down from the top landing and rests in a notch. My notch wasn’t deep enough, so I had to enlarge the cut.


I’ve come to the end of the photos my phone has uploaded, so I’ll stop here and finish the rest of the trim in the next post, and talk about what I’ll do after that.