Beacon Hill: Left side continued

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I’ve glued together the left and left front walls and put in the second floor. I went all over it with a thin coat of latex to seal the wood and then started laying in the electric tape.

As you can see, I cut a hole in the second floor for the stairs I’ll put in myself.

Added the third floor and finished putting in the tape wiring. This used a 15 ft. roll of the tape.

I decided against a staircase going to floor three so I could have more room on the floor for furniture. I’m thinking I’ll leave two sides open, so more can be seen, which means I’ll have to put in columns to brace the unsupported corners.

What I learned from building the first half: Glue together the walls before painting and decorating. Warpage is greatly reduced. You can make paper patterns of the walls for wallpaper and install after running in the tape wiring (if using tape wiring).

What I learned from other projects: Bending the tape wire in 90-degree turns is much faster and easier than splicing. I show more details on tape wiring here: https://jennsminis.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/half-scale-bungalow-lights/

Now to decorate walls and ceilings, make and put in lights. I’m going to attempt some ornate chandeliers. I’m excited to be progressing!

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Beacon Hill: Roof and Tower

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Mansard Roof

Now that I have most of the lighting done, it’s time to tackle the roof. Looks complicated but is not.

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I notice that the kitchen side of this dollhouse is rarely photographed, so I’m trying to put out as many pics of it as I can, in case this helps other builders. This is the kitchen side with bay window on, bay window roof temporarily in place (I’m going to cover it with copper). Ready to put on the main roof.

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The mansard roof pieces are very thin, and bend back into place. The instructions with the kit are pretty good on this. I put glue all over the roof supports (see pic above for the supports), and on the bottom of the mansard piece and the top. Masking tape helps everything stay while the glue dries. (The window sill is there because I had to wire in the lamp before I put on the roof).

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Putting the mansard roof piece on the front. Tacks help a little, but tape is best.

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Finished mansard roof on the kitchen side (there are only two sides to the roof on the kitchen half of the house). The brown stripe on it is me testing whether the color of stain will work (it’s Early American from Minwax).

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I’m using shingle strips for this house. Best to stain first.

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Before I put the roof pieces on, I traced them onto very thin cardboard. I’ll shingle the cardboard then glue the whole thing to the roof. Marked where the shingles strips will fall.

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Shingling begun. I found out (the hard way) that it’s better to cut the shingle pieces to length first than to try to cut out the hole in the middle for the window after gluing. Live and learn.

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The finished shingle sheets glued to the mansard roof. The ugly edges will be covered with trim.

Now for the Tower!

The tower is, in the kit, enclosed on four sides, but open on its bottom, so you could hang a chandelier from the very top and have it hang down to the third floor hall. Cool. But, of course, I wanted to change it.

I am interested in astronomy, so decided I’d create a little observatory up there. That means I need a floor for the tower and also to open one of the walls so we can see in. Already found a telescope for it.

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This is the back wall, which I will cut for the opening into the tower.

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The piece cut.

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The four tower walls assembled–the walls each have a large tab on their bottom edge that slide into the large square opening in the tower base (ignore the small slots for the moment).

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Because I want this to be a room, I had to put a floor back in. I took the piece that I punched out of the middle of the tower base and trimmed it down to slide it back in. You have to take out that piece at first, because the walls fit inside the opening it leaves behind.

 

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This is the underside of the tower. I have to cover the crease of the fitted-in floor piece and also support it. I cut four strips of 1/2″ wide wood and glued it on the seam of the floor on the underside of the tower (which will be the third-floor ceiling), using the decorative squares to make it look pretty.

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Here is the underside of the tower painted and ready to go.

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I went ahead and wallpapered the inside, because I knew I’d never fit the paper after finishing the tower. The floor will be covered with flooring later.

 

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I also wanted to hang a light in the third floor hall. This is an old light I had in the Big House, in the attic. I worried that it would be too long for the lower ceilings of this house, but the tower pokes up above the ceiling height of the third floor. Perfect!

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The tower on, ready to be glued in place. The instructions have you finish the roof first, but I wanted to wire in the light, and I couldn’t put the trim piece on until the wiring was done, but you have to put the trim piece on to support the roof sides. Clear? (Took me a while to figure out the sequence–cut wall, glue tower together, insert floor, support floor, put in light, glue tower to house top, run tape wire to tower, wire light, put on trim, do the roof … whew!)

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Here, I’ve extended the tape wire to the tower room and wired in the lamp. Then I glued on the trim (a solid piece that goes around the four sides), which I painted first.

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Let there be light! It works! Yay!!!

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Here’s another departure. I didn’t want to put on the tower roof, because I want to be able to look down into the room–plus the tiny telescope users will want to tilt their refractor high and look at Orion and the Pleiades and find the Andromeda galaxy (I can never see that thing).

I wanted to use the roof trim, but not the roof top. The problem is, though, that the roof sits down on tabs, and if I didn’t use the roof top, the trim didn’t have a smooth surface to rest on. Rather than try to cut off the tabs, which would be difficult at this point, I used 1/8 square strips to even out the edges.

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Now to put the roof pieces on the tower, which is exactly like putting the mansard pieces on the house. I have lots of tape and clamps to help out.

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So, now the tower and its roof are on.

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I am now in the process of putting on the shingles, again gluing them to very thin cardboard pieces, which will then be glued to the mansard roof.

Next time–trimming!! We’re getting there!

 

Beacon Hill–Progress

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I took some time away from building the exterior of the Beacon Hill to install more lights. Here’s one I made from jewelry findings from JAF / JAR plus the remnants of a Victorian chandelier I had hanging in The Big House.

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This was my first attempt to do a light without following instructions–I based it on ones I’d already done but adapted the findings for what I needed. The glass globes came off the old chandelier.

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I like how it turned out!

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Next, I finished the first-floor staircase by building a false door which looks like it leads either down to a basement or to a closet.

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Since I finished and wired the chandelier in the second-floor hallway, I was able to install flooring and the third floor landing railing.

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Another look at the second floor staircase and new chandelier.

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When I was in my yard, I noticed this perspective of the house through the window. I like how it looks, so now I’m contemplating leaving this side open. Of course, I’d loose wall space for furniture, but I’ll think about it.

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I wanted to put a lamp in the third floor room that will be a bedroom. I’d made this lamp some time ago just to see if I could, but had nowhere to put it. I had to find the window sill for the dormer window in the kit and finish it so I could wire the lamp through the sill and wire it in before I put on the roof.

I still have two more lights to do (kitchen and third floor hall), but I can put those in later.

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And of course, my assistants help with everything.

Beacon Hill: More Light Fixtures and Top

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Gradually moving on with the Beacon Hill.

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

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

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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.

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

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Next stage of the chandelier.

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

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Chandelier done with the bottom parts glued in place.

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Wiring the chandelier through the ceiling.

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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.

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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: Electricity and Making my Own Lighting Fixtures

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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.

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

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

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Comes out on the floors.

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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 (http://www.miniatures.com/Dollhouse-Lighting-Electrification-In-Miniature-P17973.aspx)

Now: The lighting fixtures.

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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.

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

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

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The basic chandelier put together.

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A glossy white coat transforms it.

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

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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!

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The finished chandelier (except for the candles)

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

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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.

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

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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 (http://cir-kitconcepts.com/shop/  Click “Light bulbs”)

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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.

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Both lamps in place.

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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: Foundation, Tower Side

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I glued the basic foundation to the tower side of the house. The pieces are the first floor (that I cut in half), the foundation back (which I cut to fit), and the support piece, which I used as is, though I put it not in the middle but on the side (on the right, where I cut the floor apart).

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When I built the Fairfield, I realized I wanted more support for the foundation, and I feel the same way about this house. I added three pieces in the middle (they are 1.5 inches high and 1/4 inch thick). On the left side, the outside kitchen wall will form another piece of the foundation, and there are foundation pieces for the porch (bottom) that will be added later.

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Here is the first floor and foundation, ready to go. This is looking from the back; the porch is on the far side.

Now I need to start sealing wood, deciding what kind of flooring I want, how I’ll be decorating the rooms, and how to do the electricity.

Thinking about wiring, I realize there are benefits and drawbacks to each system (round wire or copper tape). I will probably use a combination of both–whichever is most easily hidden.

Onward.

 

More projects in finishing stages

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Another half-inch scale house I’ve been playing with is this one. I won it, unfinished, in a raffle at a miniature show a couple years ago. It was originally a rustic shack with a pot-bellied stove and a built-in bed–I believe the house was called “Possum Hut.”

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I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with the rustic look. The gallery had been on the right wall–I moved it to the back so the ladder to it didn’t take up the entire middle of the room.

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I also decided to put in a few electric lights–you can see the tape wire I started here.

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The outside I left alone. It’s cute and weathered, apple green and burnt orange.IMG_6595

Inside, I decided to wallpaper. I like the spattered-look floor, so I’m leaving it alone. I couldn’t find any wallpaper I liked in my stash, so I chose some scrapbooking papers, three different ones, to wallpaper the interior. I cut each to fit between the beams, which took some doing.

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The gallery in its new place with new railings. I might redo the bedding, which is original to the house. I purchased the weathered sink on Etsy.

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The distressed half-inch scale table/chairs and hutch I bought at a NAME show–it was made by Ron and April Gill’s daughter, Michelle (I think I’m remembering all this correctly).

I will add one or two more pieces of furniture and accessories, a rag rug or two, but this tiny house is done enough to put up on my shelf on display. I like how it’s turning out!

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