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.

 

Half-Scale Bungalow–Lights!

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I decided I’d try my hand at tape wiring for the half-scale RGT Bungalow. I’ve never done tape wiring (successfully), so here I go.

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Step one is to mark the walls where the tape run will go. A big help to me in understanding how to plan the run was 1) The CirKit Concepts DVD; 2) Dollhouse Lighting by Barbara Warner (an older book but helped me with the basics, especially making folds instead of splices everywhere). CirKit Concepts (http://cir-kitconcepts.com/) has both.

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The kitchen marked for tape. I didn’t plan for wall lights in either of these rooms (I have ceiling lights), but this way, if I ever want wall or floor lights, it’s ready to go.

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The first floor tape run finished. I purchased CirKit Concept’s starter kit, which includes copper tape (conveniently in a double strip), brads and eyelets, a punch, test probe, lead-in wire with switch and instructions. Transformer must be purchased separately–I already had a transformer I wasn’t using, so this kit was perfect for me.

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I folded the tape at right angles when I wanted to go up and down and around walls. Apparently, too many splices can weaken the connection and dim the lights farther down the run, but folds don’t. Be careful when folding that the tapes don’t touch!

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Outside, the tape run begins here, and the junction box is attached–two prongs on the underside go into the copper tape.

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Transformer is plugged into the junction.

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I plugged in the transformer, switched on the power, and stuck the test probe into the end of the downstairs run. It lit! I hadn’t caused any shorts. Yay!

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Installing the outside sconces. I did a “through the wall” installation. Wires come through the wall through holes drilled (right through the tape), and are connected to the copper tape with eyelets. (on the right you can see the excess tape, still attached, that I will take up to the second floor.)

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Wire is pulled through drilled holes, installation stripped, and eyelets pushed into drilled holes with the bared wire. I trimmed the excess wire once I made sure it all worked.

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It works!

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The tape and eyelets are covered with wallpaper.

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I added the second floor, brought the tape wire up through the stairwell, and continued. No break between first and second floor.

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Where the brads are on the floor is my one and only splice. I only did it because I ran short of tape. I had almost enough to go up the last wall, but not quite. So I had to splice more on.

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Light that will go on living room ceiling.

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Kitchen light.

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The living room light wires came up through drilled holes in the floor (drilled right through the copper tape), with eyelets pushed into the holes.

The tool is the most handy thing I bought. You put the eyelet on the end and press it into the pre-drilled hole. It is sold apart from the CirKit kits, but can be found at Hobby Builder’s Supply or CirKit Concepts. I recommend it.

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Kitchen light wires coming up through holes I drilled (1/16″ drill bit). I found the center of the room below before I drilled the holes.

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Eyelets go into copper and excess wiring is trimmed.

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Kitchen light working!

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Living room light a go.

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The assistants ready.

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Once I had the roof on, I needed to wallpaper the bathroom, which is kind of a cave (no windows). I decided to go with a mural. The paper is scrapbooking paper with a Monet theme.

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I like how it came out with the trees and reflections.

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This is the template I used to fit the mural paper. I wanted it to go in as one continuous piece instead of cut up, so I taped scrap paper inside the room, taped together and cut to fit. Used this template to cut out the mural. I was terrified this wouldn’t work at all, but it fit perfectly!

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The mural goes smoothly around the corners without a break.

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I had marked holes under the wallpaper where the sconce would plug in. Once the wallpaper was pasted in, I put eyelets into the holes (no it wasn’t easy to find the holes–I marked them on the template then punched holes in the template and marked through to the mural paper with a pencil. Even then it took me a couple tries to get it into the tape exactly right. The test probe helped.)

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I have a sconce by Lighting Bug and a sconce adapter by CirKit Concepts. The adapter lets you turn the back of the sconce into a plug that plugs right into the eyelets. (Detailed instructions come with the adapter.)

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The sconce on the adapter and plugged in.

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Finished room with sconce. Need to do the flooring next!

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The papered bedroom. As you can see, I’m not using the second partition, and I’ve moved the stairwell opening. On the left wall and under the window are holes where plugs will go for floor and table lamps.

So that’s the lights. I will do flooring and finish the outside next.

Supplies for this project I ordered directly from CirKit Concepts (http://cir-kitconcepts.com/), but I’ve seen their kits and supplies at Hobby Lobby and dollhouse shops.

All the lights so far are from Lighting Bug. I love their lights!

Quarter inch scale–taking a break

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Taking a break from dollhouse building to indulge in this cute kit from Robin Betterley. I intended to buy the “tin” only and decorate it myself, but I really liked the interior furnishing so I got those kits as well.

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The “tin” is made of wood, painted, and with art to look like a large spice tin.

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Everything comes with the kit–wallpaper, flooring, outside art, plus an LED light and battery box (with instructions) to light the tin’s interior.

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Tin lit up .

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This is one of the kits made for this tin. You get everything–hutch and chair and all the accessories (birdhouses, baskets, postcards, seed flat, etc), including a rug.

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The kit inside the tin.

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I have two more kits to put together to finish the inside. Any quarter-inch scale furnishing will fit, though, or it could be a display box for any kind of collection. Neat!

This kit is part of a line that looks like it will have a tin for each season. This one is May (Mayblossom Morning)–I liked the spring theme.

When I get the hankering to do the next two kits, I will and post the finished pics. For now, it’s time for the half-scale Bungalow, and to keep going on the one-inch scale garage.

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