Saturday, September 24, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system


I'm working on a new project.  Its the colonial doll house, but with a new construction system.
Once the project is finished the end result will consist of parts that will slide together w/o tools or glue.  The walls are held together with a tongue & groove connection with the corner molding.  The floors are held between the crown molding & baseboards.  And the roof (front & back) slide on to the gables, locked by a ridge corner molding. (the roof's pitch will be 45 degrees, which makes the peak angle 90 degrees.  So the same corner molding profile is used to hold the base, the walls & roof together.

Also because my attention span is so limited I can build one wall at a time to a finished point which in turn keeps me motivated.

If this dollhouse were made into kit it would consist of:

1 Back (open) frame/trim
1 Front roof
1 Back (open) roof
3 Walls
3 Floors
9 Locking corner moldings partitions, doors, windows, stairs & poster board wall inserts.

Interior (click to enlarge)

Exterior (click to enlarge)

Finished Portico - over front door

Interior / Front

Interior / Front showing pop-in poster board wall

Sample of kitchen floor.  Cut from Walnut & Maple.

Exterior / Front. Dry fit. 

Construction of typical wall:
3/16" plywood panels 9.5" tall x 3" wide, panel over window & door cutouts 2.75"t x 3"w, panel under window 2.0415"t x 3"w. All the panels have a groove going up both sides expect for the end panels - they only have a groove going up one side, (they will later be cut to a 45 degree angle.)
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The panels are glued together with 1/8" x 1/16" splines.
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The top & bottom of the glued assembly is grooved. Then the wall / floor connectors are glued with splines.
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The walls for each floor are assembled & glued in the same manner.  The base / foundation is left off for now.
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 After the (side) wall is dry a groove is cut up the exterior facing - on each end.
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 The wall is flipped over, base, crown molding, baseboards & base corner brackets are glued in place.  After drying both edges of the wall (interior facing up) are cut at a 45 degree angle.
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Closeup of 45 degree cut.  (The base has a wedged piece of wood instead of a crown molding.)
(Cutting all the parts at once keeps everything aligned.)
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Closeup of crown molding & baseboard where the floor fits.  The groove on top of the baseboard & underneath the crown molding is where the poster board fits into.  
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Front & side wall fitted together.
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Base locked together. Uses same corner trim thats used for the exterior corners.
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Exterior view showing corner trim locking walls in place.  (the corner trim is slid into place from the top of the two walls, it slides into the two tracks.  The walls / trim can NOT pull out in any direction.)
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This sounds more complicated than it is. But once the parts are cut & stacked (like an assembly line process) they can be used to construct many different individual dollhouses.  This technique would not work for stucco, stone or brick clad dollhouses because of the corner moldings.  But if 3/8" thick walls were used a hidden bow-tie type spline could hold walls together instead of a corner molding...


  1. This blog is becoming one of my favourites for miniatures ... for inspiration and technique. You are pursuing some really exciting, out-of-the-box ideas here!
    If/when I ever get around to making a roombox or dollhouse, I really want to trying some of your techniques.
    Thank you for continuing to document this so carefully.

  2. Thanks so much Uyek! Its nice to be appreciated!

    Sorry my posts are so far & few between, but I tend to get involved more with the concept & creation rather than the documenting of it - I also change my mind a lot - usually mid stream.

    I'm going to try an include some simpler construction techniques.

    Be sure to keep me posted of your progress whenever you get the urge / time to start that roombox or dollhouse.