Friday, March 2, 2012

Modular stick built dollhouse PART I

Hi everyone!  

Update: Last time we were in mini-ville I had dribbled river rocks on to the luan plywood foundation - looked good until they started falling off. Apparently the foundation warped & when I weighed it down some of the rocks didn't like the change & popped off! Next time I will mix glue into the Water Putty.  Yu think?!

I re-did the foundation in a textured finish, in a warm grey & used the 1st porch I made.  We decorated this 'facade thing' as a Xmas display for the local hospital & someone actually bought it?!

So I think I'll stay away from decorating for awhile & concentrate on design & construction of dollhouse shells!

New Project

To see entire project under LABELS click New System2 

Keeping the 45 degree pitch and staying within the size parameters there is still quite a variety.  The drawing on the right has a addition using the same system.  The addition could be attached to the front, but if its too tall then I would have to get into roof angles - not ready for that!

The possibilities are endless...
the kit builder would add their own components, including a porch & a couple of dormers.

I'm going back to my mat board & stick design as the luan plywood is problematic. I'm currently building all the jigs for the connectors I'll need.  I liked the sliding dovetail joint but found it difficult to make so I've come up with a simpler design.

The dollhouse is stick built with either 1/16" mat board or wood veneer as a skin. The finished walls are 3/8", but I made the floors 5/8" thick as I thought they needed to be bit more beefy.  

My idea is that I build the outer frame & glue the mat board to the exterior.  Then the customer or 'kit builder' glues on the precut studs, joists & rafters & with a craft knife cuts out all the openings. This allows total freedom to place doors, windows, skylights, etc. whatever size or style & wherever desired. And two simple hand tools: a craft or utility knife & a razor saw w/miter box.

The walls, floors & roof can be assembled/disassembled in minutes. Also, I think I've come up with an easy way to electrify the dollhouse using a circuit board & computer ribbon cables & connectors. See below:

Ribbon wire plugged into circuit board, other end cut off & attached to wall wiring.
I read something about phosphor bronze - its used for contacts for hobby railroad trains. Its claimed not to corrode & makes a very good electronic connection. So I thought I would try it to electronically connect the floors & walls. See below:

Contact happens between the floor joist & floor support where the bronze bands are wrapped or pinned?

House Rules? This dollhouse building system allows the kit builder to choose the size of the house within the following parameters:

  • Rectangular or square floor plan, no pop outs, dormers, etc. Although commercial dormers, bay windows, etc. can be added. And I think I could easily design additions to the gable side(s) using the same system.
  • Gable style 'A' roof with a 45° pitch. Most commercial dormers I believe are 45°. I may add 30° & 60° pitch in the future? 30/60 adds gambrel & mansard roofs!
  • Maximum interior dimensions: 15-1/2"d x 19-1/2"w x 20-1/8"h.  Why these dimensions? Because I'm buying 16" x 20" mat board by the case from Golden State Art - A1 company, good prices & free shipping! What's not to like...
The grey grid shows the dimensions of the strip wood used for all the connectors.  The color coded outlines show the quantities of that part.  The red parts are used on the open eaves house in the upper-right corner  (typical open back style dollhouse) & the cyan parts are for the open gable style house in the bottom-left corner.  The purple parts are used on both houses. 

Construction from the ground up:

(4) Base plates

(8) Corner posts

(8) Floor supports
(1) Front roof connector

(4) Gable end rafters
(4) Roof end connectors

Cross members: (2) Ridge connectors & spline; (2) [Back cutout frame; Front eaves frame]
(8) T-joists & (2) Back sills

Roof edge trim

Exterior mat board
The kit builder adds precut studs. The studs would be positioned around window & door openings. Joists around stairwells & rafters around skylights or chimneys, etc.
Then the kit builder adds the interior mat board.
Obviously someone forgot to cut out the openings for this house - hmmm jail house? 

Here's a picture of the framing for around a window.  The vertical studs just need to be moved in to the edges of the window frame. The horizontal pieces need to be cut to the window's 'fits opening width'. Then the studs are glued to the mat board, dried, then the mat board is trimmed using the frame as guide.

Then the interior mat board is glued in place, dried, then the interior mat board is trimmed from the outside using the same method as above.

Assembled in sections:

Left wall

Place the front wall to the corner connector of the left wall then insert locking spline.

See detail  below:
(click to enlarge)

Repeat with right wall.

Slide in floors.

Lock back to sides with splines.

Add front roof.

...and finally add back roof.  The front & back roof halves hook in near the eaves then they are locked together at the peak / ridge in the same way as the  walls.  The sections do not need to be glued together. The house can be disassembled in reverse order. This allows the dollhouse to be easily decorated, stored or mailed.
All photos & images created by me on this blog are the property of Mike's Miniatures - copyright 2012

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic ideas! Thanks for sharing how you built the walls/frame. Keep going! I'm following! :D