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Dollhouse Assembly Tips     

A free brochure provided by the Mott's MiniaturesTM On-Line Service.

Getting Started. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are wearing your work clothes or an apron. You need a work area where you can keep all of your supplies, materials, and tools at hand. Hopefully, you'll be able to leave your work out at the end of each work session. An assembly table at least 2' x 3' can be a real plus. Bring the kit over to the table and gather up all of your tools and supplies.

Open the Box. Some boxes can be opened on three sides and used as a work tray.  If you bought a die-cut budget kit, don't remove any pieces from the sheets until the instructions call for them. Remember--No unidentified pieces! If you bought a budget die-cut house, we recommend that you write the name on each piece before you take it out of the sheet. Be sure to write the sheet number on it too. You can sand this writing off later but you'll probably paint right over it anyway. *You might want to lightly sand the edges of each piece after you pop it out of the sheet. If you have bought a kit from a craft store or hardware store you might want to have a hobby knife handy. Many times these kits have sheets which were not completely die cut when they were manufactured. You may have to finish cutting them out.  For medium and upper grade houses you will want to take a quick look to see that everything is in the box.

Get Some Help! It is sometimes easier to assemble a kit with two people. If you will be working alone, at least try to have someone around to give you a hand when you need it. While smaller children can assist you, we never suggest that someone under 14 years of age assemble a kit without some adult assistance.

Glue! There are several kinds of glues and adhesives you will need for building and finishing your dollhouse.  Each is designed for different applications.

dollhouse glue

  • Tacky or Wood Glue are excellent glues for most uses.  We suggest the wood-glues for medium and upper-grade kits and he tacky glue for the budget die-cut houses. When applying the glue, squeeze the excess air out of the bottle before turning it over. Then when you release the pressure on the bottle at the end of a dab or a line of glue, the bottle will suck the remainder of the stream of glue back rather than running it all over your work. Between steps, go back and clean up excess glue.  A paint brush in a cup of water may be pinched dry and used to wipe up excess glue.

Quick Grab Cement is great for dollhouse shingles, siding and trims!

  • We, recommend only "Quick Grab" glue (CCC593) for gluing on clapboard siding and shingles. It is also handy for things that can't be taped or nailed while drying.   You can use the tacky glue for shingles but you need to be careful that your rows of shingles don't droop or slip.  I never have that problem with Quick Grab.  It also dries clear.
  • If you own a glue gun you can use it hold pieces that are drying. We never recommend the use of hot glue to assemble your kit, always use wood glue. If you absolutely can't live another day without using your hot glue gun, use it sparingly.  Just use a little hot glue to hold pieces together while the wood glue dries.  Remember that hot-glue is a craft glue and is generally not intended for permanent applications.  Heat and cold will cause it to separate later.  I stopped using it simply because I was sick and tired of burning my fingers every two minutes.
  • We recommend that you try a dry run for each section before final assembly to check parts, to see how the parts locate and to understand the assembly. Then you can comfortably start out again, follow the instruction steps - this time - using glue.

Dollhouse Wallpaper Gel

  • We carry a number of different glues for use with wallpaper and floor coverings.   We suggest the Wallpaper Gel.  It goes on with a paint brush and cleans up with soap and water.  A foam brush works well when applying these glues.
  • Sobo Glue is good for applying floor coverings and is good for wood-to-plastic use. While we carry spray adhesives for some applications, we do not recommend them to in-experienced builders because you can easily ruin wallpaper and carpet if you are not careful.

First Aid. If you are going to be using any type of knives, glue guns, or spray adhesives be prepared. Always use your tools safely and have a proper stand for your glue gun. We recommend that you always use a “Knife Block” when using an X-Acto or hobby knife. Read all the instructions, warnings and first aid recommendations on all your tools, glues and paints. You will be using glue & paint so be sure you have some ventilation, and never smoke when using any spray-adhesives.   If you have children you already know that you can't leave them alone for a minute. If you leave your work be sure to put your tools away. A hobby is supposed to be fun, so enjoy yourself. Just remember that some of the items you will be using can be harmful so be prepared.

Electric Lights. You can add detail and beauty to your dollhouse by installing electric lights. A system designed for use in dollhouses utilizes copper foil on what is essentially a roll of scotch tape. Installing the wiring is as easy as applying the tape where ever you want power. Even if you are not planning on lights right away, we recommend that all customers install the wiring when you are building the house. It will require an investment of less than $25.00 in materials and a little time. But it is substantially cheaper and easier than trying to go back later and add the wiring after the house is put together.

Painting. One commonly asked question is whether or not to paint any pieces before assembly. If you want to apply a sealer or primer coat to wood pieces before assembling them that is o.k., but do not try to apply wallpaper before the house is assembled. We recommend that you use a flat or semi-gloss paint for use on your dollhouse. If you want to give your house the look of a hard-wood floor but do not want to spend the money for the wood flooring material, simply varnish the floor, but be careful to cover it up before you start painting. Mott’s can fill your paint and stain needs.

Making a Silk Purse From A Sows Ear! Even if you buy the smallest budget kit it can still be a work of architectural beauty with just a few dollars and a little patience. One of the best ways to add detail and beauty to your house is with the use of pre-assembled windows and doors. Not only will it make assembly of the house much easier, but can save you time. If you want a bay window in one room and your kit doesn't come with it, no problem. Just cut your opening a little bigger and pick up a pre-assembled bay window. We even carry working windows and doors that can be easily installed in your new or existing house. A terrific way to make your house more beautiful is with the use of clapboard siding. We carry siding in easy to use sheets and they are available in a variety of styles and sizes. Be sure to ask us about siding when you buy your house. Another way to add detail and realism is with the use of wall and floor coverings. For just a few dollars you can install a hard-wood floor, put tile in the bathroom or kitchen, or paneling in the den. You can even place brick on the fireplace, or put stone around the base of your house. All of these materials are sold in easy to use sheets. They are in-expensive and can add tremendously to the beauty of your home. You can even stucco your house, add wallpaper, or apply textured ceiling paper to your rooms. Interior and exterior wood trims, moldings and baseboard will add detail and realism to your house. Or you can add gingerbread trims for a touch of fantasy. *You can enlarge rooms in your house by removing room dividers. Many small to medium-sized house kits have four or six small rooms. On a dollhouse (unlike your own home) you can remove room dividers without affecting the structural integrity of the home. Use caution, don’t just start ripping out everything until you know what it connects to. You can gently saw out some of the room dividers to make larger rooms.

Tips for Real Good Toys Dollhouses or Walmer Dollhouse Kits. *The stair, window and door holes have rounded corners which must be squared. Use a knife, file or very fine-bladed saw and work from the surface inward on both sides to avoid a "split out." *When inserting nails, whenever possible mark a butt joint on the panel through which the nail will pass first, then remove the panel and PRE-PUNCH a hole, drive a nail through the panel from the back side and then pull the nail back out.

Budget Doll Houses.  Just because you purchase an in-expensive house kit doesn't mean that it has to look cheap. Only your imagination, and your budget, will limit the possibilities for your new home. A little work and a little imagination can bring a lot of detail and beauty to your house. And a lot of satisfaction as well. We recommend that you come down to the Mott Miniatures and take a look at what is available, or browse our Online Catalog. Bring some paper and make notes on ideas you would like to incorporate to the finishing of your house. We are sure that you will come up with more ideas than you have room for.

Get Some Advice. The staff at the Mott Miniatures will be glad to answer your questions about your dollhouse and help you come up with some ideas when you come in to our store. We strongly recommend that customers take a look at some of the 150 books about miniatures we keep in stock.


dollhouse miniature building tips book

  • And of course our most popular book, "Everything You Wanted To Know About Dollhouses but Didn't Know Who To Ask" #HWK1008.
  • We also have books about dollhouse electrical wiring if you are thinking about putting in lights, and there are even books to give you ideas on decorating your house. There are also books that can show you how to make dollhouse furnishings and accessories out of everyday household items, a great way to save some money when you are just getting started and a terrific way for the whole family to share in a project.

 


Tools. These are a few simple items which you will need to assemble your dollhouse kit. Pencil, Ruler, Hobby Knife Sanding Block or Sandpaper 8oz bottle of Wood Glue.

dollhouse miniature building tools

  • A set of tools like the one at left can be quite handy and make a nice gift...either for yourself or for the hobbyist in your life. You can make do with a few basic tools from around the house such as a hobby knife, masking tape, pencil, ruler and sandpaper.
 
  • Optional: Tube(s) of “Quick Grab” Glue or “Bonds Cement” Hot Glue Gun and a proper stand Paint Brush and cup of water Roll of wide Masking Tape (to hold things together)

  • For medium and upper grade dollhouses houses that require nailing, a Small Hammer and Small Pair of Pliers.

We strongly recommend that you come down to Motts and take a look at what is available. We are sure that you can find a dollhouse kit that is right for you.  If you want, you can also visit our On-Line Mail Order Catalog.

For more dollhouse tips, see our other free online brochures:

Main Tips Page

  Electrical Wiring Tips

Picking The Right Dollhouse

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