Monday, November 07, 2005

The Refridgerator

The first major thing that I made for the dollhouse was the miniature fridge. Probably not the easiest place to start, but I guess "easy" wasn't my goal anyway. So here are the issues that I faced and how I overcame them.

(1) What to make it out of. I bought a bag of Basswood odds and ends at the hobby store. Not ideal, but I'm cheap and they worked fine.
(2) How to make it look real. Painted wood was not going to look real. Then I found the mylar film that hobbists use to make model airplanes look real and it was slick!
(3) How to make the hinges on the doors. I don't know what made me think of this, but I ended up using the magnetic hooks that are used in jewelry making. I had used them previously to make bracelets that my 7 year-old can't break. Yes - if you pull on them they will fall off, but I didn't mind losing them as much as I did trying to find all the little beads in my carpet when the bracelet broke. I would definitely use those hooks again.
(4) The door handles were a huge pain. I tried making them out of clay - first FIMO and then another type of clay that air dries. Both were a huge pain and neither looked good. The most realistic ones were the ones that I hand carved. The first couple of sets were too thick, but when I measured the ones on my fridge I realized that I was making them too wide.
(5) After 30 hours of work (literally) my doll house refridgerator still didn't look real. I was almost ready to throw it out when I looked at the Sunday ads and realized that I had the top wrong. Real ones are skinny and the hinges are separate. I made that change and it looked much, much better.
(6) I tried to create a miniature ice cube maker and water dispenser from clay, but I couldn't even come close to making them look real. I figure that I can always add it later if I find a way to make one look realistic.
(7) Inside - everyone asks me whether there are little bins and lights inside. No. There are shelves, but I ran out of patience but plan to come back to that later.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Welcome to my Blog!

This blog documents my quest to build a modern, realistic dollhouse.

This started out as a "mental" project so I wouldn't think about work. Since most dollhouses are victorian, I thought that building something modern would be unique. There is an additional challenge in making it realistic because the floorplans of houses today don't let themselves to front-opening doll houses. But, I'm always up for a good challenge so.....I bought a dollhouse kit that I thought I could modify the way I wanted. Unfortunately, I overmodified it and couldn't figure out how to fix it. So, I put the pieces away (it was still just a box full of MDF) and let 2 years go by.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law started working on the family-hierloom dollhouse and I got the bug to try again. I dug out the box and still couldn't figure out how to fix the problem that I had worked myself into. Finally, I stopped trying. I bought a jigsaw and a few sheets of MDF board and started over.

There's still no dollhouse, but at least I have cut out, sanded and primed the main pieces. I wish I had taken a picture of how much dust was involved, but I'm guessing that sometime during this process I'll get another chance to create a huge pile of dust.

Of course, I still don't have much more than a pile of wood in a box, but it feels like I have made progress, and that's almost the same as actually making progress, right?