Committed to try – the arrival of the boxes

Well, this large and heavy parcel landed on the doorstep.  The 8 boxes needed to be divided into sizes to get a more concrete idea of what I’d got.  I used them like building bricks for a couple of days working out what walls would have to go, what walls/ceilings would double for the room next room over or up, and what further construction wood I was going to need, if any, to start with.  I figured I’d need some wood lengths immediately to help connect/support the construction from the beginning of work.

Sorting also proved a sweaty job until I labelled every box on every surface so I could tell what I was doing.  Once I stopped doing my head in with the possibilities I did another diagram, but this was not of a completed idea so much as a possible ‘seating plan’ for the boxes.  A bit like stacking containers in a shipyard.

Talking of room boxes, I think really good ones can be more appealing than a whole house where you might like one room but not ‘take’ to another.  Have you ever visited K T Miniatures?  Have a look see at these room boxes and tell me if you don’t think there totally delightful.  The minute snippets of life captured, like a dusty photo, in all their glorious detail just make you want to have a go.

Destruction time

Destroy to create?

This provided the opportunity to try to undertand and use the relevant tools for the jobs, jemmy things apart and strip small areas of wallpaper, get steam and sticky bits everywhere.  I cleaned the joints and rebuilt the parts into some form of a well-known phrase or saying.  I mean some I used ‘as was’ and rebuilt into now clean original boxes and others were used to make double sized rooms, or I used the cut sides to build other spaces.  Still got the odd bit left at this moment.

I did the destruction and rebuild a bit at a time and, as I was still unsure I could achieve anything, I started with a stray piece of box back and made a  frontage. Why the box back?  Well, it was thinner MDF than the other parts and as my cutting abilities were limited it seemed a better bet.  The frontage still not attached as I’m not clear if I can use it in it’s present form but it gave me the chance to do my first sawing and whittling type jobs and parts of the work was very soothing to do, giving me time to think about who lived in this building and what they used it for.


First attempt at working with the 'goods'

I had invested in a large number of different size lollipops sticks which I stained and used for facings, doors and wherever I could stick them.

The diagonal brick cladding (I’m still not certain I’ve got it the right way!) was a devil to stick down as it’s very thick.  And the beams a further devil to stick to to the cladding.

No, I didn’t cut each inset panel of brick out.  I know it may have been what I should have done, perhaps, but I knew that I would never control the gluing and fitting of the jigsaw and all the edges of this very thick material.  Any gaps, however small, between the panels of bricks and the nearest beams would have been like an unscratchable itch.

I felt the uniform grouting of the cladding didn’t quite do it for me and I fancied a bit of light and shade. So before I fought the good fight with the gluing down, I used both chalk and oil pastels on it, along with some compost, and scribbled and rubbed them in.  I then shook/blew off the excess, generally getting rid of all the loose stuff and making a mess of my kitchen floor.

One of the jobs in the frontage was windows. Fitting the acetate glass sheeting was the biggest pain in every part of the anatomy and I found it very unsatisfactory.  I’m unsure what I’m going to do about it.

Some of the windows I’ve since made have cereal packet lining touched up with paint and used to represent horn infill.

'horn' window

Cereal packet inner plus paint

I’ve used the acetate again in some others.  With still others I’ve experimented with a glue type stuff (it probably is white glue for all I know) that can be spread over very small gaps in frames and dries fairly clear, giving an old glass look.  I found it messy but with interesting results.  When dry the very delicate surface can be painted  if you keep a steady hand.

Yet other window spaces are empty of infill – some of these will have wooden grids added to keep some draught and the odd bird out.

I note that there are dolls houses advertised with ‘real leaded’ windows.  Not sure that that particular level of finish will fit in with mine.  Needs some thought.  If anyone knows of something absolutely ideal, please let me know – goodness only knows there’s plenty of windows to go.

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