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• , II


22-1/8" X 37-7/8" X 40-3/4" ht.
1----------'<"-,, ,l~---1









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by Fred Stephenson, Architect

Construction and Finishing


These brief notes explain a few techniques for the construction and finishing of
your dollhouse. Identical information is furnished with all the Architect's Choice
plans, so some of the suggestions may not be applicable to your particular house
design or style. For a much more detailed source of information on constructing,
finishing, wiring, and interior treatments see the author's book, THE DOLLHOUSE

ARCHITECT'S CHOICE one inch scale dollhouse plans are designed to utilize the range
of window sizes made by Miniature Lumber Shoppe, and the style may be selected as
desired. Many manufacturers use the same 2-1/2" x 5" and 2-1/2" x 3" standard
window sizes, but few manufacturers also have 4" or 6" windows or double windows
in 4", 5", and 6" heights. Therefore, it is advisable to decide on the window
manufacturer, style, and sizes to be used before cutting the window openings.
Most manufacturers, but not all, provide a window thickness for 3/8" material plus
the thickness of siding, which is about 3/32" additional.

The floor-to-floor dimension is 9-3/4". Most manufactured stairs work well with
this vertical dimension. The Miniature Lumber Shoppe stair is exactly 9-3/4" in
height and has a 13/16" riser dimension, which allows one less step than most,
thus conserving space. The stair openings shown on the plans are designed for the
Miniature Lumber Shoppe stair kits and may need to be modified for other makes of
stairs. Also, some of the Architect's Choice plans show an upper level stair with
each tread lapped an extra 1/8" to further reduce the required openings.

Architect's Choice dollhouse plans show the construction of shells only. The
decorative trim treatment sketched on the single finished elevation drawing is
intended to suggest an appropriate style of finish trimming, but the specific
detail is left up to the individual builder so that each house is unique.
Additional ideas may be obtained from the author's book.

3/8" medium density fiberboard (MDF) is the preferred construction material because
it remains flat and is easy to work. However, good quality plywood works fine if
it is not warped. Some 3/8" plywood has a slightly smaller actual thickness and
could cause problems with the parts fitting together as dimensioned. The parts are
glued together using a good quality carpenter's glue and nailed with #18 brads of
1-1/4" length. Pre-drilling holes for nails thru the first piece will assure that
the nails are aimed straight in.

A table saw, or perhaps a radial arm saw, is desirable for cutting out the major
shapes, and a band saw can be helpful too. However, a hand held electric saber
saw can be used for the entire job as well as for cutting out window and door
openings. For extra straight cuts a guide board may be clamped to the material
the appropriate distance away from the line to be cut.

Various options may exist on the plans. Any such options should be decided upon
before cutting out the parts. One option is the use of siding on the house.
Siding will add considerably to the appearance and will allow the use of most
standard window thicknesses. However, a simple painted surface without siding may
be adequate.


Note the plan and elevation views for determining which pieces fit together
against which edges, etc. Apply glue and then nail the pieces together as
indicated on the specific sheet supplied with each different set of Architect's
Choice plans. For most houses the following sequence is suggested:

Start with an end wall, front wall, and the first floor. Then attach first
floor interior partitions. Cut scrap pieces the height of the partitions and
use as temporary spacers on outside walls to help position the floors. Draw
ceiling lines with these spacers; and drill nail starter holes from the inside
out at 3/16" above the ceiling line. Glue on the second floor using the same
spacers to position the floor while nailing. Place the second floor interior
partitions, the third floor, and then the other end wall. Attach the roof and
any secondary roofs or dormers. If a base is used, it is made into a separate
assembly and then glued to the house, nailing where possible.


Siding comes in sheets 3" or 3-1/2" wide and several board heights and designs.
The usual clapboard siding has a 3/8" or 1/2" board height for houses in 1" scale.
The 3/8" height is equivalent to a full size 4-1/2" board, while the 1/2" height is
equivalent to a 6" board. Start at the bottom and work to the top of the house.
Quick Grab is the preferred adhesive. A combination glue technique uses carpenter's
glue around all the edges plus a zig-zag in the middle, but too much glue will
encourage warping; then add a drop of Zap-A-Gap about every two inches along all
edges. The siding is pressed in place until the Zap-A-Gap takes hold. The windows
and the outside corner trim will later cover the end edges of the siding. A corner
trim 3/8" x 3/8" or 1/2" x 1/2" can be used at outside corners. Where siding comes
together at an inside corner it should have a tight butted fit, or it may be butted
against a 1/8" x 1/8" square stripwood placed in the corner. Windows and trim are
painted before installing over painted siding.


Architect's Choice plans show an angled cut on the eave edges of angled roof pieces
to allow for a realistic vertical eave trim. (The eave is at the bottom of a roof,
and the gable is at the sloping ends.) We use a 1/8" x 3/4" eave trim and a 1/8"
x 5/8" gable trim. A thickness of 1/16" would be a more realistic board thickness
but would be more vulnerable to damage. We recommend the use of gutters on the eave
for a nice appearance. The open ends of the gutters should be filled with pieces
of wood for strength and appearance.

Several designs for ornamental peak trim are available. Decorative gable trim
boards might be desired, and brackets can add interest too.

Wood shingles are available in several different styles, either square or

patterned, such as fishscale, octagonal, and square/round.

Square shingles are easiest to apply. Shingle width may be varied just like
real shingles by breaking them into various widths. The random width adds
attractive variety and texture.

Decorative patterned shingles must be applied so that the joints in alternating

rows are well aligned to avoid a distortion of the overall pattern. The spacing
of rows must be especially consistent for the same reason. When using patterned
shingles a first row should be laid upside-down to provide a straight beginning
edge at the eave, and the first right-side-up row should be positioned close to
the bottom edge of the upside-down row.

The first row should be laid on top of a 1/16" thick stripwood spacer at the eave
edge, or else the eave trim board should be mounted so that its outer edge raises
the first row of shingles so that this row matches the angle of all the other rows.

Lines should be drawn on the roof surface for proper spacing of shingles. A
spacing of lines 1/2" apart gives an exposure equal to 6" on a real house,
which is quite normal. On most miniature houses wider spacings are commonly
used, but a spacing as wide as one inch should be avoided as unrealistic. Even
large split shingles on real houses rarely have an exposure of 12". The actual
spacing may be some unusual dimension in order to work out evenly at the ridge.
The last row of shingles at the top should be cut to length for a uniform
spacing of all rows. Shingle manufacturers say that one bag of 1000 shingles
will cover about four square feet using a spacing of 7/8", so a spacing of 1/2"
should cover almost 2-1/2 square feet per bag.

The ridge may be finished as it is on most real houses by running narrow

shingles sideways on each side of the length of the ridge. Unfortunately, the
extra thickness of miniature shingles tends to make the ridge shingles look
somewhat clumsy, even when a maximum spacing is used to minimize this effect.
Another approach is to simulate a metal ridge with 1/32" x 1/4" stripwood on
each side and a 1/8" dowel lengthwise on top, the assembly being painted a
desired metal color. Miniature Lumber Shoppe makes a 1/2" x 1/2" corner trim of
cedar for use as a ridge trim to match cedar shingles.

Valleys where two roofsintersect should be made to simulate a metal flashing.

To do this, lay the shingles nearly to the valley line, making crude angle cuts
as necessary and later making a knife cut using a straightedge. Leave an
unshingled space about 3/8" wide along each side of the valley and paint it
a desired metal color.

It is important to keep glue off any exposed portions of the shingles if the
finished roof is to be given a coloration treatment. Gray acrylic paint watered
down with about 3 parts water makes an excellent wash coat to give a realistic
and very attractive weathered look. The warm gray tint over the natural shingle
color also maximizes color compatibility with any wall colors selected.

Square or round porch posts are available in various shapes to suite individual
preference. The turned posts usually have square portions at the top and bottom
to allow clean attachment for spindle trim and/or brackets at the top and for
handrails with ballusters at the bottom. Handrail assemblies have bottom pieces
set about 3/8" off the floor to allow rain water to pass under. Porch posts at
the walls are usually cut in half lengthwise to make half posts.

Decorative brackets add greatly to the visual interest of porch posts at the top
or to the entire cornice area of the porch. A flat porch roof may have purely
decorative or protective railings on top. The area at the porch ceiling should
have adequate visual mass to give an appearance of being structurally sufficient.
Beams between posts are sometimes used to achieve this effect.

Latticework under the porch is commonly used for ventilation to avoid rot.
Sometimes the lattice extends continuously over the extent of the porch, or it
may be interrupted by stone or brick supports at post locations. The surface
behind the lattice should be painted flat black to simulate dark space.


The base is recessed slightly under the house to allow room for the addition of
stone or brick. Wood strips that simulate brick are available from Miniature
Lumber Shoppe. The wood is easy to cut and apply; then the bricks are painted
and accented with varying paint colors; finally, mortar is applied and then the
excess wiped off. Realistic wrap-around corners are easily made. This technique
is simple, and the results are excellent.


The chimney may be optional, but its addition adds a lot of character. Most
chimneys are made of brick, and brick affords opportunities for decorative effects
by recessing or protruding groups of bricks. The top of a chimney is an especially
favorite place to play around with interesting brick embellishments.


Semi-gloss latex paint is excellent for dollhouse walls and details. Appropriate
colors are available in products sold especially for dollhouses, or any paint store
can mix exactly the color you want. Acrylic paints such as Folk Art and Ceramcoat
are good for windows, doors, and accent trim.


Any decision to electrify should be made prior to finishing the interior, but the
house may be completely assembled before electrifying. See THE DOLLHOUSE BUILDER'S
HANDBOOK for the basics and techniques of electrifying.


We hope these finishing hints are helpful as you build and complete your doll-
house. We purposely avoided prescribing specific trim designs because each house
is a unique creation and can afford added value and enjoyment because of the
builder's individual design ideas.



Included with this set of dollhouse shell

plans is a four page leaflet with general
information on construction and finishing.
On the back side of this sheet is assembly
instructions that apply specifically to the
assembly of the shell for this set of plans.





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Before building this dollhouse, decide on the stairs and
windows to be used. The stair dimensions and openings are for
using Miniature Lumber Shoppe stair kits. If stairs other than
the Miniature Lumber Shoppe kits are planned, the floor opening
sizes may need to be revised. Also note that the stair leading
to the tower room is shown cut down in width in order to make
this small room larger in usable floor area, so the stair parts
will need to be cut accordingly. Additional stair newel posts
may be needed because the stairs are used in two sections with a
landing between.

The window opening dimensions are based on Miniature Lumber

Shoppe windows, using all four heights, and using a double 6"
window in the living room. If a different make of windows is
planned to be used, the sizes available may be more limited, and
the window openings may need to be revised. Also, decide whether
or not to use a third dormer window on the third floor as shown.

Use glue-and-nail construction. For assembly sequence, we

suggest starting with the ~~~~£ !~f~ and ~~~~£ f£~~~ walls. Look
at the plan view carefully to determine how the pieces lap each
other. Attach this assembly squarely to the f!£St flOO£· Then
add the !ef~ f£~~~ ~~!!L and then the !~f! ~~!!~ Next is the
~2~~!: ;:,!.ght, then the £.!.&!!~ !.!':.9.!!:~=..!.2~~!':.· Use any of the 9-3/8"
height partitions to place against the outside walls in order to
draw a ceiling line. Then drill nail starter holes from the
inside-out at 3/16" above the ceiling line. Attach the three
first floor partitions (kitc!!~:g~dini:ggL £in.!_:gg~.!_!yingL and
~!!!:.!.!!:&~en ~!:Y) .

Place nails in the starter holes; then apply glue and attach
the se~~nd f!~~~· using second floor partitions for temporary
height spacers on the first floor while nailing. Measure the
width of the kitchen and the living room at the ceiling, and
adjust the partitions if necessary; then place brads down thru
the floor into the partitions.

Attach the ~~~~§§~~ f~~!!!=~EE~~ wall, the ~~~~~~~~~!~ ~ ~~!!

wall, and the ~~~room/h~!! wall, toe nailing at the rear to the
floor. Do not permanently install the two ~~~h/g~.!_! walls until
wallpapering and interior finishing is done in the hall. Add the
;:!gg~ f£2!!:~=-~EE~~ wall and the ~!&!!~ ~~!.!.· Then attach the third
f.!_oo~, measuring an equal overhang at all walls.

Lap the .!_~f~ ~!_de ~22f over the .!_~f~ fr2!!~ ~2~f, and then glue
this assembly to the third floor and the tower wall. Repeat for
the ~!gg~ ~!~~ ~2~f and the ~!gh~ fr2!!~ r~2f· Attach the roof.
Add the ~9.~~!':. .!_~:g£ing~ and ~9.~~!: ~QE f.l29.!':.i then the tower roof
pieces and the ~2~er r22~ r~~!':. ~~.!_.!_. Glue the £2!':.~er §!~~ pieces
at the side of the openings and aligned with the top of the
openings, and then glue on the ~2r~~r r22f· Glue the three bay
walls to each other and to the right wall and floor. Glue on the
bay ceiling and then the three bay roof pieces. Assemble the
base and then glue and set the house on the base, nailing along
the rear and at the porch. this completes the shell.



CORRECTION: Change the quantity of 4" height window to 2, add 2
windows 3" height, and change the optional window to 3" height.

Note: These products are manufactured and/or sold by Miniature
Lumber Shoppe <MLS).

clapboard siding: 25 sheets 3" x 24" (22 sheets 3 1/2" x 24")

porch floor and roof trim: 2 pieces 1/8" x 3/4"

crown molding <small) #705: 9 pieces 24", at tops of roofs, porch

cornice, bay corni c e

crown molding <large) #706: 11 pieces 24", at lower portion of

roof cornices, corni c e at bottom of roofs

cornice back-up : 6 pieces 1/ 8" x 5/8": behind lower crown molding

at roof cornices

windows: per list on plans but as£~~~~£~~~ ~~~y~,MLS Victorian

style suggested

c orner trim: 8 pieces 1/2" x 1 / 2" (or 3 / 8" x 3/8") x 24"

trim under cornice brackets: 12 pieces 3/16" x 3/16" x 24", also

at back of "gutter" at bottom of roofs

bracket MLS #693: 28 pieces (10 pkg of 3) at cornice at top of

second floor

bracket MLS #692: 20 pie c es <10 pkg of 2) at tower cornice

bracket MLS #694: 12 pieces <4 pkg of 3) between porch posts and
at balcony archway

bracket MLS #685: 6 pieces (3 pkg of 2) projecting out at porch posts

bracket MLS #688: 2 pieces <1 pkg of 3), at balcony archway

porch floors: 28 pieces 1/16" x 3 / 8" x 24" <to be cut short

dimension of floor and overhanging first floor trim about
1/16", and cut short of edge of upper porch edge about 3/8"
to create shallow gutter)

porch posts: 5 pieces ( 4 posts plus 2 half posts cut verticaly)

half post bac k-up: 1 pie c e 1 / 16" x 1/2" x 24"

porch ballustrade top rail: 2 pieces 24": porch rail molding or

3 / 32" x 3 / 8" on top of 3/16" x 3/16" < or 1/4" x 1/4")

porch ballustrade bottom rail : 2 pieces 3/16" x 3 / 16"

1 / 4" X 1 / 4" )

porch railing ballusters: 69 pieces

porch upper spindle rails: 2 pieces 1/8" x 3/16"

porc h upper spindles: 39 pieces

base brick strips: 18 pie c es 24"

porc h lattice : 1 assembly 24" <or made from 1/32" x 1/8" stripwood
diagonals, each dire c tion, and 1 / 16" x 3/16" edge strips

shingles : pa c kages for 8 sq. ft., square-round shape suggested

stairs: 3 kits <MLS recommended)

II 689


FROM 1/4" BASSWOOD SHEET (simple dowels shown)



6 7
~iniature Lumber Shoppe basswood windows are non-working. Windows are
2~" wide (double is 5" wide). Both height and width require 1/16" EXTERIOR DOORS
larger opening. Depth is designed for 3/ti" wall plus siding. Comes WITH REAL GLASS
with interior trim. Same dimensions as
exterior doors, but
with real glass
panel. Any paint
is easily scraped
off . Interior trim


-r1195 $10.95 -r1196 S10.95 -*1197 $10.95

VICTORIAN \HNDOWS #1160 3" $5.00 #1161 4" $6.00 #1162 5" $7.00 INTERIOR DOORS
;r1163 6" $8.00 double: #1158 4" $11.00 #1164 5" $12.00 #1159 6" $13.00 Pre-hung door with trim for
both sides. Basswood, oak ,
walnut, or cherry.

#1194 $10.50
specify OA, WA, or CH '
#1193 $7.95

TRADITIONAL WINDOWS #1166 3" $5.00 #1167 4" $6.00 #1168 5" $7.00
jJ!linintun> a1~

'¢1169 6" $8.00 double: #1165 4" $11.00 #1170 5" $12.00 #1171 6" $13.00
Jl.umi.Jrr ··
~IJoppc ,
812 Main St., Grandview, MO 64030
(816) 761-3999


and doors are made in the sizes
used in Architect's Choice plans.
FEDERAL WINDOWS $7.00 The plans are also designed to
#1175 6" $8.00 #1178 6 11 $13.00 use the stair kit manufactured
These fine products may be
Door frame measures &tJ· ordered through your dealer or
3" x 7" and requires
1/16 11 larger opening. ~«.# ordered direct. When ordering
Interior trim supplied. ~ "Q._ , direct, a $3.50 handling charge
is required on orders of less
Depth is designed for ~r::s.0- ' than $25.
3/8" wall plus siding. ~~
(]> Prices are subject to change
without notice.

#1204 basswood $12.95
#1198 $10.49 #1199 $10.49 #1200 $10.49 #1202 walnut $24.95
#1203 cherry $24.95

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