Prototype Kit Test – Day Two

With the framework now built (and the floors installed – woohoo!), I immediately hit with my first wall regarding the prototype — figuring out the walls. I knew I could delay any calls about the exterior walls, but I knew I needed to finalize the interior before I could continue.

One of the beefs I have with miniatures — okay, mostly regarding building dollhouses — is the limited variety of wallpaper. If you’re doing a Victorian theme (mainsteam or steampunk), or country theme, there are plenty of 1:12th designs to choose.  That’s great and all — if you’re going for a period theme. And in period, I mean Victorian.*

*Note to Victorian miniature fans: I am not dissing this period or fans of it or anything. I like it and all, but not all of us mini fanatics are into that period. Just sayin’.

Never understood why it’s so difficult for manufacturers to, I dunno, make solid colored wallpaper. Or stripes. Or wallpapers you see people use today.  Alot of times, you either have to make do with painting the walls or utilizing cardstock to achieve a solid colored or modern printed walls. For something like this prototype, I probably could get away with that. But principle wise — that’s unacceptable if I plan to build more larger sized homes.

I guess BK noticed the annoyed/sour/murderous look on my face because he suggested the most brilliant thing:

“Why don’t you make the wallpaper instead? I mean, how hard can it be?”

Apparently, not too hard — assuming you got good cardstock, a printer, and Adobe Illustrator at your disposal. Oh yeah, and knowing websites offering tons of free vector seamless graphics if you’re not up to making the patterns yourself (guilty).

Three patterns....there can only be two I will use.

After digging through my bookmarks (and saved files — I saved a ton of patterns when I was making my wedding invitations and all), I found a couple of vector patterns that I liked. Using Adobe Illustrator, I had to tweak the colors and sizes before creating them as a pattern swatch. Since I wasn’t sure what I was planning to do with the kit, was hoping the wallpaper will give me some ideas to work with…

From there, it was just a matter of apply my new pattern swatch using the selection tool (see tutorial). It was pretty easy — so easy, that in a few minutes I had narrowed it down to three patterns that I printed out using leftover cardstock.  As you can see, I made a white and blue floral piece, a cream and rust floral piece, and a black-white geometric piece.

Once the sheets were printed, I started putting them up against the walls. The attic was pretty straight forward — the cream and rust paper made the most sense in terms of creating a rustic feel for that area. For the main room…I was actually stumped. The black and white screamed something very ultra modern and chic, while the blue and white called for something dainty. But rather than agonizing over it, I threw the decision over to BK. Without skipping a beat, he chose the blue pattern for the ground floor. Crisis averted!

Thanks to the small size (and only papering two walls per floor – yay, Monsieur M!), cutting the wallpaper to size was pretty easy. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I ended up not screwing/gluing the attic walls permanently since I needed to cover the walls somehow. Thank god for that last minute decision – don’t think I could install the paper if the walls were already up. Luckily, this went quickly for me – just used the wall and ceiling pieces to trace out the patterns I needed. The ground floor’s walls were even easier – a quick measure of the walls lead to me cutting out two rectangular sheets.

Once the papers were cut out, the challenge came in terms of what paste to use. Most miniature shops I frequented sell containers of wallpaper paste specifically for dollhouse scale wallpaper. Am sure most mini fans like them all…but somehow I can’t. I’ve bought them and used them in previous projects, and while they definitely do what they’re suppose to do. But I always find them to be too messy to use – either they slop all over the paper (so I have to buy more sheets), or on myself (not fun when you have to dish out your laundry card and wash your clothes at the communal laundry room).  Lately, I tend to use Yes! Paste  (the kind used for scrapbooking and basic crafts) because I like the jelly consistency – much easier to spread on delicate papers or onto the dollhouse walls.

But for this project, I ran out of that paste. Was pretty bummed by it, then I found in my wedding DIY craft book this unopened canister of bookbinding paste from the Paper Source. It’s basically watered down PVA glue (think of Elmer’s white glue but not syrupy). Was hesitant to try it at first, but then again, I was a bit lazy to drive out to Michaels to get more of my usual paste.

Verdict thus far? It’s actually not bad. It spreads fine on the paper (no dribbles) and when I applied a thin coat on the walls, it actually worked fine. But I think I’ll need to get a good bristle brush next time I use this — the sponge brushes soaked up the paste fine, but you need to apply a bit more pressure to squeeze the paste onto whatever medium you’re applying it on. Also, after you apply the paste on the walls and paper, you need to be precise when you place the paper on the wall – the two immediate stuck on contact. So there isn’t much flexibility if you need to wiggle the paper into place. It’s possible I just need to put a thicker layer of the paste on the walls….will try that next time and get back to you all on the results.

Day Two Prototype - Completed!

Like the previous day, this went by pretty quickly. For the attic, I installed the wallpaper to the side wall and ceiling, then installed the walls permanently to the structure a few hours later (worked on this early in the morning).  Once the attic walls were secured (hurrah for Quick Grip glue and clamps!), started wallpapering the ground floor. Because one of the walls has a window opening, I had to wait until later that evening to cut out the opening (best to wait until the paper is brittle dry before cutting out the openings).

Overall, not too bad – the walls and floors are now done. Now comes the next dilemma – what should I work on next? The exterior or work on the interior trim?

For more photos of Day Two, please visit this gallery

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