My First Kit Bash – Think it’s a Success So Far….

Easter weekend came and went. Granted, the Easter bunny didn’t come by and left me gifts of confectionery awesomeness. But at least BK and I got to spend Sunday with my family for some serious Pinoy-style celebrations: a kickass brunch of tasty proportions (cuz my parents roll like that), coupled with a health dose of chismis and kuwento (the Tagalog term for “gossip” and “stories” respectively).  Even though my family’s literally 45 minutes away, it is nice to hear BK say how much he enjoys seeing my family.  Then again, my mother did serve ham, and there’s no way my husband was going to turn down that porky goodness.

Along with stuffing our faces silly, I am pretty proud to report that I actually got back to building dollhouses again.  Okay, so I spent the last three weeks sanding and prepping the pieces. But when it came to actual construction (officially around April 1st), I was rather amazed at how quickly things came together.

So a bit of background is in order.  Remember how I got the Glencroft in December? Well, as excited as I was receiving it, there was also anxiety. Up until then, most of the dollhouses I’ve handled were either made of 3/8″ (or 10mm) thick wood or MDF.  The Glencroft is manufactured by Greenleaf/Corona Concepts dollhouses — and this company makes dollhouses using 1/8″ thick plywood instead.  Basically, this meant that the kit I attained was made of thinner stuff. And my friends will tell you, I’m not exactly a pro when it comes to handling delicate stuff.   😦

So rather than peeing in my pants and agonizing at the possibility of my destroying the Glencroft during construction, BK suggested that I do a test run on another Greenleaf kit. Something smaller, and something that won’t break the bank in case I screw it up.

The Primrose. Photo courtesy of Greenleaf Dollhouses.

Enter the Primrose.

Not only is it very affordable ($15/kit – bought two just for the heck of it), but the shape is pretty basic — a simple two story cottage with a roomy first floor and a workable second floor.  I thought it was cute and all, but then when I checked out Greenleaf’s forum gallery – I was utterly amazed at the creative ways the members modified their Primrose kits.  My favorite rendition was done by fellow Greenleaf forum member Minis on the Edge – just seeing the adjustments she made to make her kit look like a rustic two story cottage made me want to try my hand at it.

But as you all know, just because you see something you want to try — actually doing it is an altogether matter.  So before I could try my hand at it, decided to draft my gameplan.

Primrose - Construction001Since I bought two Primrose kits, I knew the challenge was to basically make the kit taller than the original design. The only way to do that was to basically add height to the front and side panels. The first floor was already designed to have 8″ ceiling height, but the second floor was roughly about….maybe 6-7 inches tall if you measure the gables.  But that’s not pretty realistic — in a real house, you want the pitched roof and gable to be way above your head. In this case, I had to figure out how to make the second floor be the same height as the first.

The good news was that the solution was simple — it basically consisted of taking the side panels on both kits, cutting them up and splicing them together to create taller panels.  I didn’t take photos of the actual process (since I was spending evenings cutting each panel apart with a craft knife), but hopefully this Illustrator diagram will help.

In short, I took the side panels from Kit A and cut off the gable parts (which left me with a rectangle each), while from Kit B, I cut off the top 35% of the panel.  But because the wood panels were 1/8″ thin, gluing the panels together didn’t guarantee that they pieces would be flush. So to make sure everything was square/level/flush, I glued the pieces on a 3mm thick sheet of cellfoam. After covering it with wax paper and stacking a ton of BK’s boring  dense hardcover books (thanks hun!) to flatten the merge panels, I cut out the new shape.  And voila, two new taller side panels.

Primrose - Construction009

The restructured Primrose with its new dormer, windows, and test door.

Once the sides were created, the rest of the construction was straightforward. Because the Primrose was a tab-and-slot assembly, it was a matter of making sure the pieces were sanded enough to fit at the necessary slots/tabs.

I also ended up cutting the original door and window openings to bigger sizes in order to use plastic windows I bought online. Unfortunately, these new components required a thicker insert — which was easily solved (yay!) by gluing a layer of cellfoam wherever it was needed. Probably a good thing in the long run — it basically made the overall structure more stable (and less likely to keel over).

Once I got the doors and windows done, decided to just go for broke and even cut an opening on the roof for a dormer.  At this point, the second floor was tall enough to be a room. So why not throw a dormer window for gusto you know?

By 9 pm April 1st, I was officially done with constructing the main shell of the house.  Again, I did spend the weeks prior to Easter weekend sanding each piece from both kits. But after doing the run, can definitely understand why my fellow Greenleaf forum compatriots enjoy building these kits. They are indeed flexible when it comes to customizing, and with the wood being thin, it was easy to widen or create new openings for doors and windows.

Overall, I’m liking it. But again, have to see how this turns out before I even begin to attempt the Glencroft.

See Primrose Gallery – Part I

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