just got a dollhouse! NOW WHAT

First, congratulations on a great start for this wonderful hobby. Now that you have the house, what's next If you bought the house at Miniature Designs, you should have received our free First Time Homeowners folder. This is probably one of the best resources you'll find on building your dollhouse.

Here are a few tips from Ken, our master builder.

If you're building from a kit, make sure the house is square. You will have great difficulty finishing the interior if the side walls aren't parallel to each other and perpendicular to the front and back of the house. (That means everything should be at right angles to everything else exterior walls, floors, and interior walls.) Use glue and nails to build your house. Pre-drill for the nails especially if your house is MDF. Don't install the interior partitions yet, and don't install windows or stairs!

Once the house is built, prime it! This step should not be skipped. Prime inside and out, and don't forget the foundation (underneath the house). When it's time for wallpaper, flooring, and finishing the house, the primer will help all your coverings stick. We sell primer; you can also use Kilz or any commercial primer. Don't get sloppy with your primer; you will never get a good final coat of paint over messy primer. Oh don't worry about priming door or window openings, the top or bottom edges of your partitions, the doors and windows, or any exterior trim.

After the house is all assembled, the fun starts! Figure out what room is what, how big each room will be, and where the interior walls will go. If you are going to wire the house yourself, figure out the lighting plan and rout for your fixtures (Ken s wiring class makes it all very clear; check online or at the shop for the schedule!). Once the routing is done, a good vacuuming will be necessary, then it is time to install your partitions - again, using glue and nails. Ceiling finishing is next, followed by lighting, then interior finishing (in order: wall coverings, flooring, doors and door trim or door casing, baseboards, crown molding, and interior window trim).

Last, but not least, finish the outside! We always use 3 coats of paint for the exterior (after priming), with light sanding in between. Why do we work inside to out It keeps the exterior clean! We're always turning houses upside down and/or on their side to get inside! Painting the exterior "last" will keep in clean! If you bumped the siding or edges of the roof, they're easier to fix if you've not completed the exterior painting.

That should get you started; we're always here to answer your questions!