Construction Tips

Table of Contents

  Cutting Tips

  Cutting the Platform Steps

  Creating Background Scenes



Cutting Tips


When cutting wood there are several things you need to keep in mind:


  Keeping measurements accurate:  First … you need to work with a sharp pencil with a hard lead or your lines can be thick enough to throw your figures way off.


  Avoiding cut fingers:  Be sure you have a sharp blade on your craft knife.  You are less likely to cut yourself with a new sharp blade, since you do not need to apply so much pressure (I like the knives with the pop-off blades – when one gets dull, just snap it off and you have another sharp blade).


  Avoiding splits:  When you cut out a small area cut across the grain section first, and then with the grain – if you cut with the grain first the wood will split in that direction and you will have an incorrectly shaped piece.


  Cutting straight lines:  It can be tricky cutting the 1/16” wood straight, though it sounds simple enough.  If cutting with a knife, scribe the cut lightly the first time, then a bit deeper.  I usually make about three or four passes at it to avoid splitting the wood.


  Buy extra blades and wood:  I see people sometimes putting real brute strength into cutting a thin piece of wood.  Rather, put some pennies into a lot of nice new blades and, if necessary, extra wood – don’t ruin the project at the start with a crooked cut!  Take your time.  Don’t rush it!  The key is:  go easy and make several light strokes in the same spot.


  Rulers:  Though a cork-backed ruler does not slip, it is not recommended for this project because it raises the edge up off your wood.  Be sure to keep your blade even with the side of the ruler.  What I ended up doing was holding the plain metal ruler very firmly on the wood and making a scribe with the blade.  Repeat several times … then remove the ruler and finish the cut.  I realize this has been said before, but it is very important!


  Suggestion:  If you are unfamiliar with cutting wood, experiment a bit.  A strip of 3” wide 1/16” wood will do the project with wood to spare.


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Cutting The Platform Steps:


You will find that the easiest way to make the steps is by layering and cutting the outside pattern each time.


In other words:

  Cut the platform piece for the top step

  Then cut the same piece with the added area for the middle step

  Do the same for the bottom step


This method is much easier than trying to cut the steps and adding them to the platform piece.  See pattern in the blueprints page.



  Please, look at the details found in the Golden Christmas Book, if you have it.

  Also, look at The Art of Finishing A 144th Dollhouse Kit Like A Professional workbook, if you have it.



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Creating Background Scenes:


Reducing the Size of Artwork


   To create the scene I reduced two 8” x 10” calendar scenes to 12%.  I put one scene on the back wall and the complimentary scene on the sidewall.  Also a second identical scene that I “blended in with this one as it was a hair narrow … in other words, the side wall takes about 1 ˝ pictures.  As mine was trees with snow on them, I overlapped to where it looked OK and taped the two together.  Fitted for the length of space I had and removed the excess.


  Another technique for background scenes is to duplicate the scene in a desktop publishing program and “mirror” the image by “flipping” it.  This technique is also good for creating scenes that will go in a corner, with the place where both pictures meet placed right in the corner.


  Be sure to glue your scene AFTER you have constructed walls and platform and fitted them but BEFORE you glue them into the room!




The how-to tips that appear on this page were contributed by Artisans

Anita McNary-Haynes and Frances Armstrong




MSAT Micro Minis List


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Last revised: January 2002