Prepping the Prep Work
So, then it was a simple matter of painting one side, letting it dry, then doing the other side, then waiting some more for the paint to dry.
I’m learning there’s a lot of waiting for this project.
Eventually, the primer dried. Let’s just say I didn’t do a great job with the drips.
And, apparently, my door frame needs a shave. I have no idea how that happened. Oh, well. It’s nothing a little sanding can’t fix.
I sanded out the drips (and the hair) then got to work.
A side experiment
Before I got to the painting, though, I grabbed the gel stain. I figured it was a good chance to see what gel stain looked like on primer. In my opinion, not great.
Part of the problem is the color is too dark, and I’m not a fan. Before you ask why I bought a color I didn’t like, the answer is: it was on sale. And, if I’m going to experiment with this stuff, I’m going with the cheapest one.
The other thing I don’t like about it is that (and again, the picture is blurry, so, sorry), it shows how “awesome” a job I did priming. It really makes the flaws stand out. Admittedly I didn’t apply the gel stain evenly, but I think that even if I applied the gel stain evenly and perfectly, it would still highlight every flaw of my priming job.
Then I wondered what it would look like on unprimed wood (since you generally don’t prime wood before you stain it). Sorry the picture is blurry, but here it is:
I like the look but not the color. Again, though, it’s not very even, and you can see (even in the blurriness) that it’s sinking into some areas and not others. Gel wood stain is interesting, though, and I feel like it’s a great stain when you want something to look less than perfect. It’s a thought, and I think I have some gel wood stain experiments in my future.
Add Some Color
With the wood stain firmly in the “no” pile, I painted the fully primed door. I won’t bore you with the details. It was just like priming but with color! I feel like the paint wasn’t as drippy, though. Or, I did a better job of not overloading the brush. I’m not sure which answer is right, though.
Then, like the rest of his paint stuff, I let it dry.
And here’s what I ended up with:
Looks good, right? From a distance it’s beautiful. Up close though, it’s a different story:
Uneven, blotchy, and drips in places I was not expecting.
But, I’ve decided to stick with it right now. It’s a “weathered” look (because that’s what I’ve decided), and I do like the way the long stokes look. It’s not wood grain, but it’s like wood grain, so I’m sticking with it. Until I glue it in place, I can change my mind.
Reassemble the Door
Once I decided to stick with what I had, it was time to put the door back together. I know that sounds crazy since I probably have to do one more coat on the door. But, I didn’t want to risk losing the miniature nail. Plus, it’s easier to store the door in one piece instead of two pieces. The frame is surprisingly flimsy when the door isn’t in it. That’s not to say it’s crappy. It’s well built; it just feels very fragile without the door in place.
Up is down and down is up
The first thing I had to do was figure out which end was up. For some reason, I thought the door went this way:
But, I’m wrong, it goes this way:
I know this because I checked the instruction book. This seems backward to me. I guess I could change it, but I’m following the instructions for now.
Once I had that figured out, I lined up the bottom hinge with the bottom hole. That was easy enough. Just pop that in place.
But that top hole…
So, you have to put the door in place in the frame, line the holes up, then stick the nail into the top of the frame, pushing it all the way down into the door. Sounds easy, right?
Here’s the hole on the top of the door frame from a top-down view:
Tiny, right? I mean, I know we’re talking miniature dollhouses, but yeesh! And remember: this is a close up!
I tried lining it up and jamming the nail in, but nothing would happen. I could push the nail partway in, but then it would get stuck, telling me I didn’t have the holes lined up. Theoretically, I could have grabbed a hammer and forced it in, but that didn’t seem like a good idea.
It took a few tries for me to figure out my problem wasn’t the holes not lining up. It turns out, I wasn’t getting the nail all the way back in the hole!
I think I got paint in the hole without realizing it. Those drips filled in the hole on the inside side (the side of the frame where the door is). It was going to take more than me pushing gently on the nail to get it all the way through.
Instead, I relied on some help.
Yup. That’s the wood scrap I used in the first gel wood stain experiment. I used that as a hammer (because I figured a real hammer would destroy the frame instantly), and popped it through the hole (again, bad photo. I need a new camera).
Then I used my fingers to pull the tiny nail out a touch (it was still through the wood but not as much) then used that as a guide to find the hole in the door. This was my best idea yet!
Once I was sure the holes were lined up, I hammered the nail in gently, and then I had a door!
Here it is open.
And in the dollhouse.
The paint still needs work, but this crazy project of mine is starting to come together!
About That Door Swing
Yeah, it sticks a little. I think that’s a combination of painting the bottom hinge and not sanding off the paint drips on the bottom of the door. I’d post a video, but it’s hard to tell what’s happening. Just trust me, it’s sticking.
And, that’s that. Mostly. The door (along with most things) still needs touch up work. But this is starting to look like a real miniature dollhouse!
Up next, back to the floors. The balsa wood strips are not going to cut themselves no matter how much I keep wishing for that to happen.
What do you think? Any ideas on how to make painting and priming easier? Advice on how to not overload the paintbrush? Help this newbie out!