I read and re-read the instructions – some of it was quite amusing, because it was not originally created in English, I am guessing Spanish and the translation is more of an internet translation than one by an English speaker. Some of the lovely examples are:
- when the paste is dry well spend softly a metallic scourer and clean with a rag
- spend a thin sandpaper to all walls (and my personal favourite and the triumphant conclusion to the construction part of the instructions)
- Once given in his corresponding place two mansardas (I think this refers to the dormer windows, obviously no tranlsation available)… Our doll house is ready for the second phase, to electrify and to decorate making his fantasy free! (cue orchestra…)
Actually this is not too much of an issue, as it does not really detract from the readability of the instructions which is great.
The house is provided with interior papers for walls and floors I do think it’s a little light on if you do not intend to use the provided papers and also just a little vague about what to do if you want to electrify the house. But lighting is not part of the kit, so that is okay too.
My previous dollhouse dalliance was with Littletop Cottage a gumtree (Australia’s Craigslist I think?) buy from a porcelain doll collector with a lot of fancy antique dolls but a homemade by her son doll house. Even though I was not succesful in changing the doll house to something sufficiently exciting to maintain interest in or to keep, I did not actually have to build it. So this is the first build I am going to do.
I read some downloadable instructions from the real good toys website (I think I looked at the beach house bungalow instructions) to get a feel for what other builds included in their process. I also watched a couple of youtube videos from JoAnne’s Minis (there are several on construction in a series). I then supplemented these with the Artesania Latina Instructions. So I will walk you through the steps for this house (relatively simple compared to others I have seen).
How to Build your Artesania Latina Europa House
Step 1 – Unpack the kit and Check you have all the pieces. The Europa has an image of all the contained pieces on the back of the box, so this is a bit annoying if you wanted to check things as you go, since you need to unpack it all or accidentally open the box upside down to be able to do this first. The box does not list the 2 divider walls that separate the bottom floor’s rooms and the first floor of the house’s rooms from each other, so initially I thought these were not part of the build.
It also doesn’t tell you what the pieces are, but you can follow along generally using the images on the box as well as the instructions.
Step 2 – Step 2 is essentially the dry fit of the house. In a nutshell this is where you identify all of the pieces and do a fake build using some sort of tape to keep the house together. I optimistically attempted this on day 1, without being able to find any of my many rolls of masking or painters tape on hand. After a few loud crashes and bangs I got dejected and stormed off. Usually this would be the end for me ha ha… but I discovered a roll of painters tape a couple of days later (inside another unsuitable tape) and thought I would try again. This time with only a few minor hiccups I managed to stick everything together and make it look like a house.
The house is essentially only made up of 10 pieces, all the other pieces in the kit are for fitting out the windows, the dormers and the front facade of the house. In the pictures of the house, all the accessories appear to be plastic, I was happy to find wooden stairs, and wooden ballustrades for the porch steps. There are no ballustrades included for the interior stairs.
The base contains a slot for the rear wall of the house. The two sides are recessed at the bottom to fit snugly over the base and have a channel down the back inside of the piece that is where the rear wall of the house attaches to the sides. The first and second floor have channels in them too, this is where the divider walls fit. The roof pieces also fit snugly if you pay attention to the notching and angled cuts on the wood. What I initially assumed was one of a mis-matched pair of the base of the ballustrades inside the house, is actually a chimney (so if you are left with that piece in your hand wondering what it is… it’s a chimney!).
Here is QBerry she was meant to live in Littletop, but has had some make shift homes since then. She is eagerly awaiting (always the optimist!) this home but has yet to name it for fear of jinxing everything.
All of the windows are plastic and acetate is not included for the windows. The two smaller panels with big holes in them are extra panels to add to the front of the house for more dimension. Once you arrange all the windows and accesories there are two long rectangular pieces left, they attach one on each side of the porch step at the bottom of the front, as the front facade of the house seems to be about 1/2 an inch short and these two pieces will fill the gap.
I also have a small piece of dowel about 20cm long in my kit. I have no idea what that is for.
Step 3. Mark your Pieces – Once the house is put together, you need to mark (in pencil) – as per the JoAnne’s minis video, pen will leach through your paint work – where all the pieces meet other pieces. So that you know what you need to paint or paper what colours. You do pretty much all of the painting and papering before you get to finally construct the house.
I did this for the back and side walls and I also labelled things left and right (for the dormers) just in case there are slight differences and I would then know that this is how it fit together on day one. From reading the real good toys guide, the reason you do all this marking is that some kits are so finely fit together that even a few extra coats of paint will stop the house from fitting together as anticipated due to adding fractions of mm to the width of pieces.
Step 4 – Sand down the house pieces to get rid of any bumpy bits or irregularities in the wood. (I did not do this and thought all the pieces looked pretty smooth to me, but I got proved wrong when I painted the ceilings.)
Step 5 – Prime all pieces that are not going to be papered. I did not use the included Artesania Latina Papers in my build but was still planning on papering most of the house. Instead of doing the pop stick floor I attemped in Littletop, I had pre-purchased probably about the same time I bought the house – some scrapbook paper with white washed wood floors on one side and I also bought some with just a light pine grain on it. They are both slightly too big a scale for the house, but I am not overly concerned about this for this house. I set myself up for failure last time by taking on too much and expecting even more of myself. I am going to try to not do that this time and finishing the project is the goal I am too be mindful of the shortfalls and fall right along with them.
QBerry shows what I used to prime the house and I purchased as it clearly states that it is appropriate for both wood and plastic and I want to repaint some of the plastic parts. I’m thinking I want a white house with powder blue trim and a grey-ish roof but have not decided if I am going to paint all the window frames blue or maybe just the awnings? I am not even sure if you still call them awnings or if awnings only refer to the textile versions of the window ‘shades’.
This is Rust-Oleum 2 X Ultra Cover in flat white. I purchased it from Bunnings and was quite happy with it until I ran out of it without being able to prime all I needed too. Hubby has restocked me with 2 more cans and I grabbed an interim can (not sure if I could have used it on plastic or not) of just a flat white enamel from another hardware store. One can was nearly enough – I may have been a bit heavy handed on a couple of larger pieces than was required. It can also be used as a top coat so I may use it if I decide I need another coat on the exterior, but that is part of another post.
The surfaces that you need to think about priming are at a minimum – Roof pieces (including inside and outside of the dormers) if you are going to paint the roof (I will be tiling mine). The ceilings (so under sides of floor 1 and floor 2). The back and exterior of the sides of the house. The front facade and all the bits that attach to it. The inside stairs. You do not need to prime the plastic windows if you are going to leave them white.
I also decided I wanted the front door to open the other way… I thought it was ‘wrong’ but later realised our front door is just as wrong (ha ha – we have been living here since February!). Anyway having the door open from the right feels better. It is only a matter of pulling the door out of the plastic holes in the door frame and replacing it the other way, but the door was made to open from the left so there are some tooling marks from where the door was attached to whatever plastic it is manuactured from on that side. Probably a sign I want to paint the door blue? but I was leaning toward just doing the wooden trim and the awnings… oh well, what did I say about shortfalls… I’m riding them through right?
What do you think? Should the door be blue? I guess I can repaint it white too…
We are at the end of day 3 here ( I will continue in another post)
Where ever you are!