Saturday, 27 February 2010

First Steps - Jan - Feb 2009

After the excitement of opening the boxes on xmas morning and checking everything was there, the first step was to do a dry build.
This means assembling the house without gluing and in my case requiring an extra set of hands and some masking tape!

This photo shows the house without the roof and chimneys.

I then sized the MDF to make it less absorbant.  You can buy MDF primer but I used the cheap option which is 50:50 PVA glue:water.

I had got a few presents for my dolls house for xmas which included a large stencil for the brickwork and brick compound from Bromley Craft Products.
My research had indicated that Flemish Bond brickwork was prevalent in the Georgian period so I had chosen that for my stencil.  After having a practice I did the back of the house early on as I knew it wouldn't matter too much if I messed it up!
It's a great product - you get a bag of brick compound which is like a fine sand and I chose a red brick colour though you can have a few variations.
You then mix it up with a little water to make a paste which you spread over the stencil.

For those interested in trying this out I learnt a few useful tips.....

1) Get the large stencil if you can - covers surfaces much quicker!
2) Get a good spray adhesive to stick the stencil down with - I used a Bostic spray though there are a few available.  If it's not stuck well the compound can bleed under the edges.  Re-spray before each application.
3) Getting the right consistency requires a few attempts - if it's a bit thick you end up with a very thick layer over your stencil which is difficult to spread and you have a lot of sanding to do afterwards.
4) Use a pallet knife with a reasonable sized head - it makes spreading the compound much easier.
5) You have to wash the stencil after each application - it's a bit messy and leaves sand / brick particles round the plughole.  Maybe a bucket would be better..... hmmm...
6) You needs lots of paper towels to dry the stencil!
7) Let the compound dry for a while before doing the next section - it makes it easier to match up the brickwork if it's not still wet.
8) Try and get a thin, even coating over the stencil - it requires much less sanding afterwards - something for me to remember for my next lot of brickwork!
9) (note to self)  Try not to drop the compound on your wood before laying the stencil......
10) You may have to tidy up a few edges - it scrapes away very easily to get the grout revealed.

This is how it turned out - it's still drying at this stage hence the different colour depths. 

A close up of the sanded brickwork a few days later.  Looks pretty good.

I used a light grey paint for the grout colour - you can get sample pots from your local DIY store very cheaply and emulsion works great.