What You Always Wanted To Know About Houseworks
Thus far I have discussed procedures that apply to the dollhouse industry in general.
This section deals specifically with Houseworks products. All numbers referenced
in this section are Houseworks product numbers.
Most dollhouses today are scaled to satisfy the most demanding miniature collector,
1" to 1' scale or 1/2" to 1' scale and fit precisely with Houseworks complete line
of dollhouse components.
Miniature hardware is the finishing touch for your dollhouse doors, windows, fences
and furniture. Houseworks hardware is made of gold plated brass in exact replicas
of many styles and period pieces.
Some of the special uses for the hardware are explained individually. For example,
there are various styles of hinges each having a specific purpose for your dollhouse.
The Butt Hinge and
"H" Hinge are best for attaching doors to frames when a pin hinge has not
been used. If the wood is thick enough, use
longer nails to hold the hinge, and apply as directed in this section. Also,
these hinges can be used for screen doors. The
"T" Hinge and "HL" Hinge
are normally used on gates to attach to fences as well as doors for log cabins and
rustic, primitive or colonial houses.
All Hardware should be applied with glue that adheres unlike objects together such
as metal to wood. The glue that I like to use us Bond 527 glue, which available
in a tube or dispenser. One reason for my preference is that it dries clear.
For hardware with nails and nail holes:
- Instead of pounding the nails
on the hardware, use a pushpin and punch a hole in the wood.
- Glue the hardware onto the
- Use needle nose pliers to hold
the nail, and push the nails through the hardware into the holes. This will glue
them in, since the glue will go into the holes.
To make a miniature awl to use for making holes for the nails:
- Cut a 1/8" to 3/8" dowel, 2"
to 3" long.
- Cut the head off of a dressmaker
- Using needle nose pliers, push
the flat cut off end of the pin into the center of one end of the dowel.
Several of the hardware pieces come with keyholes and keys. If you would like to
put the key in the lock, carve out a vertical hole in the wood under the keyhole,
deep enough to hold the key in place.
Should you want the key to be stationary in the lock and not stick out too far:
- Glue the plate and doorknob
onto the door over the hole.
- Cut the end off the key.
- Glue the key into the hole
behind the keyhole. You can make a tassel from embroidery floss for the key and
hang it on a nail inside the door or add the tassel to the stationary key.
4mm Long Nails may be used with
the hinges and doorknobs that do not come with nails. Use these nails for looks
only. Attach these nails following the directions outlined above. When you have
thicker wood and want a more permanent contact (such as hinges on a door), use the
6mm Long Pin Nails.
Many hardware pieces, like a DoorKnocker,
Furniture Caster or
Cabinet Pull, have small extensions on the back. In order to attach these
pieces, you need to make a hole in the wood, and glue both the extension and the
piece onto the wood, using Bond 527 glue.
A Bell Pull end is used as an
end (s) on miniature embroidered bell pulls. These should be sewn on. You may use
one at the top for a hanger and one at the bottom with a small bell, or attach a
tassel made out of embroidery floss.
Americana Lock is the type that
is used on most of the doors on the buildings at Williamsburg. Attach the small
piece on the frame and the larger piece on the door. These locks are used on both
exterior and interior doors.
"S" Hooks are used at the bottom
of the shutters, usually placed either near the outside edge or to the middle of
the shutter. Glue them onto the shutter with Bond 527 glue. Since shutters were
hinged to close across the windows to keep out cold and inclement weather, "S" Hooks
were designed to keep the shutters open during nice weather.
A double picture frame can be made from a
Square Hinge by gluing a picture on each side. If you want some dimension,
glue a gold jump ring over each picture. Then trim and glue to the square hinge.
This results in a round picture on each side.
The saloon Swinging Door is two
louvered doors set inside the door casting, which fits inside a standard doorframe.
The saloon door works very well between a kitchen and dining room and adds an authentic
touch to bars, saloons, taverns and bordellos.
Doors For Die-Cut Houses
Houseworks doors do not fit in die-cut houses because the frames extend too far
into the house. You can trim the inside extension of the frame to fit the measurements
needed and then reset the door or the door can be installed over the siding. If
you install the door over siding, you need to add a shim of 1/8" x 1/8" strip wood
around the interior frame on the back of the exterior trim by the door. This also
applies to the windows.
The Bay Window has small pieces
of cardboard that are glued on the inside top and bottom in order to hold the windows
in. When you remove these pieces of cardboard to paint, a residue of glue is left.
It is my belief that the manufacturer uses rubber cement to attach the cardboard.
The only way I have found to remove the residue is with a pencil eraser. Work from
right to left or left to right, going in one direction only. This will sort of roll
the glue residue up so that you may remove it.
The Houseworks pediments Federal Circle
, Federal Hooded and
Deerfield allow you to trim the top of a traditional window to match your
doors. It also enables you to trim the interior windows in the style of many houses
during the colonial era (such as the Williamsburg).
Window & Door Treatments
Lasertech is a Plexiglas insert manufacture for Houseworks, Ltd. to fit our most
popular windows and doors. The Lasertech Plexiglas either replaces or snaps over
existing panes. This is a wonderfully unique and inexpensive way to add elegant
style to your dollhouse.
Most of the Lasertech designs can be interchanged with the removable acrylic that
comes in some windows and doors. However, if a window is not removable, attach the
Lasertech window behind the acrylic pane with a dot of glue at both the top and
The lasertech door windows fit the
Victorian Oval Door and the Victorian
Glazed Door. Adding a stained glass window to these doors creates a great
look for an antique store, art, gallery, etc.
The side light lasertech windows fit behind the sidelight windows in the doors with
a touch of glue at the top and bottom.
These lasertech windows can be used as they are or you may frost, crystallize or
stain them. Use a matte finish acrylic spray for a frosted look and a semi-gloss
acrylic spray for a crystallized effect.
Converting the Victorian Style From the 3 in 1 Planbook
to a Back-Opening Dollhouse
To convert the front opening Victorian Style Dollhouse kit to a back-opening house
follow the suggestions outlined below:
Note: you can reverse the construction of the house.
- The basic front piece will
be cut in two pieces horizontally instead of vertically. This allows you to build
the floors as per directions.
- The first and second floor
pieces will have the 1 1/8" x 3/8" notches cut on the back instead of the front.
- Both the bay window section
and porch sections will be added after the two floors have been glued together.
- On the second floor, you may
want to put the interior partition for the bedroom and bathroom wall with the door
to the back of the house. Thus, the bathroom is placed in the front section of the
house with the opening to the back.
- You can leave out part seven
(the arch in the dining room), making the stairway visible from the back. This allows
you to put a closet, shelves or half bath under the stairway.
Note: the back of the house can be left open and trimmed out.
If you prefer a closed back on the dollhouse, you have two options:
- Construct the back in one piece
and hinge on one side or.
- Cut the back in two pieces
vertically along an interior wall line. Then hinge each piece to the respective
side of the house.
Note: If you are cutting windows and a door on the back, cut the back vertically
between the door and window. Then hinge each piece to the respective side of the
- The front roof will be cut
in one piece instead of two and glued in place. Then the dormers and dormer roof
can be added.
- For an open-back section of
the roof in an upside down "U" or arch shape to trim the back section. This piece
would be approximately 2 7/8" from the top for the center with side extensions approximately
2" to 2 1/2" wide. (Use the dimensions for #33 and add the side extensions to complete
the size for piece #32.)
- To close the back, cut #32
in two pieces. The top piece will be equal to the size of piece #33. Then hinge
The various size bookcases available can be used as book shelves for a library,
wall shelving for a store, as a room divider, etc.
To light the upper shelves to set off special objects:
- Drill a hole in the upper corners
of the back of the bookcase.
- Thread a
Grain of Wheat Bulb on White Wire or a
Bulb with Socket on Wire through the hole.
- Put a piece of tape over the
wire on the back to hold the light stationary.
- Plug into a wiring system or
direct wire to either tape or hard wire.
To achieve a different look for a gift or candy shop, glue small mirrors in the
back of the bookcase on each shelf. A more formal built-in look can be achieved
by trimming the top of the bookcases with
Crown Dentil Moulding.
An architectural design bookcase may be created by adding
Federal Hooded Pediment, Deerfield
Pediment or Federal Circle Pediment
to the top of the One Unit Bookcase
or the Three-Shelf Corner Cabinet.
One pediment can be added in the middle of the Three Unit Bookcases. For a design
or one pediment with fancy trim.
The Houseworks Handcrafted Books, 7/8"H
and 3/4"H, are packaged by the
dozen and are perfect for filling the bookcases. To have a best seller lying on
a table, chair or bed cut out book covers from advertisements in magazines and glue
on the font of Houseworks book.
All Houseworks fireplaces are made from a quality grade of wood that allows for
the application of a very nice stain. They may also be painted. There is a new marbleizing
kit now available on the market that can be used for miniatures. Small feathers
can be used for streaking as well as brushes, sponges, etc. to get the finish that
you want on your fireplace. You can also use this kit for a faux marble finish on
furniture, baseboards and trim.
The Houseworks 12 Volt Transformer
is protected with an automatic circuit breaker and has 1333 milleamps output. It
illuminates up to 26-50 m.a. bulbs or 10-65 m.a. bulbs. To determine the number
of light fixtures you need, count the number of bulbs and check the type of bulb
you will be using. Then add all of the m.a. together to get the total. Be sure to
include fireplaces, porch or coach lights and Christmas tree lights.
The Colonial Coach Lantern has
a replaceable screw base candle flame bulb. Use replaceable
candle flame bulbs. To change the bulb, unscrew the top of the brass lantern.
Because Houseworks Large Crown Moulding
and Small Crown Moulding are
angled on the back, they do not fit completely into the corner on the ceiling. This
allows hard wire to be run and hidden behind the moulding. The
Dentil Crown Moulding fits flush into the corner.
Houseworks Baseboard is grooved
on the back which allows hard wire to be run and hidden behind the baseboard.
To make your own string of Christmas tree lights for less money you may use a 1.5
Volt with 8" wires. Purchase 11 of the bulbs.
- On nine of the bulbs cut one
lead wire 1-1/2" long and leave the other lead long.
- Strip the ends of each lead
wire about 1/4" exposing bare copper wire.
- Wipe the surface clean.
- Take two bulbs. Twist one short
end of the exposed copper wire of the first bulb to the long end of the exposed
copper wire of the second bulb.
- Dip the resulting twisted end
of the copper wire into neck of tube of GE Silicone sealant to insulate the connection.
- Continue connecting the remaining
seven bulbs in the same manner.
- There will be two bulbs that
still have two long lead wires. Connect one long lead wire from one bulb to the
long wire on the second bulb. Then connect the long lead wire from the other bulb
to the short end of the first bulb.
- Dip in Silicone.
- Leave the string of bulbs for
the silicone to dry.
- After they have dried take
the two remaining long lead wires from both bulbs and attach to a
- These bulbs will draw approximately
six milleamps per bulb.
- This string can be attached
to your existing system.
H-Scale (1/2" to 1') Components
The H-scale components are a full line of the most popular styles of windows, doors,
stairs, dormers, accessories and hardware in 1/24th scale (1/2" to 1').
All of the instructions for applying, painting, staining etc. for the 1" scale can
be used for the H-scale.
1/2" Scale Hinge
Cut the points off of a Triangle Hinge
to make a 1/2" scale hinge. Use the small nails to secure as directed in
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