Lisa's Cottage Construction Details

Lisa's Cottage Construction Details

by Fran Casselman

In addition to the tools and materials on the Lisa's Cottage Construction Materials List you will also need the following items:
  • a sharp pencil
  • masking tape or painters tape
  • a sharp craft knife and a cutting mat
  • a miter box and saw or a power miter saw
  • a manual jigsaw or a coping saw or a power scroll saw
  • a ruler that indicates 32nds of an inch
  • a power drill with a selection of drill bits
  • a roll of double-sided foam mounting tape or permanent-adhesive foam mounting squares
  • a small T-square*

* I used a 12” clear plastic T-square found in the art supplies section of a major chain craft store for less than $4.

Not required but very helpful: “guillotine”-type paper trimmer (from an office supply store or the scrapbooking section of craft store)

How Lisa’s Country Cottage became Fran’s Mountain Getaway

The kit suggested so many possibilities that it was difficult to choose which way to go. I decided on a look that would allow me to experiment with architectural details and try out some products I had never used before. Much credit goes to my husband, Bill, especially for patience, power-tool help and idea feedback.

The kit goes together very easily. Read the provided instructions and dry-fit all the pieces first to make sure you know how they work together and familiarize yourself with the order of construction. Masking tape, painters tape or an extra pair of hands can be helpful. Use a pencil and mark pieces where they intersect, if it is not obvious from the construction (for example, the top of the porch roof at the gable wall). Mark the wall panels on the interior and exterior where they slot into the floor. Write down measurements of areas that depend on an adjoining panel for their total length, such as the front and back walls.

Because I had planned so many changes to the look of the basic structure, I decided to do some assembly with screws for extra strength and so I could take the structure apart and work on flat pieces as needed. I used #4 flat-head brass wood screws and a 1/16” drill bit. In some cases, it was necessary to countersink the screw heads before final assembly by drilling a shallow entry hole with a drill bit the diameter of the screw head.

Generally speaking, the assembly and finishing steps involving the house roof were done last, with the following exceptions.

For one, I cut (but did not adhere) the ribbed roofing material to fit the back roof panel before any assembly. Happily, the dimension needed allowed the outside edges to fall in the flat area of the material and the pattern to be centered. This is important to the alignment of all the other roofing sections, and was easiest to do on a flat roof panel.

Also, because I wanted a more open look, I chose not to use the kit’s roof support pieces or loft floor.** During my dry fit, I marked where the interior ceiling/roof met the gable end wall at the peak. Next, I cut a length of 3/8” square wood to the interior length of the peak — creating a ridge beam — and attached it to the inside of the back roof panel with screws from the exterior (keeping it flush at the open end). The other roof panel was attached to the beam the same way, spacing the screws evenly for maximum strength. (These screws did not have to be countersunk because I knew the roofing material would conceal them.) To keep the roof in place, I drilled (1/16” bit) straight down through the roof panels into the walls near the corners of the house and pegged the roof in place with toothpicks shaved down to fit. This gave me a roof that I could remove and disassemble/reassemble as needed.

**To replace the provided solid-panel loft floor, I cut five pieces of 3/8” square wood 11½” long to create beams and spaced them evenly in the 3/8” grooves in the side walls of the kit. The beam at the open end of the cottage is secured with a screw at both ends; the other beams are screwed at the front/porch side (these must be countersunk) and glued at the back. The 1/8” x 3/8” strip wood is used to fill the grooves between the beams. (The interior wall covering was done on the flat, disassembled walls after the beams and filler strips had been fitted but before glueing, so there are no seam lines.)

Altered windows
The gable window cutouts came next. After disassembling the dry fit, I took the gable panel and drew a vertical line at the center (find the center at the bottom edge and connect it with the peak; use a T-square if you can). Everything else works off of this line, so be sure it is accurate. Then I took the larger square window, face down, centered it diagonally over the existing opening on the vertical line and traced around it. Next I took the smaller windows, face down and lined up with the larger window outline at the outside edge, and traced around them. Then, with the templates cut from the window packages, I marked the cutting lines evenly spaced inside the window tracings. I used a power scroll saw to cut the openings, but they could be cut with a manual coping saw as well. The existing opening makes it easy to start the cut. After all the cuts are made, slide the windows in place to check the fit and adjust as needed.

If the gaps remaining from the original opening will be a problem in your finished wall (as they were for me), you can face the entire triangle above the porch with a thin material such as poster board or sheet styrene and then cut out only the new openings from the inside. (In my case, I needed to face only two small areas between some of the battens.)

The smooth walls of the kit made it very easy to create the look of a board-and-batten exterior. This is really fairly simple, but does require a little measuring and a T-square is very helpful. Work from the bottom edge of the panel, but remember the battens will only go from the line where the panel slots into the floor, allowing for the thickness of flooring you plan to add on the porch, if any (1/16” in my case).

The battens are made from 1/8”-square strip wood and spacing between them is 13/16”, which is close to 10” in 1:12 scale. I did not want a center batten so, working from the center line, I measured 13/32” in each direction and drew another vertical line with the T-square. Mark another vertical line 1/8” away in whichever direction you are working (I work to the right first). After that it’s pretty easy (really). Place your ruler so that a full-inch indicator is at the last line you marked and make a mark 1/16” less than the next full inch to the right. Make another mark 1/8” less than that one. Move the ruler so that a full-inch indicator is at the last mark to the right, and repeat. When you’re ready to work in the other direction, place the ruler so that a full-inch indicator is at the left-most mark you made from the center line. Make a mark at 1/16” less than the next full inch to the left, another mark at 1/8” back from that one, and so on. Note: I find it easiest to first make all the small indicator marks before extending them using the T-square.

Mark the batten locations on all the wall panels, remembering that the center is at half of the total length of the assembled wall (noted earlier in the dry fit), not the length of the panel. Slip the windows and doors into place and trace around the casings. In my case, the battens did not have to be adjusted to accommodate the casings but every project will be a bit different. You can probably “cheat” the spacing of individual battens a little if needed to fit.

Battens can be glued in place if you like, but I prefer to use the Stick’m sheet adhesive because it’s clean, quick and very effective in almost any flat-to-flat application. With a sharp craft knife and metal ruler — or a paper trimmer if you have one — cut many strips a little less than 1/8” wide. They don’t have to be precise; your eye will quickly learn to see the right width. When you have plenty, begin applying them only where the battens will go in the lines drawn on the panels. (The front and side panel battens start on the floor line that allows for additional porch flooring material, if any, “break” at window/door casings, and go up to end at the groove for the porch ceiling. The gable-area battens start at the line where the porch roof meets the wall panel, break at the window casings and end at the top edge of the panel. The back-panel battens, the simplest and a good place to start, have no breaks and go the full height of the panel.) Peel away one side of the Stick’m, press it in place and trim the length with a craft knife. (Voice-of-Experience tip: put the peeled-off backing paper strips in the trash right away so you don’t confuse them with unused strips.) Use the rest of the strip to start the next line, and so on until all the batten lines have white adhesive stripes. (It’s fine to “piece” the strips to fill the batten line.) With a burnisher or brayer, or the back of a spoon, rub over all the strips to ensure a good bond, especially at the ends.

Put the windows and door in place for the next step.

The 1/8” square wood strips can be cut with a sharp craft knife or miter box and saw, but the Easy Cutter Ultimate worked best for me. This project uses only 45˚ and 90˚ cuts on square stock (which has no “right” side or “wrong” side) so it’s easier than it looks. Starting on the back panel, the battens are mitered to fit under the slope of the roof. Make a 45˚ cut at the end of a wood strip, fit it in place and mark the bottom end. Make that cut at 90˚. Note: all the battens on the back panel are the same, so you can make them all at one time. If one turns out a little shorter, align at the bottom. Save any small scraps to use in other places.

Working one at a time, peel the backing paper off the adhesive strip placed earlier (a sharp pin or knife tip can help get it started) and place the batten. Make sure it’s straight, then press firmly for a few seconds with the burnisher or spoon and move on to the next one. The front panel and the lower area of the side panel use only straight (90˚) cuts, so do those next. Work carefully, one piece at a time. Most battens on the gable area of the side panel are cut like the ones on the back panel (90˚ on one end, 45˚ on the other), so use the same technique: angle cut, position, mark, straight cut, stick in place. Above the windows, two parallel angle cuts are needed but it’s very easy to do. Make a 45˚ cut, hold the piece in position at the window casing and mark the other end against the edge of the panel. Then you know exactly where and which direction to make the cut. Battens complete.

Begin assembly
Remove the windows and door. At this point, with the panels flat, you can prime and paint the exterior walls and possibly do whatever interior finish you have planned. This is a good time to cut the interior trim for the windows and door (if it is not already provided) and to paint all the windows, the door and door frame, and all the trim. All four exterior corners of the house will be covered with ½” corner molding; the corners of the shed dormer will be covered with 3/8” corner molding. You will cut those to fit later, but you can prime and paint the uncut lengths now. (Plan-ahead tip: do not paint over the line that shows where the porch roof meets the body of the house, at least at the outside corners. You will need to see that mark when you cut the corner molding.) Paint the foundation (or apply whatever surface treatment you prefer) now as well.

Many surfaces will need two coats of paint. Allow to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

This is where my plan to assemble/disassemble came in handy. I wanted the walls in place while I was fitting the porch floor but not while I painted it. You can achieve this by fitting the walls into the floor groove but glueing only the vertical corners (at this time). Slide the loft floor into position (even if you don’t plan to use it, see** on p. 2). If you have clamps to hold the joints securely while the glue dries, use them. If not, here are a few good substitutes: gigantic rubber bands (use several if possible, extra hands will help), bungee cords, double-sided Velcro or cloth strips tied around the house. I would not use masking tape at this time if you have already painted the surfaces.

While the glue is drying, move on to the porch floor step. When the glue is fully dry, remove the assembled walls carefully from the floor. Paint the porch floor and step unit (may need two coats). Put the walls in place again, this time with glue in the floor groove. If possible, put a good amount of weight (Encyclopedias? Free weights? Tip: a gallon of water weighs eight pounds) on the loft floor to make a stronger glue bond.

When everything is dry and secure, cover all painted surfaces with one or two (per your personal preference) coats of gloss acrylic varnish.

Porch floor
My porch floor is made with craft sticks laid perpendicular to the walls of the cottage and overhanging the outside edge by 1/8”. I had help from my husband and a radial arm saw (mostly for time’s sake), but it can be done by hand with the miter box or Easy Cutter Ultimate. I also used the Corner Glueing Jig to keep everything square. It takes about 71 sticks plus 4 for the steps; the finished length for most is 4” but both curved ends must be cut off of all of them.

Here’s how to do what I did: Line up as many sticks as will fit in the glueing jig, about 10, I think. Cut a strip of Stick’m about 3/8” wide (does not have to be accurate) and adhere it across all the sticks about 3/4” or so away from the edge of the glueing jig. Put another strip of Stick’m about an inch away from the first one. (Leave the backing paper in place; you will remove it later to adhere the group of sticks to the kit’s floor.) Each side takes 31 sticks so make about six panels; use the saw to trim the curved ends off and shorten to 4”. Put a strip of Stick’m near the front edge of the kit’s porch floor and another one that will line up with the gap between the strips you used earlier to keep the sticks together. Starting at the inside corner, align a section so that the edge of a flooring strip continues the line of the adjoining wall on each side. Peel off the Stick’m backing paper and adhere the sections of flooring strips, working out from the corner. There should be a slight overhang on the short ends as well as the long sides, and the corner area should not have any flooring yet.

Note: you may have to trim the sticks at the door area so it will fit properly. Slide the door in place, mark where the threshold needs to fit and cut the ends of the sticks with a sharp craft knife (a chisel blade works very well here, if you have one). This is easier to do before the flooring panel is stuck in place.

The porch floor corner is made of individually-cut sticks, placed in a pattern that resembles a log cabin quilt. The first piece is the same length as all the others and it can go on either side. The next piece goes on the other side but is shortened by an amount equal to the width of the pieces. The third piece goes next to the first piece but is shorter by two widths, and so on. The last piece will be just a tiny square, and you may want to add a little white glue to secure it firmly. (This is much easier to do than it is to explain.)

Don’t forget the steps. On the lower step, two of the 4” sticks laid lengthwise give a slight overhang at the front edge. For the top step, put the step unit in place and mark where the porch floor overhang ends, then trim the width of one stick to allow for that, about 1/8”. Place the full-width stick at the front and the trimmed one behind. Glue the sticks in place, matching the overhang on the lower step.

The basic kit comes with five columns, but I chose to replace them with three larger columns and two short pillars I made from ¾”-square stock pine molding I had on hand from another project. Similar molding is readily available and priced by the foot in the trim moldings section at major home improvement centers, or is sold in three-foot lengths as square doweling. I used less than three feet in total.

The tops of the columns slot into notches cut into the porch ceiling, which are later concealed by the porch fascia trim. The notches for the three outside corner columns must be enlarged, but their position will change slightly as well, so plan to mark and cut those just before installation. The trim at the base of the columns and pillars is made from 1/8” x 3/8” strip wood, mitered with the Easy Cutter Ultimate. The top trim is 1/8” x 1/8” strip wood, also mitered. The base trim can be applied (glued) to the columns before installation, but the top trim should be placed after the columns and fascia are in place. The pillars are 1 ¼” tall and the top is surfaced with cardstock before painting. The columns sit on top of the porch flooring, so determine the precise length/height after your flooring is in place.

For greater stability, secure the columns in place — after painting — with screws into pilot holes drilled up through the base inside the foundation. The larger column size makes this possible, but it is still a good idea to use small, slender screws.

The finished Lisa’s Country Cottage looks great as it is, but I liked the idea of adding a dormer. The HBS Traditional Dormer (#7002) would work perfectly and be very simple to add, since the kit has a 45° roof pitch. However, I love the look of a shed dormer and, even though I knew creating it would be a challenge, I was determined to give it a try. Be warned, the process involved much discussion with — and valuable help from — my husband, as well as a trip back to high school geometry class and using a protractor. I’ll try and simplify what we did.

I’ll provide the measurements I used, however, the size of the dormer is determined by the size of the window you plan to use. You could use the square window that matches the one in the gable, since they come two in a package. The material you will use for the side walls and roof of the dormer can also affect the dimensions. Any thin (1/8” or so), rigid material will do. I used the base of a legal-size clipboard purchased at a dollar store. It is a thin (3 mm), Masonite™-type material (similar to MDF) that is easy to cut on a table saw and takes glue and paint well. Other possible materials include Masonite™, very thin plywood, double-thickness mat board, illustration board or book board, or Fome-Cor™ or Gatorfoam™ boards. The walls do not have to be of the same material as the roof, and keep in mind that the edges of the roof may show. You don’t need much; my clipboard provided enough material for the finished dormer side walls and roof, as well as some “experiments.”

Dormer layout and cutting
On the exterior side of the flat, front-roof panel, determine the center and draw a vertical line with the T-square. Draw horizontal lines 1½” down from the top edge, 2” up from the bottom edge and 5-3/8” up from the bottom edge. The front-facing wall of my dormer is 6-5/8” wide, so draw another vertical line 3-5/16 away from the center line on each side. Carefully cut the template from the window package and mark the center point of the long sides. Match those marks with the center line of the roof panel between the 2” mark and the 5-3/8” mark you drew earlier, and “eyeball” the top and bottom spacing. Tape the template in place if you like, and trace around it. Remove the template, and mark an X in what will be the window opening to indicate it is waste material. Mark another X in the space between the 1½” down-from-the-top line and the 5-3/8” up-from-the-bottom line. The “frame-shaped” remaining area will become the front wall of the dormer.

When using a scroll saw/jigsaw/coping saw — powered or manual — to make what’s called an inside cut (not connected to any outside edge) you have to drill a starter hole at least large enough for the end of the saw blade to pass through. Larger is better if the constraints of the project will allow it, and additional holes in tricky areas like corners are a good idea. I drilled ¼” diameter holes for the two lower corners in the roof area (outside the layout lines for the front dormer wall) because I knew they would be concealed by the roofing material. I drilled 1/4” holes in all four corners of the window opening and in the top inside corners of the waste area above the future wall panel. I drilled larger holes within the waste areas as well.

The order of the cuts is very important. You will need to disconnect/reconnect the saw blade at least three times and you will need a steady hand for these straight lines (surgical precision is not required but in general, the straighter the better).

First, cut out the window opening and test-fit the window, adjusting as needed. Second, cut the straight line at the bottom of the dormer wall (this one is the most critical for straightness). Next, clean away all the sawdust and apply a length of masking tape over the line you just cut. (This will act as a hinge and keep the pieces aligned until the side walls are glued in place.) After that, cut out the waste area above the dormer wall and, finally, make the straight cuts down each side. Use masking tape to keep the panel from moving while you assemble the roof.

Now, put the roof in place. It is possible to proceed with the roof permanently assembled and attached, but later steps will be easier if removal is still an option. If you replaced the loft floor with beams as I did, make a temporary floor by putting something thin and rigid across the beams in the dormer area.

As a construction aid, you will need something block-shaped with accurate 90˚ corners, sized about 3”-5” in two dimensions. The step unit from the kit will work, but something a little larger will be better. I used a short length of 2x4 lumber, sawn square on the table saw. I think you could use five or six rigid plastic CD cases, squared up and taped securely together. Whatever you use, I’ll refer to this tool as the block.

Take the masking tape off of the side cuts in the roof panel (but not the bottom cut) and slide the block in place near the middle to hold the wall in a vertical position. Tape it in place through the window opening and to the floor. Slip a piece of cardstock or lightweight cardboard in position at the top of the opening on one end wall. It should slide into the space left by the saw cut and extend past the outside surface of the wall. Trace along the roof line and the outside of the dormer wall. (You will be marking one line on each side of the cardboard.) Clearly mark the top points of both lines. With a craft knife and ruler (or a paper trimmer if you have one), cut the two lines you just marked and make a third cut to connect the top points. This is the template for the dormer wall. Leave the block in place for now.

Using your chosen material, cut two side walls according to the template. These lines need to be straight, so here’s where we pulled out the protractor to set the guide on the table saw. One angle will be 45˚, but the others are odd amounts. (Back to geometry class, they will add up to 180˚.) If your material can be cut with a knife and straightedge, you can skip class.

The long edges of the side walls are glued to the surface of the roof and the short dimensions are glued to the edges of the front dormer wall. Glue one side in place, using the block as a brace and masking tape to hold it while the glue dries. The topmost point should be on the line you drew at 1½” down from the top edge but it could end up a little off (keep the front wall vertical). Glue the second wall in place, making sure the top is at the same level and the front wall is vertical. If all is not perfect, remember that the outside corners will be covered by molding. Allow to dry completely. The dormer roof is a simple rectangle. I allowed for a 3/8” overhang on the front and sides so my finished size is 4¾” by 7-5/8”. I hinged it in place temporarily with masking tape at the top edge so I would have easier access to the inside for later steps and finishing.

I used the 3/8” corner molding to trim and reinforce the outside vertical corners of the dormer, but the same ½” size used on the main body of the house would be fine (see cutting tips below). I also used the corner molding on the inside, for reinforcement and to make a cleaner look where the dormer walls join the main roof (the long dimension of the triangle). Your choice of interior finish may help you decide whether to do this; it was a little tricky.

Paint the dormer walls the same color as the body of the house, and the roof edges and overhang the same color as the porch floor. (An if-I-had-had-time note: The dormer walls should have had battens.)

Corner molding
Use the Easy Cutter Ultimate to cut the corner molding. Hold the molding with the corner against the guide (closest to you) so that the blade cuts the vertical face first and then the horizontal one. The vertical face will always be cut at a right angle to the length of the molding — no matter what angle setting you choose. Use this fact to plan the cuts, and check for fit before moving on to the next one.

The outside corner under the porch roof is the easiest so start there. It is cut straight on both ends, to fit between the porch floor and ceiling. Slip a length of the molding in place, mark one edge where the porch ceiling will go, set the cutter at 90˚ and make the cut.

Another piece is needed above the porch roof. This one is very short, and has a 45˚ angle on the right side. Mark the length on the edge of the straight (left) side; don’t worry about the length of the angle side. (You may find it helpful to sketch a guideline on the inside of the molding in the general direction of the angle.) Set the cutter’s guide at the 45˚ indicator on the left side. Hold the molding in place and cut at the mark you made on the edge of the left side.

Next, cut the one for the left corner of the open side of the cottage. It is exactly like the one you just cut, only longer.

The last two for the main structure are also the same, except that one side is notched to allow for the porch roof. Cut the pieces, fit in place and mark where the notch needs to be cut out (remember the guide marks you made earlier?). Use the craft knife to make straight cuts across the grain of the wood and then with the grain at the inside corner. Check the fit and adjust as needed.

You can glue these pieces in place as you go or wait until the final finishing steps, as you prefer.

For the dormer, make a 45˚ cut and fit it in place at the bottom of the corner, against the main roofline. Mark the top cut from inside the dormer and use a setting on the cutter that is close to that mark (a small difference will not show). The dormer corners are mirror-image pieces, so reverse the cutter settings for the second one. You may not want to glue these in place until after you have fitted the roofing material.

Porch ceiling and roof
If you didn’t do it earlier, prime and paint the porch ceiling. (I’m from the South, so I chose light blue, which is traditional in this region.) Once again, I deviated a bit from the recommended method of construction but the only necessary adjustment is to accommodate the larger size of the porch columns. I fitted the porch ceiling panel in place (no glue), marked it for the columns, slipped it out and cut the larger notches. (Cut the columns to exact length if needed.) Now you can glue the porch ceiling panel in place, along with the columns. Clamp the joins if possible while the glue dries. One way is to tie strips of soft fabric around the ceiling panel and through the door and window openings to draw the panel snugly into the groove on both wall panels. Let dry.

The original notches for the unused porch columns will be visible now, but the porch fascia trim you add later will hide them.

Position the porch roof support wedges at the ends and center of the wall on both sides. Be sure all the wedges are right side up, with good contact at the walls and on top of the ceiling panel. Glue in place and clamp. (Wooden, spring-type clothespins worked well for me here.) The wedges at the outside ends will show so make sure they are flush. Let dry.

I did not glue the porch roof panels in place as my next step but, looking back, there is no reason not to. Attach the fascia trim pieces now (with glue or Stick’m), or do that as a last step.

If you plan to fix the main roof permanently in place, do it now.

I had not used this material before (#9671 Ribbed Roofing sheet), but I wanted the look of a standing-seam metal roof and this was a good choice. Two sheets were needed. It can be cut with scissors, but the best method is to score the panel firmly with a sharp craft knife and snap it on the score line. This works best for cuts parallel to the ribs, but will work across them as well. Trim carefully with sharp scissors or a sharp craft knife for small areas.

The finish you see is the material as it comes, but it can be painted if desired.

Start with the back roof panel. All of the other panels work off of the rib placement of this one. As noted above, I cut this panel of roofing material before any other assembly was done, and was able to center the pattern with an equal amount of flat area at the left and right edges. After the roof assembly was complete, I used strips of the Stick’m adhesive at the outside edges and in alternate flat areas of the roofing material to fasten it in place.

The front roof panel is actually four separate sections (plus the dormer roof section), carefully fitted around the dormer in a specific order to maintain the alignment of the ribs. The front is also about ½” longer than the back because the roofing overhangs the porch.

Working around the dormer roof (which is attached to the main roof with a masking-tape hinge) and starting at the left side, cut a panel that continues the rib line from the back, but is only one “flat area” wider than the unbroken roof area on that side of the dormer. Carefully trim away the material to create “notches” that allow the section to fit closely around the dormer/dormer roof and lie flat, extending slightly across the roof above and below the dormer. This is a trial-and-error process, and may take some time. When finished, use masking tape at the ridge and outside edge to hold it in place temporarily.

Next, cut the piece for the right side in the same way and tape it in place. The pieces will roughly resemble a pair of brackets, like this: [ ].

The panels above and below the dormer are fairly straightforward. Ideally, the flat areas at the sides of these panels will slightly overlap the main left and right side panels and you can disguise the joining seam at the edge of a rib. The bottom edge must have a smooth, continuous line.

The dormer roof panel is another simple rectangle. Align the ribs where the dormer roof joins the main roof. You can trim away the “bump” of the ribs with a craft knife for a better fit, if needed. I allowed for a 1/8” overhang at the front.

When all the pieces are trimmed and fitting properly, secure them in place with pieces of Stick’m adhesive on the flat panels of the roofing material, especially at the edges. (You do not need adhesive on every panel.)

Continue onto the porch roof, matching the rib alignment and adding the 1/8” overhang. The panel on the dormer/door side is 3¼” wide by about 16” long and is cut at 45˚ at the right edge. Fix it in place with the Stick’m.

Now, finally, you can cut the last piece of roofing because you know where to make the ribs meet at the outside corner of the porch roof. With the 1/8” overhang, this piece is 4-3/16” wide and has a 45˚ angle at the left edge. It may be necessary to trim some of the ribs to fit around the battens. Secure it in place with the adhesive.

The ridge caps are cut from roofing material sections with one rib and the flat area on both sides. The material will bend if handled properly. Cut the strips to length (mine was 12-5/8” for the main ridge and about 7” for the porch) and gently fold along the rib, gradually increasing pressure. Warming the material, possibly with a heating pad or in a container of hot water, helps but is not absolutely necessary (do not use the microwave or an iron). If you have time, use binder clips and clamp the folded pieces over the edge of a metal ruler for a while.

On the main roof, mark where the cap will go and trim/shave away the highest part of the ribs that will be beneath it, being careful not to damage the other areas. (A rasp would probably have worked well for this, but I didn’t have one available.) Put small pieces of the double-sided foam tape (or foam mounting squares) in the flat areas at the edges and some of the center panels. Secure the cap in place on the front side first, before moving to the back. For the porch, use the Easy Cutter Ultimate to cut a 45˚ angle at one end of the FOLDED roofing section, so that the flattened piece, if held vertically, has a V-shaped notch in the top (practice this with a piece of cardstock if you’re not sure, it’s tricky). Open the fold, put the piece in place on the porch roof and slide the notch up to the corner of the house. Mark the finished length at the edge of the overhang, fold the piece again and cut another 45˚ parallel to the first one, so that the flattened, vertical piece has a point at the bottom. If your piece turns out slightly too long, you can use it as is or trim it again. If your piece turns out slightly too short — like mine did — just position it flush at the outside edge; the inside corner is barely visible.

The shallow angle on the porch roof means that the ribs of the material don’t have to be trimmed before the ridge cap is adhered in place with the double-sided foam tape.

For a neater look at the bottom edge of the dormer, I cut one rib to length from some scrap roofing material and glued it in place.

The railings were something of an afterthought and are not really necessary, but they do give the eye a place to stop and help define the porch. They rest on top of the column-base trim and — purely by chance — join the house between the corner molding and a batten. Adjust your placement as necessary.

Measure the length between the column and the house at both ends of the porch and cut lengths of the #7011 Stair Railing (top and bottom sections). Mark the center point of all four pieces. The vertical components (balusters) are 2¼” lengths of the 1/8” strip wood (6 pieces) and the 3/8” strip wood (4 pieces), placed in a narrow-wide-narrow-wide-narrow pattern.

Make one section at a time, using the corner glueing jig to keep everything square. Put a top and bottom railing section in the jig and glue a narrow baluster at the center marks. Use masking tape to add a little tension and hold the pieces in place while the glue dries. When dry, evenly space the other wide and narrow balusters at each side (but away from the outside edges) and glue in place. Let dry, then make the other section. Prime, paint, varnish and glue in place.

Final details
If you haven’t already, attach the fascia trim, add the top column trim and put the windows and door in place.

For the door hardware, I used one #1114 Knob and Key Plate, painted silver and fastened on with double-sided foam tape (Tip: use a black marker to color the spot on the tape where the keyhole will be).

The furniture and plants I used to dress my porch are on the Lisa's Cottage Materials List.

That’s it from me; what’s inside is up to you. Happy Creatin’!

Fran Casselman
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