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Painting dollhouse before assembly?

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#1 pumkinpie



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 04:49 PM

Hello again,

I want to paint my dollhouse before assembly. It is a Real Good Toys milled plywood dollhouse. I read somewhere that I should paint the milled plywood ASAP if not I might damage the surface. I also read that I need to paint a section of the plywood at one time then flip over and paint the same section on the other side in order to prevent warping and keep flipping and painting section by section. Has anyone done it this way? How long do you have to wait for the paint to dry before flipping over?

I will be using satin latex interior paint for the exterior of the dollhouse. For the interior I will use flat latex interior paint. Should I paint the exterior first with the flat latex paint to prime it? Is satin a good paint to use that would allow me to wipe off any dirt on the dollhouse in the future?

Thanks for your help,

#2 Corwin


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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:09 PM

I just asembeled my house and then painted it, but you could do it your method as well, just do light coats, and don't glob it on to thick.
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#3 Sherry



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:19 PM

I painted the exterior before I put it together. My exterior walls are mdf, though, with the milled siding. Three light coats after a sanding, then sand lightly between coats. I didn't do the backside, just waited and papered it when I was ready. That was 6 months ago and no problem so far.
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#4 havanaholly


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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:50 PM

I would prime with flat white interior latex. It doesn't matter whether you prime/ paint before or after the build, depending on what's inaccessible after it's built; I recommend doing a dry-fit with masking tape before actually gluing anything together, so you can identify any inaccessible places.
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#5 chesterfieldzoo



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:13 PM

You can paint before or after. I would do like Holly suggests and dry fit (tape) the house before gluing and see if it will be too hard to paint any areas after assembly - if so, paint those areas before you glue.
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#6 aurajane



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:33 PM

I would use acrylic paint, not latex. It covers a lot better, so you can do less coats, plus it is easier to clean up. I usually let it dry a few min before touching it. Real Good Toys houses are a lot thicker, and they don;t have as much issue with warping, especially if you are using acrylic paints. You can get these in the craft isle. I would paint first, it is a LOT easier. I did one house one way and one the other, and painting first makes a huge difference. Be careful not to get any paint on the areas where you will be applying any glue though. Otherwise it won't hold as well. Also, if you are planing on staining your floors first and are using a gloss varnish, the floors may not fit as well into the grooves. You will have to sand the edges before sliding them in place.

#7 Steve_in_PA


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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:38 PM

I find it easier to paint before I assemble the house. On my first houses I didn't prime them, but I'm finding that you get a better job if you do prime the wood. Also, after each or any sanding, I like to use tack cloth to get any fine dust off it.

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#8 Wolfie



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:36 PM

To prime or not to prime - that is the question....... Priming is an important step. It may or may not prevent warping, but what it really does is to prevent the acids inherent in the wood from leaching forth into your wallpapers later on and causing staining. But it's up to you personally what you want to do.

Personally - I prime! Inside. Then I make templates and create wallpaper walls......hiding the wiring and any other features I don't want to show...like the little smiley faces Doug puts on the interior walls...sigh.....

I don't prime the outside. I have other things I do to the outside..... Then I paint! If you want your trims stained however, do not prime the interior trims! You cannot put stain over paint - Oh you can, but what a dreadful mess! LOL

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#9 Gina2008



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:41 PM


It is a matter of choice.
I painted my first dollhouse (The Orchid) before assembly and it was a mission to glue it together.
The second one (The Victorian Cottage Jr. from RGT) I painted some upfront and some already when assembled.
I'm still figuring it out myself, but no doubt that the next one The Coventry I will paint after assembly I do not want to go to the frustration I went with The Orchid.
I hope I did not confused you more.
Good Luck!
Looking forward to see your project.

#10 justmesue



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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:56 AM

All my RGT's were painted after assembly with latex semi-gloss. You get a little shine and it is washable later, 'cause they sure do get dirty looking from dust and millions of finger prints!

#11 christinee



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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:01 AM

I like to prime the entire interior before assembly with kilz latex primer (though you can use any flat white or light colored paint). Then I prime the exterior after assembly. I find it's easier to assemble the outside without paint on it and it's eaiser to paint/prime the exterior after assembly since I don't have to deal with a million pieces. I've never had a problem with warping as long as the pieces lay flat while drying.

I swear by satin latex paint. It's easy cleanup with soap and water, yet very, very durable and excellent for removing dirt, fingerprints, even paint "oopsies" (before they dry of course). I figure if it 's good enough for my regular house, then it's excellent for my dollhouse. Yes, it's more expensive then acrylic paint but considering all the work I put into all the houses I build, I want them to last forever and be durable so the cost is worth it.


#12 mom of boys

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 11:27 AM

It is a matter of choice.

I prime and sand everything that is going to be painted or papered before I put it together.

I then paint after I put that section together. This allows me to fit and fill everything that needs it before I paint.

Like several others I use latex satin for my exteriors. It has enough shine to hide anything that is not perfect but so much shine that is highlights them and is very easy to work with and clean up.
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