dollhouse (2) electric (1) light (1) round (1) shell (1) twin (1) wire (1) wiring (1)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dollhouse - Twin Wire - Wiring a Ceiling Light

Let there be light. Well the next step for me was to put in the lighting. It seemed a little overwhelming at first, but once I got started it was pretty simple. Remember that every floor will be covered with something so it's easy to hide the wires for the ceiling in the room above its floor. So my advice would be at a minimum put a ceiling light in every room.

There are 2 different ways to go here.
  • Copper Tape Wire Method
  • Twin Wire Method
I think the more popular way to go is the copper tape, but I went with the twin wire. It just seemed more straight forward to me. I have messed with electric in a regular house before and the twin wire seemed more similar to the real thing and I figured I may have an easier time with it.
So here are the steps I used.

0. Make sure the ceiling is painted / papered / or finished. Also, make sure you test each light before you start messing with it.

1. Measure out the room on the bottom and find the center, then transfer it to the floor of the room above.

2. Drill a hole, I used a Trim Nail, since I didn't have anything that small to drill with. It worked fine.

3. I ran all the wires straight back so use a square or a ruler to draw a lines on either side of the nail.

4. Use a Metal Ruler and an Razor blade to score the 2 lines. Then start angling the cuts on a v pattern to form a v channel from the nail to the edge of the floor.

5. Finally, use some sand paper, the nail, or a file to clean out the groove.

6. I needed to use a needle nose pliers grib and twist the plugs one at a time.

7. Once they are both removed push the wire from the back, straighten out the wire and the pull the plug off the end.

8. Straighten out the wire all the way from the fixture to the end. Then feed the wire through the ceiling.

9. The fixture had an adhesive sticky on it, but take my advice use a little tacky glue. The first one fell down under it's own weight in a hour or so.

10. The hold the fixture up for a minute or so.
11. Tuck the wire down in the V channel and eyeball it to make sure it does not stick up past the floor.
12. Use a piece of masking tape to cover the wire. I tried to get this nice and smooth with no lumps or bubbles.
13. Finally, stick the wires back in the opposite way they came out. I used a needle nose again to push them back in. Then run the wire along the outside edge of the walls down to the electric box.

If the light doesn't work, take out the plugs and strip the wire a little on the end by pinching it with your nails and pulling off. Re-assemble the plug and test. If you tested the light before you installed this is really the only point of failure.

Later I want to put individual switches for each room on a panel at the bottom of the doll house, which I will show up here. If anyone has any advice on how to pull that off let me know. Also, I still need to figure a permanent way to keep all the wires. And as far as the roof goes, it has a flat roof and I am not sure what you are supposed to do with that so I am not sure how to pull that off. Once I figure it out I will post it back up here.

1 - Transformer - $25
1 - Electric Kit - $25
10 - Light Fixtures - $12 each - $120 bucks
1 - Tacky Glue - $2
1 - Masking Tape - $1

Running Total: 220 ish.

Again, make sure the lights work before you get started. Also finish the ceiling before you get started. Lastly it is expensive, but the lights are soo worth it. They bring the whole thing to life and the kids think it's the coolest thing.
I put a ceiling light in almost every room. I will post it all lit up soon.

Oh and finally the finished product:

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Dollhouse

Well I have decided to start posting on this thing finally after years of thinking about it. Anyway I am not sure what it will turn into or if anyone will ever read it but here it goes. The reason I think I want to post is that I am constantly trying my new 'hobby of the week' and wind up learning a lot about a bunch of different things that I felt like it would be useful to leave around for someone else.

So on of the projects I have going right now is a doll house and I want to kind of document the process I used. I am by no means a expert I am basically learning as I go.

So here is the dollhouse I am building:

It called the Architect's Choice Design Number 3.

I have been looking online to see one of these things completed or see anyone else building it and I haven't found anything. If anyone knows of one please let me know.

The story behind this doll house is interesting. My wife and I where in our teens back in 1991 when we bought this kit (for 8 dollars). We had enough money to pay for the wood and that was about it. So we built most of the shell and it sat in her fathers shop for about 7 years. Then after we where married and living in our own house he "asked" if we wanted it, so we took it and stuck it in our basement for another 10 years. Now we have 2 girls 5 and 7 and decided this Christmas 2009 to take it out and finish it.

Here is a view from the back.

As you can see I still have not finished the tower.

1 - Plans - 8 dollars.
2 - 4 x 8 - 3/8 inch Plywood. - 40 bucks - I forget?
1 - Wood Glue - 2 bucks
1 - Pack 1 inch Brads, maybe 3 bucks.
Running Total: 45 ish.

1. Make sure you keep a cut list and check it off as you go.
2. Cut all your pieces (God please use a table saw. This way you can get all the rooms exactly the same height)
3. The plans will say to figure out your window sizes first. (I didn't and had no trouble cutting the windows/doors bigger after construction.

The one word of advice I would give at this point is to paint at least a primer and definitely do the ceiling paint color before assembling. I didn't and the fifth or sixth time I smashed my head I really wished I did.