Dollhouse 8 -Railings and Spindles, Oh My!

View of the middle of the dollhouse showing upper railings and spindles and lower level steps.

It’s been awhile. But now with our travel trailer all winterized and put away, it’s time to turn my attention to the dollhouse. In case you need to refresh where we are – or if you’ve never known, you can read the last post here.

Now that everyone is caught up, it’s time to address what I am calling the grand staircase. Many of the railings and spindles on the main floor steps had fallen off before I began the renovation. So to start, I removed any spindles that still remained and put them to the side.

In addition, the railings and spindles on the middle and upper section were also in disrepair. You can see from the feature photo none of the spindles remained on the right side of the upper hallway. This could be quite dangerous. So I removed all of the upper and middle landing railings and spindles, too. Time to start fresh.

Middle landing and upper stairs with no spindles.
View from the back of the dollhouse, through the arch window

I did not have enough of the original spindles to use on all the levels – upper, middle, and lower. So, I decided to use the original spindles, which were hand-notched by me 40 years ago, on the lower staircase. For the middle and upper sections I used wooden toothpicks and stained them dark brown.

I haven’t met a miniaturist yet who likes building the railings and spindles on a dollhouse’s staircase. It’s very tedious and tricky especially when the house is already built.

After much fiddlement (that means fiddling around), I managed to come up with a process that worked okay.

First I used my little hand drill to make a hole on the step where the spindle would be inserted.

Next I inserted the spindle. For the lower staircase, I would use a drop of super glue gel to secure the spindle in place. I could only do two at a time as my hand would invariably knock one over if I reached too far.

For the middle and upper sections, I could just push the stained toothpick into the hole, no glue needed.

Once all the spindles were in place in a section, I would glue a piece of stained trim along the top on one side of the spindles.

Once the first piece of trim on a set of spindles had dried, I glued a second piece of stained trim along the top of the other side, carefully aligning the top and bottom with the top and bottom of the first piece of trim. Once the second piece of trim had dried, I would use my little clippers to snip off any tops of the spindles that stuck out above the trim pieces. Then, if needed, I used the clippers to even out the trim pieces on the end.

Left side with trim glued on one side
Right side has second piece of trim glued

Lastly, I glued a piece of stained trim along the top. This really made the railing look finished. I also glued trim on any open end pieces to complete the finished section.

Looking in from the Back
Middle and Upper Levels
Looking in from the Front
Upper Level
Looking in from the Front
Lower Level

Working on the dollhouse’s railing and spindles, I had to be patient. I had to come up with creative solutions. And I had to accept that my work was not as perfect as I wanted it to be.

The next section I am going to tackle is the dollhouse’s kitchen. I will have to be patient. I will have to come up with creative solutions, and I sure as heck know, I will have to accept that my work will not be perfect. However, I am going to try my best. You know what would be perfect ? If you follow along.

Dollhouse kitchen
Ready for Reno

32 comments

  1. I am thrilled to see you working on the dollhouse again. It’s been a while. Though the railing may not be perfect, I think it looks great. Remember, you are your own worst critic.

    I have been labeled a perfectionist by my wife. I not sure if that is a compliment or a criticism. Psychologist tell us the pursuit of perfection is dangerous. But who listens to them, right?

    Great job! Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I try to remember to tell myself “Excellence, not perfection.” Also, if I stand further back, the dollhouse looks better. 🙂 The kitchen will be a challenge as well, and I have already started on it. Hope you have a wonderful day, too!

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  2. My goodness Betty! I’ve been following the dollhouse progress. These railings take the cake for fiddlesomeness (same family as fiddlement, I believe 😉). I admire your patience, tenacity, and resourcefulness in this project. I’d have tossed the whole thing out if even one spindle gave me grief. This renovation/restoration is possibly more intense than that of a full-sized house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, at least I don’t have to live in the dollhouse during the renovation! That would really be stressful. 🙂 I’ve thought about you when I take pictures of the dollhouse and its progress. I can’t seem to get the lighting right, as when I use enough light, I get shadows in the dollhouse. I also have trouble getting close up pictures of some things. Fortunately, Dan got a new phone, and it has a macro camera. I wanted to show pictures of the door knobs, but I couldn’t get close enough with my phone camera without it being blurry. So, I’m excited as I will probably use his phone for a number of macro pictures. I am learning and adjusting so much as I go.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here’s a tip for close up shots (actually for any shots) : Set your focus on the object you want to be your main focus by tapping and holding on your phone screen over the object. A little square will appear. Then take your shot. To adjust lighting, before taking the shot, set the focus and you should see a little slider bar next to the square. Put your finger on that and drag up or down to get the exposure you want. Then take the pic. Clear as mud? It takes a bit of practice but you’ll be amazed at the difference these 2 steps make in your photos 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You did a wonderful job on those railings. We would not want any miniature people to fall!! LOL. Funny on the close up photos without anything next to it for perspective, you cannot really tell they are dollhouse sized. I look forward to seeing progress on the kitchen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! You know, you make an excellent point. I need to do something to give some perspective of the dollhouse in the photos. The scale is 1:12, but no one can tell that from the pictures. I appreciate your comment as it helps me to improve. Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are so kind to say that. Blogging helps in a way. When I finish a certain part, I can write a post about it. And then you all cheer me on! Have a great day, my Canadian friend!

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  4. Oh my! This is coming along very nicely and I admire your patience with such tedious work. I’m sure the end result makes up for the tediousness, though! I sense that there is satisfaction with your dollhouse work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, I do enjoy it. It really makes me think as I have to solve “problems” – like how to do the railing and spindles. Right now, I’m working on the kitchen. There’s some great Youtube videos, but I have to watch them several times to “get it.” My brain doesn’t think in 3D! Plus, I have to figure out how to make it work for my dollhouse – which of course, isn’t exactly the same as what the person is doing on Youtube. Time goes by fast when I’m working on the dollhouse. Thanks for reading and your comment. Hope the rest of your week is great!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I must say Betty, you have way out done me. I have simply been assembling kits while you have been working from scratch. I am most impressed with your patience and your technique. I may have missed an earlier post but is this a doll house you built 40 years ago?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David! I appreciate your comments. Yes, this is a dollhouse I built with the help of a boyfriend about 42+ years ago. This is my 8th post on the progress. Here is the first post, in case you are interested: https://chambersontheroad.com/2020/05/11/dollhouse-fixer-upper-project-1/ The dollhouse did not fare very well through the years. I think my kids put hamsters and gerbils in it when I wasn’t around. 🙂 The dollhouse you assembled from a kit was phenomenal. And I know you made modifications along the way to improve the process and end result. I admire your work! Your dollhouse looks so professional. My dollhouse doesn’t even come close no matter how far back I stand. 🙂 However, I enjoy the creativity, and I like the challenge of trying to do it as cheaply as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are most kind with your words of praise for my dollhouses but I am still most impressed with your creativity and especially your ability to build one from scratch. You have a wonderful eye for how something as ordinary as a restaurant butter container can become a light fixture in miniature. Thanks, also for sending me the link to the original post. Now I will have to go back and read all of your progress updates.

        Liked by 2 people

          • You are so welcome, and you are very kind to go back and read all those posts! I have decided to take it up a notch when redoing the kitchen. So, it might be awhile before the next post on the dollhouse, but hopefully, it will be worth it. Thank you again for reading, liking and commenting!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! It’s a slow process, so it will be quite a while before it is all finished. However, I do post progress along the way. I am working on the kitchen now. Eventually, I hope to have a red Kitchen Aide mixer sitting on the counter. 🙂 Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband would love to construct a doll house for our grandchildren. How meticulous each piece must require to create one beautiful setting. Cannot wait to see the completed house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have started on the kitchen. However, I am going to try to make it as nice as I can. So, it will probably take me a while, especially with the holidays coming up. It’s kind of a life long hobby – in more ways than one! Thank you for reading and your comment.

      Like

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