As a general note all of the window openings on this structure were made 2” high. This is probably a little larger than they should be scale wise, however any smaller and they would be too small for a hand to fit through. When assembled as a complete structure the windows will be the only access to the interior of the building so this is very important. The height of each story is 4” (standard GW) with the top one being slightly larger due to the aesthetics of window spacing.
The first step was to cut out the pieces. When making a project like this we find it essential to cut all of the similar pieces at the same time to ensure that they are all exactly alike. The majority of this project was made using ½” MDF with some hardboard and 4”PVC pipe. We had originally planned on using a larger size of PVC pipe but soon discovered that the price goes up exponentially with size and settled for a smaller diameter one.
If we had made this out of some other material like foamcore we would have cut the windows out of a solid piece. When working with wood however, it is easier and much more precise to assemble it from separate pieces. Since the straight cuts were all made on a table saw and the arcs were cut on a drill press, the process actually went fairly fast. The facade of the building was by far the easiest part of the project to make.
The actual assembly of the six individual building pieces was a much more time consuming process since it had to be done just a few pieces at a time. The outer walls are 15 degrees out of square, and required multiple compound cuts. None of the angled cuts are as accurate as we would have liked, however wood putty fixes all problems and looks the same when painted anyways!
The original plan for cutting out the corners was to use a drill press. Unfortunately we have a very small drill press, and this is a very big project! Consequently it didn’t fit under the drill press, and we were forced to drill half of it by hand. Even with the jig we made to help keep the drill straight, this turned into the hardest part of the project. We didn’t end up with the “snug fit” that we had envisioned and were forced to use considerably more wood putty than originally planned. Our point being that if you try something like this, then you don’t have to be perfect, just close enough for putty to work!
The holes for the PVC pipes ended up being just slightly crooked and required a little adjustment to get the pipes to sit properly. If you don’t have a hole saw and are working with a softer material like foam, then you can simply cut notches into the bottom edge of the PVC pipe and use it to cut the hole with. Making a jig to help keep everything steady and straight helps a lot, and we highly recommend doing it.
After a lot of putty work and sanding, the roof was ready to be installed. Every piece is a little different from the others, so this was the last step in the assembly process. Each roof piece was trued up to the ones next to it, and the seam-hiding trim was attached to the left side of each piece. The bottoms of each piece were then marked with a sequence number so that we didn’t have too hard a time assembling it again.
Once the basic structures were complete, we decided to try addIng architectural details. We used mailing labels, and some wood pieces that were purchased at the craft store for this. The ground floor of the building is only decorated with panel lines so that doors can be placed in many different places. We eventually plan on adding several styles and sizes of doors as well as a few other features to change the shape of the buildings.