Thursday, March 8, 2012

Building the walls

Now that we've got the floor squared away, it's time to put the walls together.

The walls were pre-cut from foamcore, but they still weren't quite ready for assembly. For one thing, they were flat. In order to make them fit on the base, they needed to be bent. Foamcore doesn't really like to bend, so it needs a little help.

The answer is to v-e-r-y carefully score it with a sharp craft knife, resulting in a sort of hinge (miraculously, I managed not to cut all the way through the foamcore but if you do, there's no need to panic; you can always tape the pieces back together). I also cut window openings into both walls.

Once I scored the pieces, it was time to put them together. The larger wall went in back, and the "wings" bent forward so that the entire construct fits neatly on the base. There is a largish gap between the front and back walls, but only in the center; the side pieces fit together snugly. I taped the side pieces securely together with masking tape. You can't see it, but I stuffed a couple of pieces of styrofoam into the center section for stability's sake. And I dry-fit the adorable casement window (from Houseworks) for about the 50th time, just because.

The kit also came with a few patches of "brick", also made from spackle, that were intended to give the walls that "lived-in-but-not-necessarily-well-maintained" look. I'm planning to stucco the exterior wall and I want it to look like the stucco came off in a couple of places, exposing the brick. In order to do that, I could glue the patches of brick onto the walls and then cover them with a thick layer of stucco OR...

I could do what I did, which was trace around the patches of brick and using that sharp craft knife once again, cut around the outlines and peel away the paper. Then I carefully gouged out the foam to about half the depth of the wall and glued the bricks into the resulting holes. Voila!

Notice that I taped over the corners of the outside wall, where the "hinge" left gaps.

I gave the bricks the same treatment I gave the floor: I painted them (brick red, what else?), further tinted a few of the bricks with pastel chalk, and then slapped a coat of varnish on top. Once everything was nice and dry, I grouted it... but this time, I wasn't so careful cleaning up. This resulted in a pleasantly shabby-looking effect.

The last thing I needed to do was cover up the gaps between the center sections of the interior and exterior walls. I used oak tag (also known as "the stuff they make manila folders out of") to cover the top and to line the window openings. In order to make the oak tag bend cleanly, I had to score it. I know my limitations, so my handy-dandy sharp craft knife remained securely in its case because there was NO WAY that I wouldn't cut all the way through (oak tag may be thick, sturdy paper, but it's still just paper). Instead, I lightly went over it with my paper cutter, being careful not to exert any pressure. This gave it the light scoring I needed to give it a nice, sharp-edged bend. I also cut notches into the top so that the stiff oak tag would curve neatly over the tops of the walls.

And here's the finished product, complete with somewhat grungy-looking brickwork.

Next time, we'll finish up the walls.

1 comment:

1717mk said...

I like this piece of your house, it looks so good!