Last week I had got to the point of marking out my design on the foam board which shall form the four external walls. This weekend I began a series of experiments which shall culminate in the production of the first house and define how I shall build the remainder.
1. Cutting out the four walls
A series of simple, straight cuts released the walls from the foam board sheet and makes each much easier to handle. The key thing is to keep the knife blade at ninety degrees to the cutting board.
2. Doors and windows, part 1
Then I moved onto cutting out each marked door and window. I know that I could have just stuck frames to the outside of the foam board, but if I am going to use the insides of the building at any point having the openings cut through will help.
I had decided to have the ground floor walls made of rugged stone. I could have applied thin card pieces to the exterior of the foam board, but decided instead to try a technique I had seen online.
I stripped the thin card surface of the foam board to reveal the foam below. This was a little tricky at first until I discovered it was easier to cut (just) through the card in narrow strips then peel them back carefully.
With the foam exposed I then used a propelling pencil to mark out the stone pattern. This was actually quite fun as the pencil sank into the foam and created a clear pattern. I made sure there were broad stone lintels over doors and windows.
Note that I only stripped the outside card, leaving the inside to give the foam strength.
4. Doors and windows, part II
I cut some long strips of thin card 5mm wide then with a single cut and three score lines created an internal frame for each window and door hole. The trick here is to place the strip against each side of the frame and make the length between the score lines about 1mm less than the hole dimension.
Then I PVA’d the holes and gently unfolded the frame inside and pressed it into place. This may seem fiddly, but once again it gives a visible frame for the insides of the window and door holes.
Also, for the foam stonework sections, the internal frame gives you a solid structure to glue your shutters and doors to.
Once done, I added card shutters to each window. I scored light lines down the shutters to represent wood grain, and for some windows I cut a cross-shaped hole in the middle. This gives the inhabitants something to shoot out of and wards off vampires… possibly.
The front door I constructed from coffee-stirrer wood, with reinforcing strips on the back. The back door is card.
5. Timber framing
Finally I added thin strips of wood/card to represent the timber frame of the upper storeys.
The next step will be to paint the walls inside and out. It is my intention to have all the parts of the house complete and painted before assembly begins.
I also have internal walls and floors to do, the chimney and last, but by no means least, the shingled roof. This is a entire project unto itself and the one I shall tackle last.