Vickie's Vintage Boutique: Diorama

Vickie's Vintage has been such a key element in my doll stories, I finally decided to have Vickie's built semi-permanent, with folding walls and floors secured by removable screws. I can fold it and store away. 

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These are simple hinges on the outside of the walls. The screws were glued and went through the plywood, and the points were then ground off smooth on the other side.

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Vickie's fictional street is on the near northside of Chicago. The HFIM house is on the same block, as is Vickie's apartment.

Since in theory---Vickie's building is now owned by BMR Corporation, and has acquired historical status on the near north side of Chicago---and restrictions have been put in place. The building being remodeled is from the 1880's, so plans must
restore existing or once existing spaces or features within the building compatible with its origins.

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Way back in June Vickie and Richelle worked on the plans for Vickie's Vintage remodel. To keep the story accurate, I worked within the same sizes as the original foam board Vickie's. We just theoretically went through the ceiling, into the upstairs apartment space which wasn't being used.


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Richelle presented a cardboard mockup---of the opened up ceiling and new second floor loft bridal boutique.
All said and done planning wise--it was Okay...but then construction had to begin.


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The worst thing is stairs for any diorama. This is pretty much why most temporary dioramas are one level. Mattel solves the problem-most of the time with chintzy elevators. (Except for the Grand Hotel--a rehab future project).

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The stairway was constructed by Hubby...from a paper pattern was made to fit the space.
I'm blessed with a husband who can build anything. I can also---however, just walking in his workshop is a hazard. After 50 years of marriage, we have found we work well together, as long as we are in different spaces, LOL.

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Fitting the stair stringers and held up to the foldable plywood walls that have been sealed. You can see the slight gap in the corner, where the hinges are showing. 
This should disappear in the painting and papering.


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The 1/4" plywood walls were sealed with a sanding sealer, and easily accepted wallpaper applied with spray adhesive. This should be easily removed, if any other type of wall treatment is desired.


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Edges are trimmed with an Exacto knife---following the edges of the walls.


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Cutting carefully---the cut will be in the corner and hidden.


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Here are the walls. The second floor is not as deep as the first floor. Next was 3 layers of silver paint to the lower part of the walls.
The plan is to set back the top floor about 4" to allow light into the lower floor. Often 1880's stores' second floors had overlooks into the open spaces below. 
  The walls were painted with three coats of acrylic craft paint in silver and ready to assemble.
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The molding we used was scrap----from other projects. We decided to use wing nuts and small screws. The top screw one affixes the second floor walls to the molding. The molding was glued and nailed to the wood second floor. The bottom screw attaches the floor tightly to the bottom walls. 


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You can see the screws and the floor installed under the second floor walls. This will be painted out or trimmed, so you won't see it.

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Screwing (wing nut) the top of the stairs through the second floor had them floating above the landing. I loosened the wing nut a couple of turns and it dropped into place. I will use velcro to adhere the landing to the wall. (making it all removable)

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Everything is tightly assembled and the girls can't resist seeing if the old fixture will work---Hmmmm?


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Here we can see the silver stairs and walls installed and painted. Currently I'm using dull silver poster board on the floor. It really looks like concrete and photographs well, without shine or glare.

Vickie and Richelle review the materials still needed to be delivered and installed.

 Vickie: We need lighting, railings, clear glass railings for second floor, moldings and trims and the large mirror for the center of the second floor. Plus, all the clothes and fixtures ready. That's a lot of things we have to do---for next week's opening???
(to be continued) 

Tools needed.

Power saw or you could have these pieces cut at the lumberyard. 
Band saw for the stairs---you could do these with a hack saw, or a coping saw.
Miter box for cutting angles on moldings.
Hammer (small)
Drill for holes
Screwdriver for hinges and bolts.
Paint brush

Materials needed for this project so far:

1/4" plywood 2-14"x15", 2-15"x30", 2-15"x20"

1/2" plywood 14"x31" for second floor 
1/2" plywood 20"x31" for first floor

1/8" pine (3'x6"or so) for the stairway. We have a sheet of this always around for mini-projects.

Cut and assemble walls before cutting moldings to fit.
6 feet of 2" wide moldings for securing the base and second floor  
6 feet of 1" wide moldings for the base and the first floor.

Nails for moldings to floors.
8 hinges and screws
7 sets of screws and wing nuts for securing this together.

Wood glue (for moldings) and stair treads.
Wood putty--to fill in irregularities on stairs and elsewhere
Spray glue
Sanding sealer
Paint-silver/storebrand acrylic craft paint. (3 coats on everything)

13-12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper for walls.
2 placemats for the upstairs carpet
1 piece of poster board for first floor
Silver duct tape

(To be continued)
Another post will show railings/trims and finishing. 

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.

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