Dollhouse Laser Cut Fronts Done

The house fronts are done!  It felt great to move on from cardboard to wood assembly. I also managed to cut some window prototypes from cardboard too.   The material selection was a bit of an unexpected turn but I'm pleased with how these pieces came together.  Read on to learn how it all came together and what I've been up to these last couple of weeks!

My cardboard mock-up really did pay off.  It made it much easier to come up with the vector design and measurements.  I first drew the outlines of the windows and then worked on the wall fronts.  Above is a screenshot of all the fronts lined up together in Adobe Illustrator.  I used a larger laser (24"x18") to cut the wall fronts, which made cutting the big pieces possible.  The laser was a much more convenient method than cutting with a jigsaw.
(^Me comparing materials at home depot! haha!)
The material selection ended up being a crazy ride.  I looked at both plywood and MDF and in the end, I got both, planning to do a mix.  Plywood is definitely lighter, but in all honesty, not by too much.

Two weeks later on the day of laser cutting, I decided to bring only plywood, all cut exactly to size.  The tech happened to be there and warned me of the pitfalls of laser cutting plywood.  It burns.  So easily.  One test patch and I was packing up that idea.  (I didn't take a photo of the mess).  I'll stick with my MDF and basswood/balsa thanks.

Thankfully the library had MDF available to buy on site.
This is all to explain why these fronts are made of 3/16" MDF and not 1/4" plywood.  I was in a pinch and took what they had!  I will make the load bearing side walls out of thicker MDF to compensate.
In my process of making the window openings, I developed some preliminary window designs.  I cut them out of white cardboard.
I'm happy with the way they look and fit.
Having moved on from the design and mockup stage, I have to say I'm really looking forward to working steadily from week to week from now on.  I did take a break last week and enjoyed my time in Toronto with my sister.  I managed to walk over to the Little Dollhouse Company (despite the ice storm!) and got a few cute spring minis to create a small scene with.  It was really helpful to see all the dollhouses in the shop too!

Hope you are all having a great week! 



19 comments

  1. oh wow! what a fact-finding mission....
    laser cutting the window openings is a god-send because a jig-saw would have messed it all up. and now you even prepared the windows making a carboard templete!
    this is going to be perfect :-)
    I am looking foward to seeing how you progress from here...

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    1. Thanks Marion, I was going to just use a jigsaw to cut the openings but I'm glad I went for the laser! Whoo hooo so exciting to see it in wood! Hopefully I'll do the sides this weekend. I can't wait to have something actually standing.

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  2. Muy bonito el diseño de puertas y ventanas.

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    1. Gracias Isabel! Creo que la versión de cartón me ayudó mucho!

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  3. Those panels are so good! It is soooo cool to have the ability to dream it, draw it, then know it will come out perfect! I want a laser cutter!!!
    I love the cardboard frames and am going to do the same for the Storybook, only I have to employ the Cricut. There will be lots of patience required, many starts and fails, and a lot of wasted material. Did I mention how convenient a laser cutter would be? Lucky girl!
    Can't wait to see the next steps!

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    1. Thank you Jodi, it's been such a relief to get this cut out. Being stuck in the design stage for too long gets discouraging. I've never done something on this scale with the laser cutter so it is really neat :)

      You know... if you are making things on the circut it's super easy to send those files off to be laser cut. I usually do all my designs first on my Silhouette brand cutter before cutting with a laser. I waste so much less material. I'll send you a message with some ideas.

      Since I went away for the week I'm so behind on what every one has been up to! Looking forward to checking out your next build :)

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  4. I really like how it looks! The windows are gorgeous and the walls came out really great.

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    1. Thanks Sheila, I feel like it's looking a bit more traditional but I think once the design elements are added it should look a bit better. I do love the way the windows are looking so far :)

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  5. Your dollhouse is going to be Gorgeous Kristine! I love your doors and windows and the overall shape of the house you're installing them in.
    A Very Exciting bit of progress in this post and I have No Doubts that each stage moving forward, is going to be both interesting and informative! :D

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  6. A-Maz-ingggg!!! I wish I had the where-with-all to create files in whatever program it is you use and get all sorts of things laser cut! That fabulosity is beyond me I'm afraid. :D Those window are spectacular.. this is going to be sooo fun to follow along. :)

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    1. Laser cutting files are pretty easy to learn. It's basically drawing lines... 3D printing on the other hand... ;D

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  7. Hi Kristine! Your walls look so amazingly professional! I have no experience with laser cutting and would not have known there was a problem with cutting plywood! That is good to know!!! I think your house is going to look amazing with those windows you have planned too! I think the sturdier end walls is a good idea, along with sturdier floors as long as there is enough structural support for the floors you should be fine. Keep up the Great work! It is so exciting to watch your plans become real!!! :)

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    1. Thanks! You can definitely cut plywood with a laser cutter... it's just a lot more work to get it to cut without burning. A lot of trial and error and a whole lot of patience... I only have small amounts of time with the laser so I needed something that would cut easily! I think you are right about the studier walls though, these are too flimsy on their own. :)

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  8. Я чувствую себя маленькой криворукой девочкой! :) :) :) Я восхищаюсь вашим мастерством! Я люблю все детали.Они такие ровные , как крыло ласточки!
    Татьяна

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    1. Thank you Tatiana, I google translated this and I think I got most of what you were saying ;) Thanks for stoping by!

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  9. Hey, looking great! Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you (ha,haaaaa). Keep up the good work, can't wait to see the next step!

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