Sunday, 13 October 2013

Helen Hall

This weekend has been a typical dollhouse weather, and I started my renovation work on the Playmobil house which I have called Helen Hall, after the friend who gave me the ruins.

I wasn't at all sure what exactly I wanted to do, but I knew that painting the ceiling was imperative so that's where I started, dismantling the house and testing one floor/ceiling panel. While it was drying I painted the basement with sand paint to make it less plastic-y and more stony.

And suddenly the plastic wall became totally unbearable. I had thought that I might leave it as it was, since it is sort of right Victorian dirty yellow, but now I knew it wouldn't work. I had considered covering it with brick paper, but it has this nice surface, and I have another house with brick walls. So I put the ceilings aside and started mixing paint. I have in the past five years used the same can of all-purpose white paint, originally bought for some minor 1:1 decoration. I have occasionally mixed it with other paint, including gouache and acrylic. I tried to make an interesting blue colour, but it was too pale and dull. Then I tried bright red hobby paint, and it turned quite interesting.

I peeled off all exterior details and painted each panel separately. (Although here they are re-assembled again).

Then I painted all the cornices, door posts (three) and external windows (ten) white. It is quite clear that the old plastic has grown yellow so I will have to paint all windows and doors as well.

 I painted dormer windows.

All the time I discovered that I had missed a detail; that something I had painted red should be white or the other way round. There were two external windows missing from the kit. I had bought spares from ebay, but failed to notice that the frames were missing as well. There are lots of spares on ebay.

On the whole, I am really pleased with the result. I put the house together for the moment since I won't have time to work on it during the week, and it looks so fine. I will then have to dismantle it again to put in floors and wallpaper, paint the ceilings, skirting and cornices, and I am sure there will be interesting problems to solve.


  1. this is incredibly cool. Loving this project.

  2. What type of paint did you use on the roof and exterior of the home? Did you mix it with anything? Did you add finishing paint/spray?

  3. The roof is at it was originally, just plastic. For the walls, I used ordinary all-purpose white paint for indoor decoration, and I mixed it with a bright-red hobby paint until I had the result I was happy with. I had to use two to three coats. The white bits is the same plain white.

  4. Thank you so much! It is a gorgeous house!

  5. Also, did the paint take well to the plastic? I bought my girls the Calico Critters Manor for Christmas and I want to paint the exterior to look like lime washed brick (the house itself is in a tan bricked pattern, thought it would look nicer if it was an actual brick red not the generic plastic looking tan) so I was wondering if you sanded the plastic down first for the paint to stick? What brand did you use for the white interior paint?

  6. Nancy, it was just plain everyday paint, like you would use to paint walls in your kitchen. It stuck fine, two coats. I didn't sand it before. You may also want to see another project of mine, with a plastic house make-over