A dollhouse is primarily an inside toy and therefore rarely exposed to the elements. Applying a thatched roof to a dollhouse, therefore, is more about appearance than it is about functionality and durability. A realistic look can be achieved using almost any fibrous, 12-inch-long material, such as fake fur, straw or coconut fibre, which is also known as coir. A full-scale thatched roof requires that the thatch be attached firmly to the roof rafters. A dollhouse needs only craft glue or clear silicone caulk to attach the fibre to a base of MDF or heavy card stock.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fibrous material -- straw, coconut fibre or faux fur
- Caulking gun
- Clear silicone caulk
- Twigs -- not larger than 3/16-inch in diameter
- Nails -- 1-inch #20 wire
- Upholstery hammer
Insert a tube of clear silicone caulk in your caulking gun. Both are available at your local hardware or building supply store. Cut the tip of the tube of caulking to form a hole about 1/4-inch in diameter.
Depress the trigger on the caulking gun to apply a thin layer of silicone across the bottom edge of the roof and up the slope about 3 inches.
Cut a bundle of fibre so that it measures about 4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Attach the bundle to the roof so that the fibres hang over the bottom edge.
Slide the upper fibres of your bundle carefully up the slope of the roof while allowing the lower ones to remain stuck in the silicone. This will give your roof an authentic, random look.
Apply subsequent rows as you did the first until you reach the top of the roof. Trim wayward or loose fibres with scissors so all fibres line up neatly and run in the same direction.
Apply a bead of silicone across the ridge of the roof and another about 2 inches down the slope on each side. Bend a 6- to 8-inch bundle of fibre and spread it laterally across the ridge of the roof. Continue the process until the ridge is fully covered.
Trim the edges of the ridge line fibres for a neat, even appearance. Nail a row of twigs parallel to the roof ridge about 1/2-inch from the bottom edges of your ridge line fibres.
Tuck crossed smaller twigs beneath the attached larger ones. This will give the appearance of a finished, reinforced ridge line ready for windy weather. Trim the thatch that overhangs the eaves according to the look you wish to achieve. Tudor cottages are more tailored in appearance than a peasant's hut.
Tips and warnings
- An old broom is a good place to find straw for your dollhouse thatching project.
- Use fresh rather than dried twigs for ridge line detailing, as green wood is more pliable.
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