Decorative inlays inlay kits
9 sheets of MDF waiting to be machined
Here is what the castle looked like when I picked it up from Lowe's. It took a total of 9 sheets of MDF to create Bryce and Brock's new bed
Smaller pieces of MDF
First rough cuts are done. I felt like all I was doing was creating sawdust. Some of the cuts couldn't be done on the table saw so I used a small hand skill saw instead. At this point I was wondering what the hell did I get myself into???!!!
Even smaller pieces of MDF
The second time through the cutting process the pieces started to get a bit smaller and several were at their final dimension. Many of them still needed to have things like windows cut into them but they were the right height and width. The biggest challenge was keeping track of what piece went where on the castle. I used a pencil to mark what pieces went where.
Priming and Painting
Applied two coats of water based primer
At this time the majority of the large pieces were cut out. In particular the four towers were ready to be painted and assembled. Because I was working with MDF I used a primer to seal the wood prior to assembling it. Actually my daughters, Breanna and Brandi, were a huge help in getting the painting finished. O.K. So they applied the majority of the primer and interior gray paint.
First coat of internal gray paint applied
Man there was a bunch of painting that had to be done!!! In this step we applied two coats of paint on the interior surfaces. I thought the insides of a castle should be somewhat dark so I chose gray as the interior color inside.
My garage floor still bears the marks of all the painting we did for the castle!!!
3 towers assembled
Sanding, sanding, and more SANDING!
This was a major milestone to me because assembly had begun. I assembled the two back towers first because they were basically four sided boxes and pretty simple to do. The octagon tower was a bit more difficult to do. OK it was a royal pin in the butt and required at least two people to assemble. Three would have been better but with a little help from my at the time girlfriend we managed to get it assembled. Man it looked like CRAP though, good thing it was made from MDF and I had a new RO Porter Cable sander!
Now came the fun part... NOT!!! Sanding, sanding, and just when you thought you were almost done there was more sanding. Nice thing about MDF is it does sand pretty easily but it sure puts out a bunch of dust. I had to wear a dust mask at times because it got so bad. But now I could start to sit back and look at where the project was going.
I used a nailer to assemble the towers followed by a nail punch to sink the heads of the brads. I used sheet-rock putty to fill in the little divots and then sanded it flat.
Bookcase tower assembled
The project was getting pretty fun around now because you could see how it was all going to fit together. That and the sanding made each tower look a whole lot better.
Battlement making jig
I couldn't believe how many battlements needed to be cut out. I used a plunge router to make the cuts so I had to create a jig to help me line up all of the cuts. After I figured out the jig cutting out a miles worth of battlements really did go pretty fast . More importantly they looked good. After cutting out each piece I took them to the routing table and round over routed every edge so they were soft and not sharp.
Trim pieces cut
Finally got all of the trim pieces and battlements cut out. Most of these pieces will need to be cut to size when they get affixed to the towers. Each piece had to be painted with primer before I could even begin to worry about cutting them to size and attaching them to the castle. They say the devil is in the details and there were a bunch of details here!
Pre-Painting Trim Pieces
Pre-painted gold trim pieces
I decided to pre-paint all of the battlements prior to attaching them to the sides and towers. They were easier to paint this way but I still had a ton of touch up painting to do once assembled. Even though I had to hide nail holes and do some other touch up painting I think pre-painting each trim piece was the way to go. The biggest problem I had was keeping what piece went where straight.
Pre-painted brass trim pieces
Each section of gold trim attached to the castle was made from two pieces of wood. The brass color layers, depicted in this picture, were attached to the castle first. After those pieces were attached the the gold colored pieces were attached over the top of the brass ones. Some of the brass is exposed to give the gold a little relief and provide a good color contrast. It was a bunch of extra work but the end results was worth the effort.
Up close picture of final trim
This picture shows how I used the brass underneath the gold trim to provide shape and color contrast. Experimented with a few other colors before I decided on gold, brass, and sandstone. I think I made a good choice though.
Bell tower assembled
The bell tower was the most difficult part of the project to make mainly due to all of the angles involved. Remember in high school when your math teacher said, "You'll use this stuff in everyday life?" He / she was right!!! Geometry class was back in session for this piece.
Bad thing is I had to make two of these. The first one I made I had placed on top of the octagon tower so I could see what it was going to look like. Later that day I opened up the garage door. I forgot the bell tower was on top of the octagon tower so when the door opened it knocked the bell tower off. It crashed to the floor with a most satisfying crash... splintered, broken, and totally destroyed. Fortunately I had practice making one so the second one went together smoothly.
Bell tower on octagon tower
DON'T OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR!!!
I used heavy metal brackets and braces to hold each wall to its adjacent towers. Because of this I can disassemble the castle to move it. You can see one of the silver nuts and washer on the wall. Later I scuffed up each nut and bolt head with sandpaper, primed them wit a spray on paint, and then painted them with the same sandstone paint used on the castle walls or with gray for the internal portion of the castle. By painting them the nuts and bolts blend right into the castle and can only be seen when looking for them.
The bottom of the opening has a ledge built in so it is comfortable to stand on. I did the same thing with all openings that could be sat on or stood on. Each ledge is 2" wide so it's easy to step on which was important for the ladder which is on the other side of the castle.
All the parts needed for the main entrance
All projects need a focal point, for this project it's the main entrance. This is around the time I was deciding on a painting scheme. I would place paint squares on various surfaces and imagine what the whole thing would look like. I experimented with purple, chrome, and camouflage colors before deciding on sandstone , gold, and brass.
Like the rocks encircling the entry way? I just randomly cut them on a band saw and laid them out around the opening. Later I decided on using a blackish grayish textured paint to make them look and feel like stone.
Side wall assembled and painted.
Entrance assembled and painted.
I wanted to practice the paint scheme and rock painting on a side wall before I tackled the main entrance. There are a few design changes I would make to this wall were I ever to build a castle again but I did like the way the rocks blended in with the sandstone and gold trim. At this point I knew this castle was going to be awesome when finished... now to git er done.
Pretty happy with how the entrance turned out. If you look for them you'll be able to see 8 painted nuts in the picture. Also notice how the ledge works for little feetsies to step on. Nice wide surface so their lil toesies don't go owie owie owie all the way home! :D
Side / Octagon Towers
Side and octagon tower pieces
These are some of the pieces that were used to make the octagon tower and the side towers. When looking at the parts laid out like this I had doubts about what the end result was going to look like. But after assembling and painting the first tower all doubts vanished!
This is when the project really started to come together. I had spent hours imagining how I would paint the castle and this is what the first tower looked like when completed. I used sandstone paint from an aerosol can which gives the sides a sand like texture and look.
If you look at the battlements you can see where I nailed the trim pieces to the tower at. I filled those holes with putty, sanded, primed, and painted each nail hole. A ton of time went into the touch up painting but that is what makes it look as good as it does.
Tower and side wall
Assembly and Painting
The windows in this wall are used as the ladder to climb up into the top bunk. The ledges are about 2" wide so it doesn't hurt tiny feet when they get stepped on. I even put in little hand holds at the top of the wall to make it easier to climb up. At first the boys were a little cautious in climbing up but now... damn they are fast!!!
After this picture was taken I decided to trim out the top of this wall too. It looked plain and unfinished without something on the top so I used the same treatment on the top of the wall that I used on the steps. Made it look a whole lot better. Also added some stability to the wall when being climbed.
Trimming the towers was time consuming because of the angles involved. The tops were wrapped in brass and then gold trim. The biggest issue was cutting and affixing the 24 pieces of trim the to the area where the tower intersected with the side wall and entrance.
First time assembled
This is the first time the entire castle was assembled. I still had to finish up a few things like adding a deck for the bunk bed and do some touch up painting. The boys were getting pretty excited and I was looking forward to getting my garage back!!!
This thing is HUGE!!!
If you look through the entrance you'll see a few nail spots that were still being worked on. But other than that this project was just about a wrap!
Sir Bryce defending his castle
The castle has been moved into the Boys room... let the adventures begin!!!
Good night Sons, your bed is finally finished and in your room. Many happy dreams of dragons, conquests, and maidens in despair.
Priming and Painting
Pre-Painting Trim Pieces
Side / Octagon Towers
Assembly and Painting
© EZInlays 2016