The back-to-back Victorianna has two towers, which I enclosed with French doors to turn into little rooms. The one in the master bedroom will be a small office / writing room. The other tower is attached to the nursery, and I couldn’t think of anything that a baby would need in an enclosed room besides a closet — and as much as I love dollhouse closets, that seemed like a waste of a good space.
This is the tower with the cupola made out of a 1:48 scale gazebo, and it seemed strange to have those windows up there with no way for the little people to get to them, so I decided to put a spiral staircase in that tower. (The parents will keep it locked so the baby doesn’t wander up there!)
I once made a spiral staircase out of a wooden fan, and it turned out okay, but this time I wanted something sturdier with (in theory) less work on my part. (Famous last words!) I also wanted stained treads and Tuscan Beige risers, like the other staircases in the house, rather than the fan’s wrought iron look. While thinking about what materials could easily be turned into staircase treads, I realized that the roof pieces of the gazebo would be perfect.
I loved the idea of using leftover gazebo pieces to create a staircase to reach the gazebo, but for the staircase to be to scale I needed more than eight steps, and I only had eight pieces. I tried cutting them in half, but then the holes had to go, and without the holes to stick a dowel through the staircase lost all stability. I tried. And failed. And destroyed the pictures. (It was a sad day.)
So I went online to look for spiral staircase options. There are some kits available in 1:12 scale, but the only 1:24 kit I found, from Dollhouse Laser Designs (the same company that made the gazebo), didn’t appeal to me. Shapeways has some but they’re expensive and I wasn’t sure if the dimensions would work in my tower. I wanted a kit so I could modify it as needed.
(Note: this was back in August. At the beginning of September, Alpha Stamps added a half scale spiral staircase kit to their website. If only I had a time machine made out of a Delorean!)
Then I came across this kit from a company named Lumenaris.
This kit is billed as 3/4″ scale — seems like an odd choice, since that scale is even less popular than half scale — but in general Lumenaris doesn’t sell miniatures, they sell educational toys. (Maybe they’re trying to appeal to the Brinca Dada crowd?) The space between each step is 1/4″ and the steps themselves are 1/8″, so that’s a 3/8″ rise from one step to the next — slightly large for half scale (the equivalent of 9 inches), but considering the staircase will be tucked into the tower I decided to try it.
It shipped 10 days after I placed the order and I got a shipping notification with a tracking number. With shipping, the cost was $25.61. This is what’s inside the box – no instructions or parts list, but how hard could it be? (As noted on their website, the 1/4″ dowel isn’t included.)
The kit comes with 16 steps plus a landing and there are two rings between each step, so I should have had 34 rings — but my box only contained 25. There should also be three straight railing pieces to go on the landing — my kit had none. I wasn’t sure yet if I would use those railings, but I definitely needed the rings. (Actually, it turns out I didn’t, but I thought I did. Also I wanted to use the extra pieces for something, maybe a set of library steps. Hey, I paid for them!)