The Den of Slack

Cupola roof and weathervane

Like the big tower roof that I completed in September, the roof of the Victorianna’s gazebo-turned-cupola is made from a wooden bell that I bought off Etsy. It’s slightly smaller than the octagonal base it’s sitting on, so I had previously added 1:12 crown molding around the edges of the base. That helped, but having the crown molding flush with the edge of the base rather than overhanging looked unbalanced, especially compared to the bigger tower roof.

The front edge of the crown molding plus the base it’s sitting on is 1/4″ inch tall. I bought a piece of 1/4″ cove molding to attach to the front edge.

Once again using the 67.5-degree angle on the miter box, I cut eight pieces to go around the outer edge of the base. I also marked the points on the bell with pencil so I’d know where to glue the piping.

Here’s how it looks on the cupola. The cove molding adds another ripple to the trim and provides a more natural looking overhang.

Next I glued leather braid onto the bell, like I did on the big roof. I didn’t bother drilling a hole in the top of the bell this time because 1) it came out off-center on the first bell and I thought that would happen again, and 2) I was too lazy to get out the drill.

Instead I used a lot of glue to stick the edges to the top of the bell. This will be covered up with a bead cap, so it’s okay that it’s messy.

I’d intended to put a finial on top of each of the tower roofs (inserted into a bead cap). These are both Houseworks finials – the one on the bigger roof is 7/8″ tall and the one on the smaller roof is 3/4″ tall. I thought they would be two sizes of the same finial, but they’re different. The taller one is skinnier and a bit more ornate, and the peg at the bottom didn’t fit into the hole in the bead cap as snugly as the 3/4″ finial’s peg.

I glued in the finials with tacky glue, put them aside to work on other things, and a couple of weeks later came back to paint them. As I was painting the finial on the larger roof, it came unglued. I tried gluing it in again with super glue but that didn’t work either. The skinnier peg just didn’t want to stay put. I was already questioning whether I really wanted two similar-but-not-quite-the-same finials on the tower roofs, so I used this as excuse to give up on the 7/8″ finial.

At some point between when I glued in the finials and when I started painting, I remembered I have some plastic Department 56 weathervanes and thought, “One of those would have looked good on the cupola, too bad I didn’t think of it sooner.” Hey, hey! Even though the glue was holding on the 3/4″ finial on the smaller roof, I wiggled it off and moved it over to the bigger roof, and picked out this bird weathervane for the smaller roof.

A little paint and it doesn’t look like plastic anymore!

Instead of gluing the post into the bead cap, I used super glue to attach the bottom of the post to a bead underneath the cap. The bead keeps the post from slipping out of the cap, but it isn’t glued to the bead cap or to the cupola roof, so the weathervane can spin independently.

I also dirtied up the cupola roof and the finial on top of the larger roof. After taking this picture, I toned down the aging by splotching on antique copper paint. This process is described in more detail in this post.

Here’s the finished roof in place on the (still under construction) cupola.

And the two towers side by side. I like how the weathervane and the additional layer of cove molding give some needed heft to the smaller roof – it looks more like it belongs there than it did before.

But now I’m wondering, does the finial look too skimpy compared to the weathervane? I’m not 100% sold on it, but I’m going to leave it this way for now and see if it grows on me.

Six hours later… Serves me right for thinking about replacing that finial, because this afternoon I dropped the roof and the finial snapped in half! I can replace it with another one, but first I stuck in this plastic thingie from the Dept 56 weathervane set to see how it looks. It’s taller and has a ball on it like the weathervane, so they’d sort of match, but it’s not actually a weathervane. Any opinions? Should I keep this? (Painted, of course.) Or stick with the 3/4″ finial? Or try something else altogether?


  1. I love the weathervane… but I think you’re right about the filial. It looks a little insubstantial compared to the weathervane.

  2. This replacement looks heavier than the original finial and more in proportion to the weathervane. But I’ve seen roofs with lots of variety in finials and other embellishments, so do what looks best to you.
    Nice paint jobs on the roofs! Love what you are doing with this build. Bravo!

    • I love the weathervane idea…and yours is great! I also really like the weathervane thingy instead of the other finial. SPOT ON!!!! I have taken an idea for my castle I am making from your bell towers and have found of all things a powdered drink container that is just superb! I will send a pic when I get it finished. Love your blog!

      • Yes please send me a picture when it’s done, I’d love to see it! I looked at so many different containers and weird things before I found the wooden bells. I was even considering lampshades at one point.

  3. I like the effect of 2 toppers on the domes which are very similar yet entirely different.
    And when it comes to a doll’s house, little changes can often make the most dramatic visuals and you have proved this with the weather vane and the way you have beefed up the trims at the base of the cupola.
    And I must commend you on transforming a couple of blocks of wood into aged and weathered metal -Truly Beautiful Authentic -looking finishes on BOTH Decorative Roofs ?

  4. I like the combo of the finial on the one and the weathervane on the other. The fancier thingy seems less elegant somehow, but you always make choices I love so whatever you decide seeing them in person will be the right decision.

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