How to Design a Doll House

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How to Design a Doll House

Dollhouses used to be a staple of childhood. In years gone by, parents would build dollhouses for their children, and the houses would get passed on from generation to generation. Today, many people buy dollhouses for their young children at the toy shop. Mass produced dollhouses are not built to last as long as homemade ones, meaning parents who want to create a family heirloom may want to design and build their own dollhouses.


Materials List

Most of the supplies builders need can be found easily online at shopping sites like eBay. To make a dollhouse, have the following tools on hand:

  • A utility knife
  • A steel straight-edge
  • A hammer
  • A square
  • Sandpaper
  • One pair of scissors with a 20 cm blade.
  • 6.5 square metres of corrugated cardboard
  • Four sheets of poster board, 45.72 cm x 60.96 cm
  • Hotmelt glue
  • 6-penny box nails

Builders will also need pieces of wood and a saw to cut them to size. Alternatively, they can use bamboo materials, which are often as strong as wood.


Considerations of Scale

The most vital part of building and designing a dollhouse is the scale. Dollhouses must represent shrunken, proportional models of real houses to look right. Often, using about 2 cm for every 1/3 metre works well. For example, if a room of a dollhouse is based on a real room that stands 1 metre tall and 6 metres wide, the dollhouse room would be 6 cm tall and 36 cm wide.


Building the House

The foundation of the dollhouse is important because it must support the rest of the dollhouse. Fashion this out of wooden strips. The length of the strips depends on the dimensions the builder has chosen for the dollhouse. The strips should be nailed together to make a frame, and corners should be evened out using a carpenter’s square. Then, the builder should cut a piece of cardboard to match the size of the frame and glue it to the top.

The rest of the house is then built on top of the foundation using the same method. The walls are nailed together and mounted onto the frame between the foundation and the cardboard. Openings such as doors and windows should be clearly marked on each wall and cut out using the utility knife.


Design Techniques

Once the basic house has been built, the fun really begins. This is where builders can make the house unique, so it becomes a treasured toy that is passed on to the next generation of children. Some builders take their cues from real houses while others let their imaginations run wild or look at photographs to determine what they want to add. Either way, you can make houses one of a kind by adding miniature staircases, installing glass or plastic as windows, building a porch, or otherwise implementing a unique design.

It is best to plan what the house is going to look like before beginning to build so that the frame doesn’t accidentally impede the plan. Once the frame is built, however, designers can still measure areas to determine what might fit there, and then cut items out of wood or cardboard. Stairways and doll furniture can also be purchased if another designer has already created the exact look you are looking for.

The key to building a one-of-a-kind dollhouse is to plan it in advance, build, and then adjust the plan to fit the house. Once everything has been built and glued or nailed into place, the builder just has to paint the dollhouse before it can be given to the children to enjoy for generations.

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