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7 Phases To Launch Your Dollhouse Hobby

May 25, 2008
Become that creative designer and pass on a family treasure that is continually enjoyed. Enter into a great creative sport where children can grow in social skills and storytelling, and, adults can enjoy the creative and relational aspects that clubs and the internet offer.

Playing and displaying dollhouses has been popular since the 1700's when the affluent were engaged in the hobby. Today it is for anyone with an interest. Let's explore several keys to building an enjoyable dollhouse hobby.

What will you use your dollhouse for? Play or Display?

As an adult collector, consider the finer and more delicate models for display. If you have young children you also may want to provide them with a sturdy dollhouse so that you can enjoy the hobby together. This may keep them from harming your work. For child's play, consider 3/4 or 1/2 inch base with 3/8 inch sides and roofing, or select plastic construction.

What is the most appealing size?

Selecting the scale you will use depends on 3 basic considerations:

If you have dolls that you want to fit, select the size that provides several inches of ceiling headroom and a comfortable fit in furniture. This may mean building a non standard size with custom built furnishings.

The most popular size is 1:12 where 1 inch equals 1 foot. This scale provides a very large selection of products.

If space is an issue or you love miniatures, opt for the 1:24, also called half scale. 1 inch equals 2 feet, or 24 times smaller which is becoming more popular. The downside is less availability and selection of products.

How will you acquire your dollhouse?

Three obvious strategies include: making your own from scratch, buying it ready made, or buying and assembling a kit. Making your own will require some skill and the right tools. If you are a DIY enthusiast and adventurous, you might even design your dream doll house using Google SketchUp, a free 3D modeling software package.

What type will you select?

There are wonderful models to select from. The most popluar styles include Tudor, Victorian, Georgian, Colonial, and modern styles. Start a viollage. If you are starting from scratch, you may want to try an easy 1-2 room single floor bungalow. And, consider purchasing door and window units to add to the ease of construction and a more professional look.

What hobby hand and power tools will help?

For the DIY hobbyists there are many precision hand tools that will aid in your more intricate work such as mini clamps and helping hands, mini hammers and pliers. Nad, there are many mini hobby power tools that are built for finer delicate work such as mini routers and lathes. One example of a versatile tool called the Electro-File helps cut, shape, sand, and finish delicate models.

The fun part: How will you build, wire, and add décor?

Select or design your own pattern. Cut and/or organize your parts. Consider painting them prior to assembly to save time.

Plan out your working lights, ceiling, floor and table locations. Use twin wire or the socket strip method. Drill holes and run wires along the wall edges from each light location into a socket board best positioned at the back of the house. The socket board attaches to a transformer that then plugs into your house outlet.

Add shingles, wallpaper and paint, and floor coverings of tile, wood, or carpeting specially made for dollhouses.

Hint: Dollhouse construction can be complex with so many little pieces, so be sure to read all of the directions.

How will you furnish your home?

A wide range of quality and price of furnishings and dolls are available. The range is huge. I visited an artisan who built intricate working models of custom doll furniture priced up to $10,000 per unit and he had a two year backlog. For the more faint of heart, you might try eBay, hobby trade shows, and the wealth of dollhouse websites and stores.

Your will enjoy your dollhouse for years to come as you invest over time and perhaps one day pass it on as a treasured family heirloom.
About the Author
If you need that special tool, our mission is to support you with the right hobby hand and power tools for a well stocked, versatile workshop. You'll find many hobby books and free instructional video clips for your enjoyment and hobby development at The Hobby Tool Shed, http://www.hobbytoolshed.com.
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