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Dolls’ House for the Little People

December 4, 2011

Making my Little People a Dolls’ House

When I was a child, my father made a dolls’ house for me and my sisters . We loved it and played with it for years. It still takes pride of place in their house in a spare room and now my Little People, and my sisters’ Little People play with it every time they visit Granny and Grandpa. I used to spend hours creating miniature things for it like tiny records inside tiny record sleeves with tiny writing on them. We re-decorated the rooms from time to time and it gave us countless hours of amusement. I wanted to give my Little People the same kind of pleasure, so set about making them their own dolls’ house from scratch.

I sketched out rough plans for the size of the dolls’ house and went about working out what I needed to buy to make my 80cm (length) x 40cm (depth) x 60cm (height). Here’s how to make it;

What you’ll need;

1x 3mm plywood (60cm x 122cm)

4 x 6mm plywood (60cm x 122cm)

1-inch thin nails

piano hinge (90cm ~ for roof hinge and door)

short screws for piano hinge (ca. 24~ depending on number of holes in piano hinges. I also used small washers to help secure the hinge as I couldn’t get screws short enough)

wood glue

garden sticks or lollipop sticks (for window sills)

thick acetate (for windows)

a pair of cupboard door magnets

1 picture-hook pin (for door knob)

Useful: A few rectangular bits of wood for reinforcements etc – I used old chipboard I had lying around – cut to the height of the rooms and some smaller chunks.

15cm dowl (for chimney pots)

sandpaper (useful if you have a sandpaper block)

jig saw

hammer

saw

metal rule or good tape measure

spirit level

 

 I managed to get all walls, floors, partitions and roof from just five sheets of plywood. Here are my (not-to-scale) Measurements and Floor Plans for Dolls’ House

  1. Start by measuring out the dimensions for cutting on the sheets of wood as per the Floor Plans linked above, making sure you use the 3mm plywood for the front of house and partitions.
  2. When you’re sure of your measurements, cut the pieces out with your circular saw. (I borrowed my lovely dad’s one for this but it’s on my Christmas wish list).
  3. Next measure out the window and door cut outs from your 3ml plywood, as well as the four partition walls. You can alter the measurements to suit your needs/dolls, but I have given you a guide of the one I measured for this dolls’ house Dolls’ House Front Wall and Partitions. I used a jig saw for a neater finish, and was able to use the one from the school I worked at. There are other ways of cutting out into wood, but this is the easiest and most precise. Keep all cut-outs to use later for furniture (if you’re feeling brave!) or doors etc.
  4. Sand down all sharp edges. If you can make a block of wood (ca. 8cm x 6cm x 2cm) to wrap smaller sheets of sandpaper round, it makes it a lot easier to sand straight edges.
  5. Time to start constructing the house! Firstly attach the back wall to the floor using the wood glue and long nails to help secure. This is best done with the walls on their thin edge so that there is little pull on the walls/floor when the glue is drying. Ensure you have right angles using your spirit level. Allow glue to dry.
  6. Next attach your first side wall by placing it on top of your floors and back wall with glue and long nails. Allow glue to dry thoroughly.
  7. Turn the house over so it is now resting on its first side wall. Attach the middle and top floors with glue initially only (again, use your spirit level to check it stays angular). Once the glue is dry, turn the house over again (so that side wall is on top) and hammer in long nails to secure.
  8. You can now add the second side wall. Place the house on its first side wall so you are working with the second side wall horizontally. This time you can do glue and nails together as you will have it in a better position to do so.
  9. If you are making doors for your partition walls, do this now (follow instruction # for the front door). Personally I felt this would be too fiddly for the Little People to play, so left them as door openings. Slot in your partition walls and glue into place. At this point I added a few reinforcement blocks (same height as the room) at the back of the rooms and glued these to the walls/floors and secured again with nails. You can see these (just about!) at the back of the dining room here…
  10. Now to make the roof! Take your piano hinge and cut to length (80cm). Attach it to your two roof pieces, using the short screws (and washers if needed). Make sure your piano hinge allows your roof to open wide enough for your Little People to play.
  11. Attach one of the roof pieces to the top back of the dolls house as shown.
  12. Windows and Doors: If you are painting your front door, do this now and allow paint to dry. Hammer the picture hook pin through the door to act as a doorknob, cut it down to size and secure with a blob of glue on the inside. Attach the 10cm leftover piano hinge to the door cut-out in the same way you did the roof hinge. You may need to add a small strip of wood to the door as it is only 3mm thick. Glue this in place and then attach the piano hinge to the door and to the door frame.
  13. Glue the acetate windows in place.
  14. Glue the magnets in place to the inside of the front wall and middle of the top floor (as in picture shown). This allows the front wall to be taken clean away while the Little People play.
  15. Using chipboard I constructed a couple of L-shaped blocks to the base of the roof and the attic floor to allow a reinforcement length of chipboard to be used as a prop to keep the roof open. Close up of this picture here dolls house close-up
  16. To make the chimney, take a small rectangular block of wood and hold it up against the sloping edge of the roof/side wall to mark where to cut. Glue in place to the rear side of the roof and add three dowels of equal or varying lengths for the chimney pots and glue in place. You are nearly finished…
  17. Now decorate! I sewed little curtains for the windows, painted each room a different colour (using tester paint pots to cut back on costs), used thin cork mats for the kitchen and bathroom floors, and different pieces of carpet scraps for the other rooms.
  18. Have a nice cup of tea, or even better, a large glass of wine.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011 16:10

    Wow, I love love love this dollhouse! I dreamt of owning something like this when I was a girl, and I still harbour that desire, deep down. I may just have to make one for myslef.
    Love your blog!

    • December 16, 2011 22:29

      Thank you. I spent many, many happy days playing with the one my dad made me when I was little, and so I’ve loved being able to give my Little People that opportunity too.

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