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Building a Miniature Dollhouse (What You Need To Know)

Updated on March 23, 2018
viryabo profile image

As a child, dollhouses fascinated me. There were more of them around in my days, built from scratch, made with fine workmanship.

Of all the forms and types of miniature art and collections, perhaps the most fascinating of them all that dates back hundreds of years are miniature dolls and homes filled with beautiful mini furniture and furnishings.

A dollhouse filled with typical everyday furniture and furnishings (miniature home)
A dollhouse filled with typical everyday furniture and furnishings (miniature home) | Source

Dollhouse collectors who have invested in miniatures, including those who craft them, have (and still) successfully sell these pieces for good sums of money.

Even exhibitors of antique and vintage miniature homes, fully furnished with items ranging from wall coverings and sofas to wall sconces, chandeliers, and beddings, can tell how popular they are from how visitors are always held spellbound while viewing these well-crafted works of art,

From the Gothic style homes to the Edwardian and Victorian, cottage, farmhouse, and contemporary, hobbyists of miniature dollhouses today are either purchasing or crafting.

If you build mini items or art pieces, you will agree that to make miniature homes is not a simple task as it requires creativity, patience, perseverance and a deft and nimble touch. You must also have the ability to work with very small and sometimes tiny parts.

Even going beyond the building process, because the craft possesses a suggestion of realism, the craftsman must be prepared to let his result be enchanting, captivating and delightful to an admirer or collector.

Plan to Build a Miniature House?

Making miniature doll houses is neither simple nor time-saving, and there are no shortcuts to it. Attention must be paid to tiny details, and this takes painstaking time. Emphasis must be placed on quality rather than quantity. All that takes time.

If you plan to build mini houses and furniture, you will first want to know what style or type you want to build. You will also want to decide whether it will be a complete house with many rooms or just a one-room piece. Think about it’s:

  1. Architectural style.
  2. Period and style of furnishings.
  3. Scale and proportion of craftworks.

Planning ahead is a crucial and necessary part of the task, and for many craftsmen familiar with this craft, it is the most exciting part. The rest is hard and tasking work.

Complete House or Single Room?

For obvious reasons, it is easier to build a single doll's room than a complete miniature house but for die-hard enthusiasts, it will seem more realistic to craft a complete home just for the fantasy of creating a mini home environment that will be admired by all.

Having said that, it all depends on what you desire and the purpose of its creation - as a personal showpiece for your home, for a project, or as a business venture.

If you plan to build a dollhouse as a showpiece in your home, you must first determine where you want to display it. A miniature home display requires ample space, preferably an area away from the walls. This is to ensure a good view of it from all of its sides.

For individual rooms, say, a miniature living/dining room or a bedroom, a smaller display area will suffice. This is because it needs only to be viewed from the front. It can even be displayed on a floating wall shelf that has been installed specifically for the craft‘s display.

If you just want to ‘test the waters’, simply start off by building an individual room. You can go for the impressive classics. For instance, building a Victorian front room is impressive due to the ornate, plush, and intricate works that are involved in its crafting. Buy and place miniature dolls dressed up in Victorian-era clothes in the room - perhaps add a parlour maid serving tea to the lady of the house.

A one-room miniature art of a Victorian style home's nursery. Notice the little baby sitting in a high-chair, the crib, and a rocking horse.
A one-room miniature art of a Victorian style home's nursery. Notice the little baby sitting in a high-chair, the crib, and a rocking horse. | Source

Architectural Style

Building or collecting a complete dollhouse means you probably have an architectural style in mind. That’s part of the essence of miniature crafting. So, as a craftsman or collector of miniature houses, it really depends on what you desire.

Some dollhouses are simply created as mini homes and those who love these are simply die-hard fans of architectural styles. The structure is such cases may not have interior views. However, those who want a view of interiors as well can choose to have just a few rooms viewable and perhaps designed in different period styles.

Popular architectural designs sought after by dollhouse collectors include Colonial, Victorian, Art Deco, and Edwardian styles.

A Victorian style miniature home with details typical of the 19th century Victorian era home of the wealthy.
A Victorian style miniature home with details typical of the 19th century Victorian era home of the wealthy. | Source

Period and Style of Furnishings

When many think of miniature collectables - miniature rooms, houses and furnishings, the Victorian and Edwardian eras always comes to mind. These periods, in all of their phases, were opulent, rich and romantic.

Victorian interiors are always characterised by roomy ornately trimmed spaces with heavy and elaborate furniture. This still has a special charm for many people and avid fans of Victorian miniature collectables.

Researching furniture styles ranging from the very early Gothic period to the modern art deco styles and futuristic themes may just turn up a period that will be appealing to you if you are a DIY enthusiast, a craftsman or collector. Indeed, it may be the inspiration that will help decide on an architectural style.

There is also different social stratum to base a choice on. It can be fashioned after an abode for the rich and famous, with servant’s quarters and all, a middle-class home with an assortment of unmatched pieces of furnishings but with a comfortable lived-in look, or a small and very simple house with the barest of furnishings.

Any which way, each piece will tell a story of its own.

Classic miniature parlour furniture
Classic miniature parlour furniture | Source
A modern design of a miniature dollhouse with well crafted  furniture and furnishings
A modern design of a miniature dollhouse with well crafted furniture and furnishings

Tips for Beginners

If you want to build a miniature house with furniture all by yourself, perhaps it’s a good idea to get a beginner‘s guide because trying to craft one without a guide of sorts become a trial and error approach.

You may not have the time to learn the intricacies of this art, and crafting dollhouses can test your patience. Nonetheless, if you don’t wish to encumber yourself with the challenging task of building an entire house with a number of rooms or spaces, let your first attempt be a single miniature room with simple furniture in a very simple style.

There is nothing wrong if your miniature objects are plain but make sure they are as detailed as is possible and made to the right scale and proortions.

Miniature dolls rooms with simple furniture and furnishings.
Miniature dolls rooms with simple furniture and furnishings.


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© 2010 viryabo


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    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Gary, to make a miniature house like that is simpler than it looks.

      There are books that can guide you on how to build both modern and traditional miniature homes. You will benefit much from reading such.

      Basically, it all boils down to the type of finishes you use, in this case white panels for the walls, predominantly white furniture and furnishings with modern pieces, which you can build or purchase.

      The monochromatic scheme also adds much to making it look very modern.

      This is a wonderful gift idea for a loved one, and a unique one too.

      Thanks for the visit Gary, best of luck, and best wishes for a great future for the both of you.


    • profile image

      Gary Yeung 

      6 years ago

      I'm planning to make a miniature house with miniature furniture for proposing to my girl friend. Can I know more details on how to make one like in the first photo?

    • profile image

      c seeds 

      6 years ago

      check out four generation miniature

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you for your very nice comments Alocsin. And thank you for the positive ratings.


    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Miniature building craft is a wonderful art and you are so lucky to have had the opportunity of being around your dad whilst be was crafting such beauty.

      It is so good that you are passing on the love and interest to your children, passing on a passion their grandfather had.

      Thank you for the visit L.I.P. and for finding time to leave such beautiful comments.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, so beautiful and awe-inspiring!

      I've been interested in doll-houses and miniatures since I was about 5 and watched my dad make his furniture for millionaires first in 1/3 scale before he took on the final product. Unfortunately he never let me keep any of the 1/3 scales, and I never got to own a doll house, but I drew many many different designs of tiny houses, their insides and what should go where etc...

      Now I have kids of my own and am in the process of making my daughter her own doll-house with furniture etc... It is a challenging endeavor, but having some skill in furniture making myself, and in sewing and embroidery and art, I think I can do it.

      When I finish my daughter's doll house, I hope to make my own - hopefully before I'm 30.

      Cheers and thanks for this wonderful post!


    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Some of these are beautiful. Unfortunately, I already have enough hobbies without getting into this one too. Voting this Up and Beautiful though.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      So so good to see you G. How's it going?

      Thanks for visiting and your (always) nice comments.

      I know you will enjoy this craft and your daughter will find it awesome and very interesting building with you this unique form of craftworks.

      GodBless you richly.

    • GPAGE profile image


      8 years ago from California

      viryabo.....VERY cool!!!....all the different styles and ideas......thank you for this wonderful hub! I'm hoping to do something like this with my little girl one day as a hobby to do would be really fun! Best, G

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Im glad you found a few useful tips here prasetio, and im glad you enjoyed this hub.

      Thank you so much for your visit and your nice comments AND for the UP rating.

      Cheers my friend.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I can't say anything. this hub is amazing. Thanks for showing me those miniature. Only talented person and have interesting with kind of miniature can make this beautiful things. You also give us useful tips here.

      PS: If you din't come to my hub and not telling me that you have collective hub about miniature. Maybe I don't know that you have beautiful hub about miniature.

      Good work Viryabo. I rate this UP! Thanks


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