Wednesday, January 14, 2015

wooden dollhouse diy.

It was a goal of mine for about a year to make a wooden dollhouse for Nancy but it wasn't until last Christmas that I decided to jump into this project as she's just starting to enjoy playing for longer than five minutes with one toy and using her imagination a little bit more. 
I started making this dollhouse a week before Christmas, thinking I would have plenty of time to decorate the inside and stand back and gaze at my masterpiece for hours. This was not the case. I also thought it would be much cheaper to make one rather than buy one and that I would save lots of money. This was also not the case! 
In reality, it took me about a week to make and it cost about €200 in total. A week sounds a bit long but after the first two days of using mdf panels that were too thin, I had to start all over again. The cost sounds a bit steep but I have to say that this includes all the panels, hand saw, chisel, glue, an applicator gun, paint and the furniture I bought to decorate it. 
If you're new to this kinda DIY like I was, I'd recommend taking into the consideration the cost of all the tools you need to buy if you don't already own them and try to remember that if your design is bespoke, things will probably go wrong so a few trips to the hardware shop will happen!
So here goes, my wooden dollhouse diy:

First I drew up a plan of the dollhouse. I wanted to make a very simple and almost childlike idea of what a house looks like so it's quite square and symmetrical. 

After my drawing, I drew out what size panels I'd need for the design including the floors, ceiling, walls and front of the house as you can see from above.
I then decided on the thickness of the panels, I originally chose 6mm thickness but as I mentioned before this did not work so my second and thankfully successful choice was 12mm thickness mdf panels.
B&Q have a free cutting service in their store once you're not asking for very small sizes so I got them to cut out the four panels for the frame of the house.
Back at my "workshop" (my good friend Jill's studio), I cut out the front panel (612 x 612mm) and using a jigsaw I cut the window opes and door.
As my previous experience with gluing did not go so well (thin panels do not hold up, little surface area for glue to work), gluing the 12mm panels together was a little nerve-wracking but thanks to trusty and strong Gripfill I glued the frame and front panel together, left them overnight and when I checked on it the next day, it was perfect. When using Gripfill or a similar glue, make sure to hold the panels together for a few minutes with no movement, then leave them for 10-12 hours before carrying on with the next step.
After the frame was built, the rest seemed a lot easier. I measured halfway up the house and glued two narrow ledges to the side walls as support for the first floor panel. I cut a 6mm mdf panel to fit as the first floor and cut an opening for a staircase, then just slid the panel in resting on the ledges.
Next I moved onto the pitched roof. I cut two 6mm mdf panels into 410 x 300mm and cut a 45 degree angle into one side edge on each, gluing these together with Gripfill again. Then I cut one panel for the front opening of the pitch as a support and also to give the front of the house a more finished look. I left the pitched roof section to dry over night before moving onto the painting.
Once all the glue was dry, I dusted off the frame, front panel and pitched roof and spray painted the house a matt white with a matt black pitched roof. As mdf is a bit porous I applied 4-5 coats of spray paint, leaving each coat to dry in between.
Lastly, (the night before Christmas Eve) I made a staircase. Using small 6mm panels of the same length and depth and some superglue, I constructed a fairly simple open riser staircase as you can see from the photos. I also fitted a door to the front panel, using small brass hinges and painted the door red.
Originally, my idea was to build all of the furniture for the dollhouse myself but after a week of constructing a fairly simple house (and nearly pulling my hair out!) I headed into Pinocchio's on Paul Street and bought some beautiful wooden furniture to decorate the space. I added some curtains on Christmas Eve just to make it a little more cosy!
The most nerve-wracking part of it all had to be on Christmas morning as we opened the living room door and waiting for Nancy's reaction. Thankfully, she ran straight over to it and start playing with it. It now lives in our living room and she plays with it everyday.
I'm planning to add more to it as time goes on as it really is a toy that can change all the time and keep Nancy entertained.
I have to say, it was the hardest yet most rewarding DIY project I ever took on.


  1. This is an awesome post that I like most. In this post I have
    Learn a lot of things which I didn't know before. Keep posting
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  2. wow, you have a lovely house. I do not think I could do something like that. you gave me a great idea. milter saw with my, i think i can do that for my daughter.

  3. In this article shows keep away from the most common errors made when buying wooden dollhouses and plastic dollhouses. How do you know which developing content is best for your needs? Thanks for sharing this useful post Cathy.

  4. A wooden dollhouse is an awesome blessing at whatever time of the year and has a method for changing an a drop in the bucket in a way that couple of different toys can. A great intelligent toy, wooden dollhouses empower open-finished play, an element missing from a number of today's battery-worked toys.

  5. A wooden dollhouse is an awesome blessing whenever of the year and has a method for changing an a drop in the bucket in a way that couple of different toys can. A great intuitive toy, wooden dollhouses support open-finished play, a component missing from a large number of today's battery-worked toys.

  6. Wooden dollhouses are obviously very popular. But don't be afraid to break from the norm and use alternative construction materials for building your dollhouses.Framing Nailer

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  8. This is a wonderful piece of art for your kids. It sure seems easy but actually takes a lot of time and effort. To save your strength in future projects, I suggest using our top jigsaws.

  9. Wow!! The house is really cute and of course the baby girl too. Thanks for sharing it. A play time should be included in the daily routine of every kid. Only study is not what that's the most important but simultaneously other activities should be included there in daily life. These things can bring out the creativity and innovation in a kid. That is why extra activities are there included in the school routines. Camps For Kids Buford, GA.

  10. It is an undeniable fact that Kidkraft dollhouse are attractive looking, and are made of high quality material, so most of the parents don’t have to think twice before spending money for it, like I did recently, when I bought a perfect doll house for my daughter.