Tuesday, January 30

Micro Dollhouse Projects

Micro dollhouses are in the 1/144" inch scale. They are basically small enough to fit on your palm and are usually referrred to as a "dollhouse for your dollhouse", though they can also be seen on railroad displays.

Sometimes these dollhouses are made of solid resin but there is a large assortment of available kits out there, for a more detailed and personalized finish. The kits are made of laser cut, thin wood. They come together the same way a tab and slot dollhouse would. The only difference is the size. These dollhouse kits are incredibly small and very delicate. They require minimal sanding of parts. Since these small kits are made of laser cut wood, you will only need to sand off minute areas, where the part was attached to the sheet.

The materials needed to assemble these kits are:
  • large table
  • spotlight
  • very fine tip paint brushes
  • parchment paper
Because these dollhouses are so small, all interior areas must be finished during assembly, as it will be very difficult or impossible to access these areas later. So, you will have to decide what interior finishes you would like to use and have them handy during assembly.

Finishing materials may include:
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Stain
  • Interior trim
If you have excellent eyes and a good imagination, you might even be able to create your own window treatments, which would also have to be applied during assembly. These are usually made of paper, like doilies.

This is the most important part of your entire assembly. Using the right glue and using the correct application methods will ensure a successful outcome to your project. Tacky or white glue is the only recommended glue for a dollhouse of this scale. Do not use wood glue because it does not dry clear and this assembly requires for most of the parts to be finished before installation.

More importantly than the glue itself, is the application method. You need to use a soft, squeeze bottle to transfer your glue to. These bottles are small and lightweight. They can also be modified with metal tips. These metal tips are simply screwed onto the plastic tip of the squeeze bottle. This will prevent you from having to use a toothpick to apply glue with and so making the project move along quicker and easier.

The metal tips will give you precise control over the flow of your glue and this is vital for such a small project. These metal tips come with long metal "pins" to insert into their holes, in order to keep them free of glue, when not in use. This prevents clogging of the tiny holes with dried glue. If your tips did not bring these "pins", you can create your own by a inserting map pin into the metal tip.

Micro Garfield Dollhouse Assembly
Coming Soon!

Micro Beacon Hill Dollhouse Detailed Finishes

The Beacon Hill Dollhouse comes together in much the same way as the Garfield. Below are some finishing tips that can be used for any micro scale dollhouse kit.

They have display, table kits for these tiny dollhouses. These table kits are made of laser cut wood and some are model specific.

I remodeled this dollhouse after it was assembled. I first rep-painted it in a similar color scheme as it was originally. This is a very difficult thing to do. The parts on these dollhouses are extremely tiny. I had to use a combination of fine tip paint brushes and toothpicks in order to re-paint it correctly.

Notice the chimney. The kit does not bring a chimney but I created this one to match the one inch scale version of this dollhouse model, using a square dowel, very thin strip wood and a brick paper print out. The smoke is made of cotton. I used the same brick print out for the bays foundation.

I used a shingle paper print out to add more detail to the roof. I used copper paint for the dormer roof tops. Printing out shingles, wallpaper and flooring, from your own computer for dollhouses of this scale, is perfectly fine. Because the amounts needed are so small, they will not affect your printer ink. The thin printer paper is very easy to work with, on such a small scale, as well and because the wallpaper prints are so small, they always come out clear and crisp.

Also, shingle strips and wallpaper for this scale, can be expensive and difficult to find. So, if you want to keep costs down, printing your own finishes is a good way to go. Now is the time to take advantage of so many great patterns and designs found online for dollhouses.

I wallpapered this dollhouse, after it was assembled, which I wouldn't recommend. It is always easier to do this during assembly. These dollhouses are so small that every interior area will become inaccessible after assembly. Luckily, the Beacon Hill model didn't have many completely inaccessible areas except for the attic, which had already been previously painted. I still managed to put up wallpaper, on the rest of the walls, using long tweezers, so I can get into tight areas.

Always use a glue stick to adhere wallpaper or any other printed item, on such a small scale. Using any other type of glue will add too much moisture to the thin printer paper and tear it, wrinkle it or cause the ink to bleed. You just need a thin layer of glue and glue sticks are perfect for this.

Applying wallpaper to an assembled dollhouse, of this scale, is exactly the same as with a larger scale dollhouse. The technique is identical except for the glue, used to adhere the paper, mentioned above.

The finishing touch was applying the baseboards, which I cut out of white card stock, into very thin and even strips. I used a glue stick to adhere them as well. I used thin strips of printer paper to make the trim around the doors and windows but corrective tape would have worked as well. I used very thin strip wood trim, to trim the back wall edges, for a more finished look.

There is furniture available for these little dollhouses but the mostly widely available, are made of metal. You might be able to find more detailed furniture at specialty stores. 3D printed furniture seems to be the most popular way to furnish these dollhouses, with intricately detailed pieces. As this scale becomes more and more popular, there are more detailed, wooden furniture kits available for them.

Accessories are a little harder to come by but you can find some custom, artisan made pieces online. I made the tiny fruit bowl on the dining room table out of air drying clay and the area rugs were printed, to scale, on card stock paper. I left an extra edge on the rug ends, when I cut them out, so I could snip them to make fringe.

I covered the top of the dollhouses display table with grass. I used Noch grass but you can also use the grass they sell in the diorama section of the craft store. It's thin and will work great in this scale. I also cut small pieces off of a Squeeze Me bush in order to make smaller bushes for this scale dollhouse. I made the walkway out of a sandpaper strip.

Notice the little curls around the roof corners. I made them to resemble the little curls on the one inch scale version of this dollhouse. I cut these little curls out of fabric tape and painted them blue. I then glued them to each corner of the roof.

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