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Whether you're an experienced builder or new to the hobby, I've gathered material from all over the web to produce the most complete, tab and slot, dollhouse assembly blog you can find.
Tip: 1. Read through all of the instructions that came with your kit first. 2. Find your dollhouse in this blog by using the drop down menu below. 3. Read through the building process in its entirety before beginning your project. Happy building!

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Thursday, January 18

Finishing Your Dollhouse

There is no wrong or right way to finish your dollhouse. Below are some tips that might be useful when you make your finishing decisions.

Color Schemes And Paint
Alternate Finishing Options
Interior Decor

Color Schemes And Paint

Finding the right color for your dollhouse is one of the hardest things to choose. Even the most well assembled and beautiful dollhouse will loose it’s appeal, if you just can't live with it's color scheme. Colors have to be chosen carefully because once they are on your dollhouse, they are on to stay. Dollhouses can only be painted during the assembly process and not afterwards, so make sure you won't change your mind later on, because you can't.

If your using several different colors, paint wood sticks with them and put them together, so you can see how the colors compliment one another. Take the painted wood sticks under different lighting, so you can see how the hues change and interact with one another.

You might like to try a color scheme generator and/or other color scheme tools to help you along.

Plan your colors out carefully and obtain samples. Test them on wood sticks, so you can see what they will look like once applied. The picture on the bottle or paint can will never show you what the color will look like on wood or when the paint dries. The same is true for choosing colors online. Every monitor is different, so the hue you see on yours, is not necessarily the real hue of the paint when you buy it. For this reason, you should always use color samples as a guide only, whether online or on paper.

Your local hardware store has a wide array of color sample swatches for you to take home and decide on. Swatches are really helpful because they show you an entire scheme of complementary colors together. Sometimes hardware stores have free paint sample pots for you to take home and try out. You can also order free paint sample pots from many paint manufacturers online. A lot of builders use these very samples to paint their dollhouses with. Be fun and think outside the box. Maybe the colors you thought you would never want to see together will turn out being the best scheme for your dollhouse.

Maybe your dollhouse looks great as is, without any color. All wood exteriors can be made to look interesting by just staining the dollhouse with different color stains, stenciling it with designs of your choice or applying different color washes to the exterior wood.

Stenciled Washington 2.0 Dollhouse

Look through dollhouse catalogs and the internet to get inspiration on different schemes. Sometimes it's easy to choose just one color that you really like and create a scheme from it, by choosing different shades of that same color.

Here is a list of the color schemes I have used on dollhouses I have assembled.

Most dollhouses come with many parts and you get the real impact of all those details when you use as many colors as you can. Victorian Painted Ladies were painted in many colors so, the intricate architectural details could be seen clearly. Color schemes are completely a personal preference and there is no wrong color to paint a dollhouse, if the outcome is right for you.

Orchid Dollhouse With Dark Gingerbread On Light Walls

Arthur Dollhouse With Light Gingerbread On Dark Walls

I like painting my dollhouses in no less than three colors and no more than five. My rule of thumb for choosing a five color scheme is to make white one of the five colors, three of the colors are of a similar hue and one of the colors is the bright accent. This Beacon Hill Dollhouse is an example of a 5 color scheme. The bright blue is the accent color.

Beacon Hill Dollhouse With Five Colors In Earthtones

In Victorian times a lot of earthtone hues were used on one house to make it multi-color but what about a brighter look with some stand out colors instead?

Willowcrest Dollhouse With Four Colors In Bright Tones

Just because there’s a preference for a multi-color palette, don’t be afraid of a monochrome look. Some dollhouses look just as detailed and appealing with gingerbread and walls in one color.

Monochrome Westville Dollhouse

If it's too much to decide on, there’s always the classic three color scheme. In this scheme the walls are painted in the color of your choice and the gingerbread is always entirely white. The third accent color is used for doors and exterior floors, usually a brown or gray. This is the most popular scheme chosen.

Classic Vineyard Cottage Dollhouse

Keep in mind what you want to do with your dollhouse before you paint it. What style of décor are you looking for, serious or fun? Will it be a display dollhouse or a child’s play house? You should also factor in if you're trying to replicate a certain historical era for realism or not. All of those factors have to be considered before, so you can more easily decide on a color scheme.

Also remember that when it comes to color schemes, size does matter. What works for a small dollhouse may not work for a large dollhouse. With smaller dollhouses it's easier to get away with non-traditional wall colors or brighter schemes. Larger dollhouses usually look better in more muted colors or classic schemes.

The style of the dollhouse should also be a factor for choosing it's scheme. Victorian mansions can handle more colors than a simpler farm house or modern ranch. And finally, you wouldn't want to put Victorian bright colors on a Tudor cottage.

Here you can find coloring photos of popular tab and slot dollhouses to help you decide on a color scheme.

After deciding the color scheme you want, you have to choose the paint. I recommend acrylic craft paint, found at your local craft store. Acrylic craft paint comes in a variety of colors and has lower moisture content than latex, so it provides excellent coverage and protects the wood nicely. My top brands of acrylic paints are Folk Art and Americana. Delta comes in at a close third choice but any other brand, is not recommended. Below are links to each brand's color charts, so you can browse available colors.

Folk Art Acrylic Color Chart
Americana Acrylic Color Chart
Delta Acrylic Color Chart

Always keep a spare bottle of the paint colors you use on your dollhouse for future touch ups and repairs because your local craft store may discontinue carrying certain colors with time. If this occurs you will have to order your specific color directly from the manufacturer online. Sometimes, manufacturers can discontinue a particular color, but you might still be able to find a nearly identical match from another manufacturer. That's when an acrylic paint color conversion chart, can come in handy.

Acrylic paint usually comes in a matte finish, which is the ideal for a dollhouse but if you want to add a gloss or satin sheen to it, you may do so by applying a layer of Acrylic Gloss Varnish over your paint after it's dry. You can also choose an acrylic paint that already has a satin or gloss finish. Some acrylic paint brands offer these choices.

You can also use latex paints, found in the hardware store, for your dollhouse. I recommend avoiding semi-gloss and gloss latex paints because they will highlight any flaw on your dollhouse and interfere with the adhesion of glue.

Never apply oil based paints to your dollhouse. They have fumes and they will interfere with the adhesion of glue.
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Alternate Finishing Options

When you think of an exterior finish for your dollhouse, you are more than likely thinking about siding and paint but don't limit yourself. Dollhouses can have many finishes. Stucco, brick, half timber trim and stone are just a few different styles.

Dollhouse stucco comes in a powdered form that's mixed with water or paint to achieve a product that creates texture when applied.

Stucco Used To Create Mediterranean Look On The Haunted House Dollhouse

Bricks can come in miniature sized, clay, individual pieces or on a mesh. You can use mortar or glue to apply them. There are also faux brick sheets made of polystyrene plastic, rubber composite material or paper to achieve a brick look without the need for mortar. A lot of miniaturists use Magic Brick, to create stone and brick for their dollhouses. Magic Brick is a product that uses stencils and a special type of mortar to create the brick shapes.

Stucco And Pebbles Used To Create A Tudor Finish On The Aster Cottage Dollhouse

Some dollhouses can even have a mossy or earthy exterior finish. This is achieved by gluing moss right to the exterior brick or stone of the dollhouse.

Stone is also a very popular finish for dollhouses. It can also be bought in polystyrene sheets or paper. Most miniaturists achieve the stone look using air drying, Creative Paperclay. This product can be made to achieve just about any exterior texture you can think of.

Rosedale Dollhouse In Stone Created With Paperclay
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In order to buy furniture for your dollhouse, you need to know it's scale first. Most furniture comes in one inch scale because most dollhouses are in one inch scale. But, it doesn't end there because guiding yourself by scale alone, is not enough.

Miniature furniture is very expensive. Even if you buy mass produced items that aren't custom or artisan made, you can end up paying a lot to furnish your dollhouse, depending on how large it is. It would be a shame to buy all of that furniture and then realize, it doesn't fit in your dollhouse.

Scale is not scientific and there is a difference between scale and proportion. Scale refers to a ratio and not a measurement. There are a lot of miniature furniture manufacturers out there, so sometimes scale differs with each company.

For instance, Town Square Miniatures tend to appear large, even though they are in one inch scale. Chrysnbon are also one inch scale miniatures but look at the difference between a Chrysnbon chair and a Town Square Miniatures chair, pictured below. In a one inch scale dollhouse both chairs will look in scale. They are both made for one inch scale dollhouses but when you have limited space in your dollhouse, then this small size difference between chairs, makes a big difference in whether your furniture will fit correctly or not.

Another reason why you shouldn't guide yourself by scale alone is in these pictures. Check out the one inch scale doll next to the one inch scale door. The doll looks bigger. If it was a real size woman next to a real size door, she would have a hard time getting through it but when you place them together in a scene, your eyes do not capture those slight differences. Even though this one inch scale door is slightly smaller, the doll still looks in scale to this dollhouse.

The same goes for this car. It's scale is 1/16th", not one inch scale but yet it looks in proportion to the one inch scale dollhouse. If I would have put a one inch scale car by the dollhouse, it would have looked enormous. That is why proportion is so important. The only way to know an item's proportion, is to know its measurements, not just its scale.

Get all the measurements for your furniture before buying it. Most online merchants will post the measurements in the description of their items. If they don’t, buy at your own risk. There is a chance that what you get, will not fit in your dollhouse. Check the return and exchange policy for the retailer you plan on buying from.

Measure the rooms of your dollhouse once it's assembled and take into consideration the windows and doors in the room and how they can affect the way you want your furniture positioned. You can't have that nice contemporary sectional sofa, in your living room, if you have a bay on one wall and a French door on the other.

When you get the measurements for your furniture, make paper templates out of those measurements and place them in your dollhouse, so you can see how much space each furniture piece will require.

Most people are so excited about decorating their dollhouse that they begin buying furniture for it before it's even finished. I don’t recommend this unless you plan on building more than one dollhouse. The picture on a dollhouse kit box does not give you a real view of how large or small the dollhouse will be once finished. You can end up with too many or too few pieces of furniture once the dollhouse is finished. If you have other dollhouses to disperse your furniture in, it's not a big loss but if you don't, you're going to be disappointed.

The same is true for window treatments. All windows are different, so make sure that you get measurements before you buy curtains.
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Interior Decor

A question that always comes up for newbies about decorating a dollhouse is how do you hang pictures, put up chandeliers or keep small items in there place. Well, there are several ways of accomplishing this. It all depends on what you're trying to keep in place and for how long.

Museum Wax
Museum wax is soft, pliable and becomes sticky with heat. The heat from your hands will make it soft like clay and then it solidifies again at room temperature. Even in a solid state it is still relatively soft. This product is great because it's hardly visible and a little tiny bit goes a long way. One of the more popular brands of museum wax is Mini Hold.

Like with everything else, museum wax has its downside. It tends to leave a residue on everything you use it on. The residue can be removed by rubbing it off with a soft cloth or warm water but this is very difficult to do on tiny, detailed items.

There is no way to remove this residue completely from wallpaper. Even after rubbing it off with a soft cloth it can still leave a residue that can be felt and will show up as a shiny spot on photos. You might not have this problem if you use a sealant on your wallpaper.

Museum wax is very prone to react to moisture and heat levels, so if you have a heavy object like a chandelier or console mirror, the wax may not be strong enough to hold it and these items will eventually fall off.

Poster Putty
For heavier objects you might try using poster putty which is not as soft as wax. These types of temporary adhesives are sold at all craft stores.

Many times though, even this adhesive will fail for certain extra heavy, vertical objects like chandeliers or kitchen cabinets. Like museum wax, putty reacts to temperature changes. It will soften in warm temperatures. You might find your objects dangling from a long string of poster putty, as it softens and loses its strength.

Repositionable Adhesives
Thanks to the world of scrapbooking, there are numerous repositionable adhesives in the market. Adhesives, safe for scrapbooking, are acid free and will not damage paper or leave residues. They are also color fast, so they will not cause bleeding of wallpaper ink. They usually are clear, so they are invisible when applied.

These adhesives come in a variety of application methods, from glue dots to a product called E6000 Extreme Tack Repositionable Glue. With this product, you can create your own glue dots, any size or shape you like. These glues are easily removed by simply rubbing them off with your fingertip. They tend to come off completely, so you will not have the sticky, residue left behind like museum wax.

Become familiar with these products, so you can purchase the one that best suits your needs. Just always be sure that the product you choose is acid free and safe for scrapbooking, so that wallpaper and miniatures do not become damaged.

For hanging heavy, vertical items on walls and heavy chandeliers from ceilings, you might have to resort to glue. You really have no other choice at this point because if your chandelier keeps dropping, it will soon break or smash items displayed under it.

Most dollhouse lighting fixtures come with a sticky backing, so they can be stuck in place but many times this backing is just not strong enough to hold an object against gravity, like a metal chandelier or kitchen cabinets. Also the stickiness of this backing will wear out the first time you move the object for redecorating or changing a light bulb.

If you have to use glue to hold an item in place on your dollhouse, try hot melt glue. If you use white, tacky or wood glue you will never be able to pry the object off without doing extensive damage to your interior décor. When using hot melt glue always use a low temp setting and only the smallest dab possible to hold the item in place. The use of hot melt glue to hold an item in place should be considered a permanent solution. Certain hot melt glues, when used on a low setting, allow for items to be gently snapped off without damage to the surface they were adhered to but, this is not guaranteed nor should be expected.

ALWAYS keep a scrap of every single pattern of wallpaper you use for your dollhouse. That way no matter what damage can occur to it, you will always have the same pattern available to fix it. If you don't have a wallpaper scrap and worse comes to worse, you will have to use colored pencils and try to blend in the damage or put something in front of the damaged area, like a picture or a large piece of furniture.

Many miniaturists like to create their own miniature displays where the items are permanently placed on tables and cabinets. This is very convenient because items will never fall off and possibly get damaged or lost. Tacky glue works best for these displays. Many times, the items will still be removable because they can be gently pried off the furniture piece, they have been glued to. This is because the polyurethane used to finish miniature furniture, causes the tacky glue to not fully adhere, making the items repositionable. This is also not a guaranteed result and just like with the use of hot melt glue, anything adhered with white or tacky glue should be considered permanently attached.

Whatever adhesive you decide to use always be careful with your wallpaper. Museum wax can leave an invisible residue but some adhesives can downright ruin it by leaving an irremovable color fast or dye stain on it. Test every adhesive you use, if your not sure about it, on a small inconspicuous area to see what it's effects are. Also read the manuufacturers instructions on how and where to use carefully.
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The most asked question about dollhouses is electrification. Any dollhouse can be electrified to have working lights on the interior and exterior. An electrified dollhouse can have flickering fireplaces and working door bells.

What to use and how to do it though, is a much highly debated topic in the dollhouse world. Each person has their preference and opinion on what works better, lasts longer and is easier to work with. Here is some basic information about electrification.

I have electrified dollhouses before, using tape wire, but all of the dollhouses that I personally own, are not electrified. I choose to not electrify for several reasons. First, electricity is tricky and you have to keep in mind that all of your wires will be running underneath wallpaper, ceilings and flooring. If there is a problem with your wiring in the future, be prepared to have to take all of these decorations apart, in order to find and fix the problem. Second, no matter how carefully you wire your dollhouse, the wiring is never truly invisible. This is something you have to expect and be prepared to live with. In order to avoid these issues, careful planning and extensive preparation has to be done to the interior finishes and I just can't justify the expense and extra work.

Traditional Electrification
There are two types of traditional electrification methods. Tape wire and round wire.

Tape Wire
This is the most common method because most people find it easier to install and easier to hide. Tape wire is a series of copper lined, conductive, flat tapes joined together with brads. Since the tape is flat, it can be easily hidden underneath interior finishes. You apply your flooring, wallpaper and ceiling paper right over it.

Round Wire
Round wire is a copper conductive wire that works in much the same way your real house wires do. It is much more difficult to hide. With round wire you will have to drill holes through your floors and out through your ceilings, to be able to hang a chandelier, because round wire will be visible if you run it up to your ceiling, along a wall. Some miniature baseboards and crown mouldings have a small groove on their backs, so you can run round wire in them seamlessly against the edges a wall. Though difficult to make invisible, round wire is much more reliable.

Cir-Kit Concepts is the largest manufacturer of electrification accessories and tools for dollhouses.

The first thing you have to do is choose an electrification kit that’s the right size for your dollhouse. Each kit will tell you how many bulbs it can power. The more bulbs you need powered, the more expensive the kit will be. Depending on how you want the lighting set up in your dollhouse, you might need more wire than what comes with your lighting kit. Lighting kits do not come with specialty tools, that you might need for inserting brads or testing conduction, which we will discuss below. They also do not come with miniature lighting fixtures.

You have to plan ahead of time how you will run your wires, whether round or tape. You have to know where you want lighting in your dollhouse and what type of lighting. That means you have to decide, during assembly, if you want chandeliers or lamps in each room, so you can run your wires accordingly.

You will run into a problem right about here. First, your dollhouse has to be completely assembled but the interior has to be completely unfinished, so you can run the wire through all the rooms and then hide it with wallpaper, ceiling and flooring. This is hard to do when you have a dollhouse that will have inaccessible areas, which need to be finished before the dollhouse is fully assembled or they can't be finished later. You will have to be careful how you run wires in those areas to keep them hidden or just leave them without lighting.

It takes careful planning to electrify a dollhouse and everything has to be considered before you proceed, in order to avoid problems. Draw a diagram of how your wiring system is set up and keep it in a safe place, so you know where to find problems that can arise in the future. You don't want to have to guess where a wire is, five years down the line, if you have an electrical problem.

The best tip for those who want to electrify, is to not have finishes permanently glued to your dollhouse. This will avoid destruction of it in the future, to make wiring repairs. Make templates of your walls, floors and ceilings out of thin foam core or poster board. Then, apply your wallpaper, ceiling paper and flooring to these templates, instead of directly onto your dollhouse. That way you can run all of your electrical system and then apply the finished templates over the wiring. Now you will have easy access to your wiring, if there is an issue in the future, by simply removing the finished templates and exposing the wiring underneath, for repair.

Stick your finished templates to your walls with double sided carpet tape or poster putty. Any non permanent adhesive will also work. You can hide the template joints by covering them with crown molding and baseboards, which should also be applied using repositionable adhesive. Not only is this good for wiring because it hides it well and is removable in case of problems, but it is also a great option if you like to periodically re-decorate your dollhouse.

Tools Of The Trade
All wiring systems need a transformer. This transformer plugs into your wall outlet and it converts your standard 110 volt wall outlet into 12 volt power, that your dollhouse lamps can use.

You also need a junction splice. This is the first object you will insert into your tape wire and it basically joins the both strips of copper that run through the tape wire, to create conductivity.

Brads join two pieces of tape wire together in order to make turns around your dollhouse. They are extremely tiny and you will benefit from a brad replacement tool. It will help push your brads into their pilot holes or remove them if you have to.

You will need a pilot hole drill because the wood of your dollhouse is too hard to push the brad in without opening up a small starter hole first. This is especially true of MDF dollhouses.

A tester is good to have because that way you can test each joined strip to make sure that there is conductivity and the brads are placed correctly. By testing periodically as you install your wiring, will save you time because you can see immediately which strip of wire has the problem before proceeding.

Depending on the lighting kit you choose, it may or may not come with these extras.

Tape wiring is meant to be pretty durable, so if there is a problem with your wiring, it is most likely due to a brad. Loose brads, pulled out brads, damaged brads or brads that have been placed incorrectly, are often times the culprit to your system not working.

You also have to have the right transformer for the amount of lights and voltage you have running through your dollhouse. Many times, wiring will not work because the wrong transformer or amount of transformers were used.

I suggest you purchase the wiring instruction booklets that are sold by Cir-Kit Concepts, if you plan on electrifying your dollhouse. It will explain the details of traditional electrification, both tape or round wire, for easier installation. You can also see Darrell’s electrification guide with pictures here and a printable PDF guide on electrification from Real Good Toys here. Greenleaf Dollhouses has extensive electrification articles and tutorials available here and there are more instructions and videos for electrification here.

Lastly, many advances have been made to dollhouse lighting in the past few years. Gone are the days where you had only two choices for electrifying your dollhouse, tape or round wire. Now there are a series of new product lines available that have demystified electrification for the new dollhouse enthusiast.

Battery Operated Lighting Fixtures
Battery operated lighting fixtures, look the same as traditional dollhouse lighting fixtures, but do not have to be connected to a flat or round wire system. They simply have an LED bulb and run on a 3V lithium battery. The batteries are replaceable but the LED bulbs are usually not. These lights run cooler than traditional lights and the bulbs have about 4'000 hours of life. Each light fixture has a small on and off switch.

This option is perfect for the miniaturist that just wants to impress a visitor with a lighted dollhouse but will not use the lights much regularly. This is because these lighting fixtures can be expensive. Once the bulb runs out, your entire lighting fixture must be replaced.

LED Strip Lighting
You can also use non-working, inexpensive light fixtures, just for decoration, and light the inside of your dollhouse using LED strips instead. This option is also very useful for display cases.

The advantage of LED strips is that they are still connected to a tape or round wire system, eliminating battery replacement.

You also do not have to run the system throughout the whole dollhouse. You can be strategic in running your wires only along the back edges of floors, where the strips will be hidden behind custom back edge trim. This means that you no longer have to diagram a maze of wiring and apply finished templates to your dollhouse. You can electrify an already assembled and finished dollhouse by adding custom trim, already pre-wired, to all of the back edges.

The LED strips will light up the interior of your dollhouse, so that miniatures are easier to see and from the front, you will see lights through the dollhouses windows.
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Landscaping adds life to a dollhouse. Whether you want a lot of landscaping accessories like a full garden, pond and children’s play area or just a few bushes and trees, landscaping makes all the difference in the outer appearance of a dollhouse. It doesn't matter if the dollhouse is large or small, landscaping for either, is done the same way.

Landscaping Base
You first need a landscaping base. This base will go on top of the table your dollhouse will go on and the dollhouse will sit on top of it. The heavier and larger the dollhouse, the thicker you want the base to be.

Bases are usually a plywood sheet, cut to the size you want your yard or garden to be. You have to measure your dollhouse's foundation and how much landscaping area you want around it, in order to cut the right size sheet. Take your measurements to the hardware store and buy a plywood sheet of that size or have them cut one to size for you. You will want to landscape the sheet before you sit your dollhouse on top of it, so there aren't any grass seams around your dollhouse.

Instead of plywood, I use a product called tile board, for large dollhouses. It is sold in the same area as plywood and it's less expensive. You can have it cut to whatever measurement you want. The good thing about this product versus plywood, is that it doesn't warp or crack, it's super strong and doesn't have splinters. A thin sheet as the same strength as a thick plywood sheet. It also has a smooth side, that you can use to face towards your furniture, so its not scratched. The rough side is great for adhering faux grass.

For medium sized dollhouses, you can also make a base from foam core. It is easy to cut with a utility knife and you can even cut it in different, complementary shapes for your dollhouse, instead of a basic square.

Want a free base? Try using the cardboard from the box your dollhouse kit came in. This cardboard is sturdy and can be cut to size with a box cutter. You just add your grass on top of it and you have a quick and free base for your dollhouse. It works great on smaller dollhouses.

Many things can be used for grass. Fabrics, textured paint and foams are just some materials but I'm going to focus on three basic products that are intended for miniatures. Noch Grass, Astro Turf, and railroad grass paper.

The basic things you need to know about all three products is:
  • They all have paper backing, so you can cut them to size with regular scissors.
  • They all have to be applied to your base with spray adhesive or a glue stick. If you use a regular water based glue, it will seep through the paper and be visible on the “grass” side. The glue stain can not be removed and will appear as a wet mark, even after the glue dries. This will ruin your grass sheet.
  • They do not patch well. Any patching you do will leave a visible seam running through your “yard”, so it's best to measure your base carefully, so you get a big enough grass sheet to cover it completely. Also apply your grass first and then your dollhouse, as mentioned above.
Noch Grass:
This is a material imported from Germany, that looks and feels like grass. These grass rolls come in two sizes, large and small. The large roll is big enough to landscape a pretty large dollhouse.

Noch Grass

Astro Turf:
This is a grass sheet that feels like very thin velvet. It's cheaper than Noch Grass but the rolls are usually smaller than the base for a large dollhouse, so you might end up having to patch and as stated above, this product does not patch well.

Astro Turf

Railroad Grass Paper:
This is a large roll of “grass” that is commonly found at any hobby shop that sells model railroad accessories. It's inexpensive and the rolls are large enough to be able to landscape a few large dollhouses.

This material is different from the others in texture. It's very rough and feels almost like glitter glued to paper. It's very messy and you're going to want to take your base outside or to the garage, for covering. Once all of the loose green particles are shaken off of it, it won't release much anymore.

This grass sheet can be painted with acrylic paint and a foam brush, to give the appearance of autumn grass or maybe a realistic brown patch on a lawn. You might get away with gluing this grass sheet using tacky glue, used sparingly. Because the grass sheet has such a thick and rough texture, glue does not go through it easily.

Railroad Grass Paper

Regardless of which grass sheet you use, they all release fine dust and particles. They also collect dust. Because of this, they really aren't intended to be used for a child's dollhouse. Also, be cautious when using these products if you are susceptible to allergies or other breathing problems.

Spring Grass:
Another popular product is Spring Grass. It’s basically a bag of crumbled foam that looks more like moss than grass but it's sold as grass. It's very difficult to get loose foam to adhere anywhere and expect for it to continue to crumble particles on your floor for the lifetime of your dollhouse.

Spring Grass

Another important aspect of landscaping is trees and bushes. They are sold in all shapes, types and sizes. You can buy them as tall as your dollhouse roof or as small as your front steps.

Squeeze Me Trees are a brand of miniatures trees that claim to not crumble or fade. I have many of them around my dollhouses and can say, they are correct. None of my trees have crumbled or faded, even after being on display close to a decade.

Squeeze Me Trees And Bushes

You can find less expensive trees of all shapes and sizes at any hobby shop that sells model railroad accessories. There are also many trees and bushes available at some craft stores, in their diorama section. They are very useful for smaller scale dollhouses.

I can not tell you about their longevity. All I can say is that they are all mostly made the same way. They are crumbled foam, glued to plastic, wire branches and are usually hand made. They are delicate and they do release crumbs. Sometimes they can be made of plastic or paper but that reduces their realism, while increasing their longevity.

Foam Trees In Spring And Autumn Styles

Regardless of which trees you use, keep in mind that they are all fragile and you want to put them in a landscape scene that is not going to be bothered by pets or children. Spraying your trees with hairspray will reduce the crumbles and extend their life.

Miniatures flowers can be expensive, depending on the type you get. The most realistic ones are made of clay and of course, are the most expensive. Sometimes you can find less expensive miniature flowers made of silk or foam.

Take a look around your craft stores floral section. Often times there are quite a large variety of very small flowers that can be used in miniature scenes. Because they are so small, they are usually economically priced. A small bouquet can fill a dollhouses flowers boxes.

I like to fill my flower boxes with cotton balls, about half way, and I then glue the flowers to it. This allows removal in the future, if I want to change the flower colors. The cotton also helps the flowers stand straight as the glue dries. Once your flower boxes are filled with flowers, the cotton inside will not be visible. Cotton is much easier to use for holding your miniature flowers, than bulky floral foam.

After my dollhouse is landscaped, I like to run a green ribbon around the exposed edge of the base it's sitting on, so it looks nicer. The ribbon can be made of lace or whatever material you like and is glued with hot glue. It also doesn't have to be green, it can be any color you want. You can also fold your grass sheet over the base edges, so they are invisible.

Don't limit yourself to just grass and few shrubs around your yard. You can add ponds, lakes, fences, outdoor buildings and even a deck. Many of these items are available at your miniatures dealer but a lot of them can be custom made to fit your available space and preferences. All you need to do is buy the materials at a hobby, craft or miniature store and get creative.
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great tips. I have a rather large dollhouse sitting on a coffee table and need to landscape it, so the "grass" tips are very useful. I also bought Museum wax and Bluestick brand resuable putty. The owner of the shop that sells miniatures indicated that the museum wax should be used only on such as furniture if one wants to keep items from moving on a table, for example. I noticed that an item had fallen off the wall of my friend's dollhouse where she had used the blue putty. Does it leave behind a residue if one wanted to move around mirrors, painting, etc?

Onew last question: We live in California and had an earthquake that did damage to buildings and caused the loss of two lives in 2003. I have this large dollhouse on a sturdy coffee table, but do you have any suggestion about how to anchor it to keep it from tipping over? A friend suggested fishing wire, but does it get hammered through the carpeting into the concrete slab, or should eye screws be used in the wall and the fishing line wrapped around it? I wouldn't want to screw the line into the dollhouse, and imagine I'd have to run it under the "eaves" or somewhere around the base of the dollhouse, but it will likely be seen, nevertheless.

Thanks for any ideas.

Maisie Egger

Gina said...

Maisie, both the blue puddy and the museum wax may leave a residue when used on wallpaper. Wallpaper is porous so it will soak up oils from the wax and/or puddy. If you have sealed your wallpaper, then you should not have that problem.

I do not have any tips for actually anchoring a dollhouse down to protect it from an earthquake. I have never lived in an earthquake area so I do not know what would be appropriate for anchoring things down. The fishing wire sounds like a good idea and I would anchor it to the floor rather than the wall. You could also anchor down the display table and then anchor the dollhouse to the table with screws that would go from the dollhouse floor into the table. I have no idea how useful or practical that tactic would be since I imagine that during an earthquake the whole floor would be moving. Your best bet it to treat your dollhouse like you would any other piece of furniture and anchor it down using similar methods.

Anonymous said...

i have a question...im 12 years old and im getting the pierce and i wanted to know if the outside could be purple, then the windows and stuff like that could be white and brown then the staircase could be white-would it look good? im also planning to get the two calico critter sets to furnish it-the deluxe bathroom set and the kitchen set and accessories set. Would they fit? there at a 1:12 ratio.

Gina said...

Hello there,

Absolutely. You can paint your dollhouse any color you would like and purple with white trim would be lovely.

The calico critter set would fit in the Pierce Dollhouse because it is a 1:12 scale dollhouse just like the furniture you want.

Beth said...

Is it possible to put brick exterior over siding in order to refurbish an old dollhouse? I have two old dollhouses that I took apart and put back together as one big one. The siding on the two was slightly different. I was wanting to cover it with brick but was not sure how. The siding is not removable:(

Gina said...

Hi Beth,

Since the siding is not removable, you might want to just sand it down as much as possible so you can put your bricks over it. Just make sure you sand it down good so you have a nice flat (or as flat as possible) surface for your bricks to adhere correctly to or they might begin falling off. Also, depending on the type of brick you plan on using, the real mortar brick is extremely heavy even though it is in miniature so make sure that siding really is not removable or the bricks might pull the siding right off once you have a completely bricked wall.

vonetta said...

Hi I am in the process of building the Garfield,I will take into consideration your tip on waiting until I complete it to get the furniture....thanks

Anonymous said...

Hello, I noticed in some of you dollhouse photos you have cars, where did you purchase those as I have been looking for a car just like the one on the side of your brown tall dollhouse with blue detailing (the first one on your slideshow) for some time! It would be really nice if you could help me out! Thanks


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