You also have to keep in mind the viewing of its interior. Most of us do not have large enough display areas to be able to walk around the dollhouse, for viewing from all sides. This means that rotating and/or moving a dollhouse for viewing, will require more display space. Most manufacturers will have the assembled dimensions, for each of their dollhouse models, listed on their websites.
You may view the detailed guide on Dollhouse Back Cover and Display Case Guide for more information on these options.
Turntable displays for your dollhouse can be expensive, but also a good investment, if you plan on only having one dollhouse. A drawback to turntables is that your dollhouse may collide with neighboring objects while being rotated. For this reason, they must be kept in a spacious area to do their job as intended.
You can display your dollhouse right on your chosen table or add a base underneath it for landscaping or garden furniture.
You can buy a separate rotating table top, which can accommodate your desired landscaping and miniatures.
You can also buy an inexpensive, metal turntable, to hold your dollhouse, wherever you position it. These metal turntables were intended to be used during assembly, but they will work fine for a fully assembled dollhouse. If you decide to use it to display your dollhouse, you may want to add a sheet of felt underneath the turntable, so you do not damage your furniture.
The ideal is to have your dollhouse easily visible from any angle in the room you are in. Positioning your dollhouse in a corner of a room, often works well.
If you have power tools and some woodworking skills, you can make your own display table, though not a practical feat for most people.
Wheeled carts display dollhouses conveniently well. Plus, they are inexpensive, provide good mobility and can save space. These carts were intended to be used for computers or printers and are made of particleboard. For this reason, they work very well for lightweight, tab and slot dollhouses but might not for larger, cabinet grade/MDF models. Check the weight limit of your cart before you purchase it, in order to make sure it can work for your dollhouse model.
Remember that tables for dye-cut dollhouses are very easy to find because these dollhouses are very lightweight. Stands for heavier cabinet grade/MDF dollhouses are harder to find. Those tables must withstand the weight and size of these heavy dollhouses to avoid collapse, resulting in possible injury or death.
If the wheeled cart has an extra bottom shelf, you can also display a smaller dollhouse underneath. This saves space.
If you have a large enough furniture piece at home, that can be used, and you don't want to be bothered with a landscaping base, you might want to add stick-on, glider, felt pads to the bottom of your dollhouse to prevent scratches to your furniture. If your dollhouse has a front-opening panel, you may want to buy furniture glider tacks that are hammered to the base of your dollhouse. They will prevent scratches to furniture while opening front panels.
Some dollhouses are small enough to be displayed on folding, wooden tray tables, even when fully furnished. These tables can be easily rotated by the legs for viewing of the dollhouse, without touching the dollhouse itself.
Front Opening Display
This type of display method is not recommended for use on a child's playhouse.
If you have a front opening dollhouse, you can create your own display table by adding legs to it.
- Wooden, unfinished furniture legs can be found in the lumber department of hardware stores. They come in a variety of styles. You will want the legs to be no less than 20" long but no more than 28". That way the dollhouse will sit at a comfortable height and can be viewed easily when you sit in front of it.
- You also need a plywood sheet of the same size as the first floor of your dollhouse. Most hardware stores will cut wooden sheets for you, to your specified measurements. This plywood sheet must be 2/8" to 3/8" thick. No less or more than that.
- Lastly, you will need 3" nails.
If the furniture legs have screws, staples or other hardware on them, you can easily pull these off with pliers.
Add wood glue to the top of the furniture legs and place them at all four corners of the wooden sheet. You might need extra hands for help doing this.
Then nail in four nails to the legs, through the wooden sheet. Be careful to center the nails well so they do not accidentally go through the sides of the legs.
Now you have a display table for your dollhouse to sit on but it needs to be sturdied with wooden supports between the legs.
You can use wooden square or round dowels to fit between the legs, for this added support. They also sell fancy spindles, used for dollhouse porches, for a more detail look. Glue these on and then use masking tape to clamp the legs together until the glue dries.
Laminate the first floor of the dollhouse to the top of the wooden sheet, which is now a base for your dollhouse to sit on.
Use wood glue and binder clips to clamp the first floor flush to the wooden sheet.
Paint the legs to match your dollhouse.
Adding furniture gliders to the bottom of the legs makes it easier to slide the dollhouse on the floor, the same as with furniture.
Remember that long, thin legs will be supporting a larger top, that is incredibly lightweight, so the possibility of the dollhouse tipping over is always present. Once the dollhouse is filled with heavy furniture, this possibility greatly increases, especially when trying to open the front panel of the dollhouse.
So, whatever the method used to install this type of display or the amount of supports you add to the legs, you must always use a no-tip, wall anchor in order to brace the dollhouse to whatever wall you plan to display it on. This is especially true, if the dollhouse will be around children.
Wall anchors are very easy to add to a dollhouse and are sold at hardware stores. There are several types to choose from.
Add the anchor to the top edge of the dollhouse, where several parts have been laminated, making the wood in this area thick and able to hold the wall anchor. The wall side of the anchor, should be screwed into a wall stud.
Always open the front panel by holding the main body of the dollhouse with one hand and pulling the panel open with the other. The dollhouse is not strong enough for the panel to be pulled opened without supporting its main body and it will tip over, if a wall anchor is not being used.
Keep in Mind
This type of display method works very well for light weight, tab and slot dollhouses but may not work as well for heavier, cabinet grade dollhouses. Even though the legs have support, with the dowels placed between them, they are not meant to carry heavy weight and will always be somewhat wobbly.
For this reason, I do not recommend this type of display for cabinet grade dollhouse models. If you are handy at making furniture, you might want to use braces or other add on to this display, in order for it to support heavier, cabinet grade dollhouses.
Where to Display
Dollhouses should always be kept indoors because attics, basements, garages, and the hot, moist outdoors are not good places to store a completed dollhouse. UV radiation and damp drafts from windows can damage your dollhouse and its finishes. Wooden dollhouses are very sensitive to temperature changes and humidity levels. If the wood is affected by humidity levels and exposure, the glue loses its effectiveness, causing your dollhouse to fall apart.
Dollhouses that can be displayed in outdoor patios or verandas, have to be sealed and this will affect the types of finishes you can use on them. It also affects the assembly process and materials needed. Unless you're an experienced builder, it is best to display your dollhouse indoors.
Build your dollhouse when you have adequate space for it. If you're moving and have to store your dollhouse temporarily, make sure it’s a temperature controlled storage facility, to prevent warping and damage to finishes.
Even though your dollhouse is made of wood, it's not generally susceptible to termites because it's not ideal food. The plywood of your dollhouse is very thin and has a lot of chemicals like stain, glue and wallpaper paste, after assembly. Keep a clean environment to protect from other pests that can cause damage.
If you have a dollhouse on display, provide maintenance and attention to increase its longevity. Usual wear and tear is remediated with tacky glue.
Your dollhouse will collect dust. Cleaning will be tedious but necessary. The best way to dust your dollhouse is using a soft bristled make-up brush. Use it only for cleaning your dollhouse because miniatures are delicate and can react to chemicals or powders. Do not use life-size dusters because they can snag and damage your dollhouse. The make-up brush will even dust off your landscaping wonderfully.
When you decorate your dollhouse, attach all of your miniatures to furniture using a repositionable adhesive. This is going to make your life easier when you dust. Since everything is attached to furniture, you just remove the entire furniture piece, with everything attached on it, and dust with the brush. This will prevent very small items from falling and getting lost. Once the furniture is out and the room is empty, you can dust the window treatments and flooring. Shake off dust from miniature area rugs.
Miniature shops sometimes sell a very small micro vacuum cleaner to dust off dollhouses. Micro vacuums they sell for delicate electronic equipment, also work for dollhouses. A dust blower for electronics will work just as good as a vacuum for removing dust.
A soft bristled cleaning brush works best for dusting shingles.
When built correctly and given the right maintenance, your dollhouse can last a long time. Whether it's made from 1/8th" or 3/8th" plywood, the secret to a long life span is how the dollhouse was assembled and how it was treated afterwards.
There are dollhouses that were built in the 1700's and are still on display with only minimal restoration. Back then, the materials used to build a dollhouse were all homemade and natural. Imagine the advantage we have now with stronger and longer lasting, synthetic adhesives and materials. A well-built and cared for dollhouse can truly become a family heirloom.