Sunday 13 October 2013

The making of Playscale doll house


I wish I've taken more photos during the making of the dollhouse but I managed to take a few to show how the work was progressing. Most of the photos are from my iPad but I hope this will give you an insight on how I built this dollhouse.
Basically, I had to build the dollhouse from (almost) scratch. It is built using cabinet grade plywood and manual labour required. I used good old fashioned nails and wood glue to join the pieces. Everything had to be put together and dried for at least 24 hours (and weight had to be added to it whilst drying) before adding more parts. This process challenged my woodworking skills to the max
At one point the house was upside down (forgot to take a photo) and I attached the foundation. All it is now is just a big, sturdy box. I thought it looked like a very nice doghouse
The kit came with nothing for the interior. The edges and ceiling is painted with white Dulux Satinwood. I tinted and varnished the drawer with oak colour. 
I spent 6 hours (non-stop) painting each shingle! The ones on the left are broken ones. I mixed dark oak and light oak varnish and individually painted each shingle. I tried my best to get different shades of oak for every shingle tile
Every end shingle (that but against the roof trim) had to be manually cut at an angle. I love the finish effect and it was definitely worth painting them all individually!
I painted the house with lilac spring custom colour from Dulux. It is also Satinwood which has a nice semi-gloss effect. The strip-wood and roof are painted in a custom light rose colour from Dulux. Everything was painted with at least 2 coats and everything had to be sanded before that second coat.
Some of the components of the house. The spindles needed to be assembled and I managed to purchase some new windows to replace the broken ones. I couldn't buy some broken components so I mended it with PVA glue and lots of TLC. It's not so obvious until you look at it too closely ><
It was the most tedious thing ever to have to sand all of these bits before being able to paint them. 
The lights that I used are all from The Dolls House Emporium. They had the best selection of classic and traditional lights. This included the socket strip so I could do all the lighting wiring myself.
Wiring the house took 2 whole days. The first challenge was how tiny the wires were and I had to extend and solder some wires. It was not easy to work with wires at this size! I used a Dremel and added grooves onto the walls and floors to 'hide' the wires.
I used 4 different Laura Ashley colours to paint the interior walls. It is matte and the colour matches the 'wallpaper'
I used not 2, but 3 Tilda paper pads. This was also used to make pictures frames, posters, boxes, books and many other soft furnishings. The reason why I had to buy 2 Corner Shop pads is because every pad only had 3 pieces of 1 design and the bigger rooms needed at least 4 papers to cover it. It wasn't the most practical thing to be used as wallpaper since it had a 'washed-out' look at the edge and had to be cut off to get that continuous pattern. Nevertheless, I knew it had to be Tilda paper since I am in love with this Norwegian artist's work
Lights work (phew!) and wallpaper has been applied! The windows look gnarly without any inside frames so I had to cut that out manually.
This is the window frame for the bedroom. It was cut out from some remaining stripwood I had (that was already painted rose pink). I had to use balsa strips for the rest.
Other remaining wooden mouldings and balsa wood was used to make these picture frames. The pictures are all from the Tilda paper pad
This is the kitchen completed with all interior mouldings. The chair/dado rails and skirting rails are pinewood. The crown (painted white) is hardwood. They are all from Richard Burbridge.
This is the living room. My husband made me a custom mitre block so I could custom fit all of the mouldings onto the bay walls. I covered the floor with balsa strips and even made a bespoke bay window seat. I love the idea of chilling by a bay window looking out. Even the cotton fabric I use is from Tilda
So this is pretty much how I did it. I'd love to answer any queries if you have them since it's quite rare for anyone to work on a dollhouse at this scale. I'm still currently making furniture for the dollhouse so the inside will be revealed as soon as I am done with that! 

Have a great weekend!



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. Involved blood, sweat and tears! I'm sure you can understand the hard work it takes :)

  2. Looking forward to seeing the rest!

    1. It's coming on nicely. Just need to build a few more things and it should all be ready very soon!

  3. it's coming along well, I never thought to build a playscale dollhouse I will be watching with much interest ;)

    1. Thank you :)
      It will be an ongoing project like any other doll house so I will be updating this blog with any doll house updates

  4. Awe Inspiring!!! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos. I have the same kit yet have not started on it. Your delightful photos are just the inspiration I needed.

    May I ask where you located the wonderful shingles you used? You chose the perfect size. I love, love, love how your painted/stained them. Perfect!

    1. The shingles came with the cut but you can buy it from the Real Good Toys website or directly from Houseworks ltd.

      The only reason I had to paint mine individually was because an American supplier won't ship the shingle dye to me (I'm in the UK)

      Good luck with yours! It's a beautiful piece and it is worth taking your time building it

  5. its wonderland! you are extremely talented

  6. Thanks for sharing this beautiful creation :)

    1. It's my pleasure. I believe in sharing all things pretty and this blog is the perfect way of sharing my imagination with the world!

  7. Hi Nadia
    Thank you for sharing this! How did you fill the grooves you created for the lights wiring? Thanks

    1. I hid it underneath the carpet and flooring (using balsa wood)