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Materials Needed to Build a Dollhouse


If you’ve recently ordered a dollhouse kit, you are probably anxious to get started! While you are waiting for your kit to arrive, now is a great time to get all the materials you will need together. Your kit includes all the wood needed to build your dollhouse, but you will need some tools to assemble and paint it, decorate the interior, and add any embellishments that you might want.

You will want to organize a workstation big enough to fit your dollhouse and a few tools. Below are listed all the supplies you will need or might want in order to build your dollhouse.

Supplies Needed for Assembly

  • Glue: Most of the dollhouse parts are secured with glue. We recommend finding wood glue that will set fairly fast, is easy to sand, paint, or wipe off, and has a good applicator tip. Try Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue.
  • Masking tape: You will need this to keep parts of the dollhouse together while waiting for the glue to dry. Also helpful to cover areas of the dollhouse when painting.
  • Pencil: for marking lines to cut and line up parts.
  • Hammer: Many dollhouse kits come with nails that you can choose to use to make your dollhouse more secure.
  • Fine tooth saw: Though most parts in the dollhouse kits are ready to be assembled, a few will require some trimming or cutting.
  • Utility/X-acto Knife: Also for trimming and cutting. Especially important when shingling your roof.
  • 100 grit sandpaper: For smoothing down edges that have been cut.
  • Rubber bands: When assembling window frames and other smaller objects, rubber bands are perfect for holding parts together as they dry.
  • Turntable: Not a must, but worth considering. The turntable makes your dollhouse much easier to work on, display, and play with.

Supplies Needed for Painting

  • High quality semi-gloss latex enamel paint: Painting is actually one of the biggest jobs in assembling your dollhouse. When choosing colors, you will want to think about the following:
    • Main exterior color—to be used on all the house’s siding. Your most important color. An 8 oz jar will probably be sufficient
    • 1-2 exterior accent colors—for doors, window frames, shutters, porches, balconies, and other outdoor embellishments. Make sure they coordinate well with your main exterior color. 2 oz jars should be big enough, but consider getting an 8 oz jar if you are using white as an accent color—you’ll probably want to use it in several other places
    • Interior paint colors—When planning to decorate the interior of your house, you may want to paint the walls instead of wallpaper them, and you will probably want to paint the ceiling as well.
  • Good quality paint brushes: You will probably want a few sizes of paint brush, because you will need them for covering large areas, small corners, and tiny details. Make sure the paint brushes are made to paint on wood and that the bristles don’t frequently shed.
  • 320 grit sandpaper: Used to sand between coats of paint to get rid of globs and unsmooth surfaces.
  • Light spackle: Not absolutely necessary, but may come in handy. Used to fill in tiny cracks between dollhouse parts or holes made by nails.

Supplies Needed to Finish the Roof

  • Roofing material: Dollhouse kits come with rectangular wooden shingles. If you want to use a different shape (square, fishscale, diamond) or material (slate, tin, aluminum, tile), be sure to order before you are ready to work on the roof.
  • Shingle dye: If you are using wooden shingles, you will probably want to dye them. Dye comes in red-brown or gray.
    • Rubber gloves: Protects your hands from staining when dyeing shingles.
    • Large piece of cardboard: Needed to lay out each shingle to dry after dyeing.
    • 2 1-gallon plastic milk jugs: Used to store and transfer shingle dye.
  • Liquid Nails: Type of glue used to attach shingles to the roof.
  • Utility/X-acto Knife: Some shingles will need to be cut to fit a specific space on the roof.

Supplies Needed to Finish the Interior

  • Dollhouse wallpaper: Wallpaper is the fastest, and usually the most attractive, way to decorate the interior walls. We recommend buying pre-pasted sheets. Wallpaper can be bought based on individual patterns or in sets of pre-selected designs. Buying individual patterns gives you more variety and specificity; buying sets is more economical.
  • Paint and brushes: Instead of buying wallpaper, you might choose to paint the rooms. As with the exterior, use high quality semi-gloss latex enamel paint.
  • Flooring: There are many types of flooring available for dollhouses: tile, wood, and marble flooring patterns, carpet, and rugs. You may want to change the type of flooring for each room (for example, tile in a bathroom, carpeting in a bedroom).
  • Flooring adhesives: To adhere wood, marble, and tile sheets to the floor, we recommend using Liquid Nails (the same glue used for the shingles). Carpets and rugs can be attached using carpet tape.
  • Lighting: This is definitely an optional step—lighting a dollhouse is almost an art in itself. You will need tapewire, some type of transformer, brads and eyelets, and a test probe, along with whatever lamps, lanterns, sconces, or chandeliers you plan on using. You’ll probably want an electrical piercing tool as well.
  • Furniture and accessories: This is one of the most exciting parts about building a dollhouse! There are literally thousands of choices available—just be sure to keep the size of your dollhouse, and your budget, in mind. You might even be interested in building some of your own items!

Dollhouse Embellishments

This section includes a list of replacements for items already included in most dollhouse kits, and a list of additions not included in many dollhouse kits (though they may be in some). As you build your dollhouse, you may find that you want to change what you already have for something a little fancier—for example, replace a standard door with a Victorian etched glass door. So, if you’re interested in embellishing your dollhouse, here are some areas you might want to think about:

Replacement Embellishments Windows
  • Doors
  • Stair/Porch railings
  • Staircases
  • Shutters
  • Trim
Addition Embellishments
  • Pediments
  • Chimneys
  • Outdoor signs, lettering, or address numbers
  • Porch additions not already included in dollhouse kit
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