Friday, May 17, 2013

Dollhouse Madness... It Begins.

Okay, so when I needlepointed that dollhouse rug for that friend of mine who collects antique dollhouses, she  thanked me by giving me a 1980s-era kit for a 1/12th-scale dollhouse that she had picked up somewhere along the way. It's been propped up against a bookshelf in a corner of my office for some months now. Every once in a while I've been looking idly through the listings on Kijiji or Craigslist in case I happen to see any cheap dollhouse furniture.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I spotted an ad that turned out to be from a lovely young woman who was giving up her childhood toys, and for a modest sum I picked up enough little pieces of wooden furniture to more than fill up this little kit house (which is a Dura-Craft "Lafayette" model, in case you're wondering). So a few days ago, I opened the box and started to work on it.

It's not quite as easy as you might think by looking at the box label. Clearly this is what the original owners thought too, because they assembled just the first few bits before packing it all in, one supposes, in despair. There's quite a lot of cutting and measuring involved. And sanding. And I've discovered that a liberal application of wood filler can mask a thousand ills. And I realize that to do it right, I would need an airbrush, a jeweller's saw and some micro-drill bits.

I expect the kitchen is destined to be my favourite room.
I splurged on a few bits of wallpaper and floor coverings at The Little Dollhouse Company (where it would be quite easy to drop a thousand dollars without thinking twice). But I also used some scrapbooking paper my mom gave me, and a lot of spare paint and glue and tools I already had around the (human-sized) house.

Really, the fun for me will be making little things to go inside, like rugs, quilts and cushions. And when I saw that the specialty shop charges $15 each for "full" jam and pickle jars, I picked up eight tiny glass bottles for $1 at the local dollar store, and I look forward to filling them with tiny "preserves". A stopper and label will be easy. I'm guessing that for about $5 I can make more miniature preserve jars than you can shake a stick at.

How do you like the oak floor (my single biggest expense so far!)
As you can see from this mini-tour, it's tiny by house standards (although enormous by tchotchke standards). It will have a dining room and kitchen on the main floor, with a sort of two-part attic bedroom upstairs. The imaginary family presumably has an outhouse. Jonathan is worried how they'll stay warm with half the house open on one side, and I told him it has an imaginary fourth wall... there's a long and noble tradition of those, after all.

I think I've done about half the building. We have a long weekend coming up, so perhaps I can get the basic thing put together within the week. Or maybe not... we'll see how it goes.


  1. This is a slippery slope, Sarah. I've had dollhouses through the years, including a beauty built by my father with scraps of wallpaper and upholstery from our own house. For a time I made miniature furniture and sold it in a shop. The world of miniature "stuff" is addictive. Another addiction is miniature villages...

    1. I realize this is dangerous territory. I'm hoping I can keep it under control.