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Zoolabees Dollhouse Miniatures Blog

September 30, 2007

Money Saving Tips for Building and Furnishing your Dollhouse

Filed under: Miniatures Resources — Zoolabees Dollhouse Miniatures @ 10:22 pm
Real Good Toys Williamsburg Dollhouse Kit

Real Good Toys Williamsburg Dollhouse Kit

Building a dollhouse doesn’t have to be an expensive project. There is a whole range of dollhouse miniatures on the market ranging from custom built dollhouses and dollhouse kits to high-end, solid wood hand-carved miniature dollhouse furniture (such as Hansson Miniatures) to lesser expensive, value-priced dollhouse miniatures.

The first place to start when building your dollhouse is to decide how much you want to spend. Is your goal to build a premiere dollhouse to showcase in your living room, or is it a project you wish to share with your child? For the crafter-at-heart, this may be a one-time project for fun you would like to build for yourself or give as a gift to a friend or family member.

Since this article is geared towards the budget-conscious miniaturist, here are some tips we’ve picked up on how to save money building and furnishing your dollhouse.

Start Simple – Build your dollhouse as your budget allows. Your project could take a few days or it could take years. It’s up to you to decide how much money you want to devote to your new hobby. Set a weekly or monthly budget for yourself and treat yourself to miniature building supplies or dollhouse furniture and accessories of your choice accordingly.

Build using a Dollhouse Kit – Some experienced miniaturists opt to build their dollhouses from scratch, using custom dollhouse plans. However, these custom-built homes can be very pricey. Try building your dollhouse using one of the many dollhouse kits available which includes all of the pre-cut pieces ready for assembly. If it’s your first dollhouse, you may want to begin with a room box kit which contains just a single room for you to design and build. As you gain confidence in your dollhouse building skills, you can always move to the larger project of building a dollhouse from a kit.

Use Paint and Stain – If you are on a budget, consider painting your walls and staining your floors. This will save quite a bit of money. You can always go back and install floors and wallpaper room-by-room later on as your budget allows. This will at least give you a semi-finished look as a beginning step.

Buy Value-Priced Furnishings
– Purchase value-priced dollhouse furniture for your dollhouse project. There are many great pieces available from makers such as Town Square Miniatures or Handley Classics. Depending upon the piece of furniture, you can expect to spend an average of $5.00 – $20.00 per piece for value-priced miniature furniture. Typically, the higher the price the more detail and quality the piece will feature.

You can also purchase your miniature furniture in packaged room group kits. For example, a kitchen room group might contain a refrigerator, stove/oven, sink and kitchenette table set. Purchasing miniatures this way can often save lots of money in the long run. You can also opt to make your own furniture from scratch or by purchasing a ready-to-assemble furniture kit. You also always have the option of redecorating your dollhouse to more expensive furnishings as your budget allows.

Do the Research – Before you begin your dollhouse project, we suggest you thoroughly research the project. There are many websites and books devoted to the topic of building a dollhouse. Ensuring you have all of the supplies and tools necessary will help make your project a success!

September 27, 2007

The History of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Miniatures

Filed under: Dollhouse History — Zoolabees Dollhouse Miniatures @ 10:46 pm
Real Good Toys Queen Anne Dollhouse Kit

Real Good Toys Queen Anne Dollhouse Kit

The history of today’s dollhouse can be traced as far back as 400 years ago to the “baby houses” of Europe. Built in the 16th century, baby houses were cabinet displays crafted in Europe and were made up of many rooms that contained exquisite architectural detailing. Unlike the dollhouses of today, these baby houses were off limits to children, and were designed and built specifically for adults. Cabinet dollhouses were the prized possessions of affluent women living in large European cities. The dollhouses of that time as well as the miniature dollhouse furnishings and miniature dollhouse accessories within it were reserved for the wealthy with a price comparable to a modest real life-size home.

Miniature homes have been around for thousands of years. Some of the oldest known miniature homes furnished were found in ancient Egyptian tombs nearly 5,000 years ago. These completely furnished homes were made of wood and included many of the same furnishings and articles one might find in today’s dollhouse.

With the advent of the industrial revolution, factories began to mass produce dollhouses. Originally, dollhouses were popular in European countries such as Germany and England. Germany specifically had earned a reputation of crafting some of the most prized dollhouses ever made.

The manufacture of the American dollhouse began in the late 19th century. Dollhouse manufacturing grew more popular throughout the early 20th century as more companies began to produce them. Mass production was in full swing after World War II. Mass production allowed for greater output and more affordable dollhouses, but compromised the quality, detail and craftsmanship of traditional European custom dollhouses. During the 1950’s, the typical dollhouse was made of painted sheet metal and plastic furniture. However, the efficiency created as a result of mass production allowed for many young girls in the western culture to afford their very own dollhouse.

Today’s dollhouses
are a hobby for both adults and children alike. Many still enjoy the challenge and reward of building a custom dollhouse much like the traditional dollhouses hand-crafted in Europe. Others enjoy building a dollhouse from a dollhouse kit, which includes a fully built house usually made of plywood or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and ready to assemble.

September 25, 2007

Decorating for Autumn with Dollhouse Miniatures

Filed under: Dollhouse Decorating Tips — Zoolabees Dollhouse Miniatures @ 11:52 pm
Dollhouse Turkey Platter by Small Wonders

Dollhouse Turkey Platter by Small Wonders

Autumn’s in the air and it’s time to decorate your dollhouse with all of the abundance that Autumn brings. Allow your miniature dollhouse to become your creative outlet for all of your decorating desires.

Seasonal dollhouse decorating has become a favorite pastime among miniaturists and the selection of charming miniature seasonal accessories is almost endless! Your dollhouse may be an important showcase piece within your home or a fun outlet used to express your creative inspirations. In either case, decorating for the season is a way for your dollhouse to continually evolve as seasons, designs and your own tastes change.

Here are some important factors to consider when decorating a dollhouse for autumn:

Think Color – Add life and color to your dollhouse with the vivid colors of Fall. Look for seasonal dollhouse accessories in bright reds, oranges, yellows and hearty browns. Miniature carved jack-o-lanterns, miniature plants with fall foliage, glass jars filled with tiny nuts, miniature curtains and quilts in bold hues are all simple ways to add autumn color to your dollhouse.

Get Creative – There are many seasonal dollhouse accessories that can be made by hand. Visit your local craft store for ideas on how to make your own charming seasonal decorations for your dollhouse. You can also look to nature for unique dollhouse miniature decorating ideas. Look for tiny-sized fall leaves that will fit the scale of your dollhouse or take full-size leaves of your choice and cut them to scale. A basket of real twigs also makes for a fabulous miniature seasonal accessory.

Food is Festive – A fun way to add a taste of autumn to your dollhouse is to focus on your dollhouse kitchen and dining room. The dollhouse kitchen or dining room table is a great medium to showcase your seasonal décor. Think about adding boldly colored miniature dollhouse fruits and vegetables to represent the bounty of harvest time. Beautiful red tomatoes, yellow squash and pumpkins make for great seasonal autumn accents. A basket of miniature sweet potatoes or a scrumptious turkey dinner will also make for charming autumn décor.

The Warmth of Autumn – Visions of autumn conjure up special memories for each of us. Brisk autumn nights and the warmth of the fireplace is an important piece that should not be overlooked when decorating for autumn. Think of adding a fireplace (if you don’t already have one) as well as charming miniature fireplace accessories including miniature fireplace screens, fireplace poker sets or even a fireplace logs with burning embers!

Let your creative juices flow and most importantly enjoy the beauty of the season as you bring the taste of autumn to your dollhouse.

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