So you dear daughter wants a dollhouse. If they haven’t discovered the strange world of miniatures and 1:12 scale dollhouse yet, congratulations. You just save at least $1k. Go buy a kid kraft or something like that and keep her away from dollhouse stores.
There is a culture of miniaturist that are fascinated by tiny versions of things. Very highly detailed, accurate, tiny versions of just about anything you can think of. Once my 6 year old daughter found this stuff she was sold and I knew a real dollhouse was probably in our near future.
I took a quick look at some 1:12 dollhouses and was shocked at the prices. If you think a $150 Barbie Dream house is crazy, run now, because a house is going to cost hundreds for a barebones kit to over $10K for a big fancy fully finished house, (not furnished, but finished). Ok, no problem. I’m handy and have some woodworking skills and a decent set of tools. I’ll just build one and save a ton! Ha. Nope. Wicked Wrong!
Point #1: You likely will not save much if any by building from scratch vs buying an unassembled kit.
The materials needed to really make it look like a real house are not cheap and add up real quick. Siding, Roofing, Windows, Flooring, Wallpaper, Electrical. Did I mention glue.
- MDF Clapboard siding. Originally I had planned to just mill thin strips of wood and make my own siding. After making a bunch of strips I realized this was a bad plan. It would have been such a pain and would not have looked good. The only way to do siding is to use the siding panels. Either MDF or Wood. This added about $100 for siding and lots of Quick Grip Adhesive. Real wood instead of MDF would have been about twice that.
- Roofing: $75 plus a couple more tubes of Quick Grip. I used 5 bags of the asphalt roofing strips at $15/bag. It looks great, but I hadn’t planned on the Roof & Siding costing $200! I was committed once I started though.
- Electrical –
I’d recommend just buying a good kit and starting with that.
Earth Tree Miniatures has some nice kits and just about anything you could ever need or want in the world of dollhouses and miniatures.