Building vs Buying a 1:12 Scale Dollhouse

You probably aren't going to save that much.

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.
  • Windows
  • Trim
  • Flooring
  • Wallpaper
  • Electrical –
  • Paint

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.