A Victorian dollhouse can be simple or elaborate. Victorian homes were detailed inside and out, and you can choose to put your details inside. These directions are for a three-floor Victorian with nine rooms. You can adjust the size accordingly depending on space limitations. Because the popularity of dollhouses rose in the 1980s, accessories from velvet and mahogany furniture to candlesticks and trays of miniature food are readily available. You'll find a wide assortment of delicate dollhouse wallpaper and architectural mouldings, cornices, railings, and similar items by going to a hobby or craft shop or by searching online.
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Things you need
- Quarter-inch plywood
- Small nails
- Paint, stain and tiny-print paper
- Sheets of stiff plastic for the windows
- Balsa wood for trim
- X-acto knife
Lay out the wood so you can measure for the door and windows. When your dollhouse is finished, it will be 30 inches long by 14 inches deep by 27 inches high, with three rooms on three floors.
Cut the wood according to the template. You will need three pieces of wood 30 by 14 inches for the floors, 4 pieces of wood 27 by 14 inches for the sides and centre room dividers, and 1 piece of wood 30 by 9 inches for the front roof. Each floor is 9 inches tall. Draw lines along the sides and front to mark where the floors go. You'll also need a 5-by-8-inch front door and enough wood to create two miniature staircases, with stairs, risers, and sides sized to fit your house.
Cut the windows and doors. The sides should have a 4-by-5-inch rectangular window, centred, on the first and second floors and a third-floor window with an arched top, also 4 by 5 inches, for the attic. The front should have a 8-by-5-inch door centred on the first floor. There should be five rectangular windows on the front, all 4 by 5 inches, two on the first floor and three on the second.
Cut 3-by-6-inch openings for the staircases, one directly above the other, to the second- and third-story floors.
Make windows out of heavy plastic slightly larger than 4 by 5 inches. Glue them on the inside windows. Finish decorating the interior before you assemble the house by staining floors, painting ceilings, and adding wallpaper. Using wood glue, add narrow strips of painted balsa wood as window frames to hide the edges of the plastic. Assemble the staircases and use wood glue to hold them in place on the first and second floors.
Paint or stain the front door. Add a miniature brass doorknob. Finish decorating the exterior by painting the front and hinging the front door.
Assemble your house by nailing the front and sides together and adding the roof. Add finishing touches by cutting window and door frames for the outside. Add triangular pediments above the windows and door and shutters to the windows if you wish. Inside, add window frames, door frames, and ceiling mouldings. Separate panes of glass on the windows with narrow strips of painted wood.
Making a Victorian Dollhouse
Tips and warnings
- To add a stained glass window to your dollhouse, section off a piece of window with a narrow strip of wood. Use coloured tissue paper glued or taped in place to create the illusion of stained glass. It's easier to decorate the rooms before the house is assembled, but you can assemble it first if you prefer. While the house design is basic, you can add details by carpeting the stairs, adding window boxes, dormers, or a porch to the front, setting a chimney on top, or putting a hinged back side on to keep the contents free from dust.