How to build a miniature house model with wood

Written by giselle diamond
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How to build a miniature house model with wood
A miniature house model built with wood (Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Miniature house models can be used for little girls' dollhouses or to demonstrate plumbing and electrical systems in a full-scale house. A miniature model house can be made of numerous materials, even cardboard. Follow these instructions to build a miniature model house of wood that can be used as a dollhouse and gifted to a daughter, granddaughter, niece or friend.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood panelling or plywood, 1-1.2cm (1/2 inch) thick
  • Square wooden dowels
  • Small tack hammer
  • Tacks
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter’s square tool
  • Power saw
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Scrap pieces of siding
  • Scrap pieces of shingles
  • Wallpaper samples or tacky paper
  • Wood glue
  • Two medium-sized hinges
  • Paper
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Sketch a rough design of the layout you want for your miniature house model. The following instructions describe a miniature house model that hinges open in the middle to allow you access to all rooms; keep this in mind while sketching out a desired room layout. Don’t be too strict on your sketch; allow yourself to change things in the process of construction.

  2. 2

    Build the outer frame and shell of the house. Measure and saw ten pieces of panelling to measure 600cm x 300cm (2 feet x 1 foot). Construct two wooden, square-shaped frames, using eight of the cut pieces. Place the two remaining pieces in the centre of the 600cm x 600cm x 300cm (2 foot x 2 foot x 1 foot) frame and nail into place; what you have now should resemble two small bookshelves.

  3. 3

    Cover one side of each “shelf” with sheets of the wood paneling or plywood. Place the two open ends together and affix the hinges along one of the edges. Place the hinges so that when the miniature model house is opened, the two shelves are usable as shelves.

  4. 4

    Open the hinges and construct a pitched roof for each half of the miniature model house. You should only need two pieces of wooden panelling, 300cm wide x 450cm long (1 foot wide x 1.5 feet long), for each half of the house.

  5. 5

    Measure and cut more pieces of the panelling to cover the open ends of the roof pieces. Cover the roof with shingles or paint on fake shingles. Cut out windows in the panelling, and cover the outside of house in remnants of vinyl or aluminium siding. Use siding end pieces to prevent cuts from rough edges. You may also paint the exterior of the miniature model house.

  6. 6

    Construct inner walls to separate rooms. Use square foot pieces and nail them into place to separate the rooms. Cut out door openings and stairway openings if you want more detail.

  7. 7

    Decorate the inner walls of the miniature house by painting or by covering in samples of wallpaper or tack paper. Then furnish the miniature model house with dollhouse furniture and accessories.

Tips and warnings

  • You may place flexi-glass sheets in the openings for the windows, and construct shutters and doors for the exterior of your home. You also have the option of placing staircases and using carpet remnants to cover the floor of your miniature model house.

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