How to Make Wooden Dollhouse Furniture

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Making doll house furniture can be a big task in itself.
Making doll house furniture can be a big task in itself. (Image: Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Whether you purchased a pre-made doll house or designed and built one yourself, the next step is filling it with perfect furniture for the dolls. Doll house furniture can be simple and enjoyable to make, and when you create your own, you can finish it to match the doll house interior. Use doll house furniture designs or design your own furniture.

Things You'll Need

  • Various sizes of dowels
  • Balsa wood, thin plywood or other thin sheets of lumber
  • Paint

Find designs for doll house furniture. Search the Internet or find woodworking books that contain designs. Be sure to choose the right scale for the doll house and dolls where it will be used. Look for dimensions and scale information on the designs and compare that to the size of the doll house and the dolls. A 3-inch high chair won't work very well for a 12-inch doll, but would be perfect for a smaller doll.

Make your own designs. Just keep it simple. Tables and chairs are simple objects that involve support pieces like legs and top pieces like seats or table surfaces. Create other items, such as book cases and beds, from real furniture designs and simply bring them down to the doll house size.

Choose the wood you want to use. Balsa wood is light and easy to work with, but can splinter when cut. Thin plywood is also easy to work with, but may not look as appealing in the finished product unless it's painted. Better quality lumber like cherry, mahogany, oak or pine looks fantastic, but is pricier. Purchase thin cuts of lumber to make it easier to work with. Paint or stain it if you'd like, or simply sand and oil it for a natural look.

Cut all the pieces out of the wood you are using. Then glue, staple or nail the pieces together to create the furniture. The method of attaching the pieces depends on the type of wood you are using and the scale of the furniture. Lighter wood, such as balsa, should be glued rather than nailed or stapled. Plywood and lumber can be glued, nailed or stapled; however, if the pieces are very small, glue is the better option.

Let any glue dry thoroughly and test the joints of the furniture for any wiggle. Reapply glue to loose joints if needed, then paint, stain, or sand and polish as desired. Use fabric scraps and foam to upholster the furniture. Simply cut the foam to the desired size and glue it to the furniture. Then cut the fabric slightly larger, stretch it over the foam, and glue or staple it onto the furniture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Different furniture styles may be easier for beginners than others. A simple rustic or contemporary style may have less flourishes or nuance to address than an early modernist, art deco, Victorian or antique style.
  • Common tools for cutting and assembling balsa wood include a craft knife and wood glue applicator. Thin pieces of lumber that are still too thick for a craft knife can be cut with a common table saw. And thin brushes are ideal for painting.
  • While many people feel that furniture-making techniques are simplified when working at this scale, that's not always the case. Trying to craft a detailed piece of furniture at 1/12 scale requires patience, steadiness and hand-eye coordination that will only come with time and experience.

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