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What Scale is My Dolls' House? What Size Miniatures Should I Collect?

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Dollhouses come in a wide range of standard sizes. How can you tell which size you should collect or build? How can you check the size of furniture you need for an antique house or toy dollhouse? Standardized sizes for modern dollhouses, include 1:6, 1:12, 1:16, 1:24 and 1:48, while antique houses are often a custom size. Some scales are popular for collectors of artisan miniatures while others are more useful for children's play, or families who share a range of hobbies with similar scales. Before you invest in a dolls house, you should understand the various scales available, and determine which scale is best for your collection and skills.

1. 1:6 Scale Dolls Houses - Fashion Doll Scale or Playscale

Items in 1:6 scale, also known as "Playscale" or "Fashion Doll" scale, are sized to fit with common fashion dolls such as Barbie, or collectible action figures, principally military action figures.  In this scale, one inch is equivalent to 6 inches in full size. A standard 7 1/2 inch tall door would measure fifteen inches, while an adult male doll is 12 inches tall. Some artisan miniatures are produced in this scale, mainly in modern styles.  This is also the scale for most Japanese 'Re-Ment' accessories and play foods.

2. 1:12 Dollhouse Scale - One Inch to One Foot Scale

1:12 scale sometimes called one inch scale gained a widespread acceptance amongst collectors of artisan miniatures when it was chosen as the scale for Queen Mary's Dolls House. At a time when imperial rulers were marked in 1/12ths of an inch, this was, and continues to be a popular size, which allows for the creation of greatly detailed miniatures. In 1:12 scale, doorways will be six inches tall or larger, and most adult dolls are depicted at between 5 ft and 6 ft in height.

The scale is common in play houses for younger children, with Plan Toys making their dolls, furniture, and some animals in roughly 1:12 scale, and Calico Critters (Sylvanian Families) also making their toys and accessories in roughly this scale (except for the animals themselves). For collectors in all ranges, 1:12 scale is the most widely available dolls house scale.

The scale is not popular for other miniatures however, so cars or trains and some other accessories in 1:12 scale are difficult to find. Space considerations mean 1:12 scale is not as popular with collectors who want to make an entire scene with several buildings or outbuildings. There are some popular model horses (Breyer and others) in this scale, with a few animals. A wide range of animals are available from artisans, but common farmyard animals are limited in this scale.

A wide range of projects in 1:12 scale can be found in the Dolls House Miniatures section of the Miniatures.about.com site.

3. 1:16 Dolls House Scale - 3/4 Scale

1:16 dolls house scale , sometimes called 3/4 scale, was a common scale for play dolls houses from the 1930's to 1950's and has now been revived by the Brinca Dada toy company for their new range of modern dolls house toys. One inch in this scale equals 16 inches on a real item, or 3/4 inch equals 1 foot. An adult male doll in this scale will be roughly 4 1/2 inches tall, while a doorway will be 5 3/4 inches to 6 1/2 inches high. Collectible houses and furniture in this scale include pieces from Tri-ang (a British Manufacturer), Marx (Little Hostess, Amanda Ann) and Petite Princess (by Ideal, marketed in the US.)

4. 1:18 Scale - Lundby Dolls House Scale - 2/3 Scale

Lundby dolls houses made in Sweden, are made in the scale of 1:18, sometimes called 2/3 scale. They are often furnished with 1:16 scale furniture, as play furniture in these scales is often 'fit the box' scale rather than strictly to size.

5. 1:24 Scale or Half Scale Miniatures

Mission Style dolls house bed with panelled head and foot boards built from a Daisy House Kit.
Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

1:24 dollhouse scale or half scale is gaining ground in the U.K. and Europe as a popular miniature scale. This scale is more commonly found across scale hobbies, with "G" or garden scale railways producing many inexpensive figures and details in scales from 1:22 to 1:24. This is also a common play scale for children, as Playmobil houses and accessories are in this scale to go with the railroads and vehicles produced by Playmobil. There is also a range of inexpensive 'puzzle' houses available in this scale. 1:24 scale is also fairly popular for high end die cast car collectibles, so street scenes are much easier to construct in 1:24 vs 1:12 scale.

In the dolls house artisan market it remains somewhat of a niche, with some artisans in Europe producing duplicates of their 1:12 scale range in 1:24 scale as well. 1:24 scale items are becoming more widely available commercially, but the range is still limited compared to 1:12 scale. Some kit manufactures, including The Daisy House, produce furniture kits in 1:24 scale.

In 1:24 scale, a doorway is usually 3 to 3 1/4 inches high, with male dolls standing between 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall.

Most of the projects from the Dolls House Miniatures section of the Miniatures.about.com site. can be made in 1:24 scale. The Dolls House Printable section of the website has a wide range of printable projects in this (and other) scales.

6. 1:48 Scale or Quarter Scale Miniatures

A 1:48 scale victorian farmhouse with a larger front porch and flower garden
Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

1:48 scale or quarter scale dolls houses are becoming increasingly popular, especially on the west coast of North American and in the U.K. This scale is similar to railroad "O" scale and building parts available for railroad buildings can be used for quarter scale houses. This scale also works well for gamers who use 25/28 or 40 mm figures. Many of the gaming buildings available are either S or O railroad scale. Projects to Try:

 

 

7. 1:144 or Micro Scale

Three Tiny English Village Shops in 1:144 or Micro Scale
Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

1:144 has been called Dollhouse for a Dolls House Scale or Micro Scale. Buildings this size can be used as 1:12 scale dolls houses inside a 1:12 scale dolls house. This is very close to the British "N" scale railway size of 1:148, and slightly off from the North American "N" scale railroad of 1:160 scale. It is a very popular size for Christmas Railway Scenes.

Projects for 1:144 Scale:

 

 

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