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Make Custom Dollhouse Scale Doors, Windows, Stairs and Other Building Parts

Customize or repair your dolls house with building parts you make yourself

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This list has instructions for making a range of custom parts for dolls house including opening and fixed windows, various styles of doors for shops and houses, staircases, tiny hinges and more. You can use the parts to complete a dollhouse or roombox, add them to a backdrop or set for your fashion or play scale dolls, or use them for model buildings. These instructions will also help you copy existing windows to replace broken building elements of existing model buildings and dollhouses.

1. Make Your Own Miniature Hinges for Dolls Houses or Model Buildings

Handmade simple dolls house hinge compared for size to a commercial hinge in the same scale.
Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
Although you can now find a range of custom hinges for dolls houses online, it is sometimes easier to make miniature working hinges yourself from scrap metal or shim brass. These instructions show you how to make a simple hinge, which is smaller than most of the commercial dollhouse hinges you can buy, despite the easy method used to make it. You can combine the hinges with other metal parts to make hinged hasps or other parts which are hard (or impossible) to find.

2. Make Opening Casement, Awning or Fixed Windows in Miniature Scales

Opening casement window for a dolls house
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

Use this tutorial to learn to make opening casement or awning windows, or fixed windows for a range of scale model buildings and dolls houses. The windows use thin plastic glazing and a 'sandwich' system of construction which allows them to be built with strip wood or heavy card, and common hand tools. Special mouldings or a router are not required.

The windows can be used for miniature furniture as well as buildings. They can be set into dining hutches or kitchen cabinets in miniature scales.

3. Build and Fit Fixed Windows Into A Dollhouse or Shop Front

Large plain plastic window fitted to the front of a dolls house shop.
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

The easiest windows to make for dollhouses and model buildings are windows which you fit directly into openings in the walls. This method uses stripwood and plexiglass, or acrylic, to make cusom flat windows with a range of designs.

4. Make A Glass Shop Door With a Transom Window For a Miniature Shop Front

Opening dollhouse shop door in a door frame with a transom window set above the door.
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

Full glass doors are easily made from stripwood and perspex or plexiglass (lexan) in most dollhouse scales. The instructions for this door also show the steps to hinge the door with pins and place it in a door frame with a transom window above. This method of making a glass door uses regular stripwood and does not require the use of special mouldings or routered edges.

5. Make a Half Window Door

Trim fitted to the center section of a dolls house door.
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

This door is made with the same 'sandwich' technique as the windows, so it can be built without use of a router or special mouldings. The half window style lends itself to a divided panel base which is how this door is constructed.

This system for making doors, like the windows, can use craft stripwood, or card depending on the scale of the doors you are making. With card you can make the doors for buildings 1:48 scale or smaller.

6. Make Simple Decorative Columns for Dollhouse Shops and Model Buildings

Assembling the parts of a miniature flat column for a dollhouse shop facade.
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

Flat column finishes for shop fronts and traditional interiors are easily made from a range of scrapwood pieces and regular moldings. Choose your trims and style, and assemble columns to fit any scale of model building.

7. Make Bevelled Panels for Scale Doors and Wainscoting

Panels in a dollhouse door sanded from craft wood to have bevelled edges.
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

Bevelled panels are easy to make in miniature scales and they can be used on everything from dolls house doors and wainscoting , to tiny kitchen cabinets. This method shows how to make them from stripwood using a sanding block.

This is a technique that can give you a range of ways to customize doors and walls for various period styles.

8. Make a Simple Faux Stone Staircase From Foamcore and Air Dry Clay

Stone staircase in 1:12 scale made from foamcore board coated with air dry clay.
Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

You can use layers of foamcore board covered with air dry clay to make faux stone stairs for model scenes, or a staircase for your fairy tale castle. As they are made from foam core board in the correct thickness for scale stairs, little measuring is required, and you can set up half circular stairs or a spiral set of stairs just by stacking the layers of foam, making each step an equal distance back from the step below it. Lightweight stairs like this are easily moved, making them ideal for front opening dolls houses, where they can be set in front of the house and moved when you want to open the doors.

9. Make Custom Domed Roofs for Miniature Buildings

Miniature building with a golden dome made from foam for a Christmas village display.
Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

You can build domes for most scales of model buildings using these simple techniques. The domes are shaped over a form using air dry clay or plaster over a base. Bases can be bowls, balloons or other easy to find rounded shapes, allowing you to make custom domes for almost every size of model building or dolls house. You can set the domes on top of flat roof buildings, or use them on pillars to make garden pergolas.

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