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Dolls houses are amazing fun! I had one when I was younger and used to play with it all the time! What I did find rather bad however, was the price of dolls house furniture - sometimes it may have been cheaper to go and buy a real life size version of a particular piece of furniture!
I found out though, there are loads of ways to do up your dolls house without it costing too much. There are many different items you can easily make out of household items that you may usually throw away. I had the idea of going to my local DIY store! If you want to 're-decorate' your dolls house the cheapest way to do it is to go to your local DIY store and take some wallpaper samples! They are free, so all I needed to buy was a glue stick to put it all up!
Dolls houses & miniatures 1:12th scale is my hobby
It started with my daughter, then I became very attached to hers so my husband brought one for us, yes US. We have a stunning Victorian house, at the moment there is no kitchen as this will be in the basement which we yet have to build !
it can be a very expensive hobby, but there are also many miniature things which you can make at a fraction of the cost of ones which you can buy.
For example I wanted so special curtains for the drawing room as I had spent so long and taken so much care on that room. After searching the net and seeing some for a massive cost which I really did like I decided to have a go and make some my self.
http://www.cdhm.org/tutorials/make-dollhouse-miniature-drapes-curtains.html is a fantastic web site to help you along. Instead of using a knitting needle I use a cork board and pins and pin each pleat as I go,
You can also make roller blinds just by using a bbq stick and some fabric. You get so much pleasure from making an item from scratch. The wooden coffee stirring sticks you get in Mc D's are very useful and free! And they make fantastic picture frames.
There are lots of web site which give ideas on how to make things for your dolls house and many give you free printables.
So where as you buy everything for your dolls house and it will work out expensive. Check out web sites and have a go at making something if you can.
I never had a dolls house as a child ( boo hoo I know - I was SO hard done by!) Perhaps it is for this reason that I really want one for my daughter, 39 months old.
Ive been 'window shopping' on the net and I cant believe how fanatstic / realistic some of these can be! You can paint them, wallpaper them, furnish and love them - you can even buy little lights etc that really work! I was so amazed at what these could end up costing ! Yes they are beautiful but not really what I want for my little one as her first dolls house but neither did I want the big chunky plastic types that I saw in ELC.
For her christmas present Ive settled for a Chad Valley Dolls house priced £39.99. I cant comment yet as to wether or not ive made the right decision as its still sitting in its box waiting for me to tackle it before christmas week hopefully!
Its a wooden house with a carry handle which I like the idea of and its age 3+.
It contains a family of four and furniture for five rooms, it has an open front and detachable roof. What else could I want for my daughters first dolls house (or should I say mine ha ha !!)
Im looking forward to making it and who knows where it may lead ....
When I was a young girl my most treasured possesion was my dolls house, I would spend so many hours changing the furniture round, putting the dolls in to different rooms and to bed when it was night time.
I have a lot of memories playing happily with my dolls house that when I saw one last year I just had to get my daughter one too.
I found one for sale at my local sue ryder care shop, it 's not second hand its one of their new products that they sell and get commision for and it was priced at £79.99. I liked it because I was also giving money to a good cause.
What struck me was the quality, it's not like my childhood dolls house, this is hand made from real wood throughout and the roof has individual tiles attached.
It comes partly made up, with just a few minor fixings that are needed to the roof and the front.
The dolls house came in a variety of colours and styles, so I chose a pink one for my daughter, it has three floors to it one of which is in the attic and in all there are five rooms inside with two sets of wooden stairs. The front has seven windows (two of which are bay windows) and a front door.The roof lifts up and the front opens out in two parts.
The rooms can be made into whatever you wish as the furniture is bought seperatly and again vary in price from as little as £3.99 up to £19.99. I have bought a lounge, kitchen and bedroom set so far and have bought a bathroom and nursery set for christmas this year.
The actual room sets are very well made from real wood and the detail is beautiful, the kitchen units for instance have drawers and cupboards that open with tiny handles attached, with a cooker, sink with taps, microwave and even comes with a breakfast bar and two stools.
Other sets available are hanging baskets, vases, mats, wallpaper, a conservatory, garden furniture, plates of food, plants.....the list is endless. There are even chandelier and lights available that come with a plug so all you need to do is set them onto the ceiling and plug them in.
Whats nice about this dolls house is that its a keepsake too as its such good quality, it really is going to last her a life time and maybe even for children of her own. And its so nice to be able to keep adding to it, so it keeps the interest there.
I store it on a cupboard in my bedroom so it can be played with carefully and when my daughter friends come over it's out of the way as it could be easily broken.
My daughter plays for hours with this the same as I did as a child and she does a lot of role play too so its really good for your childs imagination and learning.
I know sue ryder charity shops are not for every one but they do sell new products too and I have to say this is one of the exeptional products they offer. Anyone thinking of a dolls house this year this could be an option for you.
Every little girl has to have a dolls house ! i remember playing with a one i had for hours on end and i used to love going and getting other little sets to add to it with my pocket money ! So when my little girl turned 3 years old i was thinking of something special to get her that would last her a long time and not just be thrown to the back of the cupboard like a lot of toys she had, after browsing in elc i saw the rosebud cottage it was pink VERY girly, wooden dolls house that you could but LOTS of accesories for - PERFECT ! she plays with this all the time and they sell so many different accesories including conservaty, familys,living room, bedroom, kicthen etc. This sits in her bedroom and looks absolutly stunning ! i would definatly recomend a dolls house for any little girl.
Some things you pick up because you're interested in them, and some because a family member is interested in them. I was never a child who did well with my dolls house - I was too rough, and had too much of a tendency to lose small parts. My younger sister on the other hand, begged for one from the age of five.
Suspicious of expensive hobbies that would be dropped within weeks, my mother at first said "No", but eventually she came across a cardboard house for £5 and purchased that. When she showed no signs of growing bored, my sister eventually graduated to a simple wooden house, and as I type this, my sister is now nineteen and I'm sitting next to her current house - a five floored mansion which cost several hundred pounds and stands taller than I am.
So, some quick advice if you, or your small child, is interested in dolls houses.
1. Don't think it has to be expensive. Doll's houses will go as far as you allow your budget to go. You can go to a specialist dolls house shop or fair and sped £30 on a gorgeous tiny blue tit hanging upside down from an outside water tap drinking a drop of water... or you can spend £3 on a basic child's set of wooden furniture for one room. If you're prepared to spend a lot, you will pick up some beautiful stuff, but you don't HAVE to.
2. Get to know your local hobbyists. There are some big companies like Dolls House Emporium out there but there are also a lot of enthusiasts who will build you a nice (and often unique!) house for a reasonable price.
3. Get to know what you can do yourself. If you're decent with carpentry, there's no reason why you can't do (and paint) your own house. My younger sister can now safely fit her own miniature electric lights, including soldiering work. Furniture will often come cheaper if you make it from a kit. If you have clever fingers, you can likely make a lot of your own food from modelling clay. My aunt knits dolls house clothes - with cotton, on hat pins. You get the idea. If you're crafty, you'll be amazed what you can do.
4. Do not assume this is a child's hobby. If you're an adult - don't feel embarrassed! There are a ton of magazines, shops, clubs and fairs JUST FOR YOU! Believe me, the price of some of this stuff is not for the kiddy market. If you're a parent with a kid that's interested - please, for the sake of your child, check everything they buy. A lot of dolls house stuff will be marked as being for 14 plus. This is because they haven't been safety checked as toys, they're not aimed at kids, they likely ARE breakable, and at the very least they can be swallowed. If you have a sensible older child, there's no reason why they shouldn't be allowed them, but don't assume that just because it's for a dolls' house it's childsafe.
Take it slowly. Make a budget and stick to it. When you're thinking of buying anything, ask yourself "Could I make this myself, just as good?" Most of all, enjoy yourself, and you might just have a hobby you;ll keep with for years to come.
As a child one of my favourite toys was my dolls house, I remember spending many happy hours making up stories about what happened to my miniature family. It was therefore quite understandable that as soon as my own daughters were old enough I wanted them to experience the same sort of fun. Not only that but after seeing a dolls house in the Early Learning Centre, my eldest girl was absolutely determined that she wanted Santa to bring her one for Christmas. After looking around, we decided that our girls only deserved the best, no flimsy plastic house for my little princesses, and we bought them the ELC Wooden Dolls House for Christmas, along with all the furniture sets, a garage, basement and of course the wooden family who were to reside there.
There are now two versions of the house available, the basic (the design of which has changed somewhat since we bought ours) and the Georgian, but when we got the girl's there was only one version which looks more like the Georgian House (and is still occasionally available on Ebay) so that's the one I'm going to be reviewing.
~~~Getting the builders in~~~
The house comes flat-packed, and you need to completely assemble it yourself, which is no mean feat. Although the instructions are very clear, and everything attaches together using an Allen key, I found it quite fiddly, and it took a good hour on Christmas Eve, to construct the house, basement and garage. This was a little embarrassing as I pride myself on my ability to put together self-assemble furniture.
~~~A desirable property~~~
Once assembled the house looks very nice, if a little plain. None of the surfaces are painted so everything is wood colour, but if you are so inclined you could always paint the walls, something I've often thought about doing, but as it's never left alone long enough for the paint to dry .... well you know how it is.
The actual house comes on two levels, with two rooms on each with a sloping roof. There are sliding doors on each level, and a handy carry hole in the roof. Standing approx. 50cm tall it's not the tallest house I've seen, and is about the right size for a two year old to reach into.
And that is actually all you get for you money, an undecorated, unfurnished two up two down. Doesn't seem all that much like good value so far does it?
~~~Getting the builders back in~~~
Now the nice thing about the ELC dolls house is the extensions that you can buy, our girl's actually have all the extensions you could get at the time. There is the basement, which adds an extra two rooms, and on which the house sits perfectly. Then there is the garage complete with up and over door, the over garage extension and what Des res would be complete without its roof garden complete with picket fence.
Once all these extras are added the house begins to look very impressive (if a little bare), and is starting to seem much better value for money.
~~~Furnishing your house~~~
Once the house is completely built, it's time to start looking at getting some furniture to go in it. ELC sell a large variety of room packs, just for this purpose. All of the furniture is well constructed out of wood, and most of it is even coloured. There are packs for the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, children's bedroom, utility room, bathroom, office and even a playground. Everything looks like what it's supposed to be, even the toilet with its lid and bowl. My personal favourite is the office, with a computer, monitor, keyboard and even a printer, along with the desk and swivel chair. But my girls think the playground equipment is the best, with the see-saw and slide, not to mention the sandpit with it sandpaper sand.
Now that we've sorted the furniture out, it's time to move our family in. ELC have two different families, one white and one ethnic, we got some people with our furniture packs but that was a special offer. Each family set includes, a Mum, Dad, Granddad, Grandma, Boy and Girl. They have wooden heads, hands and feet, and posable arms and legs. The whole family are nicely dressed, and their painted features and woollen hair gives them something of an old fashioned look.
But we mustn't forget their pets, there's even a set of pets available to make family life complete, featuring a cat, dog and rabbit in a hutch. I was a little disappointed that there were no gerbils or goldfish, but there you go. The pets are constructed in a similar way to the people and again look just like what they are supposed to be.
~~~The family motor~~~
The final touch to the dolls house set is the car. Now I found the car to be a disappointment, it's not the best looking car in the world, although there is enough room for the whole family. Basically it looks like a box on wheels, and I would say it's not really worth the money.
Now this dolls house has had extensive use in the three years we've had it, and is definitely starting to look lived in. The first casualties were the sliding doors, which according to my children just came off all by themselves, this was within the first year of use. Some of the people are starting to look a little worse for wear to, with a couple having had to goto hospital to have their feet glued back on. And well, with large families such as the one that lives in this dolls house accidents do happen, and a few pieces of furniture have been broken, but they've been sent to the repair shop (my kitchen table), glued back together and are almost as good as new.
This dolls house has provided hours and hours of play for my girls, who got this three Christmas' ago. It's one of the few toys they actually play together with. The house gives them a chance to develop their imaginative play, and on one occasion helped us to realise that the older one was being bullied at school, as she acted out what happened.
They will literally spend hours tidying the furniture and vacuuming the house, so why oh why do I get moans about tidying their other toys away. But it's not just for girls, my younger son enjoys playing with this as well, in fact as he's on the autistic spectrum, it's nice to see him get pleasure from a toy where he actually needs to use his rather limited imagination.
I would say that this dolls house is suitable from about the age of two with supervision, there are some small pieces in the furniture sets, so if your child puts things in their mouth then they may not be suitable. I can't think of any upper age limit, my eldest girl is nine and she still loves it, although I think it may soon be a little uncool for her friends to know she still plays with dolls.
~~~The Asking Price~~~
Now we come to the part you're going to gasp at, just how much does this dolls house cost, I hope you're sitting down....
The actual house cost us : £50
The Basement adds another : £20
While the Garage is : £20
And the extension : £20
The roof Garden : £10
The furniture sets : £10x 6
The families (each) : £10
The pets : £6
And finally the car : £10
And this makes a grand total of : £216
The Georgian Dolls House sells at £75, the Basement £50 and the Attic £35, the furniture stills costs £10 a room, and the families are £10 each.
Which is not cheap, but you do not need to buy it all at once, for the younger child just the house, a family and four furniture sets would be enough, and then you can add rooms as they get older.
This dolls house makes a delightful present for any child, it has the looks of a traditional toy, and is relatively sturdy, after all if it's still standing in this house it will last anywhere. Although expensive, it is not only made by ELC, who state they only sell toys they believe are educational, but it's fun.
In this day and age, where our children seem to want to spend more and more time on computers and video games, it's nice to see them playing with a toy where they actually need to use their imagination. I am therefore heartily recommending that if you have a child who dreams of owning a dolls house, go out and buy this now !
I bought a few years ago but sold it when i wanted to un register from here I missed nothing as i had spent a lot of effort in trying to un register from here different items for it, so i decided to buy another this time it was starting to bug me cos my emails weren't being answered. emporium, which myself and my husband have just started to assemble. ( we've taking it out of the boxes. The instructions were quite easy to follow like please un register me.kit are very good they may be detailed but are easy to follow,so my husband says.The instructions state that it takes 12 hrs to assemble and decorate. We went over to the i don't want to be here any more and what they looked like fully built lit and decorated, and i must say it was so fascinating. what am i suppose to do.And they even amused my baby while we were looking round. There is a large selection of furniture and accessories to choose from, and everything looks so realistic its great.They have miniture shoes, little brolleys, even plates of food and cans of pops. Each room is set out so lovely as if you were looking into a real house. Theres a coffeee table with a pipe and ashtray, evening paper on it even a glass of orange.You can also buy pets from cats to dogs, birds and even a fish tank with fish in it. is the place to visit for anybody who is interested in starting this up as a hobby. Yes it is a very expensive hobby but it is well worth it to have a house thats just like the real thing right down to dollshouse foods conservatorys and even a garden with a shed.I found that the assesories like the plates of food, brolleys, shoes etc were quite rasonably priced.The most expensive things are the house and furniture. Just think once your house is set up and lit all your visitors will have to take a look inside
My daughter was brought a flat pack dolls house kit from The Dolls House Emporium for her birthday, (she was two!), by a well meaning but childless relative. It was left to me and her Daddy to construct and decorate the kit until it looked like an elegant six roomed home. This has been some task, but it has been one we have enjoyed. The only problem has been taking out the second mortgage we needed to complete the thing! The kit itself cost £150. For this we received the house in pieces. It is made in good quality MDF, and is strong enough to last many years. We also received all the windows, stairs and doors to complete the house. However it was completely undecorated, and the kit does not supply any of the many things you need to decorate the house. First of all we had to buy paint. Two colours, white and a nice blue. My husband painted all the relevant parts and started to put it together. He then had to install the lightening. This is done by making a circuit through the house using copper tape. We brought the lighting kit from the Dolls House Emporium, and it cost £65.80. For this we got all the lights for each room, the copper tape and a transformer to run the circuit from. After that it was a case of carpeting and decorating the rooms. We brought self-adhesive carpets at £2.30 a piece. You could, of course use off cuts of carpet if you had them, but as we did not, we had to buy them. If you wanted to you could buy real wood parquet flooring at £22, but we decided our house wasn't quite that smart! We did have to buy stair carpets, (two flights don't you know), and all the stair rods to fit them with. A real snip at £3.10 for each carpet, and £11.50 for each set of rods. The Dolls House Emporium also sells wallpaper for the houses. They are all priced at £1.20 a sheet, but we decided to use sample papers from the local DIY shop, because they are free! But of course we did have to buy wallpaper paste to hang the paper with. A
ll that was left then was to buy the roof paper with grey tiles on to finish off the house. Finally our house looks beautiful. There is an elegant dinning room, a comfortable living room, a pretty kitchen, a sumptuous bathroom, and two bedrooms in which a little family can relax in style. However, all these wonderful rooms are unfurnished! With prices including £16.80 for a sofa and £18.40 for a bed, they will probably stay that way for a while! Having said all this, it has been great fun putting this dolls house together, and I have really enjoyed it. There must be cheaper ways to do it; we had to do it this way as our daughter was brought the kit to start with. If you built the house yourself using a plan rather than a pre cut kit, you would save a lot of money. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go and decide which colour bed linen the bed in the main bedroom will have for when I place my next order!
The first doll's house I bought was in pre cut form ready to be pinned and glued together. This I put together over a two week period, then I lit it with copper tape and managed to have lights in every room. This takes a while and is fiddly but well worth the finished effect. Then I decorated each room. Have a look in the DIY stores for small prints and take a sample, this is plenty big enough to do a room. Then each room was carpeted or tiled to finish off. Next comes the furniture. This is where you learn never throw anything away. Balsa wood although not that strong is ideal for making cupboards etc and once stained you wouldn't know from a distance that it isn't wood. I don't believe you ever finish a doll's house there is always more you can add. My second house my husband built from scratch following a plan we purchased and is made out of MDF. This house at the moment is only just been lit and decorated so there's still a lot to do as each room needs to have the homely effects made and added. There are numerous books web sites and fairs to visit to aid you on your way. My next project will be a shop of some description although not 100% sure which one. Maybe a bakers or butchers as I enjoy making the small things from filo.
Not all dolls house enthusiasts are from the young girl to old lady category. I am a beer swilling, none quiche eating male who wanted to build a doll's house for his kids. The two lads however weren't impressed by this and so I am building for the third generation. If you are really interested,then yes, the kits are there, and as usual quality depends on cost. Why not take another option, have a look in your bookshop for books on the subject by writers such as Brian Nickolls (also available from Amazon.co.uk) which give plans for building from scratch. Start with sheets of ply or mdf and follow the excellent plans, then, as anyone who has worked with wood before will appreciate, there is a moment of magic when the pieces take shape, it isn't wood anymore but your creation. Then - the moment of decision, do you follow the plans to the letter or start to make it more to your individual taste, - go on it's worth it. You can make it even better. And so begins a hobby which is basically a 3D puzzle in 1/12 scale, it's easy in two dimensions, but when thickness is taken into account everything goes haywire, don't be put off, somewhere out there is something which will do the job, but as each problem is solved another begins. Once the carcase is built the furnishing can be quite expensive, so why not go back to your bookshops, there are plenty of offerings on making period dolls house furniture, some of it requiring reasonable skill with tools, others ingeniously made from all those bits and pieces that couldn't possibly be of any use. Eventually you will be finished, a work of art that will be commented on by others and you can smuggly think, "Yes I made that, all of it". Did I say finished, Oh no it's not, there are always improvements, alterations or possibly dolls house number two. As for the third gene
ration - they can look, but they aren't touching. Go on give it a whirl it ain't girly.
This is a great hobby for anyone from teens to more mature ladies, although I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger. Houses come in a variety of styles including shops, beamed cottages, manor houses, Victorian, Edwardian etc. etc. Depending on how much you wish to pay, you can get houses ready painted and assembled, or if you wish to add your own personal touches consider a kit form which needs to be assembled and painted. We spent a couple of weeks assembling a kit house, partly because the instructions contained in the one we bought were rather detailed and to save making mistakes we did a little at a time. Assembling your own house is not easy, but it does feel as though you've added your own personal touches. We had a three storey house with a fixed roof, but have turned the roof space into an additional room and are now working on finding a way to attach the roof so that we can gain access to our 'loft conversion'. Once the house has been constructed you need to consider whether you wish to add 'electrics' which enable you to have working lights and fires etc. This needs to be installed before decorating as the wires run underneath the wallpaper. There are two ways of installing an electrical circuit - the use of copper wiring which is laid out in two parallel strips on the back of the house, or the easier method of using a socket strip. When you have reached this stage, the choice is bewildering and its worthwhile having a look round a dolls house fayre to get ideas before deciding on a style in which to decorate. These very often have sample houses and sell a wide variety of wallpaper, carpets, dolls, furniture and absolutely everything else you can think of and more besides. There are also a growing number of websites which sell a wide range of items. Once you have the basic furniture you can add pets, crockery, cutlery, toys, food, and much much more. And when you've finished the interior
of your house (if you ever do), consider an extension, conservatory, and garden together with all the furniture, plants, ponds and fountains. Setting up a miniature dolls house is a never ending hobby and is an expensive hobby (a basic armchair can cost in the region of £10 depending on quality and detail).