How to build a dolls house

How to build a dolls house

Want to whip up something fun for the whole family? Give your little ones the gift of imagination with a wooden toy that’s not only perfect for playing and ready to accessorise however they want, but will make a treasured memory for years to come too. If building a dolls house sounds like a power tool project you want to tackle, grab your jigsaw and hammer drill – our handy step-by-step guide is here to show you how.

Step 1: Measure your pieces

The best place to start is by marking out where to cut your MDF with a tape measure, ruler and pencil.

  • Outer walls: You’ll need two lengths of 678mm.
  • Floor panels: You’ll need three lengths of 450mm.
  • Inner walls: You’ll need three lengths of 210 mm.
  • Roof panels: You’ll need one 300mm length and one 288mm length (to easily create a sloped roof).

Got them all marked out? Great, now cut carefully along your pencil lines with a circular saw.

TOP TIP: For ease, we recommend cutting your inner walls and roof panels from the same piece of MDF.

Step 2: Cut out your frames

Starting from the base of your inner walls, draw up and around to create a rectangular “door” shape in two of them before cutting it out with a jigsaw – leaving you with two internal door frames for the house.

Step 3: Space your ceilings and doors

Forget the tape measure and power tools for now, your spare inner wall piece makes the perfect spacer for measuring out your wall and ceiling marks. Place the flat end of your inner wall on the edge of one of your outer wall pieces and draw a line along it. Then lay the piece flat against that line and draw another at the piece’s other end. Rinse and repeat all the way along both MDF pieces, drawing shorter then longer lines – which should leave you with three separate line-divided sections on your outer wall pieces.

Step 4: Let your pieces help

Starting at one end of your outer walls, use your inner wall door frame to mark out the same sized frame for your outer door. In the other two sections, draw smaller squares with a ruler for your windows. Repeat on the opposite piece.

Step 5: Cut and smooth

With your jigsaw, take your time to cut out the doors and windows on your outer wall pieces, before smoothing down any rough edges with a sander.

TOP TIP: For your windows, drilling a hole on one edge of the square is a good way to give your jigsaw somewhere to start cutting.

Step 6: Attach your first outer piece

In each of the three smaller section on your outer walls, use your hammer drill to make pilot holes on the left and right side, about 30mm in from the edge. Then secure the outer piece to your flooring by drilling though the holes with 30mm screws. Start with your base, then the first floor – but only for one side of your house for now.

Step 7: Measure up your internal walls

Next, it’s time to decide where you want your internal walls to go within each floor. Using a ruler, mark out their preferred position (we reckon around 150mm in from the end), as well as the doorway itself. Just like before, drill holes 30mm in from the edge on each side as a guide.

Step 8: Fix in place

Starting from the base of your dolls house, drive your 30mm screws through the flooring into your internal wall, then repeat from the opposite side on the first floor. Once it’s secure, do the same for your second internal wall further down.

Step 9: Complete the outer walls

Once your ground floor is complete, it’s a simple job to repeat the previous step with the rest of your flooring and internal walls, until you’ve completed every floor. From there, attach your other outer wall, drilling screws into your pilot holes with a hammer drill on each floor to lock the house fully into position.

Step 10: Make your roof

Your roof pieces are already cut, so all you need to do right now is join them together. Press the top of one piece against the side of the other to create a right-angled ‘V’ shape, then secure it with two to three screws.

Step 11: Draw out your back plate

The final essential piece you need for your dolls house is the back piece. The easiest way to get the right dimensions is to lay your dolls house flat on your giant piece of plywood, roof and all – before drawing round the outside and inside, making sure you mark out the floors and walls to line them up correctly, and add squares for your windows like before.

Step 12: Cut out the last piece

With your back piece all marked out, it’s time to pick up the power tools and cut it. Your circular saw is perfect for the stencil outline, then use the pilot hole technique to easily cut out the back windows with your jigsaw and smooth the whole thing down with your sander.

Step 13: Add some style

Want to bring the house to life for the kids with some beautiful colours? Now’s your chance to paint the background in whatever shades you want, and even decorate the rooms with spare ribbon, wrapping paper, miniature furniture or photos too.

Step 14: Give it to the kids

Once the paint’s dried, all that’s left to do is attach the back wall to the rest of the doll house by hammering in some thin nails or pins, and you’re all set to show it to the kids. Let’s go and see how much their little faces light up when they see what you’ve made! Plus, if any of your friends see it and want to know how to build a dolls house too – now you can tell them.

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