Are you preparing to buy your first dollhouse kit and not sure which of the hundreds of options is right for you? First, you will want to know if you are looking for a home for a child or for an adult collector, as they are built differently. Dollhouse kits for kids tend to have minimal architectural features and are made of thicker wood that will withstand play. Meanwhile, for adult collectors the focus is on architectural details and proper scale.
Many collectible dollhouse kits are die cut, also known as a “tab and slot” collection because each piece has a tab that fits into a slot on another piece. The box contains several sheets of thin plywood, with pieces stamped into the wood. The individual pieces will then have to be punched from the sheet. This allows for intricate pieces like the gingerbread coating.
Crafted from 1/8 “plywood, the result is a lightweight yet sturdy house with all the architectural features that miniature collectors are looking for. Many collectors find them simple to assemble with incredibly detailed, lifelike, full-scale results. Slot dollhouses are assembled using glue and require no nails. These kits contain all the components you need to complete your dollhouse and are surprisingly inexpensive.
There are some potential downsides to consider when buying die cut dollhouse kits. First, you’ll need to sand and prime the wood, because the plywood in these kits isn’t perfectly smooth. Plus, as the pieces flatten out, you’ll need to assemble every tiny piece of stairs, windows, and doors. Finally, due to their fragile architectural details, it is best not to let children play with the house.
The other main type of dollhouse kit made for collectors is a “glue and nails” kit, made from plywood or fiberboard (MDF). Also known as a closet dollhouse kit, it uses 3/8 “thick pieces that come pre-cut and ready to assemble. The downside is that those materials are thicker, resulting in a bulkier and less refined look. However, this makes them a much better choice for miniaturists who plan to have their kids play with the dollhouse.The wood is of excellent quality, with a smooth surface ready for painting or wallpapering.
These dollhouses tend to be larger, which allows for more space to display your miniatures inside, but it also means you’ll need more space in which to display the house. Such houses need to be assembled with glue and nails, which can be more complicated for novice miniaturists to master. You may also need power tools if you want to modify your home, because thick wood is not easily cut with hand tools and you will need assistance when it comes time to assemble the walls, which are heavy and difficult to maneuver on your own.
Both types of dollhouse kits have both positive and negative characteristics. It’s up to you to determine which of these factors are most important to you and choose dollhouse kits accordingly.
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