Monday, 14 May 2012

Project Doll's House: Measurements and Materials

The project of building a doll's house continued with the choice of materials, and then the definition of the room sizes and measurements, which are needed to cut the wood. For the outer walls I chose standard plywood of 12 mm thickness, and 9 mm plywood for the interior walls, the floors, and the roof.

Thus the 12-mm ground plane onto which the house is built, is 420 mm by 842 mm. Forty-two is for some reason always a welcome size. Centred on this there are the outer walls, of which the left and right walls are of 12-mm plywood and the rear wall is of 9-mm plywood. The outer dimension of the doll's house is 360 mm by 782 mm.

The room sizes were chosen such that the bigger room (living room) is 330 mm by 351 mm, which is equivalent to 3.96 m by 4.21 m. The staircase is 160 mm wide (1.92 m), and the smaller room is 250 mm (3.00 m) wide.

Note, that the lengths of the internal walls (staircase walls) is 3 mm longer than needed judging from the size of the rooms. The reason for this is that the rear wall has 3 mm deep grooves which the walls slot into for stability.

Note further, that also the 12 mm walls were grooved with a 5 mm deep and 9 mm wide groove, into which the rear wall fits. See the detail photograph to illustrate this.

Since the horizontal dimensions are fixed now, also the size of the two floors/ceilings is fixed. These should slot into the side walls and into the rear wall. The grooves are 3 mm deep, and therefore the floor material has to be cut to a size 6 mm wider in the long direction, and 3 mm wider in the narrow direction than the internal width of the doll's house, i.e. 764 mm by 354 mm.

Next step was to think about the exact shape of the roof and thus the wall underneath. This included the invention of a hingeless opening mechanism for the roof. More about this in the next blog post.

Photos and design: Thomas Ulich.


  1. How do you know where to add to a house plan? I have the planes of a house but not sure if I need to add to floors to get it square. I was going to try to make this fist try in foamcore.

    1. Hi, not sure I understand your question. For stability it would be good to have two horizontal floors: ground floor, sturdy material, and another floor, e.g. the attic floor under the roof. Also, it is more fun to play if figures can go upstairs/downstairs. I didn't make a foam model, straight from drawing to wood, but depending on how elaborate your design is it might be a good idea to have a test run in foam.