We all have been there: these dollhouse DIY kits are great and all, but when first starting out as a beginner, or even more advanced, you might want to pull your hair out once in a while and wonder: how the heck do others do this?
This is where I try to chip in today and I gathered as many tips as possible. Not with just my own experiences, but also because of wonderful enthusiastic people on Facebook groups, thanks for the miniature community!
Let’s just dive straight into the topic with these 20 tips!
Which Materials Do You Need For Dollhouse DIY Kits?
That’s an easy question to answer because I have written about the needed crafting materials for these kits before, but let’s sum things up again!
Depending on the brand or type of DIY house kit though, you could need almost all of these or only a few of them. Like I hardly needed anything for this book nook called Sakura Densya.
But I really would advise investing in all of these when you first are starting out, you won’t regret it!
As an Amazon and Etsy associate, I earn from purchases, with no extra costs for you, however.
- Glue! There are 3D puzzles that don’t require any glue at all, but for most of the miniature kits, this will be absolutely necessary!
These days, I mostly use Grab Fast Tacky Glue by Aleene, but here you can see everything you need to know about the variety of glues that are used in the miniature world.
- a pair of tweezers is a necessity in the miniature world! I love the ones with a long point
- small scissors, I love to use little sewing scissors which I use for the projects on my Youtube channel
- sandpaper: usually a small piece of sandpaper is included in the kits, but it doesn’t do any harm to have some spare available in your house.
Fine-grit sandpaper with a grit size of 220 or higher is a good choice for miniature furniture.
- A crafting knife: a so-called X-Acto knife or as I tend to use: a fingertip knife by Fiskars. Be careful with these, as they can be extremely sharp.
- Acrylic paint and extra wallpaper:
Sometimes the dollhouse DIY kits are already totally painted, like the last one I made called Sakura Densya, but lots of times you need to either partly paint the furniture pieces (or decorate them with paper like “Simons Coffee” or if you want to “hack” them.
The kits from Rolife/Robotime sometimes contain some white paint but don’t expect too much from this. Maybe you could use this as a primer, that’s it.
Off course, you need a fine paintbrush as well.
About the extra wallpaper, it is always a good thing to keep different sheets of wallpaper around or paper that can serve for flooring, as the original design of these isn’t always fantastic, to say the least, haha.
- a metal ruler. Metal because that will last you like a lifetime
- Extra wires for the lights, because you will break some at the start, as they are very fine.
19 Best Tips On Assembling DIY Houses and Miniature Kits.
Here’s a list of tips on dollhouse DIY kits that I wish I knew about when I first started out (so she says in a very superior matter, what do I know haha).
These tips are kind of random, sorry if it seems like a mumble-jumble.
1. Always keep your tools clean.
Keep your crafting tools like tweezers and scissors clean from glue by keeping baby wipes or damp cloths around to wipe away the glue immediately.
If the glue is dried up, try removing it with sandpaper or a nail file.
By keeping your tools clean, you will do yourself a favor and not get a huge mess on a small surface, it just isn’t handy to work with dirty tools.
2. Toothpics, very handy!
Not just suitable to clean your teeth with are toothpicks in the mini-world.
They are one of the best ways to apply glue when assembling kits, but also as a detail to apply paint, like dots, for example.
That being said, if you can get suitable glue in a small dispenser bottle with a needle-like tip, those are handy as well.
You can even use a toothpick to unclog a glue bottle after it hasn’t been used in a while.
And did you know that there are artists out there that make dollhouses with toothpicks? Amazing, right?
3. Use Lego blocks to assemble dollhouse DIY kits!
Say what Lizzy, Lego blocks to assemble dollhouse DIY kits, what the heck for?
Well, Lego blocks are a fantastic help in creating perfect 90-degree angles. Do you get what I’m after here?
They can ensure that the walls and floors or the pieces to assemble dollhouse furniture have a good angle before gluing them together. Genius, no?
4. Use the right glue for the right type of material.
I know that I am a bit crazy about the Fast Grab tacky glue by Aleene, but I should mention that it is probably better to think about using another type of glue in some cases.
For example, when gluing plastic pieces to windows or elsewhere, it is better to use specific glue for plastic which dries out clear, like Gorilla glue.
To add wallpaper or paper floors, universal glue is better than tacky glue, as to avoid little bumps.
5. Get to know your materials.
When you are very new in the mini world, it is always a good idea to start exploring your materials first.
This part is not really necessary when building DIY kits, but it is handy whenever you want to “change” a kit or add something to it.
Like, let’s say you want to expand your miniature DIY kitchen with a little garden, it is handy to find out how to create miniature vegetables for your garden.
So far, I haven’t created lots of mini veggies myself, apart from some pumpkins and cauliflower for my treehouse, but it is great to know how to work with clay as well!
6. Oh NO, this kit is too difficult for me, I give up!
To be honest with you, I almost didn’t want to continue with these DIY house kits, as the first one I made, was way too hard for my beginner level.
It is called ‘Cathy’s Flowerhouse” by Robotime, and it had so many difficult issues, especially in the end, that I was almost like: “I don’t want to do these ever again”.
Can you imagine that now? haha
So please, don’t be like me, and start with a beginner’s DIY kit!
7. Don’t try to exchange stuff from kits from different brands.
At first, you might think: these small kits all seem to have the same scale or at least that’s what the manufacturers claim they are: scale 1:24.
But, that isn’t always the case at all, the scales can actually be quite different between brands.
I have compared the ones from Robotime versus Hongda, for example. As you can see, they are quite different.
Keeping a miniature piece from Robotime to place it in a kit from Hongda or Cutebee, would just not look very well to the eye.
8. Learn a bit more about color pallets.
Learning about interior design includes learning how colors fit together or which ones just don’t do well in a certain environment, like a living room or a bathroom.
I have written before about how to create a color pallet for your interior design, and I can tell you: it is quite crucial when you are going to change anything on your miniature kit, as I learned the hard way haha.
For example, I had the walls of Sams’ Study in black (it had some white letters so I initially thought that this was suitable for a small library, but nah, I regret it now haha), but that wasn’t a good idea now was it?
I mean, you can’t even see that there are actually white letters on this wallpaper 😉
Oh well, while doing something, you learn, no?
9. Unbox the DIY kit first and do a checkup!
This part is very important and I probably should have put it on top of the list.
The moment you receive your DIY kit, unbox it and check if everything is there and if nothing is broken!
I have seen it happening: people buy a lot of miniature kits at the same time, and only a year later or even longer they want to start a new project, to find out that there are missing pieces.
Some vendors might still be helpful after all that time, but I don’t think that this is guaranteed, sadly 🙁
Unboxing a Cutebee kit:
10. Try To “Dry-Build” first before gluing something
If you have a simple and “obvious” miniature piece to assemble, like a little box or something similar, it is ok to immediately glue things together.
But if you have a more complicated miniature to glue together, like a mini wardrobe or bookcase, it is always a good idea to “dry build” it first.
So by following the instructions in the manual, you can start to “assemble” something, but instead of using glue, I would suggest that you use tape that peels off easily, like parcel tape, to keep parts in position.
Then you have a good idea if you are doing it in the right way.
Mind you, I don’t always follow my own rules either in this case haha!
11. Give yourself all the time you need!
It might seem a little frustrating when things don’t seem to advance too much, but be aware that building a miniature kit or miniature piece can take as much time as building something in real size.
People seem to not realize that this can take a lot of time as well, but trust me, it will be worth it in the end and you will be so proud of your finished project!
Take your time to read the manual first to get a general oversight, and just go, step by step, in the exact order.
12. Join the community and make some (online) friends!
Need some help? Miniaturists out there in the whole wide world are everywhere, even if you don’t have workshops in your neighborhood.
Someone out there can help you out for sure with any question you might have!
13. Do not ever use a glue gun for these miniature kits!
I wouldn’t use a glue gun much to craft miniatures, but most definitely nót to use it in any way to assemble these tiny kits of a scale of 1:24 or even less.
That doesn’t seem like a good idea at all!
14. Get yourself some small clamps.
Buy some small clamps and save yourself some frustration when you need to clamp some warped pieces together, for example 😉
15. Freshly painted miniature piece? Place it on SPAGHETTI to dry!
Yes, you read that right, place it on spaghetti lol!
Well, I read that somewhere else, so don’t blame me if it doesn’t work haha!
A better alternative is probably using parchment paper which is the same as baking paper.
I have used newspaper in the past, but the pieces just stick on the paper and it is frustrating to sand it back off every time.
16. Adding a house number to the house can be fun.
If you have made several miniature kits, then adding a house number beside a door or even making your own little mailbox can be a nice touch.
Like maybe add the same number for each year, this way you can tell right away in what year you made that specific DIY kit.
17. Adding your own miniatures by using printables.
You can easily add your own miniature food, plants, rugs, wallpaper and so much more by printing them yourself.
The way this works is explained in my “How to print miniature printables“-blog post tutorial.
18. Paint before you glue!
Before you assemble a miniature dollhouse furniture, room box, or dollhouse (kit), you’d better paint the pieces first, or otherwise it will get messy for sure!
And not just messy, but quite hard to paint in corners and such, so make life easier and just paint everything before you assemble it 😉
BUT: other people seem to totally disagree with me on this..
19. Don’t forget to take a break now and then!
And the last tip, but not the least is to not forget to take a break once in a while, to stretch your back and legs, and to have your eyes take a rest.
Also make sure to get a comfy chair and try to maintain a good posture (I know, easier said than done when you are leaning forward over your tiny project.
And most of all, get sufficient light, my table lamp serves me well! .
That’s it for me!
20. Use A “Wet Palette” for your miniature painting!
I will write another tutorial later on this, but in this new tutorial on miniature painting, I learned how to use a wet palette and it is very interesting indeed!
You might find some more tips on this topic of dollhouse DIY kits in the fantastic video below!
My Final Conclusion
I hope that you liked all these tips and tricks on dollhouse DIY kits!
If you still have anything to add or would just like to chat with me, please feel free to do so in the comment section below or join me on my social media pages (just click on the icons on the right to get you there).
I wish you happy crafting!
My name is Lizzy, and I am an amateur miniaturist obsessed with everything in the dollhouse and miniature world, ever since I was a teenager.
I love to write as well about all things happening in the miniature world, hence the reason why I created this blog!
I wish you happy reading and crafting!