Have you ever wondered if the small, seemingly insignificant matchbox could be the foundation of a tiny and charming world? Guess what? They are. I’m going to introduce you to the enchanting concept of matchbox dollhouses, a niche within the miniatures community where creativity knows no bounds.
In these tiny spaces, craftsmen turn simple matchboxes into delightful dollhouses complete with furniture and decor, all on an almost unimaginable scale.
This isn’t just about crafting; it’s also about repurposing everyday items to fuel our imagination. Matchbox dollhouses have risen in popularity not only because they’re adorable, but also due to their accessibility and the challenge they present to crafters to create on such a small scale.
In this article, you’re going to find out about the (difficult?, Impossible?) process of creating these pocket-sized homes. From design inspiration to the nuts and bolts of construction, I’ll walk you through the entire process.
And it doesn’t stop there; we’ll also explore the communities behind these creations, shining a light on some of the inventive makers on Etsy and YouTube, and what materials you’ll want to keep on hand.
The matchbox dollhouse in the featured image, by the way, is created by Suitcasedollhouse on Etsy.
As an Amazon and Etsy associate, I earn a small commission from your purchase, with no extra charges for you.
Crafting in Miniature: How to Create a Matchbox Dollhouse: a few first insights.
Choosing your matchbox
Various types and sizes of matchboxes can serve as the base of your dollhouse. Some prefer standard-sized matchboxes for their uniformity and availability, while others may opt for larger or uniquely shaped matchboxes for a more distinct character.
Now, how do we start? Choose a matchbox that resonates with you. It could be readily available or perhaps a vintage one that caught your eye at a flea market. This initial selection is crucial, as it sets the tone for your entire project.
Once you’ve picked your matchbox, you’ll need to get a few more for additional rooms or features. It’s like building blocks, and the more you have, the more architecturally ambitious you can get with your design. Just ensure they’re all on the same scale for consistency.
Sketch your design.
Next, you’ll delve into design. Begin by visualizing the layout of your dollhouse. Imagine the wallpapers, the flooring, and the tiny furniture that will eventually populate the space. Sketching your ideas can be extremely helpful here, as it gives you a bird’s-eye view of your future miniature home.
Assemble your materials to make a dollhouse matchbox
Materials-wise, you’re going to need more than just matchboxes and imagination.
Precision tools like small scissors, tweezers, and toothpicks are your best friends, this time, the smaller and finer the tools, the better! (you can’t cut a small paper dollhouse furniture by using kitchen scissors).
You just need all the usual craft materials to create miniatures, just know that it is more finicky to use and create anything.
As for the adhesive, a reliable, fast-grabbing glue that dries clear is your go-to choice, as it will provide sturdy construction without being visible, like grab-fast Tacky glue.
With your plan and tools in place, it’s time to construct your dollhouse. Assemble the matchboxes in your chosen layout, gluing them together carefully.
The Art of Scale: Dollhouse Furniture Sizing in Matchbox Creations
Getting the scale right is crucial when creating matchbox dollhouses. Considering the dimensions of matchboxes, which typically measure around 1.5 by 2 inches, the scale for these tiny abodes is often 1:144.
In this scale, one inch in real life equates to 144 inches in the miniature world, or in other words, what would be a 12-foot wall, in reality, translates to a mere inch in your dollhouse.
To furnish these petite palaces, you can craft your tiny tables, chairs, and sofas, ensuring each piece fits within the confines of the box.
For example, if a standard sofa is 6 feet long, in your matchbox world, it needs to be less than half an inch to maintain scale. I’d advise staying flexible with your designs; it’s less about perfect accuracy and more about visual harmony within the space.
To calculate from one scale to another, I have created my own scale converter, which is always available on my homepage as well. Feel free to use it as much as you want!
Convert any measurement in a known scale into another known scale.Convert in scale
to in scale
Not everything in a matchbox dollhouse needs to be made from scratch. Plenty of common items can serve as furniture in a pinch.
A button can become a tabletop, a scrap of fabric transforms into a cozy blanket, and a bead might just make the perfect lampshade.
Creativity is your best asset in this endeavor. It’s not uncommon to find oneself staring at random objects, envisioning their potential in a matchhouse setting.
Adapting to a miniature scale is all about trial and error. If you’re just starting out, don’t worry too much about getting everything just right on your first try.
The Toolbox: Essential Materials for Assembling Your Matchbox dollhouse
This isn’t just about glue; you’re going to find out about the small yet significant materials that will transform your miniature vision into reality.
Let’s start with the foundation: matchboxes. You can always adjust your approach down the road, but initially, you’ll need matchboxes that are sturdy and uniform in size. Lightweight cardboard ones work best for ease of cutting and assembling.
Matchboxes come in various sizes, and the measurements can vary depending on the specific type or brand. However, a common size for a standard matchbox is approximately 2.2 inches (5.6 cm) in length, 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in width, and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in height.
Keep in mind that these dimensions are approximate, and variations may exist among different brands and types of matchboxes
If you want to enhance the durability and finish of your dollhouse, consider a good-quality sealant spray. It will protect your creation from dust and preserve the colors of your design.
Don’t worry too much about painting, but if you choose to, acrylic paints and fine brushes should be part of your kit, perfect for adding personalized touches or making adjustments to existing pieces.
Lastly, for those who truly love detail, a set of miniature decorating elements like tiny brads, beads, or fabric scraps can add that layer of realism that makes all the difference.
Shining the Spotlight: Celebrating Etsy Crafters and YouTube Makers creating these matchbox dollhouses
Now, I’m going to show you where inspiration meets reality as we highlight some incredible artists from Etsy and YouTube who have turned dollhouse matchbox crafting into an art form.
Remember, every big idea starts small, and in this case, it’s as small as a matchbox. Choose something that resonates with you from these creators, and let their work spark your next miniature adventure.
1. Sugarcharmshop, a miniature matchbox tutorial
SugarcharmSHop on YouTube has a very popular channel with over 1,6 million subscribers, and I am one of them. I really would recommend to go watch her fantastic tutorials!
That being said, in the video below she explains how to create a matchbox filled with dollhouse furniture, isn’t that adorable? She mainly uses polymer clay for the dollhouse furniture, a material which she is very skilled in.
2. MalenaValcarcel and a miniature Matchbox art diorama.
Malena Valcarcel is a well-known miniaturist, who specializes in creating unique and beautiful paper art, including book sculptures, altered books, and also a matchbox diorama in this case.
Each piece is carefully crafted by hand, making it a one-of-a-kind work of art. While this is not really a dollhouse, it sure is small, tiny even, lots smaller than quarter-scale minis!
Miniature dollhouse matchbox diorama by Malena Valcarcel
3. Pipe cleaner crafts : assembled multiple matchboxes.
Now the next miniature artist creates a cute little house in a slightly different way. She just glues together 4 matchboxes and goes from there. Each box represents a room, check it out!
This creator has a second video on matchbox miniatures, and here she makes a single dollhouse with 2 floors.
4. Matchbox art by FUJIYAMAcreations
Explore this handmade matchbox art decoration inspired by Japanese craftsmanship, available on Etsy. Measuring 3.5cm x 5.5cm x 2cm, each matchbox is a unique canvas featuring a delightful diorama.
This particular one (but there’s a lot more) showcases one intricately crafted matchbox adorned with a charming scene that includes a tiny bunny, miniature trees, and delicate plants.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of this Japanese art!
Japanese matchbox art by FUJIYAMAcreations
5. Crafttube: a beautiful colorful dollhouse made by 3 matchboxes!
I really like this one, made by Craftube I think it is ingenious and very creative! Also, it is somewhat easier than in the previous videos, in my opinion.
Also, you don’t need equipment like polymer clay at all, few tools are needed! The only disadvantage is that there is no matchbox dollhouse furniture. But it is sooo cute!
6. VICTORIAN Matchbox Dollhouse Miniature Kit
Discover the charm of this VICTORIAN Miniature Matchbox Dollhouse Miniature Kit – designed by EverAfterMiniatures, a captivating craft experience presented in downloadable PDF format.
This unique printable kit transforms an ordinary matchbox into a vintage paper dollhouse, showcasing the exterior allure of a Victorian manor.
Open the matchbox to reveal a meticulously designed bedroom and a welcoming drawing room, adorned with included decorative elements such as a paper sofa, an exquisite bed, a petite drawer, and an accompanying lady paper doll.
Victorian matchbox dollhouse design by Ever After Miniatures.
My Final Conclusion
I hope that you enjoyed this article on matchbox dollhouses as much as I did, and if you have any more questions about this topic, please feel free to leave them down below in the comment section!
You can als join me on one of my cozy social media channels below or watch me craft miniatures on YouTube. (don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, thanks!)
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!