Whether you’re an experienced miniature craft enthusiast or a beginner eager to dip your toes into the world of miniatures, making dollhouse shingles is a fun project for everyone.
I’m also going to share some clever tips and tricks along the way to ensure your dollhouse shingles look flawless.
So, grab your crafting tools and get ready for a creative journey, because by the end of this guide, you’ll be a dollhouse shingle-making pro!
We will discuss all the different kinds of materials and methods that you can use, so let’s dive right in!
How to create dollhouse shingles with cardboard?
Cardboard is one of the most popular and readily available materials for crafting dollhouse shingles.
It’s easy to find, affordable and can be easily cut and shaped to resemble real shingles. Let’s have a little walkthrough:
- Cardboard sheets (from regular cardboard boxes or chipboard)
- Scissors or an X-Acto knife
- Cutting mat
- Tacky glue
- Craft paint (black, golden brown, burnt umber)
- Paintbrushes (various sizes)
- Wood filler (if needed)
- Clear coat spray (optional)
- Moss and other decorative elements (optional)
A step-by-step walkthrough.
- Step 1: Prepare the Cardboard Strips
If using regular cardboard boxes, cut the cardboard into manageable pieces and square up the edges using a ruler and cutting mat to get even strips of cardboard.
Cut the strips into the desired width for your shingles, ensuring the lines on the cardboard go in the same direction for consistency.
- Step 2: Fill the Bottom Edge of the Shingle Strips
Apply wood filler along one side of each strip to fill in the bottom edge, as it may be visible once the shingles are stacked.
- Step 3: Glue the Shingles onto the Dollhouse Roof
Decide on the placement of the first row of shingles on the dollhouse roof and then use fast-grab tacky glue to secure the shingles in place.
- Step 4: Stagger the Shingles
For a natural and aged look, stagger the shingles as you proceed to the next row. Allow some shingles to overlap slightly, just like real shingles on a roof.
- Step 5: Paint the Shingles
Apply a black wash over the cardboard shingles to prevent any exposed cardboard from showing later. Dilute black paint with water and brush it over the shingles.
Once the black wash is dry, apply craft paint in colors like golden brown and burnt umber to create an aged and textured appearance. Use a dry brush technique for a subtle effect.
- Step 6: Apply Optional Clear Coat
For added depth and shine, consider using a clear coat spray on the painted shingles. This step is optional but can enhance the finished look.
- Step 7: Decorate the Roof (Optional)
If desired, add decorative elements like moss or tiny mushrooms to the dollhouse roof. Use tacky glue to securely attach them in place.
- Step 8: Allow Everything to Dry
Let the shingles, paint, and any additional decorations dry completely before moving or handling the dollhouse.
To have a visual look at how this all works, check out the video below!
How to create dollhouse shingles with wood?
To create wooden dollhouse shingles, you can either use balsa wood as I did for my treehouse, or even wood veneer from an old vintage door, as seen in the video all the way below.
First, with veneer wood:
Materials Needed to create veneer dollhouse shingles:
- Wood veneer (obtained from an old door or other sources)
- A Cutting mat
- Utility knife or scissors
- Wood glue
- Paintbrush or applicator for glue
- Sandpaper for smoothing edges
A Step by step walkthrough on how to create a veneer roof.
- Step 1: Draw and cut the Veneer Strips
Put the wood veneer on a cutting mat and use a ruler to mark the desired width of the shingles and then just draw the lines to create the strips for the shingles. About 1,5 inches is great, but depends on how large you want them.
Begin breaking them apart along the grain to create individual shingles. Be aware that the veneer may not break straight, so some trimming might be needed to achieve the desired shape.
- Step 2: Adjust Shingle Thickness. Depending on the style of the dollhouse and the look you want to achieve, consider adjusting the thickness of the shingles.
For a more upscale building, you can keep them thicker, while a more rustic or countryside dollhouse might have thinner shingles.
- Step 3: Glue the Shingles onto the Dollhouse Roof
Apply wood glue to the backside of a shingle using a paintbrush or glue applicator and place the shingle onto the dollhouse roof and press it gently to adhere it in place.
Repeat this process, slightly overlapping each shingle to mimic real shingles on a roof and continue until the entire roof is covered.
- Step 4: Optional Finishing Touches
If desired, sand the edges of the shingles to smooth them out and create a more refined look.
You can paint and stain these veneer shingles as described above or varnish them as well, to keep the dust away.
Let the shingles dry completely before moving or handling the dollhouse.
With this method, you can embrace the natural look of the shingles, and your dollhouse will have a delightful and authentic touch.
Second, with balsa wood:
Materials needed to create balsa wood shingles:
Besides the balsa wood instead of the veneer wood from above, you actually need the same materials, so this again includes:
- Craft knife or scissors
- a wire brush and an old toothbrush
- Wood stain or paint (optional: acrylic black and acrylic white)
- Sealant (optional)
- Glue (craft glue or tacky glue)
How to create dollhouse shingles from balsawood?
A slightly different way that you can use to make dollhouse shingles is by using balsawood and “weather” them.
You can start with 1/32nd by 3-inch by 36-inch balsa wood sheets. The process involves texturing and cutting the balsa wood to create individual shingles. Here’s a summarized breakdown of the steps:
- Step 1: Texturing and Cutting Balsa Wood
Roughen up the surface of the balsa wood using a wire brush to add a pronounced rough texture.
Use an old toothbrush to remove excess fuzzy splinters left behind from the wire brush.
Use multiple strips of balsa wood, three-quarters of an inch wide, and mark them and cut them out. The bottom side of each strip is textured using the back of an X-Acto blade to add rough texture and decay, visible in reference images.
Individual shingles are snapped off the strip and don’t be too concerned about getting exact same sizes to create variation.
- Step 2: Gluing Balsa Wood with Super Glue
Arrange the loose shingles in a row with slightly different heights for added variation.
Glue is applied to overlap the second row of shingles roughly a quarter inch, avoiding regular patterns to create a weathered appearance.
This process is repeated for the rest of the rows. In most cases, the shingles would be glued to a framework or a piece of board acting as the roof frame.
- Step 3: Assembling the Shingles
The shingles are assembled before painting to create the desired old and weathered look.
- Step 4: Apply a base coat and more.
Apply an acrylic black wash to the assembled balsa wood shingles. This step makes the shingles less porous and slightly more rigid and serves as a base coat for the old wood effect.
Some may choose to stop here, but you can go for a grayish-white faded wood look.
You can now while the surface is still wet, individually apply Vallejo Dectan Buff and White to the shingles, with each color highly diluted with water.
This creates a strong effect at first but will be toned down as it dries.
After everything is completely dry, a very light dry brush layer of acrylic white paint is added to the surface to bring out some raised details and unify the different colored shingles.
Again, you can apply a darker shade of black wash to create subtle shadows and an old-wood effect.
Other ideas on things to use to make dollhouse shingles.
Besides using wood or cardboard, I can give you a few more hints and tricks that I have found to create several types of dollhouse shingles, so let’s move right on!
1. Get a dollhouse shingle punch
A shingle punch is a specialized tool to cut out shingles from materials like paper or craft foam.
It is typically used with thin materials such as paper, cardboard, or thin wood veneer to punch out small, evenly shaped shingles. The punch resembles a handheld hole punch but has a different design to produce shingle-shaped cutouts.
Using a dollhouse shingle punch can save time and effort in creating realistic-looking shingles for miniature roofs. It ensures uniformity in size and shape, making it easier to achieve a neat and professional appearance, if that is what you want to achieve.
A very good shingle punch is the one from Green Stuff World, as I already have written a review on their brush rinser.
At the moment, it is available on Amazon as well as on Etsy, where the price seems the most affordable at the moment of writing this.
Check out this device on Etsy
Check out this device on Amazon.
2. Use metal foil/aluminum foil to create a tin roof/dollhouse metal roof.
For a metallic look, you can use metal foil or aluminum foil.
The best way to do this is to check out this blog post’s technique on Greenleaf dollhouses, as I couldn’t explain it better myself!
3. Create dollhouse shingles using foam
Lightweight and versatile, craft foam is easy to work with and can resemble real shingles.
The next video below “Black Magic Craft” explains how cardstock and XPS foam has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Cardstock is durable but lacks texture options, while foam allows for better texture but is fragile and requires special tools like a hot wire.
The creator uses a method that involves creating master strips of foam with textured wood grain.
They then cut these strips into thin shingles and apply them to the roof of the dollhouse using fast-grab tacky glue.
They recommend offsetting the shingles to avoid continuous lines on the roof and using strips to increase efficiency. Finally, they add ridge caps made from individual shingles folded in half.
Overall, this method is efficient, and easy, and produces a realistic wood shake shingle look for the dollhouse roof.
The creator completes the roof by adding fascia boards to cover the layers of material and create a neat finish.
4. Use clay to create dollhouse shingles.
Polymer clay is ideal for crafting unique and custom-made shingles.
I have already talked about this method in my blog post on how to create a roof for dollhouses, but you can again check it out in the next video 🙂
5. Dollhouse Shingle Kits: Use Pre-made shingle kits designed specifically for dollhouses.
And of course, the easiest way is to just buy your dollhouse shingles and I always tend to find Etsy the best place to find dollhouse accessories, let’s take a look at a few stores:
- Miniature Crush Shop:
This store has lots of different dollhouse shingles, in Cedar Wood and Hexagon shape, but also in asphalt shingles and more!
Check out this store and the shingles here.
- The Gravik shop
In this store, you can find lots of weathered and stained shingles, and then you just need to glue them to a roof surface.
Check out these dollhouse shingles here with its prices.
How to stain dollhouse shingles?
In the video below by Dollhouse Tutorials, the creator demonstrates how to stain dollhouse shingles for the roof using gel stain (mahogany color).
They advise using a sponge and dipping it very lightly to avoid over-wetting the shingles and causing them to curl up.
Staining is done by gently going back and forth on the shingles, following the grain.
They suggest wearing gloves to prevent staining hands and to avoid staining the backside, they recommend putting masking tape on it.
After staining the front, the creator turns the shingles over and applies the stain to the edges. Once completed, the shingles can be sanded if needed. The video provides a quick and easy method for staining dollhouse shingles.
My Final Conclusion
I hope that you enjoyed all the tutorials on how to create dollhouse shingles, and if you have any more questions about this, please feel free to leave a comment down below in the comment section.
You can also join (one of) my social media pages or my cozy Facebook group to watch and share other people’s work or your own.
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!