When you are a total beginner in the dollhouse world, you might get overwhelmed with all the information out there, especially about all the miniature dollhouse building supplies that you could need.
Today, I will try to provide you with a complete oversight of these building materials, and more specifically about all the types of wood that are being used in the dollhouse world.
Let’s just dive straight into things!
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The types of wood used for scale models,dollhouses, dollhouse furniture, and miniatures.
What kind of wood is suitable for miniature dollhouse building supplies?
In this article, you will find an overview of the types of wood with the right characteristics.
This means that you can use these for our dollhouses and miniatures because they are light, sturdy enough and do not splinter, and are easy to work with.
To be fair, before researching information for this article, I had never heard about Abachi wood before. 🙂
But now I realize: wow, our saunas in the western world are probably made from Abachi wood, coming from Africa! And so it is used as well for our modeling scale buildings.
Abachi wood is made from the Triplochiton Scleroxylon K. Schum tree, and it is easy to work with and very stable.
It breaks less quickly than balsa wood, absorbs a lot of moisture, and doesn’t splinter.
Because of these qualities, it is suitable for sauna interiors and also for our model building.
Plus it is also used for “blind work” for dollhouse furniture and woodcarving.
Other names for this type of wood are:
- Ayus (from Cameroon and Guinea)
- Arere (Nigeria)
- samba (Ivory Coast)
- Wawa (Ghana)
I have discussed balsawood before, as this is my favorite type of wood to build my dollhouse furniture.
Although I prefer other types of wood to build an actual dollhouse, more of that later.
Balsa wood comes from the fast-growing balsa tree ( the Ochroma Pyramidale ).
The word Balsa comes from the Spanish word for “raft”, because this type is so light that it floats.
Balsa wood is so soft and weak that it can not be nailed down. But being this lightweight makes it very popular for model making.
In World War II, balsawood was even used to create the Havilland Mosquito: a combat aircraft.
Dollhouse miniaturists create amazing scale models from balsa wood, like the one from “Elegant Witchery”, for example, on Etsy:
But most of the time, balsawood is only used for small miniatures, very small dollhouses, and other lightweight projects.
3. Beech Wood.
Beechwood comes from the Beech tree (deciduous tree Fagus Sylvatica).
It is medium hard and has a red-brown to brown color, with a long fiber and fine grain. It is also medium hard and sturdy.
In the wood industry, this type of wood has quite a big importance.
In the model-making world, this kind of wood is terrific to work with, because it hardly splinters and is easily treatable. It can pull hard, but after pre-dilling it is easy to nail down.
4. Veneer Wood
Veneer wood consists of a layer of solid wood, glued to MDF.
Because the veneer layer is made from real wood, you have the natural look of solid wood.
But without too many knots, color shades, or veins, making it very suitable for larger surfaces, like large or modern dollhouses.
5. Lime Wood/Linden Wood
Limewood, aka linden wood, is quite soft, has a fine grain and it hardly splinters. It looks white to yellowish-white in color.
This type of wood is tough and sturdy, has long fiber, and is easy to work with, but you need to be careful not to break it across the seams.
It is suitable to create things that don’t need to bend or get forced to bend, like small wooden floors, planks, decorative frames, and sure: also miniature furniture. (if you have the tools to work with it).
The famous Russian Matryoshka dolls are made of lime wood 😉
Now, plywood is used a lot to create dollhouses, as you can see a lot on Etsy.
Plywood is made from a number of layers of wood veneer, glued together crosswise.
Before, three layers of wood veneer were called Triplex, and 5 layers of wood veneer were called plywood, but nowadays both terms are used interchangeably.
Plywood makes efficient use of lower-quality parts of a tree, making it sometimes stronger than solid wood of the same size and weight, because of the cross-bonding of the wood veneer layers.
It is much stronger and lighter than MDF, and it shrinks less and expands less than solid wood.
A lot of DIY dollhouse kits are made from plywood as well.
7. Walnut Wood
Walnut is a hardwood, with a large color variation between light and darker brown.
Its fiber is short with a fine grain and it is sturdy. Walnut is easy to work with, is flexible, and does not splinter.
Europe and the USA have better quality walnut wood than Africa.
Although I have seen little walnut miniature furniture, I can’t remember seeing walnut dollhouses.
I love walnut wood myself, but it’s a shame that it can get quite expensive.
Talk about walnuts, a very cool trend in the dollhouse world is these little miniature scenes in real size walnuts, how adorable!
8. Palmwood or boxwood
Boxwood is hardwood and a fine yet sturdy type of wood.
You need to pre-drill it before you can nail it. It is used for small carving art and model ships, but quite pricey and hard to get.
9. Pear Wood
Pear wood is a medium hardwood, has short fiber, fine grain, and is splinter-free.
There are 2 types of pear wood, steamed and unsteamed.
Unsteamed comes from small trees, has a cream-white color, and is often available in small planks and beams.
This type of wood is often used in organs and organ pipes, but also for carvings.
Steamed pear wood is derived from pear orchards or wild pear trees. This has a slightly pink color and is mostly used for furniture
It can be quite pricey and also hard to get.
10. Other types of wood
- Hardwoods such as mahogany are in general not very suitable for scale modeling or making miniatures.
You could still use this kind of wood for decoration, slats, or support beams, for example.
- I wouldn’t use coniferous wood, because it can not have moisture and it can contain many knots or get discolored quite easily.
The latter is soft and easy to work with, but not suitable for visible parts of your dollhouse or scale model.
- Basswood is classified as a hardwood, but it is actually quite soft and easy to work with.
You can definitely use basswood for dollhouse projects, but it is more for advanced users, as it also has a broad range of uses.
But as a beginner, it is better to use balsa, it is still strong enough and is very light.
Where to Buy modeling wood in the US or other countries?
You can find all kinds of crafting wood like balsawood in a crafting/model railway store, but other types of wood are of course to be found in your local wood hardware store.
Or there are a lot of miniature dollhouse building supplies to be found online, in stores like:
Dollhouses made from cardboard
There are people creating fantastic dollhouses just by using cardboard! I have written before about these types of dollhouses, but it keeps amazing me every day.
Have a look, for example, at the video below, where this Christmas-themed dollhouse is built by using coffee sticks and cardboard, amazing!
Using creative paperclay as one of the miniature dollhouse building supplies.
Although egg carton is also used to create miniature plaster stone walls or stucco, you can definitely use creative paperclay for the same thing.
You can also use this material to make stone tiled floors and walls, landscaping with stone effect, or even miniature sculptures, like mini graves!
Polysterene sheets and blocks aka foam boards.
Polystyrene sheets are often used in the scale railroad model world, but they can be used for other types of tiny buildings as well.
Polystyrene is a type of plastic sheet, available in a silk gloss or silk matt version, and is very affordable.
It can be printed, glued, drilled, and bent with a filament.
Other Miniature Dollhouse Building Supplies
Of course, you need other miniature dollhouse building supplies as well, and I have thoroughly described these:
- Crafting materials for miniatures, a list of glues and other tools
- a list of power tools that you need
My Final Conclusion
I hope that I could inform you enough about all of the miniature dollhouse building supplies that you need or could use, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them below in the comment section.
You can also join my social media channels or fantastic Facebook group with over 4000 members now!
I wish you happy crafting!
4 thoughts on “Miniature Dollhouse Building Supplies-What Do You Need?”
I have always wanted to build a miniature dollhouse for my girls and now they are grown with kids of their own. My family said with my skills in patience why don’t I make our granddaughter a doll house, doesn’t have to be big but maybe a miniature one that she could keep for a long time. This is how came across your guide, looking for the correct materials needed and really the wood as would need to make it sturdy. I have bookmarked your guide, as need to go shopping now for the materials needed.
I am glad that I could help you out with gathering the right materials to construct your dollhouse DIY and you are very welcome!
I wish you good luck with constructing and if you need any more information, please feel free to ask!
To be honest, I have never heard of Abachi wood either, but it looks very attractive and should make wonderful doll house furniture and I am sure many other things too. I also hadn’t heard of Balsa wood before either, so you have really educated me today.
Building these dollhouses looks like a wonderful hobby, but how do you manage to part with your creations once they are done, as they are spectacular.
I know right, didn’t hear about Abachi wood, until I looked it up and apparently, it is used for saunas, who knew haha.
About your question: some of us keep all the dollhouses and hand them from generation to generation and professional miniaturists sell them on Etsy 😉
I wish you happy crafting!