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Prices -- Wow!


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I thought I did some thorough research to see if I could afford to have this as a hobby, but some prices are exorbitant! Furniture items seem to cost more than I thought.  I could furnish my real home for the cost of some things. 

I think my 1st project may be a cafe/diner. The little accessories seem to be reasonable. 

I've checked several sites, but not Etsy's yet. Thought they would be expensive there, but seems this is a more expensive hobby than I thought. 

Not going to give up yet!

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This can be a very expensive hobby, especially if you go for artisan pieces.  Several of us have resigned ourselves to making everything we put into our little houses.  At the top of this particular page there are a number of pinned topics.  Some of the Diy websites have become defunct over the years, and some of the books may be out of print, but there is a wealth of good information out there, notwithstanding.  Kris has retired from her blog, but is keeping it up for now, and is an excellent place to begin:  http://1inchminisbykris.blogspot.com/.  If you happen to run across any of Patricia King's dollshouse DIY books, grab it!  This review is spot on:  https://community.ebay.com/t5/Archive-Dollhouses-Miniatures/Junk-into-treasures-Patricia-King-s-dollhouse-books/td-p/1620057  Finally, while I will never in this lifetime achieve Ferd Sobol's craftsmanship, he is my main inspiration to try harder:  http://www.artisticvision.com/soboleditions/  I also admire James Carrington's little people ("dolls" doesn't do them justice):   https://www.amazon.com/Scale-Character-Figures-Dolls-House/dp/1861081618.

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2 hours ago, Benni said:

some prices are exorbitant!

I usually tell the gawkers that you can buy anything for miniatures that you can find in real life, at about twice the price. :D 

As Holly said, many of us have made some of our own furniture and accessories. Many of the food items for your café/diner can be made from polyclay. There are some good tutorials on YouTube.

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I gave up on buying electric or battery-powered lights because they were so expensive.  That said, I'd had a lot of fun and satisfaction making lamps and ceiling lights out of odds and ends of plastic, jewelry chains and findings, and other things.  

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But you can get everything for pennies on the dollar on craigslist often. Local pickup items sold by non-miniaturists due to a death or downsizing are amazingly cheap sometimes.

That is how I have gotten some gems.

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I raid the craft sections at Walmart and Michaels looking for ideas.  I also frequently check the dollhouse furniture selection on Ebay.  I have found a lot of unique pieces for little money.  Personally, I find building the dollhouses the best part.  I take months, even years, to finish a project.

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I have never spent a huge amount on any one item.  I have however put a fair bit into tools and resources.  I make most of my things or I source them for much cheaper.  Because I'm in New Zealand, we don't have the amazing craft stores or stores with amazing craft sections in them.  We really only have one NZ-wide and that certainly doesn't sell minis.  We have, as far as I'm aware, about 3-4 online stores - but otherwise I have to shop internationally.  Aliexpress.com is easily the most affordable - you can get really cheap minis and resources, the only downside is having to wait for them.  Normally if I do buy cheap minis I do things to them to make them look better than they do.  But mostly I make my own.  Take lights for example - I got a stack of about 100 GOR bulbs of Aliexpress for about $10!  Then I make my own lights to suit - far better than having to pay US$20 plus shipping for just one!  So, take heart, this doesn't have to be an expensive hobby.  It's all about spending where you absolutely have to and making do or creating the rest.  Oh - and always keep an eye out at thrift stores!  And once you start looking, you'd be amazed at how you can transform caps off bottles, coffee stirrers, corks, packaging etc!  And that can be fun - ie a good sink is a little condiment plastic container (like jams at hotels etc).  Beads, findings, chains, buttons!

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I have had a lot of luck finding things on Ebay. I always search only "Buy It Now" items because I have gotten into bidding wars where the price has gone way above what I ever intended to pay (luckily, I've never actually won any of those items).

Personally I found that when I first got back into the hobby I spent way too much money at first buying everything I thought I'd need -- flooring, wallpaper, furniture, paint, stain, paintbrushes, sponges, etc. etc. Now that my mini-stash is pretty well stocked I spend a lot less. So I guess there is a certain amount of up front costs but you probably won't have to put out the same amount of money when you start project #2.

I second everyone else who recommends making your own stuff. It's really a lot easier than it looks and the bonus is you can make it look exactly as you want it to instead of picking from available options.

The OTHER other thing I've learned from personal experience... get yourself what you really want, don't settle for cheap alternatives, because chances are you're not going to like what you settled for and you'll just rip it out and buy what you really wanted in the first place. Then you're out the money spent on both. (My personal example here is flooring. Cheap carpet and tiles are cheap for a reason -- they look like crap.)

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14 hours ago, TimothyHH said:

I have had a lot of luck finding things on Ebay. I always search only "Buy It Now" items because I have gotten into bidding wars where the price has gone way above what I ever intended to pay (luckily, I've never actually won any of those items).

___________________________________________

Thanks for the info! I've found tons of stuff on Ebay!

 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi! Also on a strict budget here. Constantly scouring for abandoned houses, materials, miniature items and learning to make my own! Right now, I could use any advice for finding high quality building materials or at least knowing what the going rate ought to be for shingles, siding and flooring. I want my houses to be high quality when I am finished, since I'll be putting a lot of time into them! I will have to decide whether I want to "draft" the houses so they show my intended designs in a temporary way, then upgrade the finishes as I can afford to. For example, maybe I will put temporary paper floors in and replace them with real wood when I can afford to. Same with stained glass windows - build real ones as I can. :) Has anyone else taken this approach?

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I'm of the "smoke & mirrors" school of minis.  I paint my "stained glass" windows on flat clear plastic packaging.  I cut iron-on wood veneer into floorboards and iron them onto my floors.  I use sandpaper, construction paper or whatever for shingles (and sandpaper for bricks.).

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I have the huge benefit of having a husband who runs his own construction company. So whatever I want, he can make, or show me how. But I'm also in the smoke and mirrors camp. Real wood floor is cool, but iron on veneer is just as great, as is a sheet of faux wood vinyl flooring (1$ at Lowe's) cut into strips. But I've also been known to use funky polka dot craft paper for flooring. So I think it just depends on your aesthetic and budget. Whatever makes you happiest! 

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The "terra cotta" floor tiles in my 1:24 hacienda were a sheet of pinkish brown packing paper I wadded up a whole lot more, flattened and washed with diluted acrylics paints in raw sienna and ochre.

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17 hours ago, havanaholly said:

I'm of the "smoke & mirrors" school of minis.  I paint my "stained glass" windows on flat clear plastic packaging.  I cut iron-on wood veneer into floorboards and iron them onto my floors.  I use sandpaper, construction paper or whatever for shingles (and sandpaper for bricks.).

I love the sandpaper idea for shingles! I was looking at shingles for The Washington and they are so expensive. Are photos posted of any of the houses you made using that method? Brilliant.

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If you click on my avatar it will take you to my profile where you can click on the "Albums" button to see what I've done.  Here;s my Washington 2.0 with its sandpapder shingles (and bricks):

farmhouse front yard.JPG

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50 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

If you click on my avatar it will take you to my profile where you can click on the "Albums" button to see what I've done.  Here;s my Washington 2.0 with its sandpapder shingles (and bricks):

farmhouse front yard.JPG

It looks great. Did you cut all the fishtails?

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The shingles on the front of the attic are some of the Greenleaf wood shingles I had left over from another kit that came with them.  The porch roof is corrugated cardboard with one flat side dampened and removed and painted silver to resemble a tin roof.

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