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Need suggestions for first dollhouse kit.


Whereforart
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Hi, I am new to this forum - and to dollhouse making.  I bought a kit decades ago for my daughter but never even started it (and have no idea where it is now), but now I want to make one for my granddaughter.  I'm a bit overwhelmed by everything out there, and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a first time project. I've been sewing for over 50 years and have done a number of other crafts, like rug hooking, weaving, etc., but haven't put together anything like this.

Ideally, I'd like it to be a 3-story house, sort of Victorian in style, and sturdy.  I don't mind paying for something new (and frankly, would probably prefer it, as I would want to make sure all the pieces are there). I'm assuming Greenleaf houses are good. :)  Is there a difference between the laser-cut kits and others (aside from the look)?  And what is the difference between a $50-75 kit and a $200+ kit?  The quality of the building materials?  Or the size?  Or both?  


Thanks for any help you can give me!

Mardee

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Welcome! As far as the Greenleaf kits go, the laser cut are much easier to put together because the wood doesn't require as much prep work. The laser cut houses tend to be more expensive than the die cut, but the main difference in price within Greenleaf's line is the size.

How old is your granddaughter? The Greenleaf houses can be made to be beautiful and we obviously love them here, but they're not as sturdy for small children as something made out of MDF or cabinet grade plywood.

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10 minutes ago, fov said:

How old is your granddaughter? The Greenleaf houses can be made to be beautiful and we obviously love them here, but they're not as sturdy for small children as something made out of MDF or cabinet grade plywood.

Thank you!  She is 8 and loves dollhouses and small things like this and generally takes good care of her things. She has some dollhouses that are much sturdier but I think she has outgrown them and would be ready for something like this. But who knows?  Maybe a smaller house?   

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Mardee, if you click on the "shop" button at the top of the page it will take you to the Greenleaf store where you and your granddaughter can look at photos of the dollhouse kits and let her choose the one that calls her name. Letting your cursor hover on the picture of a house shows the interior.

I have built one laser cut kit, the Lighthouse, and the only issues I had were dealing with the soot on the edges and the kit went together so fast that it was built before I wasableto do the bashing I had planned for it.

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Hi Mardee. Welcome to the forum and the Miniature World. You will find your experience in other crafts will help you as you hone your mini skills.

You may want to do a practice house before you attempt a more complex 3-story version. I would suggest the Greenleaf Orchid, which is relatively inexpensive and fairly straightforward to assemble. Many of us cut our mini teeth on the Orchid. Having mastered the basics of a less complicated house, the intricacies of a more complicated build will be less challenging. 

Hobby Lobby generally carries the Orchid or it can be ordered directly from Greenleaf. 

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4 hours ago, havanaholly said:

Mardee, if you click on the "shop" button at the top of the page it will take you to the Greenleaf store where you and your granddaughter can look at photos of the dollhouse kits and let her choose the one that calls her name. Letting your cursor hover on the picture of a house shows the interior.

I have built one laser cut kit, the Lighthouse, and the only issues I had were dealing with the soot on the edges and the kit went together so fast that it was built before I wasableto do the bashing I had planned for it.

Thanks! I did look at the laser-cut houses on Greenleaf but it looks like many of them are sold out. Do they restock frequently?  Also, what is "bashing"? :) 

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5 minutes ago, Whereforart said:

Also, what is "bashing"?

Bashing sounds more brutal than it really is. :)   It is the art of remodeling miniature houses. Move a staircase, add or remove a wall, add or remove a dormer, change scale, add on a wing, etc. Basically it is changing the basic layout to suit your own vision. 

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If you don't mind the price, I'd suggest the laser cut Rosedale or Tennyson for a 3-story Victorian house. A lot of people do start with the Orchid (it was my first kit, too!) but the laser cut requires so much less fiddly prep work, IMO they're a better introduction to Greenleaf kits for a first-time builder.

(But I just checked and they're both out of stock right now. :( Greenleaf has been having trouble getting wood due to the pandemic. I'm sure they intend to bring them back, but don't know when.)

Another house to look at is the McKinley -- it's Victorian and three stories, but less complicated than the usual 3-story house because it's designed to sit up against the wall.

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I have an Orchid kit right here...but it's being given away as a kids doorprize this weekend at our mini show.  So it's great to hear it is a good beginner kit.

Boast: it's new in box, but I got it for just $10 on sale day at a local thrift store!

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I was going to suggest the Tennyson too - it's not too difficult to build, and it's a 3 story Victorian. I just built one for a 10 year old girl - she picked that one out of all the houses I offered her. It's a lightweight house too, she can move it around her room for playtime.

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Hi, all - thanks so much for all your suggestions!  I wish I could wait for one of the laser-cut houses, but I really need to get started so I can give it to my granddaughter for her birthday, which is in early December (or possibly Christmas, if I don't get it done in time). :) I thought about the Orchid, but I was worried that it was so small, it would be harder for me, so ultimately I bought the Vermont Farmhouse Jr. kit and am getting ready to start on that.  It's heavier, too, so I thought it might be a bit better for an 7, soon to be 8-year-old. The kit is unopened and I'm waiting till my granddaughter leaves for a camping trip tomorrow to start. 

In the meantime, I've been stalking this forum for all the tips you have written about glue, tools, and checking out all the gallery images (beautiful!!!) and plan to make a trip to the hardware and craft store tomorrow to get what I need. I'm very nervous but excited about starting this, and I can't wait till it's done so I can start decorating!  

I do have one quick question. I know I will want some lighting - is this something I need to plan before the build, or can I wait to decide until it's finished and ready for decorating?  Thanks!

Mardee

 

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