(443 words)

As our oldest daughter was nearing her 4th birthday, my wife and I considered to give her a dollhouse. Very soon after we decided to build her one instead of purchasing.

Tools Used

We have a wood workshop at work. It’s sort of an employee benefit, rather than something that’s really work-related. Awesome, I know. It also has a great view :)

So most of the tools I used aren’t mine, and are mostly professional:

  1. I’m too scared to use a table saw, so instead I mostly used a circular saw with tracks.

  2. Jointer and Planer.

  3. Router for corners.

  4. Scroll saw for cutting the windows and doors. I could have created a frame and use the router for straighter lines, but I’m OK with the result.

  5. Lots of clamps for applying pressure while gluing.

From Design to Product

Being the pedantic engineer I am, I started with a SketchUp model:

Dollhouse Sketch

Next, time to purchase lumber. I couldn’t get this huge piece through the stairs, nor through the elevator, so I had to cut it outside:

Raw lumber

Next I cut it to length according to plan:


Here I made my first mistake, see below.

I worked with a router for round corners, cut the windows / door manually, and then it was time to glue it all together:


Add the roof, some color and voila!:


With some purchased furniture and dolls on Ali Express we’re done :)

What I Learned

I made quite a few mistakes, most of which I contribute to this being my first “serious” wood project:

  1. I trusted the seller’s dimensions instead of verifying. Too late did I realize that instead of the listed 20cm depth by 2.5cm width it was in fact closer to 19cm by 2cm. My design was not affected by changed depth (20cm or 19cm), but having a different width (and discovering it too late) made a few angles quirky and glued less strongly. Conclusion is simple: always measure, never trust.

  2. I used the jointer and planer after cutting the wood to pieces. This caused a lot of unnecessary work for no good reason.

  3. I thought I good skip using a planer, and only use a jointer instead. I got trapezoid which I had fix with a planer.

  4. Lastly, I made a few mistakes with the roof, which changed it significantly. To test my gluing abilities I glued it before cutting the 45° angels at the bottom. Huge mistake, as now I couldn’t use the circular saw’s tracks as it simply did not fit in width anymore. The roof is not symmetric, but it still looks OK I think

Hope you like it! My daughter sure does ;)