← All Guides

Dolls House Building & Decorating Tips

Congratulations on your new dolls’ house! Let's get you started on creating your miniature project.

Get to Know Your Dolls’ House Kit

Firstly, unpack the kit carefully and find the instructions and parts list.

Find a large, clean space to lay the parts out and use a non-permanent method (such as post-it notes) to temporarily mark the different parts with their part numbers. Make sure that you have all the components listed and that everything is undamaged. If you identify any issues with a kit purchased from Minimum World, please Contact Us.

We recommend that you do a 'dry run' and assemble the house without glue initially to familiarise yourself with the parts, check that everything fits together correctly and make sure you understand the instructions provided with the kit before applying any permanent fixings or adhesives.

Please note the tips in the guide below are based on a generic dolls house kit build and may not apply to your particular dolls’ house. Always refer to any decorating and build instructions the manufacturer has provided with the kit you have purchased.

Dry Assembly Tips

After you have checked that all the kit components are present and correct then you’re ready to plan your build and attempt a ‘dry run’. You’ll need some masking tape, a pen/pencil, post-it notes, scissors, and a craft knife.

  1. Check the instructions for the correct order of assembly and plan your build (including how you would like to decorate and light your house and at which stage of the build each element will need to be completed).
  2. Follow the instructions of the build (ignore any decorating instructions for the moment) and where they ask you to use glue/screws apply masking tape instead to complete a dry assembly.
  3. When you have completed the dry run and are satisfied that you have put it together correctly and that all the pieces fit, it is a good idea to mark up pieces of the kit (with post-it notes or very lightly with a pencil) with helpful notes, such as “facing upwards” for the floors/ceilings, to make the real assembly a little easier.
  4. Take some pictures and make any necessary amendments and instructions to your build plan before carefully disassembling the house.

Depending on the design of your dolls’ house, you may wish to consider assembling, gluing, and decorating some pieces with intricate parts (such as roof dormers or staircases) before getting started on the main part of the build. The instructions supplied with your kit should provide more detail about what will need to be constructed and decorated at the various stages during your build.

Why not check out our YouTube tutorial on how to complete a "dry assembly" on the E1119 - Classical Dolls House kit for more tips?

Decorating Tips

Now you've had a dry run and are familiar with each piece and where it goes, you'll find that it's much easier to carry out some of the decorating before the kit is assembled. You should also consider at this stage whether you will be installing lighting in your dolls house, as it is much easier to accommodate wiring or recesses for fixings before the kit is assembled (see our separate guides to lighting).

Always seal the panels of your dolls’ house before decorating. An MDF sealant or a 50/50 mix of PVA and water applied to all surfaces will prevent paints and glues being absorbed, which would cause the MDF to swell and distort (widely available from DIY stores). For the same reason, avoid using water-based (emulsion) paint on your dolls’ house. Satin finish oil-based or acrylic paints are ideal for painting interior and exterior surfaces. A satin finish will mean that your dolls’ house is easier to clean every so often with a slightly damp cloth.

It really is worth painting the walls and floors (even if you will later be applying wallpaper and carpets) because if the panels are left unpainted then their dark colour may show through wallpaper or flooring, spoiling the final effect. A neutral cream shade for the interior will provide a good base for wallpapers and carpets. A neutral paint colour, similar to mortar between bricks, would also be suitable for painting the exterior walls, whereas a darker grey or brown shade may be better for the roof.