Building a doll house from either a kit or from scratch is a satisfying and creative hobby. Doll house windows with real glass or acrylic panes give a finished look to the structure. They are available ready-made, or simpler units may come with a commercial house kit. Making your own windows to save money is also easy. A children’s dollhouse will require sturdier materials than an adult collector's.
You should choose ready-made windows that match the scale of your house. The two common scales are 1:12, or one inch equals one foot, and 1:24, or one inch equals two feet. Both British and American doll house makers adhere to these standards in kits and components, while German houses tend to be closer to 1:10, or one inch equals ten inches, or metric measurement scales. Children’s houses come in 1:18, or two-thirds inch, scale, and playscale, which is large enough for 11-12 inch (28– 30 cm) dolls.
Doll house windows are often sold as separate units, and many of them actually work. Commercial doll house kits will usually recommend manufacturers whose components fit in the pre-cut openings. If not, or if you have come upon an odd brand or rescued an older half-finished kit from a tag sale or flea market, you will have to measure carefully. The openings may need to be adjusted to receive ready-made doll house windows.
Doll house kits usually include basic frames and thin plastic “glass”, sometimes printed with designs meant to approximate paned windows. These aren’t as attractive as a separate component, but extra kits are often available with better architectural detailing than the thin plywood windows that come with a house. For a large structure, it may be more economical to buy the kit rather than purchasing doll house windows separately.
Ready-made components can be expensive. If you prefer to make your own, books and websites on miniatures and doll house construction and decorating often have detailed instructions on creating very effective basic and specialty doll house windows. They can be as simple as a sheet of acetate fixed between two frames, or a working model of a real window. Bay, casement, and double-hung windows are the most common types. Hobby shops and miniatures catalogs sell all the materials necessary for constructing doll house windows, although many miniaturists like to use scrap.
Children’s doll houses often see vigorous play, and the windows and doors are no exception. Pin hinges on working windows should be sturdy enough to withstand countless openings and closings. You should make sure any wood components are splinter-free, and houses for younger kids should have no small parts that can detach and cause choking. Your children may enjoy helping you make little curtains and accessories for their doll house windows.