After admiring beautifully constructed doll rooms for years, I finally create my own. Hopefully, you can benefit from my instructions.
I frequent message boards like American Girl Playthings and to a lesser extent American Girl Fans. Some of the board members have very detailed and beautiful room set ups. I also love the Our Dolls website, which has an amazing Victorian mansion. I have been with AGPlaythings since November 2007, so for a long time I have hoped to create a dollhouse. Thanks to my patient boyfriend, I was able to finally build one this past year. We're city folk so we don't own a car, but fortunately there is a Home Depot 15 minutes away. We bought a hand truck at the same time we bought the two particle boards, and just hauled the extremely heavy pieces home.
My built dollhouse, though I have some ways to go with decorating.
Update 2/2011, what my top floor looks like now:
what my lower floor looks like now:
WHAT YOU NEED:
(1) Power drill set (e.g. Ryobi). Make sure you buy an accessory set with the right drills and bits. We pre-drilled holes using the 1/8 drill.
(2) 50 pack of regular 1 1/2" wood screws, Philip's flat head #10.
(3) One 4 feet by 8 feet 3/4 inch particle board, costing about $20. Note that particle board is very heavy. It's made of recycled sawdust and wood chips, so it might not be suitable for kids because of the rougher edges. Feel free to experiment with other wood, but we picked particle board because it's cheap.
I created recommended measurements below. Because you lose 1/8 inch for each cut, make sure you ask the wood cutter to cut the side walls first (in the diagrams, left to right). Before you decide which measurement to use, make sure you measure your tallest doll furniture first. For example, the diagram for the 28" walls is what I used to fit Felicity's bed with a couple of inches to spare. Also, measure your doorways to ascertain whether the doll room can pass through.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE:
It took about 90 minutes to assemble. If you use particle board, the doll room will be very heavy. Make sure you build it near the location you intend to display it, otherwise there will be no way to move it up and down stairs without disassembling it.
Step 1. Prop one side wall against back wall. Make sure it's vertically flushed with the floor to avoid uneven gaps later. Note: You will need an assistant to help you to hold the boards, especially to counteract the push of the drill. We used a table, chair, and dumbbell to keep everything vertical. You'll have to drill from the side which is awkward, so be very careful.
Step 2. Pre-drill with 1/8 inch drill bit. Drill in 1-1/2 inch wood screw. Repeat pre-drill and drill new screw every five inches or so. Note: Make sure you are a couple of inches away from the corner edge (see image below for example), otherwise when you put in the screw too close to the end, an entire chunk of the corner may fall off. Also, in the length that is 3/4 inch across, make sure you drill as close to center as possible.
Step 3. Attach second side wall to back wall, and repeat Steps 1 and 2.
Step 4. Lay ceiling on top of walls. Make sure everything is flush. Attach ceiling in the same manner of Steps 1 and 2, except you are drilling down. You may want to vacuum some of the sawdust.
Step 5. Flip entire box and now attach floor like you did the ceiling in previous step.
Your final product should look like the image below.