This Christmas my wife and I decided to make a fair castle dolls house for our little girl (2 1/2 Years). We had been looking at dolls houses for her and they were very large and super expensive! We only have a small house and so it must be collapsible. My wife still has toys that her farther made for her that she cherishes and now my daughter plays with all the time. There is something special about your mum and dad making you something from scratch just for you that nobody else has (so I thought I would post it here so everybody can make one). We thought we would go the extra mile and make something that would hopefully be handed down to our daughters children (if it lasts that long!)
Step 1: Inspiration
We got out inspiration from a small cardboard toy she got as a gift from somebody. It all slotted together very cleverly and crucially flat packed down to nothing.
Step 2: CAD Design
I do have a tendency to go a bit over the top with things and this was no exception. I spent about a week learning how to use Autocad and model the design in 3D so I could make sure all of the slots were in the correct place and it looked like I wanted. I had done a couple of simple designs on Autocad before and was looking for a project to use it for simply just for the challenge of learning how to use it.
My wife had found a serise of fairy doll figures on amazon so I used the height of the dolls to scale the castle. so they could move through all of the arches. it turned out quite a lot larger than I first thought it was going to be! Next time get smaller models -)
I have done the had work so you don't have to here are the Autocad files for the designs.
"Finished 2D" This is all the pieces laid out on to a full plyboard sheet ready for cutting. I think it could be sent to be laser cut if you wanted.
"Finished 3D" This is the 3d model of what it will look like. In theory you could use it for 3D printing if you are luck enough to have access to one and scale it down a lot.
Step 3: Transferring the Design
The way i made mine was to export the 2D drawing as multiple 1:1 scale A3 plots as PDF files, and printed them out at work when nobody was watching (ssshhh).
Then I spray mounted them onto a piece of 6mm Ply-board from the local timber yard.
Step 4: Cutting
To cut them out I had borrowed a scroll saw from my farther in law but found a regular jigsaw with a fine blade easier to do most bits. It was only really the very fiddly bits like the windows that I used it. For the crenelations (Saw-tooth bits at the top of the castle) I tried cutting these out with the scroll saw and found it was really hard to get a square cut. My solution to this was I got an old small flat head screwdriver and grinded it into tiny chisel with my Dremal. which I used to knock the knotches out and filed the rough edges down with a needle nose file. Perfect!
If I was to make it again I think I would consider just sending the designs off and getting them Laser cut out of ply-wood. It would be more expensive but give a much cleaner cut and not take 9 hours with jigsaw!
Step 5: Painting
This is the part my wife picked up the project, and where most of the money was spent (funny that). After sanding priming and sanding again she coated with some stone effect paint (paint with sand in it) and spray painted the inside walls gold. Unfortunately she did a beautiful border around the edges of the walls with green sharpie pen and a sliver pen but when we lacquered the walls most of it came off (or gave it an antique look you decide). The wall paintings were from an internet site that would turn and image into a sticker. These turned out fantastically well and look great. The floorboards and grass were from the model shop and stuck on with wallpaper paste.
Step 6: Christmas Day!
I think she liked it.
I think it took a total of about 40 hours of work and cost about £70.