Building a Dollhouse Room Box from Scratch with Glowforge
This weekend I’m planning out a dollhouse room box. I’ll be determining the size of my dollhouse room box and will be cutting it out on my Glowforge. It’s actually the very first weekend where I get to work on this fun dollhouse project.
I’m excited about it, but it’s slow going. I could sit here for days looking at inspiration on Pinterest. Follow my dollhouse board if you would like.
I have even looked around at kits. Trust me, I have thought of going this route. And, if I can’t get this part nailed I may just do that.
Things to Consider when Building A Dollhouse Room Box
Before I could get started with the actual room box I knew I needed to consider the furniture I wanted to put in my room.
Since it’s a living room that I’ll be building I knew these were items I wanted to place in it:
- 3 Seat sofa
- End Table
- Coffee Table
- Curio Cabinet
- And, maybe a Fireplace
I got to cracking on what those real life dimensions were. Then I used a 1:12 calculator to get estimates for my furniture that I would eventually make for the room box. Mini Doll Kits has a scale conversion calculator on their site that was a life saver!
I broke out the trusty Google Spreadsheets to enter all of the conversions.
Then, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and started entering those shapes in at the 1:12 dimensions.
I am most familiar with AI as a graphic artist for over 20 years. I did try and use a floor planner app but got frustrated so I went back to my familiarity. Use what you know!
Next, I drew a box around it and added some doors and windows – or at least where I thought they might go. And, adjusted that size to an even number.
Designing A Dollhouse Room Box Build Plans
I knew I would use my Glowforge Laser Cutter to cut the pieces. I have been using one for three years now and it’s been super handy and part of my regular business at almonogram.com. If you’re interested in a Glowforge use my link here to get $500 of a Pro and $250 off of a Plus. I did an unboxing when I first got it.
That being said I knew I would have to scale the design to fit in the area that can be cut with a Glowforge. The machine can cut 11″ x 19.5″. And, my box was already 11.25″ on one side. I took that down to 10.9″ and figured I could work with that and insure nothing would be too close to the edges when cutting it.
I have never made anything like this before, so of course I started out with the idea of making tabs and slots. But since I had 1/8″ MDF on hand to use I realized quickly after cutting a piece that idea wasn’t going to work. The slots were too close to the edges. *face palm*
Then my mom said, “what about dove tails?” I looked that up and ended up just doing this method of making something similar without the angles.
Maybe there is a better way, but when you don’t know what you’re doing you do a lot of trial and error. Got any suggestions? Leave me a comment.
I Tried to Learn Google Sketchup
I thought using Google Sketchup would be a better way to do 3d modeling and break down the plans but the class I was taking on Skillshare (I’m an ambassador so click here to get 14 days free.*) the guy left off some things that I felt important. After about an hour I was back in Adobe Illustrator. I want to go back and learn more about Sketchup and Fusion (I got a 3d Resin printer as part of my Christmas so I definitely need to learn how to design itesm for it.)
Using Adobe Illustrator to Design the Walls and Floor of the Dollhouse Room Box
So back in Illustrator, I took my floor layout and then I created two side walls that would be 9 inches tall.
I made a front only knowing the back would have to be open. I considered making another wall with a hinge but I figured I better keep this first build very simple.
I decided I wanted a gable on my house, and now I kinda wish I had just made a box for ease. But we’re already into deep. I shall spend time working on figuring out the roof. I probably should have figured that out before cutting these.
As you can see, I drew where the tabs and openings would go. What do you call this style of connection anyway?
And, using my Illustrator skills I aligned everything and combined paths so I would have easy cuts on the Glowforge.
Here are the SVG designs.
I only screwed up three boards by forgetting to actually merge the tabs on one side, and then lining up the tabs wrong on another side. It’s only materials, I say in my sarcastic voice. Luckily I can use the scraps for furniture later.
Here you can see everything cut. Though still masked. I was trying to figure out how to put them together and make them stay in place while the glue dried and figured I better look into some clamps.
It’s hard to find clamps that work with 1/8″ thick wood. I did find these corner clamps* that will work and ordered them. So I just have to wait for them to get here this week before I can glue it together.
My layout is 10.75″ x 10.9″ – and I’m okay with this for getting started.
A small, easy to decorate room box was the goal after all.
I’ll gladly share my plans for download once I makes sure they all glue together nicely.
Thoughts About Building a Room Box
I was intimidated by the design. I wanted to get it right. I think starting is the hardest part. And, be being patient. I have zero patience. Having to wait days for the clamps to arrive is good for me. It’s teaching me to just enjoy the process and not rush through it.
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