First, why does the size of the dollhouse matter? Why can't we just use whatever little thing we find cute? Well, you can because it's your house, but if you want a realistic miniature scene, you need to be mindful of the scale.
The human eye and brain are fantastic at detecting when something is wrong, especially at scale. Why? We see everyday household objects in relation to each other and also to ourselves and other people. If it's wrong, our brain sees it immediately.
In the example image above, you can see a small person standing next to a large row of folding chairs. what is truth Is the person small or the furniture super big? Let's say there is no such thing as a fun Photoshop image trick. Your brain says these chairs are HUGE! (and you are right.)
Then we see a tall man sitting on a small chair. In case you happen to knowator HGTV, or look at his giant clown shoes, you will know that this man is actually quite tall. Is it big enough that the chair would be normal size for the rest of us? Again your brain fills in the correct answer with no, the chair is still smaller than it should be. It's probably a child's chair.
Now that we know why scale matters, you need to know what standard dollhouse scales are and what they mean.
1:12 scale or standard scale
You may see something described as "1:12" or maybe "quarter scale". If you are new to the world of dollhouses, don't worry if you don't understand these terms right away. They simply refer to how small something has shrunk.
The typical standard dollhouse size is a scale of twelve. This means that everything has been reduced by a factor of 12. Simply put, a foot becomes an inch. This is another way it could be described, like a 1 inch scale. Written it is 1:12, 1/12 or 1 inch. A male doll for this scale would be a maximum of 6 inches tall or 6 feet full size. Fisher Price dolls houses have this scale, but it is also the most common scale for the adult miniaturist.
The next smallest common dollhouse scale is 1:24. It is twice the size of the standard 1:12 scale. Because it is half the size, it is also commonly referred to as "half scale" or "half inch". Here 1 foot equals half an inch. This is a very popular scale in Europe and here in the United States. Model railroaders use a term called G scale, which is technically 1:22.5. This is slightly larger than our dollhouse scale by half an inch. For many, using things made on the G scale in their half-size dollhouse is close enough. A popular toy for children that uses this scale isPlaymobil.
A quarter scale is another half smaller, or 1:48. This scale means that anything that would be 1 foot is now 1/4″. This scale is known in the modeling world as the O scale. In the past, the O scale varied somewhat between 1:43 and 1:48, but today's manufacturers use 1:48. The most widely recognized toy in this series isLEGO.
The smallest common size is 1:144. Called micro or micro mini or dollhouse scales. This is because a 1:144 scale dollhouse would scale perfectly into a standard 1:12 scale dollhouse and would be a 1:12 scale dollhouse. It's a little confusing, but the math can help. 1/12/12 = 1:144. The closest model railway scale is the British N scale at 1:148 and differs only slightly from the American N scale at 1:160. This scale is too small for children's toys, but not for adult hobbyists who are still young at heart. This image is a miniature N-scale (1:160) recreation of Pixar's UP house.
Large common scales
Conversely, 1:6 is the scale for fashion dolls such asBarbieeBlythe🇧🇷 This scale is twice the size of the standard dollhouse scale called Playscale or Fashion Scale. Barbie herself is a bit tall for her height, but most Amazon women are a bit tall. This is also the same benchmark for the 12″ GI Joes. DO NOT get confused, Barbie is a 12 inch doll that WILL NOT WORK with 1:12 scale furniture. While some people (my parents) buy 1:12 scale miniatures at flea markets for their kids' Barbie houses. These pieces are not to scale. My parents got me a side table and awardrobe🇧🇷 I could just use them as a small accent table and nursery organizer in my Barbie house.
american girlDolls have a small problem with scaling. They are modeled to represent a girl around 9 years old. With age and size charts, the 1:2 scale makes them a preschooler and the 1:3 scale makes them a chubby fifth grader. Both scales are commonly used with these dolls. A closer match in scale might be 1:2.5. I've never heard of this magnitude. Because of its size, 1:4 scale is often used for your furniture and homes. But that gives the dolls teenage or adult height without the body or face matching, which is odd.
Often these larger scales are all grouped under the same category of "game master," which simply means a scale better suited for playing around than for accurate modeling. I was trying to find a scale image of the American Girl dollhouse. I came up empty. The dolls are so tall that it's a waste to model a six-foot ceiling when all the residents are under four feet tall.
Other scales are more common in Europe.Lundby, a Swedish dollhouse company, uses 1:18. The picture below is a Lundby dollhouse. It's slightly smaller than standard, but not as small as half a scale. It's fairly interchangeable with 1:18 or 3/4 scale except for the purists.
Another common European size is 1:16, called 3/4 scale. Several companies like Brinca Dada, Tri-ang, Marx (Little Hostess, Amanda Ann) and Petite Princess use it. The 1:10 scale is made in Germany and used in the surrounding region.
Now that you know the different scales, you'll know if the furniture you find is the right size for your dollhouse.
How to check the size of the dollhouse
Even if a piece of furniture is said to be to scale, it's always best to check it out.
I bought these black metal dining chairs and to be honest they look a bit big to me. My dolls look a bit silly and small sitting in these chairs. A bit like a child sitting at the adults' table. It's still pretty close to true scale so I might use them but they look big to me so that bothers me and I won't use them as is.
First you measure the chair. They are 1 3/5″ from floor to seat. Multiply that by twelve and we'll see that for a real chair it would be over 19 inches.
So how do we know if 19″ is too tall? As part of my work in the industrial design course, I have had a few chair design studios and always refer to the measurements provided with the ergonomic studies.
The table shows that standard chairs typically measure between 16 and 17 inches for this measurement, which would be 1 and 3/8 inches in our 1:12 scale.
As expected, this chair is very high. In addition, the back is quite high. Backrests typically extend 17 to 24 inches across the chair seat, and ours reach just over 2 inches, which is 2 feet. This is at the high end of the acceptable range. This number is more for high-backed office chairs, not these types of simple dining chairs. I would say this chair is 1:10 scale instead of 1:12. It's a subtle but noticeable difference.
Attachment of the chair scale
I'm a big fan ofblunt kitorchop🇧🇷 I discovered that many miniaturists are too. My only fun option is to customize these chairs! Let's get in right away! (Seriously, I didn't even have a plan, I just went along and took photos along the way. All IN!)
I found that the chair backs are only held on by two screws and come off very easily. Holding the back loose, I slide it down a little, exposing the curved top of the chair, and suddenly the chair already looks smaller! I love the curved top they have now, they remind me of a set of kitchen chairs we had at home when I was a kid.
The backrest is too big at this point and needs to have space between the backrest and the seat, so I have to cut it. As I found out, these black parts are acrylic. I had them on my belt sander. DO NOT breathe crab dust.
The legs are still a small problem. They stick out too much to look right on our scales, but with a little patience and a pair of pliers, I bent the legs down so they don't stick out so much. The pliers scratched the paint quite badly, but I didn't like the finish anyway.
The legs are still too big for our measurements, and I'll probably come back later with a hacksaw or pliers to snip a quarter inch off the bottom of these legs.
I did a quick and dirty (and horrible) job to restore the seat cushion and backrest just so I could reassemble the chair and show the progress.
You can see the chair starting to fit better on our scale with the backrest lowered. The wooden chair next to it is my own dining chair design based on measurements from ergonomic studies and real full size dining chairs. It looks small next to those two, but it's actually the right scale, 1:12. It just goes to show how these black chairs really aren't to scale!
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What size doll fits in a 1:12 scale dollhouse? ›
One-inch scale (also called 1/12 or 1:12 scale) means 1 inch equals a foot or twelve inches. If your adult dolls are 5 to 6 inches tall or your doll house rooms are about 8 to 10 inches tall, you have 1 inch scale or 1:12 scale miniatures.What does dollhouse scale mean? ›
Dollhouse scale refers to the ratio of a dollhouse or dollhouse miniature to an object in real life. Dollhouse scale is often expressed by two numbers with a slash or colon between them. (For instance, 1/12 or 1:12.) The bigger the second number, the smaller the dollhouse or dollhouse miniature is.What is the difference between 1 24 and 1:12 dollhouse? ›
The next smallest common dollhouse scale is 1:24. It is twice as small as the standard 1:12 size. Because it is half the size, it is commonly also referred to as 'half scale' or 'half inch'. Here, 1 foot equals half an inch.
The 1:12 scale is a traditional scale (ratio) for models and miniatures. In this scale (ratio), one inch on the scale model or miniature is equal to twelve inches on the original object being copied. Depending on the application, this particular scale (ratio) is also called one-scale (since 1 inch equals 1 foot).How do you use a 1/12 scale? ›
1:12 scale is sometimes called one-inch scale and means 1 foot (or 12 inches) on a real item that has been scaled down to 1 inch. If you measure the ceiling in your house and it's 10ft, it would be 10in in the dolls house.What is a 1/12 dolls house? ›
The 1:12 scale has its roots in the imperial measuring system – where one inch on the doll's house is equivalent to one foot on a real house. So the house is twelve times smaller than a full size house. Historically, it was chosen as the scale for Queen Mary's dolls house.