The floors in dollhouses or room boxes can be real wood, carpet, tile, brick or
paper. Flooring, no matter the type, enhances the interior of your dollhouse.
Always use a material that is in scale in both thickness and design to your dollhouse.
Do not use real carpet samples or scraps that you have been saving as they are not
in scale. The most widely used material is upholstery velvet or patterned upholstery
fabrics. These materials can be attached to the floor with either a fabric glue
or double sided carpet tape. Fabric glue is a special adhesive that will not bleed
through the fabric.
When you do not want the carpet
permanently attached, use double sided carpet tape around the edge of the floor
and lay the carpet on top. Press down to attach to the carpet tape. If you wish
to enhance your dollhouse with the look of wood, then the following suggestions
should prove helpful. Wood flooring make beautiful backgrounds for handcrafted needlework
and braided rugs.
There are sheets of wood flooring that can be used to give your dollhouse or room
box real wood floors. These sheets measure 11" x 17" and cover 187 square inch.
- DO NOT remove the wood from its paper backing.
- If the room or box is square or rectangular, measure both the width and length first, then cut a piece of flooring
to these measurements.
- Since the flooring is thin, it can be cut with scissors.
- Iron with a dry iron (not steam) across the wood side of the flooring. This seals the paper backing to the wood.
- Because the backing is paper, I spread wallpaper mucilage evenly over the entire surface of the back of the flooring.You
may also use Quick Grip.
- Lay the flooring on the floor of your dollhouse. Press and smooth the flooring down as you would when applying
- If the flooring isn't long enough for the room, take the pieces you have cut off after measuring the room and
piece them together lengthwise or crosswise at each end.
- If the room is deeper than the width of the flooring, I try to piece the flooring together at the back of the
room. This way, it is not as likely to be noticed.
- Varnish the floor with two or three coats of polyurethane semi-gloss varnish to seal the wood. (See the
Painting Section.) This gives a real wood finish.
It is up to you whether you varnish
before or after installing. It is important, when staining the wood flooring, to
stain the flooring before installing. (See the
Painting Section.) Since wallpaper is normally applied before installing the
flooring, by staining first, you do not get stain on the wallpaper. The stain is
thin and does tend to splatter.
- For unusually shaped floors,
make a paper pattern. (See the Pattern Making section
- Lay the pattern on the back
of the piece of wood flooring.
- Be sure to correctly lay the
pattern on the flooring, so that when you turn the flooring over it will fit in
the room properly.
- This flooring is thin and can
be cut with scissors. Again, apply with
- Sand any rough or unlevel areas
in order to achieve an even flat surface.
- Make sure the surface to be
covered is both clean and free of dust and dirt.
- A number of glues may be used
to apply floor pieces: wood glue,
Quick Grip or
white glue. Note: if a white glue or other glue with a water base is used,
you must lay a heavy object (book, etc.) on top of the flooring when laid. The water
in the glue may tend to make the flooring expand and buckle.
- Apply glue to the surface of
the floor and lay one section of flooring at a time, tightly butting one to the
other until the entire surface is covered. When you are laying the floor, be very
careful not to get any glue on the surface of the flooring, as the glue will act
as a sealer and will not allow stain or varnish to penetrate.
- If you do happen to get glue
on the surface of the flooring, wipe the glue away with a damp cloth before it is
allowed to dry.
- Be extremely careful not to
get any Quick Grip on the surface of the flooring, because it will not wipe away
with a damp cloth and thus will mar the surface of the floor.
- Be sure that when you use Quick
Grip, it is even and does not ooze through the cracks. Apply Quick Grip on the back
of the flooring instead of on the surface of the floor.
- Apply the flooring, making
sure that it is placed exactly where you want it to be. Then pull the flooring up
lightly and place it back down. Press the flooring to the surface.
- Because it dries immediately,
you do not need to place a weight on top of the flooring.
Due to changes in weather and humidity,
the raw wood may expand or contract, resulting in small cracks in the wood. If this
happens, a simple technique to make the surface smooth again is using a very fine
sandpaper, and sanding with the grain of wood (each square would be sanded individually).
The fine dust will fall in any crevices and the excess may be wiped away with a
damp cloth. This step should be followed even if no, racks appear, because all raw
wood needs sanding before the finish is applied.
You may finish the flooring with
a stain, antique or varnish. (See the
Paint Section.) A varnish will seal the flooring and will resist any weather
change. I always like to finish with one or wo coats of varnish (sanding between
coats) in order to give the wood a fine finish.
Parquet Flooring is made up of small sections of wood, it is sometimes easier
to make a brown paper pattern of the floor. Glue the parquet to the brown paper
pattern with a good paper-to-wood adhesive. This allows you to match the parquet
to the area to be covered, including the partial sections of parquet. Do this for
all size floors when using parquet, as it allows you to design the floor before
installing. Since the parquet is on a paper backing, you can now use a wallpaper
mucilage to apply to the floor.
Note: Unusual shaped floors
using parquet definitely require using a brown paper pattern of the floor.
- Apply the parquet to the pattern
with a good paper-to-wood adhesive, matching the parquet to the edge and beyond.
- Turn the floor over and trim
the overhangs with a straightedge guide and a utility knife or X-Acto knife. Be
sure to work on a board or hard surface that the knife won't damage.
- Sand trimmed flooring as instructed
in prior directions (above).
- Finish the floor before you
place it into the house, because you might not be able to reach sections of the
floor once it is in place, due to the irregular shape of the floor.
- The floor may be installed
in the room with the Quick Grip
or the wallpaper mucilage. Press firmly in place until the adhesive holds.
Tile floors may be installed the
same way as the sheet flooring or the parquet floors, except that no sanding or
varnishing is needed. You may also use the pattern method.
For a more economical floor, various
styles of paper flooring are available in miniature shops. Paper flooring may be
applied with wallpaper mucilage. Finish this type of flooring with three coats of
polyurethane varnish for a real wood look. You might wish to use a gloss finish
here. Since the paper flooring is printed, it is very important that you use a polyurethane
finish, as it will not smear the ink.
To achieve a "plank" floor look with the wood floor of your dollhouse, follow these
- Before putting the house together,
find the piece of wood that will be the floor.
- If it is to be stained, stain
now. (See the Paint Section.)
- Decide which direction you
want the floor lines to run - horizontal or vertical.
- Using a black ballpoint pen
and a ruler, draw lines running horizontal or vertical.
- Space the lines for the type
floor desired. For example, random plank flooring has uneven spacing, while hardwood
floors have even spacing.
- After you draw the long lines,
randomly draw short lines connecting the long lines. The short lines define the
ends of the boards.
- To achieve a pegged wood floor
look, mark three dots along each side of the short line to look like the pegs.
- After all the lines are drawn
and you are satisfied with the appearance of the floor, varnish the floor with polyurethane
varnish. (See the Painting Section.)
Polyurethane will not smear the ink.
- If the dollhouse is already
constructed, use a small ruler. This will make it easier to draw the lines.
Patterns come in handy for such tasks as laying flooring and carpet or shingling
hard to reach areas. The following steps should work for making a pattern no matter
- Take a discarded magazine and tear out several pages. Magazine pages have straight
edges and square corners.
- Place one page in the middle of the room and secure with tape. This page will serve
as a base on which to tape the other pieces.
- Continue tearing the magazine into sections that roughly correspond to
the area you wish to cover.
- Fit the corner pieces and straight edge pieces snugly into each area around
the edge of the room. Securely tape these pieces to the base page.
- Continue until your "patchwork" pattern is complete and fits the room. (See diagram below)
- Carefully lift out and you
have a precision pattern of the room.
- Tape this "patchwork" pattern to a piece of brown wrapping paper or a brown
paper bag (be sure the surface is smooth). Carefully cut a one piece pattern.
- Try the new pattern to be sure that it fits the room to your satisfaction. Then discard the "patchwork" pattern.
Patterns can be a great help in the installation of flooring or carpet. You can
also take your pattern to shows or your local miniature shop as a blueprint of the
room for help with the placement of furnishings.