Decorating dolls houses for children,may seem like a daunting task,but with a little thought and patience,a lovely decorated house can be achieved.
The first step is of course to choose your house,anyone seeing my other guides you will appreciate over many years of collecting house,I have several favourtites Manufacturers. Unfortunatly many of these houses are no longer obtainable new,as they are now manufacturing houses made from cheaper materials and highly painting them inside & out,some are done with like a laminated process which hides the material underneath,and not much can be done to re-decorate.
If you buy a used house by ELC, or Plan Toys,even some older Chad Valley,they can be brought up to new standard,because they are made of wood.New houses by Ladybird etc.,are still made of wood (which can be seen as wood) The wood in these houses is thinner but with a wood surround not really a problem they are still wood.
Wallpapering a dolls house can be very effective,it is the materials you use that makes it easier,I use normal household wallpaper as I have found the paper sold especially for dolls houses is not easy to us it is usually very thin shiny ,tears easily and difficult to remove the bubbles.You have of course to be careful not to buy large patterns on the wallpaper,you can buy odd rolls,also most suppliers give samples of wallpaper free.I use the paste sold with the wallpaper.as most adhesives do not make a good job.I have seen wallpaper stuck on with blue tack never a good solution.Because the pieces are small it is not like wallpapering you home and with a bit of care with measuring a lovely outcome can be achieved.
It is also a good idea to paint the internal walls with emulsion paint,a couple of coats and a good surface can be achieved.I buy the tester pots,so you can have a range of beautiful colours,and the emulsion paints onto the wood easily.It is also easy to re-decorate and change the colour.The edging to the walls I use is usually cut from a roll of suitable wallpaper.A range of stickers can further enhance the walls.
If you want to paint the furniture gloss paint can be difficult,and messy, emulsion paint is a good idea but you must then varnish with a clear quick dry varnish to give you the wearability.
I would recommend gloss paint for the exterior of the house.but if like my houses you want to paint figures onto the wood I recommend Acrylic paint,but always varnish with clear varnish when dry,to give a durable surface.
When it comes to carpets in dolls houses household carpets are not suitable, they are alway too thick,I use the material designed especially for dolls houses,or felt.It usually comes with a sticky back.I also usually cover the floors with fablon makes a good spongeable surface,and hardwearing.
Curtains for dolls houses can be made from bundles of lace,and for collectors houses this is what I use,but for children houses, you can buy ordinary net curtains (with a tiny pattern) and cut to size.The *glass* in the windows (to keep the dust out) is better made from sheets of accetate which usually cost around 40p per sheet.I have never understood why dolls houses do not come with windows in.Scraps of material make good curtains can be stuck into position with dble sided sellotape or stuck in place with pvc glue which dries clear.
Over the years I have tried many types of wood glue but I usually revert to Bostik for sticking wood,it does not dry clear so you have to be careful.
I usually enhance my houses with fancy strip wood on the exterior,but maybe not necessary for most houses,as I usually do this for converting open plan houses to solid walled houses.
For the older child Fymo is a good material to model food ornaments etc.,my Grandchildren took great enjoyment from making things for their houses,There are also lots of really fancy beads etc., which make lovely ornaments for cabinetc.etc.,The white ends of Tic Tac mints also makes good window boxes,you can buy model flowers or dry and paint lavender or fymo.So for the older child with a little imagination they can have the joy of making things for their house,an ongoing experience for them.It all depends on what you want for your dolls house,a simple childs toy or one that will grow up with the child.
Covering chairs and sofas etc., can be done by cutting a piece of cardboard to size,covering with foam and material,but these have to be stuck onto the furniture with glue.Matresses for beds can also be done like this.Bedding can be tricky but to avoid sewing seams try pulling out threads to make a fringe surround,(also good for curtains.& home made carpets.This stops fraying and no bulky seams.
In conclusion I hope that for most people my hints on how to decorate a house will be useful.Many tips I know not necessary for a younger childs house,but a lovely colourful house will add to the enjoyment of the toy.I am aware children can crayon and draw on childrens houses, I usually varnish ( two or more coats) all the wood to aleviate this problem, but again if you buy wood a little sanding will resolve this problem.
I know in this modern age many children like electrtonic toys etc.,but I believe there is still a place for the dolls house.