Friday, January 7, 2011

Dollhouses... a real commitment

Holy moly, I just read what a fellow miniaturist wrote about all the steps she needed to do to finish her 1:12 scale dollhouse.  As I read, I was like, WOW.  Dollhouses are a lot of work, no wonder I love making one room scenes. 
I'm not saying I didn't already know this, just that it was one of those epiphany moments.
It reminded me of my first real dollhouse.  My husband bought me a Greenleaf kit for my birthday back before we were married.  I think it was the Westville.  I got this house to the point that I was able to eventually sell the house but I kept the furnishings.
This house had 4 basic rooms, stairs and I hated those windows.  I learned I would rather use HouseWorks windows and doors as they are so much more like real life.  But I digress as the point of this blog post isn't about my learning curve, but the work a dollhouse takes scale vs scale.
After I started my 1:12 scale dollhouse I joined a club that showed me that miniatures is more than dollhouses.  It can be a roombox or even part of a room. For sure a roombox or scene can be completed in much less time than a dollhouse does.  It is nearly instant gratification and this world is full of that.  Like many others I like instant, I have Netflix for a reason and that is because you can get instant movies and don't have to drive somewhere or wait for it in the mail (although I get the mailed ones too). 
A dollhouse in any scale really is a commitment.  Not just in the price either.  There is more time and planning to a dollhouse.  Granted to make multiple one room scenes can take as much time and planning regardless of whether one chooses to purchase or scratch build or not.
However when thinking about scale there is one commitment that isn't so much when considering a smaller scale house.  Size.  1:48 scale will fit in most shelves and even in a tiny one at that.  But 1:12 scale, oh that is a commitment I am glad I am no longer making.  I think if I still had that dollhouse when I moved to my current house, I would sell that dollhouse or gave it away just because I don't have a good place to put it that I want to commit to.
Thinking about that house and what I have been doing since made me wonder, which does it take longer to finish? a equivalent 1:48 scale house or a 1:12 scale house?  Off the top of my head I say it takes longer for the 1:12 scale.  So that got me to wondering why?
First I think about that 1:12 scale house and compare to a comparable 1:48 scale house.
Both have exterior finishing, interiors to finish and furnish, but what the 1:12 scale has is more area to cover.  It covers more space physically so that means more paint or other materials to complete whatever step one is doing.  Even if I were to make the same type of roof out of similar materials just scaled down, it would take longer to paint the bigger house.  It might take longer to apply those roofing materials or it might be the same if can be done the same way.  As if the roofing is in whole strips for both, then about the same on time, but when it comes to paint, even with bigger tools, it still will take more time as you have more detail work.  Well that is if you are perfectionist like me, I am not happy with just slapping it on.  It has to look good when I am done.
Now for wallpaper, maybe the smaller house would take longer as it is more tedious potentially, but if I apply both before assembly then about equal. 
Furnishing could be equal.  If size of the room both equal the same real life size and the furnishings picked were equal as well but in 1:12 scale the detail that can be acheived is greater.  Example, drawers that open, it is easier to make an opening drawer in bigger scale and can be done in 1:48 scale, but I am ok with not so I am more likely to not.
The accessories that one can obtain in 1:12 scale are more, both in what is readily available and in kit form. The detail one can get is easier again, but I am more likely to make do in 1:48 scale so less time there.

Back to the 1:12 scale house I had. 
When I really started doing miniatures as something besides a toy, I was overwhelmed at what could be done.  What one could purchase.  I of course was still a newbie to the real dollhouse miniaturist world so what I knew then was very naive. 
Once I stepped into the realm of something besides a dollhouse and that became my general focus, I didn't have the time or the funds to keep up with the dollhouse.  That's why I was willing to sell it.  I had discovered something I enjoyed more.  (Granted the quality of the house factored into what I liked as well.)

So now I look around and I have 6 finished or nearly finished 1:48 scale dollhouses.  I have more in kit form not started.
Knowing how I am and that I like variety, I see why I have so many projects.  If I had stuck with just dollhouses (even if just 1:48 scale) I wouldn't have as much time to work on the other smaller projects.  The expense, may or may not be the same, worse or better.  Don't really have the data to back it up either way.

Bottom line, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a dollhouse, it just requires a commitment to finish.


Lee said...

I agree with you! It seems that one inch scale just doesn't suit me anymore. I thought I could change over to some half scale but I keep lusting over quarter scale dwellings. My Wee Forest Folk mice seem to prefer those and they sure take up less space. My problem is that I have plenty of room so I procrastinate and add another box to my already overflowing and messy workroom and shelves. If (or when) we ever leave this house, I will be in a major mess with all my 'stuff'.

Lady Jane said...

Interesting article. I did the Sears house in 1:48 and am now doing the Craig house from Debbie Young. I find these easier to place in my house of course and not as time consuming but to fill, they are tedious. I would like the things inside the house to look as nice as 1"scale and they really arent, not for my limited talents anyway. So do I do the houses and leave the insides empty hmmmmmm, I dont like buying things as I like knowing I did this myself. So I guess I better keep trying to make little accessories.