Alternatives to wooden dollhouses
Before suggesting some alternatives to wooden dollhouses, it is important to recognize the reason for the renewed interest in wooden dollhouses. In addition to being incredibly versatile for collectors and hobbyists, there is a major new emphasis. Recyclable wood materials are environmentally friendly. In light of the times we live in, this is an especially attractive option.
I can’t promise the alternatives are green. In fact, some of the materials that we will see are far from it. However, there are some interesting options that deserve our attention.
To be sure, there are many variations on what could be classified as wood. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a popular building material, but as we are looking for alternatives to wood, we will leave MDF under the heading “wood.”
There are composite materials made from 50% plastic and 50% organic wood material, such as sawdust or other recycled wood fibers. PVC has been used infrequently in the construction of dollhouses. A more common manufactured material is plastic. Manufacturers most often use plastic, but some hobbyists prefer to work with plastic for the construction of dollhouses.
It’s no wonder that cardboard has been used for many years. It certainly has durability limitations, but it is easy to work with and very cost effective. As a hobbyist, it is quite possible that your introduction to dollhouses was in the form of a simple structure made from a shoe box. In my research for this article, I also found a detail on how to build a dollhouse out of milk cartons.
Another material that is occasionally used in the construction of dollhouses is metal. There was a time shortly after WWII when metal was used with some regularity. Companies like Marx, Cohn, Mettoy, and others made lithographed steel houses.
Some hobbyists have used bamboo, cork, and even eucalyptus as building materials. There are also dollhouses made of glass, rubber, polymer clay, paper, ceramics, rocks, cement, cloth, and papier-mâché. In fact, some of these houses are remarkably intricate and quite beautiful.
The takeaway from alternative materials is that dollhouses can be made from numerous craft materials. Obviously some are easier to work with than others, but if there is a material that you are particularly adept at working with, don’t be afraid to use it to build a dollhouse.
Some of the most remarkable and unique dollhouses have been built with alternative materials. They reflect exceptional creativity, imagination and dexterity.
The use of alternative materials overrides the restrictions required to work with traditional prefabricated kits. In fact, working with alternative materials can stimulate further creativity and ultimately result in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
If you are new to dollhouses as a hobby … there are many directions you can take. The options for getting involved in the trade are numerous. You can take a more conventional route and stick with wooden dollhouses that have been designed by others. Or … you can apply a little more imagination and pave the way for something that has never been done before.