Dollhouse Lighting Design: A Big Challenge for a Tiny Space

by Dee Thierry

When I was young, my sisters and I would get a new dollhouse every year. Eventually my dad decided annual purchases was no longer feasible and instead set out to build a dollhouse for us. The result kept our family entertained for years!

Sadly, the one thing it always lacked was lighting. I shipped the house up with me to Washington state when I moved here thinking that one day I might be able to wire it to light it up like the displays I’ve seen in shops. Having reviewed some of the literally hundreds of videos about lighting for dollhouses available through the Internet, some more extensive and involved than others, I decided YouTube instruction was not the way for me to go.

This video is an example of one of many I watched about wiring a dollhouse for lighting!

While I lacked the talent to wire dad’s dollhouse on my own, I hit upon an idea to illuminate my doll cabinet by using battery powered LEDs. Whether doll-sized houses, full size houses, or other residential or commercial spaces, LEDs have become a mainstay lighting option for their long lifespan and flexible usage. The upfront cost may be significant, but long-term lighting with very little installation fuss could be worth the investment. And how about this for timing? There was an LED Lamp Making workshop at the recent Seattle Miniature Show!

Another lighting option I’ve looked into is to simply install spotlights. A friend of mine had her retired Boeing engineer husband do just that and converted her considerable collection of hundreds of dolls and houses into museum quality displays. Her special rooms remind me of the antique miniature and dollhouse museum in Santa Monica, Angel’s Attic, where we met as volunteers.

At Angel’s Attic there was a model of Versailles!

The world of dollhouses and miniatures can capture an unsuspecting girl or boy and set them up for a life of wonder and creativity. The complexities of adding lighting or other systems will help the hobby remain enjoyable as they grow into women and men. Who knows? Perhaps it could inspire a career in electrical engineering! And for those of more mechanical aptitude, there’s even dollhouses with working plumbing systems!

Curious about starting a miniature project with your family? You are invited to take a Titanic step into the world of miniatures right now! See more highlights from past Seattle Miniatures Shows!

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