Build a Room PART ONE

This is my first 'how to' blog I hope you enjoy it and I would welcome comments (hopefully good ones LOL)
This week we are looking at building a room for 12" dolls.
OK, so first off you need an idea on the size you want your room to be? Plus, is it going to stay up maybe on a shelf or just come out for play/ photo's and then go away again? 

I'm going to us foam core board as it's lightweight and easy to cut plus pretty solid. Foam core comes in a range of sizes and thicknesses. I buy mine on line from a company I found through E Bay. You can also buy it from art stores. The size I'm going to work with is A2 420mm x 594mm. This size gives you the right height and is not to deep. It's good for a small to medium sized room but for a bigger room you can use a larger A1 594mm x 841mm board for the back wall, floor and ceiling (if your adding a ceiling).
Now thickness 3mm, 5mm or 10mm? 3mm is OK for ceilings as this will (most likely)not be papered or have anything on top. For the floor if it's going on a solid surface then 3mm or 5mm will be fine. If it's going to be used as a floor in a framed out diorama (like mine in The Priors) then 10mm would be best. (Although I've used 5mm as I did not know 10mm existed when I started this project) The 10mm board is naturally more expensive and can work out pricey if you need a lot, it's best to buy in bulk if this is the case. The final type of foam board is a sticky board but this is more expensive and you would need to be very careful when placing paper on it as it would need to be in the right spot first time.
You might have noticed that the larger board (A1 594mm x 841mm) is twice the size of the smaller and so buying the bigger board should save you money and you can cut it in two.

This is the company I get my boards from and it can give you an idea on sizes etc 
Check out their 'how to' video's in the accessories section.

I'm going to show you two rooms one smaller one and one the larger size. 

For this project I'm going to work with 5mm board for the walls and 3mm for the floor and ceiling.
Other things you might need to start with are
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler or something to draw a straight line
  •  A sharp Stanley knife 
  •  and/or Scissors
  • A cutting mat would be helpful too
  • Large Pins or tacks
  • Glue
You will need a few other items as we go along.
So you have your 5 pieces of A2 420mm x 594mm board. Before you fix it together you need to think about how you are going to decorate it?
For the side walls you will need to cut the depth shorter. So you end up with back wall floor and ceiling (if your having one)at A2 size and the two side walls 420mm x 410mm.

The easy bit is the ceiling, as it's white you don't really need to do anything!

Next onto the floor and this is where the fun begins...

Floor tiles
Floor planks
Sticky back plastic
Doll house paper
Wallpaper for humans (samples are normally free)
Real tiles
Doll house carpet
Human carpet
Paint it
A wooden floor with real wood
you could just leave it and add a rug?

For rugs

A piece of fabric
Fur (fake/fun might be best but whatever floats your boat)
A place mat
A mouse mat
Doll house rug
I'm sure I've missed something out but I hope this has given you a few ideas?

Now onto walls

Wallpaper for humans (samples are normally free)
Gift Wrapping paper
Scrapbook paper
Sticky back wall tiles
Doll house paper
Mosaic tiles
Carpet (good for that 70's look) LOL
 For me part of the fun is finding the goodies needed especially wallpaper as I'm a real addict when it come to this!

When on the hunt you will need to first decide what room your building kitchen/bathroom/bedroom and the style your looking for then the colour, once you have this worked out the rest will feel easy.
 Most of the above can be found in DIY stores or art stores. Or good old Evil Bay!

         To start with we are looking at the smaller room

 You have made your choices so now we will go back to the walls.
Always lay out what you are going to use first so you can get the sizing right.  
 If your using the larger board and cutting it in half. First mark out the half way mark
 I use another peace of board as my ruler.
Take your time cutting it in half but don't worry if you do go a little of line as we can get around this.

Think how you want to decorate the walls
Do you want one feature wall or all the walls the same? Are you going for a Victorian look and adding a dado rail or plate rail?

I'm using wallpaper for humans 

Cut to size  (remember when damp the paper will stretch a little)
For glue I use ready made wallpaper boarder paste as this is not so 'wet' paste on with a 1 inch paint brush. (A damp cloth is useful for smoothing out the paper on the board and removing any excess glue). So the board does not loose shape while drying I recommend weighing the boards down with a few heavy books. Once dry (up to12 hours) Trim the paper if you need to.

NOTE: If your doing all three walls with the same paper try to paper them together in a line especially if it's patterned paper.

Gift wrapping paper

Start as above but instead of boarder glue use spray glue. Does not take as long to dry but I would give it an hour before trimming just to be on the safe side.

Scrapbook paper

OK, fess up here I've never used scrapbook paper as I find it a little small but I would think it is pretty much like gift wrapping paper so I would use a spray glue.


Something else I've never tried but I would again use spray glue.

Sticky back wall tiles

Take your time as once stuck they are very hard to move. 

Doll house paper

Could be a bit short for this size of building so might be better for an older style room where your using a dado or plate rail. Again fix with spray glue.

Mosaic tiles

You can buy these in a sheet which is easier to use and you will need to grout them too. Also member that the walls will be pretty heavy to move around.


Yes, so this was a joke but if you fancy it go for it! 


I would recommend painting a sheet of (wall)paper as to paint the board directly could warp the board.

There are a few different ways of fixing the walls to the floor. If it's a temporary set up then large pins or tacks will work. You can also buy special clips that fix the foam core boards together I purchased a box of mixed bits from the company that I buy my boards from.

For a more permanent fixture you could use pins AND glue. I found that most all purpose glues work but you can buy special glue

Other options are those white plastic L shaped stripes that you can cut to size and glue to each edge, I will show you this next week. 

Once the paper is dry it's time for the building bit, push four nails/tacks/pins through along back of the floor and push the back wall down on to them.

 Do the same with the side walls then add some more pins/tacks to join the back wall to the sides.


Now for the floor

Floor tiles  (Most come in packs of six)
Best done with walls up first
Most tiles measure 30cm x 30cm in UK you will need 3 tiles for this size room.
Place the first tile make sure it's straight before you stick it down. 

You will need to trim the second tile down one side, for this you can just turn the tile over and mark the paper at each end. 

Draw a line and cut with a Stanley knife if you have one or scissors, then stick next to the first tile. Measure the third tile check that it is big enough and cut to size, place in front of the first tile. The final tile will need to be cut twice front and side. It's up to you if you want the raw edge at the front or back, it is easier though to have it at the front.

Floor planks
Best done with walls up first
Pretty much as above again it's best for the walls to be in place first.

Sticky back plastic
Best done without walls
Cut to size this can be a bit tricky so if you can find someone to help hold it then that would be better when sticking in place as again once it's stuck it's hard to un-stick.

Doll house flooring
Best done without walls
Cut to size and spray glue fix.

Wallpaper for humans
Best done without walls
As with wallpaper above

Real tiles
Best done with walls up first
Again think about the weight and much harder to cut.

Doll house carpet
Best done without walls
Cut to size and most come as sticky back so be careful.

Human carpet
Best done with walls up first
Be careful as most carpet is to thick for dolls and could end up looking a little odd. A carpet floor tile might be an option?

Best done without walls
A bit of an odd one but try it and see? I would recommend spray gluing it.

A wooden floor with real wood
Best done with walls up first
You can buy real wood flooring from doll house people or wood floor tiles but can be a little hard to work with.

(Oh, and if you cover both sides of the boards you have double the rooms) 
Please feel free to ask questions and I would love to see if you do give it a try. 

Next week we look at filling your rooms and adding extra walls.


  1. Hello from Spain: I like the floor. I love your creation. It's very inspiring. Keep in touch

  2. Que gran cantidad de materiales!!! Asi quedan tan bonitos tus dioramas, si si:-)


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