I love crafts works. I made my first rag doll when I was 10 as a class project for a jumble sale, and I made my first rag rug when I was 16.
Miniature furniture tools are specialized hand tools that are required to make miniature dollhouses and dollhouse furniture. For miniatures enthusiasts who wish to develop or expand their miniature woodworking skills, owning a set or kit of mini tools is a necessary investment because standard woodworking hand tools are too large to create intricate objects and details required for carving mini furniture and furnishings.
For miniature furniture makers, the crafting of tiny pieces of home décor items is the core of the beautiful craft of miniatures but without the appropriate tools, it can become a challenging and testing task which may rob the enthusiast of the satisfying accomplishment of building miniatures collectables.
To create a beautiful dollhouse as stand-alone collectable displayed on a table shelf may be an end in itself, but for those who love to build miniature houses, building the house is not enough. A dollhouse will never look complete without furniture.
A miniature house is a mini version of a real home and must be complete with tables, chairs, sofas, stools, coffee tables, desks, tallboys, armoires, chests, cabinets, bed sets, dining sets, and the lot.
Asides furniture, the house requires furnishings and fixtures like table lamps, chandeliers, sconces, appliances, and window blinds and drapery, throw pillows, bedcovers, linen, and decorations. To a maker and collector, an unfurnished dollhouse is an unfinished project.
From elegant traditional miniature dollhouses to the mid-century and modern tiny dolls homes, some miniature furniture tools and a few guiding steps are all that is required to start to build your own home miniatures. The following 8 steps explain in a simple manner the process involved if you plan to DIY.
- Draw out patterns for the miniature furniture. You can also purchase patterns for miniature furniture online, or at some local craft shops.
- Purchase soft wood that is easy to cut and manipulate.
- Lightly glue all pattern parts to the softwood.
- With a mini hand saw, cut around the pattern borders to get the individual parts.
- With a furniture adhesive, glue all the tiny parts together to form the furniture piece.
- File all sawed edges lightly and sand the assembled piece of furniture.
- Use a wood filler then re-sand with smooth grade sandpaper.
- Paint, stain, or lacquer the finished object.
The Most Important Miniature Furniture Tools You Need to Have
You will need an assortment of basic mini hand tools and a couple of essential power tools. For instance, if you need to fasten or solder wires together, you need a small soldering set and if you wish to create an intricately carved headboard, you will need a pair of needle-nosed pliers (or wire bending pliers) to get the job done easier and faster.
A mini-size basic tool kit is essential to carry out the task of miniature furniture making but if you will rather buy each tool individually, to do any serious work, you must have these basic essentials listed in order of importance, as follows:
Power hand drill
The mini jigsaw is the most important miniature furniture tool that is required and without one, it is virtually impossible to saw intricate cuts. A handsaw will not do the job to your satisfaction and trying to mitre the ends will become a stressful task. Moreover, as you progress with the work, other more difficult and detailed operations would surface and only a mini jigsaw can cut the tiniest pieces.
Choose a jigsaw with a rotating electric motor. This will reduce unnecessary vibrations that will occur if you use a vibrating electric motored jigsaw.
Miniature Power Drill
The miniature power drill is the second most important tool required for miniature furniture making. It helps speed up the works while ensuring accuracy. Chose a power drill that has a variable speed because it broadens the drills usefulness. A must-have attachment is a drill stand which allows the hand drill to be used as a drill press. This enables holding the drill down at any angle, giving the craftsman free hands to work with.
Other attachments may seem tempting to buy, but the drill stand and a router attachment will suffice, especially if you are a beginner crafter.
The lathe is the third most essential tool required for miniature furniture making. If you intend to make period style furniture with turned legs, posts, etc., this tool must be part of your collection of tools. However, if you plan to make only simple basic furniture - square shapes and simple parts, then you probably don’t necessarily have to buy it.
Some skilful miniature furniture makers can carve curvi-linear and other intricate pieces by hand, but if you are not yet skilled in the craft, doing it will waste a considerable amount of your time. You definitely need a lathe.
One with moderately fast speed will do for all the required wood works while a slower speed lathe is great for any form of metal works that may be needed for the task of miniature furniture making.
Mini Circular Saw
Today you will find miniature circular saws that enable a miniature furniture craftsman to cut perfectly straight wood, even up to about a quarter of an inch thickness (8mm). Some mini circular saws come as attachments to a lathe. It is best to choose a circular saw that works with an adjustable blade angle of 45 degrees. With this type, you can make perfect mitre cuts which allow for the beveling of wood edges.
This is an inexpensive hole drilling tool and another must-have mini furniture tool. It is handy when you have intricate works that require precision and accuracy. For example, if two holes at the ends of very narrow dowels must meet accurately, a pin vice will help you do this effortlessly. This tool is good for fitting into hard to reach places that the electric hand drill may not reach and so, is a valuable addition to the larger hand drill.
Just as a pin vice can drill tiny holes more easily and accurately than a hand drill, so will a mitre box mitre a wood end more easily than the jigsaw. This mini tool can cut wood pieces at a variety of angles, though it is only useful for very small pieces that the jigsaw is too large to handle. The jigsaw only handles larger pieces of furniture parts.
For instance, when you build miniature picture frames, the mitre box will cut mitres for the frame (imagine how tiny these can be), as well as small items like door and window frames, picture moldings, cornices, trims, and baseboards.
Though owning this tool is not a requirement for making miniature furniture, a craftsman will find that working without this tool will make the task slow, and will likely cause inaccuracies.
Some other tools you may like to have included in your collection are:
Precision tip glue bottles
Craft and carving knives
Glueing jigs and clamps
As you become more skillful, your tool collection will grow just as your enthusiasm will. Granted, there is a vast range of tempting miniature hand tools and equipment that you may wish to buy but it’s good to know that while some will turn out very useful, some will not.
How to Make Miniature Dollhouse Furniture (for Beginners)
Miniature dollhouses and furniture crafted painstakingly and perfectly are definitely not toys for children to play with and even the children of miniature collectors learn this soon enough.
Making miniatures is an age long hobby and today, it is a lucrative venture. As more new age collectors are evolving, they always seek to acquire these unique and exquisite crafts of a bygone era.
Building tiny pieces of furniture is not simple, but with the help of a beginner's guide, it's quite easy to learn the craft in a short time.
There are no time-saving measures, and neither are there any short-cuts to learning the craft, rather, the main emphasis lies is quality production, more so than quantity because many miniature furniture styles may take days or even weeks to construct and without the help of miniature furniture tools, it can become an almost impossible task to achieve.
© 2010 viryabo
isaac on May 11, 2011:
witch lathe should i get to make colums and furniture for dollhouse and diaramas please help
Andrea_S on November 17, 2010:
This is nice! I have a small site myself, but more focused on bigger woodworking projects. On one of my pages, I demonstrate how to build a shed. Just as for dollhouses, there are actually plans and blueprints for building entire garden houses.
Mincka on November 13, 2010:
what type of brand is that jigsaw? and where do they sell it? Seems a great tool.
warm greetings, Mincka
Jean Erickson on September 12, 2010:
Could you tell me where I can buy the tools you listed in this article? I am a newcomer to this fascinating hobby and need all the help I can get. Thank you.
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 18, 2010:
Hi lovemini, a jewellry or piercing saw will do the work just fine. However, it is very important to wear eye protection glasses whilst cutting through metal, especially being close up to the face during cutting.
Hope this helps lovemini.
Thanks for visiting.
lovemini on April 17, 2010:
What does one use to cut metal pieces as you would see on dragondee miniatures?
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 08, 2010:
They are so real looking as you rightly said, and so exquisite too.
Painstaking works, beautiful results. Amazing!
Thanks for the visit Pestrel
Petstrel from Slovenia on April 07, 2010:
My God. I knew about small replicas, but I did not know they were so real looking.
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 04, 2010:
Many many thanks prasetio for your visit and very inspiring comments and praise .
Miniatures are so beautiful and if i didn't have to spend so much time being addicted to hubpages(LOL!!!), maybe i could do a few pieces of those exquisite items.
Im glad you enjoyed this.
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 03, 2010:
Honestly, I never know about those tools before. But now I know the function and type of these tools. I really like something about miniature. And dollhouse is one of my favorite miniature. I am glad you put video in this hub.
I never thought in making classic interior miniature. It was great. Wow......this hub impressed me much. Only one word out of my mouth.....Amazing. Thanks my friend. You are very talented.
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 01, 2010:
Hi keira. Its always good to see a great friend again. How are you?
Im glad you love this hub. Miniatures are so cute and collecting them is an interesting hobby.
Glad you translated that for me. Lol!! My french is really bad. When i was in school, instead of being serious about my French lessons, i wasn't taking the course seriously.
Now i'm much older, i regret i cant speak French. Oh well, maybe in my next life.
GodBless you Keira.
Keira7 on February 27, 2010:
Hello my dear friend Viryabo, that is what we call a very sweet and cute hub.:) You know so much about furniture and design , I have learn a lot with your great work. I liked the photos too, very nice. In French we say "tout ce qui est petit est mignon". If you want in English its "all small things are cute". I also have read your others brilliant hubs and rate them up of course. Great work my dear. I enjoyed reading and watching the videos, I liked the video in one of your others hubs, one about a man, that leave in a very small house.:) One good thing about a small house, its very easy to clean and tidy up.:) Anyway thanks for all the good infos, and thanks for sharing, my dear Viryabo. Have a wonderful weekend my lovely friend.:D