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 an important new emphasis. Recyclable wooden materials are environmentally friendly. In light of the times in which we live this is a particularly attractive option. I can't promise that the alternatives are eco friendly. In fact, some of the materials that we will look at are far from it. Nonetheless, there are some interesting options worthy of our attention. To be sure, there are many variations on what could be classified as wood. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is a popular construction material, but since we are looking at alternatives to wood we will leave MDF under the heading of '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 infrequently used in the construction of dollhouses. A more common manufactured material is plastic. Plastic is most often used by manufacturers but some hobbyists prefer to work with plastic for dollhouse construction. Not surprising is that cardboard has been used for many years. It certainly has limitations in regard to durability 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 came across a detailed on how to build a dollhouse from milk cartons. Another material that is occasionally used in dollhouse construction is metal. There was a time shortly after WWII when metal was used with some regularity. Companies like Marx, Cohn, Mettoy, and others manufactured lithographed steel houses. Some hobbyists have utilized bamboo, cork, and even eucalyptus as construction materials. There are also dollhouses built from glass, rubber, polymer clay, paper, ceramic, rocks, cement, fabric, and paper mache. In fact, some of these houses are remarkably intricate and quite lovely. The bottom line on alternative materials is that dollhouses can be made out of numerous craft materials. Obviously, some are easier to work with than others but, if there is a material that you are particularly skilled at working with, then don't be afraid to use it for building a dollhouse. Some of the more remarkable and unique dollhouses have been built out of alternative materials. They reflect exceptional creativity, imagination, and craftsmanship. The use of alternative materials negates the restrictions required for working from traditional prefabricated kits. In fact, working with alternative materials can stimulate greater creativity and ultimately result in a one of a kind masterpiece. If you are new to dollhouses as a hobby...there are so many directions that you can take. The options for how you get involved in the craft 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 extra imagination and pave the way for something that has never been done before.