Learn More about Custom Dollhouse Parts

Custom Dollhouse Parts

Learn More about Custom Dollhouse Parts

When we initially began designing and fabricating parts back in 2007 / 2008, we were focused exclusively on “parts”.  What I mean by that is parts which can be packaged and sold in a store or online.  We ultimately were missing the creative element that ultimately came out once we began to connect with more people.  We have seen the parts we created taken to the next level – often times in ways that I would never have imagined.  Ultimately, a new idea was born from seeing the photos coming in… What if we offered all of our products as a custom order option…  What this means, is that our shoppers could customize either the height or width of a product (we can allow both, otherwise the proportion and patterns would get messed up).  Once they have configured it, they can choose the wood thickness and then ultimately have a product which directly fits their project.

I realized this after working on my own projects, like many things we need to experience it ourselves to realize that there should be a better option.  I needed something that was literally 1/8″ shorter, but that wasn’t an option.  I had to cut, fabricate, adjust and tweak until I got exactly what I needed.  Since I was working with metal, it did offer some options, but it was still hard.

Then, out of the blue we got an email – the question was simply – HOW BIG can you cut a specific part!  At that time, it was a 1/2 wall room divider – The final height was 22″ tall!  It is sitting on my work desk now, leaned against the wall and it looks awesome there!  That is when we began working to understand how we could offer a customizer on the front-end of the website that would allow shoppers to configure their products, get that porch spandrel the exact width you need, or a bracket that is 1/8″ small so that it will fit specifically your project!

Our goal is to continue to do more with the products, so that we can find ways to enhance the craft and hobby world of dollhouse kits.  Ultimately, we have realized that we aren’t just dollhouse parts any longer.  The product can be used for home design and I am sure many other things that we cannot even dream up of right now.  We are excited and hopeful to launch the customizer soon!

Custom Height Dollhouse Parts

finished dollhouse books in bookcase

How Products Come to Life | Dollhouse Books

Dollhouse Books

books for dollhouse

If you follow us on Facebook, you without a doubt have seen our new dollhouse books.  The idea of using a facade for books instead of individual pieces came to me when I was at Disneyland.  Think about how Hollywood builds sets, the typically only build from facade of a building to save on time and cost.  The idea was that books can be highly detailed in the miniatures world, but sometimes–we are looking for something that helps fill bookcases and provide a back drop to something entirely different.  Our focus on the “set” is not the books–but we need the books to complete the set!

Our process to design, prototype and launch a product is a lot of fun, so I wanted to share what we do!  The first step is to research the sizing of the potential product, because we designed these for our dollhouse bookcases it works perfectly with them.  Once we have figured out the use, we begin working on the design layout in the computer.  You can see the first draft here–the red line represent the book binding details and the black lines are the cut pattern.

dollhouse books

Our first test typically goes through a series of power testing.  We can modify the strength of the laser to create the best looking pattern possible.  The first few attempts looked like mushy patterns, I couldn’t determine a shape from a line…  After only 5 attempts, each time adjust the settings, we nailed it!  You can see the image with the unpainted/unassembled books, they are literally just stacked together with the book facade thrown on top!  I was excited about the product and couldn’t wait to share.

first test of books in bookcase

The next step was to assemble and do some test fitting, it work perfectly!  Not all products go together and work as intended on the first try, but this one was great!  We immediately began working to figure out how can we produce many of these products and ultimately, what will it look like in the final environment.  We had to cut at least 8 book facades immediately to see if it would create the desired effect – and it did!  I was loving the direction, so we added a half set, so that we could add less books per shelf and have a solution for the top of our bookcase design.  Once we had them all in there, the next step was to bring them to life–we needed color, but the kind of color that would add depth and some texture without have a complex process of painting, inking and dry brushing.

So… I did what any parent with kids would do – I stole my sons markers!  It worked, creating a leathery, silky effect on the etched wood that ultimately produced a bookcase with 120 books in the blink of an eye!  We are excited about this new product and the potential it brings to solve a problem that everyone who has done a library has dealt with.    We look forward to the next product development and launch, but for now… I think a cool library is in order!  We will be listing our dollhouse books online in the coming days!  Please join our VIP newsletter to ensure that you are notified immediately when they launch.

finished dollhouse books in bookcase

dollhouseparts

DollhouseParts.com New Website Launches, Featuring Custom Dollhouse Parts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dollhouse PartsFebruary 4th, 2014 – http://www.dollhouseparts.com launched a new retail website with more than 150 unique dollhouse parts.  DollhouseParts.com features products designed and manufactured in the United States.  For the past 5 years, their team of craftsman has been working on custom dollhouse projects around the world.  Late in 2013, the owners of DollhouseParts.com decided to push the products out into a full retail environment as well as create relationships with other online and traditional brick and mortar stores to begin a wholesale program.

The full line of products at DollhouseParts.com includes: brackets, trim, fence, room dividers and much more.  Each piece is laser cut and hand inspected for quality, to ensure that when the crafter installs the part the results will be spectacular.  Many of the products come fabricated as standard 1” scale dollhouse parts.  However, many parts come in custom widths or heights to help ensure that the fit is unique and custom to your dollhouse.  You can also order custom sizes to suit your needs for your project.

The DollhouseParts.com product line is guaranteed to satisfy, or they will refund your order.  This comes from their desire to treat their customers the way they would want to be treated.  This simple and common practice seems to have been lost in the new age of the internet, but the traditional practices are what are driving the new product creation and ultimately the relationships.

The new website features a standard catalog of products, customer reviews, VIP club, detailed images and a 256-bit secure encrypted check out—aka SSL.  This fancy term helps ensure that your information is transferred securely.  They also do not store credit cards onsite, to help ensure that your information is never lost or stolen. “We created this simple model because this is how we prefer it”, stated Chris Fialkowski, Co-Founder of DollhouseParts.com.

The new wholesale program for dollhouse parts features a simple online form, which will immediately follow up for the required state information for US based resellers.  Once approved, the discounted rates will provide retailers an opportunity to stock up and begin selling Dollhouse Parts to their customers.

To learn more about the new website launch and full product descriptions, please visit http://www.dollhouseparts.com.

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Everyday Life in the Dollhouse World.

Image of an amazing dollhouse kit by Dollhouse Parts

So… I have been building dollhouses for more than 5 years.  In the dollhouse parts industry, that is a short time–however, I have been crafting models and kits for decades.  As a child, Ibuilt many buildings out of legos and then HO scale models and buildings.  Later, it molded into landscape scenes with model building integration… then ultimately it led to fully custom buildings, terrain, etc.

I have been thinking about where the inspiration comes from, the creativity and desire to create and build.  I figured it out – my Grandma from my Mom’s side.  She was a crafting junky (I mean that in the good way!).  She had the craft room, sewing, building, kiln in the garage, etc.  I remember watching her building this massive dollhouse over a decade.  Each piece, shingle, trim meticulously sanded, painted and placed.  It was something that literally came to life over a my young childhood.  I look back and realize now, that I am addicted to watching something develop, be created over time.

When I first launched the dollhouse parts business, I really had little idea about the business… However, I was and I am still full of passion!  I love ideas, concepts, creativity and building!  My Grandma has since passed, more than a decade now… So I started to thing about what gets me excited, what makes me think – I need to build that or at least, build it better!

Dollhouse Trim at Disneyland

Dollhouse Trim photo from Disneyland, located in front of the entrance near the gift shop.

I am blessed to live in Southern, CA. home and within close proximity to some very famous Victorian era homes, as well as home to Disneyland!  The reality is that when I go place with my family: Balboa Park in San Diego, Disneyland in Anaheim or the painted ladies in San Francisco – I don’t geek out about the typical tourist things – I get crazy about the painting detail on a first level corbel and how that ties into the decorative window header 10′ away!  Yep – I find delight in the details.

This was SO clear on our last trip to Disney!  While waiting for my wife to checkout, I was outside and marveled at the trim that was above a building – the building for the lockers and bathroom… But WOW! it was so clean and simple, I thought what products can we create that would create value!

So… We are currently working on a bookcase “book” facade and hope to have that available in the coming weeks… but what’s next?  I want to connect with our social media crowd, customers, etc. to find out what we should create next!  A gazebo, new headers and other dollhouse parts? or something completely different.  Stay Tuned and join our newsletter for up to date products and more!

– Chris

Dollhouse Windows

Dollhouse Windows provide a way to add character to a new dollhouse. There are many types of dollhouse windows, including working and non-working dollhouse windows. Typically, dollhouse windows are inserted into pre-cut areas of the dollhouse, they are often glued in place and then held there with tape until the glue has dried. Most dollhouse windows come with the exterior trim intact, so there is no gap from the outside. However, the inside pre-cut hole will still be visible–this is often covered with interior window trim to create a nice flush and polished finish.

dollhouse_window_hw5057

Dollhouse Window by Houseworks HW-5057 Bonnet Pediment Working Dollhouse Window

Dollhouse windows vary in size, shape and style as well finish. It is critical to understand which type of dollhouse window you need for your house in order to get the best results. We have outlined the most important elements here to help ensure you are considering each of them when selecting windows for your dollhouse.

Dollhouse Window Size : The size of the dollhouse window can vary greatly based on the over shape ad style of the window. The first thing to ensure is that you are working within the same scale. Dollhouses typically come in 1″ or 1/12 scale, but there are many 1/2″ or 1/24 scale products. So first make sure you are reviewing dollhouse windows that are the same scale as your house, then carefully measure the pre-cut window holes to see what size window will fit.

Dollhouse Window Shape : The shape of the window seems very obvious, but like many creative projects, looks can be deceiving and sometimes the creative side takes over. Things like bay windows which have more depth than our project may allow, etc. So once you have defined the window size, the next is to review shape. Bay dollhouse windows have depth to them and pediment windows have decorations that may push into another design element on your specific dollhouse. The key is to make sure you measure and review twice before buying dollhouse windows. At a cost of $10 or so and some dollhouse kits using 20+ windows, it is a good thing to get it right!

Dollhouse Window Style : The style of your dollhouse will often determine the style you should use for your dollhouse windows. However, why lock yourself into anything if you want something specific. Typically, the only limitations are size and style which we covered above. Once those elements are defined, you can get as creative as you want. Another style related issue is whether the dollhouse windows are working or non-working. This is just what it sounds like – a working dollhouse window will actually open and close while a non-working dollhouse window will have the “look” but just not open.

dollhouse_window_hw5060

Dollhouse Window by Houseworks HW-5060 Bonnet Pediment Non-Working Dollhouse Window

Dollhouse Window Finish : The finish can vary based on the manufacturer specifications and the type and style of window. Most dollhouse windows that we see are crafted from wood and often include an acetate sheet to replicate the glass. We have also see windows come with no acetate and often require more work prior to installation. The final type of finished product is a product that isn’t finished at all – they are dollhouse window kits. For the true fanatic, these kits allow you to fully assemble each window from scratch. Often there are dollhouse window jigs you can purchase or build to help assemble a lot of windows! other partial kits may include the trim that covers the window, this creates the boxing or design effects over the window. There are also window mullions which work with specific dollhouse windows. These are designs that snap into the window frame and cover a part of the window for a cool designer effect.

No matter what you chose for your dollhouse, the key is to build something you will love.  Selecting a dollhouse window can take some time to go through the options and also planning your budget.  But once you have a clear vision and a few ideas, it is time to get the windows ordered and start prepping for installation!  The one thing we have noticed is that dollhouse kits really come to life when the windows go in!  So think of this step as the one that helps breathe more life and character into you dollhouse.

We have partnered with a wonderful online provider of dollhouse parts, you can click the following link to see their entire collection of dollhouse windows.

They also offer window accessories, dollhouse shutters and dollhouse window mullions.

A box of prototype dollhouse parts

Box of Prototypes… Engineering and Manufacturing

A box of prototype dollhouse parts

This box has been either on our shop floor or in my office for the past 5 years… Nothing has been done with anything in the box, but their journey has forged an amazing story!

If you follow us on facebook, you may have seen my post yesterday.. A box of dollhouse parts, amazing detail, some are just parts while others are still in the “case” that we use to ship.  But this box has an amazing story to tell, something that I would never have imagined just over 5 years ago.

In 2008 I had this crazy idea – buy a laser.  If you don’t know me yet and you get to know me, you will learn that I am just a big creative nerd and absolutely love the idea of building and creating things.  A laser mixed my passion of building things and my love of computers.  It was a perfect fit!  If you were to ask “why dollhouses?”, I would struggle to tell you the full story.  But this is what I remember!

In 2008, I began to look at things that I could build with this new laser I had just purchased – my mind was flush full of things.  I had been working in real estate development for the past 10 years, so connecting with architects on scale models was clearly the obvious choice.  The truth is, that I wanted to build something new, different and something that would draw on my souls passion – Victorian architecture.  What triggered this is truly amazing… during my “research” for a laser, one of the demonstrations cut out an ornate Victorian style chair.  about 1″ scale – the rest is history.

Within 3 months, I had designed more than 150 dollhouse parts, which we then sold on ebay, etsy and through our sister site woodvictoriandollhouse.com – after the first year, we had shipped our product to every continent that is inhabited.. Still haven’t shipped anything to Antarctica! Maybe 2014 is our year!  But it was amazing to see the Town, Cities and Countries that we received orders from, literally around the world!

Image of the 2009 dollhouse at Bergdorf Goodman in NY

This is a custom dollhouse kit which used more than 200 of our dollhouse parts! Follow us on Facebook to see more images.

In 2009 we worked with Bergdorf Goodman (I had no clue who they were, my wife let me in on what they sell)… Well, each year during Christmas time, they are renowned for their amazing window displays–in 2009 they wanted to build a dollhouse in a tree.  We worked with them to produce more than 200 individual dollhouse parts, each were integrated into their custom dollhouse!  the end result was amazing…

Around that same time, I connected with an individual who shared the same creativity and passion for building things, 3 weeks later – we joined forces!  Since, he has helped craft the product into new directions, adding kits, buildings and offering custom dollhouse kits that are truly breath-taking!

For the past 3 years or so, we have talked about really focusing on our products… Honestly, we have been so busy with the day to day that we just didn’t have time.  We ultimately had to get things started – somewhere – so we launched dollhouseparts.com and made a commitment to build our products, offer engaging customer service and to just have fun!  We are actively seeking wholesalers, to add our dollhouse parts to your store and/or website–but we just want to enjoy the craft, have fun, meet people and build relationships that give us all a chance to share our passion.

My box of dollhouse parts is sitting 4′ from me right now.  I still don’t know what to do with all of them… Perhaps we will just build a crazy dollhouse kit, something that can be fun, wild and ultimately remind us why we do what we do!  To have fun and be creative… We are so grateful to our customers and everyone that has shared our product online!  We hope that we can build and become a company that you think of first.  Please help us know what we should build next, let’s make stuff!

– Chris