Let's Build a Dollhouse

Page 9

Building the Stairs

It is up to you whether or not you want to make your own staircase or purchase it ready made. There are lots of dollhouse suppliers who sell stairs.Here are instrutions if you want to make your own

How to Make the Stairs

Building the stairs is not as complicated as one might imagine.

It took me a week to make these dollhouse stairs, but 99% of that time was spent waiting for the glue to dry. I am not a fan of fast drying glue, it always seems to dry too fast for me.

It is really important when making the stairs, to give the glue time to dry before you begin the next step. I usually wait overnight.


Here are all the pieces for the stairs

Here are all the stair parts. Stained and ready to use. If you are going to stain the stairs it should be done now, before you start to use any glue. If you get any glue on raw wood , it will not take the stain. You will notice I have not yet included stair spindles. We will do those later.

From the left The tiny pieces that go on the hand rail,the handrail/banister, the steps and the newel post, the stair treads, the bottom step, the stringers, the base [ I don’t know what that white blob is, my poor photography :- )]

The stairs are made using a triangular molding for the steps. I had to settle for 3/4’’ cove molding.

You begin by cutting the cove molding into 2 3/4’’ pieces, and then place these pieces, pointy side up on a piece of wood, like this.

For the base, you may have to buy 3’’ balsa and then cut the base, 2 3/4’’ x 14’’ use the steel ruler and knife. You can actually use strong cardboard if you like.

Materials for the Stairs

38 ½’’ of 3/4’’ triangular molding or cove molding for the steps

42’’ of 7/8’’wide x 1/16’’ thick bass wood for the stair treads

14’’ of 2 3/4’’ wide x 1/8’’ thick balsa, for the base of the stair

30’’ of 1’’x 1/8’’bass wood for the 2 stringers [these go down either side of the stairs]

31/2’’ of 3/8’’x 3/8’’ bass wood for the newel post

14’’ of 1/4’’x 1/4’’ bass wood for the handrail/ banister

28’’ of 1/16’’ x 1/16’’bass wood to go down each side of the handrail

42’’ of 1/8’’ x 1/8’’ bass wood for the spindles

3'' of 3/8'' x3/8'' bass wood for newel post



1. For the base, you may have to buy 3’’ balsa and then cut the base, 2 3/4’’ x 14’’ use the steel ruler and knife. You can actually use strong cardboard for this, it won’t be seen. I like to think my dollhouse will be around for a long time so I use balsa wood.

2. Make the steps, cut the cove molding into 14 2 3/4’’ lengths. Use the mini saw and miter box to do this. It is important to make sure these are all exactly the same size.

3. Make the stair treads, cut the 7/8’’ wide bass wood into 14 2 3/4’’ lengths

*NOTE. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get the steps and treads exactly the same length. If you have to throw a few out to achieve this, it’s worth it.

You can use sandpaper on them if you are just a tiny bit off.

Glue the stair treads to the steps

4. Make the stringers, cut the 1’’ wide bass wood into 2 15’’ pieces [they will end up at 14’’ but 15’’gives u some lee way

Cut one end of each at a 45-degree angle, use your miter box and mini saw for this. The angle cut will sit on the floor.

5. I like the look of the bottom step being a bit wider than the rest. If you want to do this, you can make that little extra piece now . Cut a piece of the 7/8’’ bass wood about 3 1/4’’ long and shape the end with your knife and sandpaper into a rounded shape.


The Newel Post

My first try at carving a newel post using a knife, and I couldn’t get the grooves in same place on all sides, so I found an easier way carve the newel post.
To begin you need a 3/8’’ x 3/8’’ x 3’’ piece of bass wood. To make the grooves, measure where you want the first groove to start. Put the balsa wood into the miter box at the measured mark. Cut a tiny bit in with the mini saw, about 1/16’’, still holding the saw in corner of the wood and without taking the saw out of the miter box, turn to the next side of the wood, make another shallow cut and turn again.

Just keep going until you have all the cuts where you want them on the newel post. When all the saw cuts are done, carve and shape the grooves however you want them I use sandpaper to shape the handrail and round it on the top.
If you are going to stain the stairs it should be done now, before you start to use any glue. If you get any glue on raw wood , it will not take the stain. You will notice I have not yet included stair spindles. We will do those later.

The newel post

Assembling the Stairs

This is where patience is a virtue.

We have to give that glue time to dry. I will divide the directions to one day at a time.

Day 1

Glue all the steps that you cut from the triangular or cove molding onto the 2 3/4''x 14'' base,

see photo 1

photo 1

Day 2
Glue on the stringer, which will go against the wall. Use masking tape or saran wrap to hold the stringer tightly in place. Line up the top edge of the stringer with the top corner of the stairs.
See photo 2

You can also glue on the bottom step at this point. Wait for the glue to dry. After the glue has dried trim off the bottom of the stringer as in
photo 3


photo 2

photo 3


Day 3

Glue some cove molding, or anything with a 90-degree angle on the underside of the base, right at the edge this will not show, it is to reinforce and help to hold the outside stringer.

Wait for the glue to dry. See photo 4

photo 4

Day 4

We need to glue on the outside stringer. The angles get a bit tricky where the stringer meets the bottom step so I have made a printable template of it.

Glue the outside stringer to the stairs. This time line up the top of the stringer with the bottom corners of the steps. Make sure to put glue on those reinforcements. Hold the stringer tightly in place with masking tape or saran wrap. Wait for the glue to dry.

photo 5 stringer

Day 5

Glue the newel post onto the bottom step. Place it just a fraction in from the end of the second step. Remember all of the spindles have to line up with the newel post. Make sure you have the newel post glued on at an exact 90-degree angle. Wait for the glue to dry See Photo 5

Glue on 14’’ piece of 1/16’’x1/16’’ down the bottom of the railing, right at the edge.

Cut one end of the railing at a 45-degree angle, so that it will sit against the newel post. See Photo 6 Think carefully before you cut and use the photo as a guide.

Don't glue it there yet.

photo 6

photo 5 newel post



Day 6.

I used 1/8’’ x1/8’’ balsa for the stair spindles. You can buy nice spindles at dollhouse supply stores if you like.I wanted white spindles, so I painted the 1/8'' X1/8'' balsa wood first, and then cut 14 lengths at 2 5/8’’ each
Glue about 6 of the spindles onto the stairs, starting at the bottom.
Glue them in line with the newel post and butt them against the stair tread to keep them at a 90-degree angle.Wait for the glue to dry

Almost finished now, this next part is a bit fiddley-diddley.Glue the railing to the newel post and to the top of the spindles. Gently push the spindles and railing together, so that the spindles are glued to the piece of 1/16’’x1/16’’balsa wood and to the underside of the railing.

I have never found an easy way to clamp this, I confess to holding it with both hands for about 30 minutes.

The stairs are almost finished. That is not
my hand by the way.
photo 7

Day 7

Glue in the rest of the spindles and add the other piece of 1/16’’x1/16’’ balsa to the underside of the railing. Use clothes pins for clamps.
photo 7
There is no need to finish the top of the stairs, that part will be hidden



The finished stairs. The cost for the stairs was just under $20.

This doesn't include the cost of stain.

Next Page 10
The Roof


Page 13
Photos of the Interior

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