Your Complete Guide to Dollhouse Scale
Whether you're new to the world of dollhouses and dollhouse miniatures or an old pro, there is one thing you'll come across a lot. And that is dollhouse scale.
Dollhouse scale refers to the ratio of a dollhouse or dollhouse miniature to an object in real life. Dollhouse scale is often expressed by two numbers with a slash or colon between them. (For instance, 1/12 or 1:12.) The bigger the second number, the smaller the dollhouse or dollhouse miniature is.
Why Dollhouse Scale Exists
Most of the first dollhouses from the 17th century until the earlier 20th century did not come in a uniform dollhouse scale. Sometimes, even the features of an individual house were not made to a single scale. As you can imagine, this could make the dollhouses and dollhouse miniatures inside them look "off."
Things began to change as the 20th century progressed. That's when the world's most popular dollhouse and dollhouse miniature manufacturers began to standardize their products. The most common dollhouse scale of the time was 1:18 scale. This dollhouse scale, which is rarely seen today, meant that a object that was one foot in real life was scaled down to 2/3 inch as a miniature.
Today, virtually every dollhouse or dollhouse miniature conforms to a single dollhouse scale. The vast majority fall under the five dollhouse scales explained below.
Also known as: Playscale; fashion doll scale
About: A six inch item in real life is represented as one inch as a dollhouse miniature. The largest dollhouse scale; not often seen in common dollhouse miniatures. Introduced in 1964 by Hasbro with the first G.I. Joe dolls. Most Barbie, Ken, and other popular kids' dolls are 1:6 dollhouse scale. Popular scale in Japan.
Pros: Easy for kids to grasp and play with; often made of inexpensive plastic; readily available at big box stores
Cons: Can be hard to display creatively due to large size; often associated with children"s toys instead of collectible quality dollhouse miniatures
Also known as: One inch scale
About: A one foot item in real life is represented as one inch as a dollhouse miniature. The most common dollhouse scale. Gained popularity after being used in Queen Mary's epic 1924 dollhouse. Because of the metric system, German and some other European dollhouse miniatures often substitute 1:10 scale for 1:12 scale.
Pros: Readily available; easy to work with; preferred choice among dollhouse miniatures collectors
Cons: Can be more expensive than smaller scale miniatures; can be difficult to create very involved miniatures scenes due to size constraints
1:24 Dollhouse Scale
Also known as: Half inch scale
About: A one foot item in real life is represented as a half inch as a dollhouse miniature. Popular dollhouse scale in the 1950s that started enjoying newfound popularity in the early 21st century.
Pros: Becoming more readily available thanks to renewed interst; often less expensive than 1:12 scale dollhouses and dollhouse miniatures
Cons: Harder to find than 1:12 scale dollhouses and dollhouse miniatures
1:48 Dollhouse Scale
Also known as: Quarter inch scale
About: A one foot item in real life is represented as a quarter inch as a dollhouse miniature. Popular scale for diecast models, construction toys, and plastic models made from kits. Gaining in popularity in North America and the United Kingdom.
Pros: Adds a unique scale to your dollhouse miniatures collection
Cons: Harder to find than 1:12 scale and 1:24 scale; much harder to work with than larger scale dollhouse and dollhouse miniatures due to its small size
1:144 Dollhouse Scale
Also known as: Micro scale; "dollhouse for a dollhouse"
About: 1/12 the size of 1/12 scale dollhouse miniatures. The smallest possible dollhouse scale. The dollhouse scale to use if you want a "dollhouse for a dollhouse."
Pros: Extra charming; adds a unique scale to your dollhouse miniatures collection
Cons: Hardest dollhouse scale to find; can be very hard to work with; easy to lose; can be more expensive than larger sizes due to intricate level of work needed
Which dollhouse scale is speaking to you? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
In addition to thousands of 1:12 scale dollhouse miniatures, we're also proud to carry 1:24 scale and 1:48 scale dollhouse miniatures here at Little Shop of Miniatures. We hope you find just what you're looking for--if not, don't hesitate to Contact Us!
Your explanation on scales is just what I’ve been looking for. I have been interested in collecting since a teen. I use to just buy unique items and furnishings, but now I’ve graduated to the diy kits. Currently building the popular coffee shop. I have a tiny house, I learned from your article that it is probably a doll house’s doll house. The 1:144 furniture is still a bit large for it.
I love to make little things for my dolls house properly about 1/12 in scale
I tend to go by eye but I have found your information on scale easy to understand thank you
I’m new to this dollhouse miniatures, but have always been so intrigued by any type of miniatures. Now that I’m 38 and my daughter is 19 I have purchased about 15 diy miniature dollhouse kits to build, along with headset magnifying glasses with lights. Also been keeping all kinds of stuff to make extra items, or just add our own spin to them. But the most impressive miniatures we have seen has been at the LEGO place in Kansas Missouri so amazing everything is made out of legos but it is miniature. Scale 1:24 is what our kit are, so we will be looking for items on that scale. Thanks for the information it’s very helpful to us as newbies to the miniature world
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