01 of 11
Make a Wooden Dollhouse Bed For Miniature or Fashion Dolls
Doll beds are easy to build in sizes for most dolls houses, or you can adapt these instructions to make a custom sized bed for any size of doll. In 1:48 scale, the bed is easiest to build from card, and for 1:24 and 1:48 scale you will find it easier to use flat butt joins instead of mortise and tenon joins.
The mortise and tenon joins shown in the instructions give the bed more stability, and make a stronger piece of furniture, especially important if the bed is for a child's play. They are fairly simple to cut, and are a good technique to learn for fitting sections of wood together where the resulting join will have weight placed on it.
The bed shown in these instructions was made in a standard single size. Beds have only recently begun to come in in standard sizes. It was common until the last fifty years to have beds which were various lengths to suit their owners. If space is at a premium in your dolls house, you may want to adjust the length of the bed to a smaller size to fit a room. Building the bed with a bottom rail instead of a footboard is another option. To do this, you join the bottom rail to the legs with a mortise and tenon joint, just like you join the head and footboard to the side rails in this set of instructions.
To build a bed for a larger doll, use appropriate thicknesses of wood for the size of the doll, and build the bed to fit the particular doll, leaving extra length for pillows and bedding.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
02 of 11
Materials Needed to Make a Doll or Dollhouse Bed From Wood or Card
To Make A Doll's Bed You Will Need:
- Printable Template For Dolls House Scale Beds, see list at the end of this set of materials for a template in the appropriate scale.
- Craft wood or card (for smaller scales) - for a 1:12 scale bed I used 3/8 inch by 1/8 inch wood for the bed side rails, stir sticks for the mattress support slats, long wooden matches (or 1/8 inch square stock for the mattress support rails, 3/32 inch thick wood for the head and footboard, and 3/16 inch square stock for the bed posts. For other scales the bed rails should represent something like a six inch wide piece of wood in full size, and a three to four inch square post (if it was in full size). I used an oval shape of pre cut craft wood to create the headboard shown, using the template to cut it to size.
- Trims if Desired - I used beads to top the bed posts
- Wood Glue / Carpenter's Glue
- Sharp Craft Knife
- Miter Box and Saw.
- Metal Ruler.
- Wood Files and Sanding Block
- Wood Clamps
Printable Templates for Dolls House Scale Bed Parts for Single and Double Sized Beds (in Adobe Reader, pdf format)
Continue to 3 of 11 below.
- Template for 1:6 Scale Single Bed
- Template for 1:6 scale (playscale) Double Bed
- Template for 1:12 Scale Beds
- Template for 1:24 and 1:48 Scale Beds
03 of 11
Cut the Head and Footboards To Make a Doll's Bed From Wood or Card
To begin making your doll or dollhouse bed, cut out an appropriate scale or size head and footboard. You can use the templates to make a basic rounded shape which can easily be modified with trims or cutouts, or you can adapt an existing cut piece of shaped wood as I did.
To make the headboard and footboard shown, I used a pre-cut oval piece of wood from my stash, which was slightly wider than the single headboard. I laid the piece of wood against the template to get the correct height and width and marked the headboard, then cut it out. I used the remaining section of wood for the footboard.
The templates provided are just a general indicator of size for beds in various scales. You can use them to design your own shapes for upholstered head boards, or use them as a base for head and foot boards made from toothpicks set in between stair handrails. Use your imagination and whatever wood you have on hand to make your first practise bed. As you grow in skill and experience you can use these techniques to make any number of bed styles.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
04 of 11
Mark and Cut the Legs for the Headboard of the Doll Bed
The design of your headboard will dictate the length of the pieces for the legs of your bed. I set my square stock for legs against my cut out headboard, and decided how far up I wanted the legs to be against the headboard, placing my trim beads to get the right proportions. I then marked the bottom of the headboard against the leg, and measured the scale equivalent of 14 inches down on the leg stock, and measured this as the bottom of my leg. Many standard bed rails are set fourteen inches above the ground. You can adapt the length of your bed legs to suit the style of your bed. Modern beds are often lower, beds which have trundles fitted beneath them may be higher.
When you have determined the height you want your bed to be, measure and cut the two legs for the headboard to the same length.
Measure and cut two legs for the doll footboard (or base of the bed) using the same method. The bottom of the footboard should be the same distance from the floor as the headboard. For the bed shown, in 1:12 scale, it is fourteen scale inches or 1 1/6 inches from the base of the head and footboard.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Mark and Cut the Mortise and Tenon Joins For the Bed Rails
If you are making a bed in 1:24 or 1:48 scale you can skip this step and just glue the bed rails flat to the bed legs in a later step.
Cut the rails to length - If you are making rails with mortise and tenon joins in 1:12 scale, cut a length of wood for your bed rails which is 1/4 inch longer than the template for your particular scale. If you are custom fitting a bed for a particular doll, or making a bed for a fashion doll, cut the bed rail to the length you need, plus the width of one of your bed legs. You will cut tenons on the bed rail which are half the width of a bed leg.
Note The templates for the bed rails shown on the 1:6 scale patterns are half the length they need to be between legs (you need to add on the width of one of your legs in order to be able to cut tenon joins on your bed rails).
Mark the length of your tenons - For my 1:12 scale bed, I cut 1/8 inch long tenons or tongues on the ends of the bed rails. To do this, make a mark with a pencil 1/8 inch back from both ends of your bed rail, on both sides of the rail. For other sizes, mark the tenons back from the ends of your bed rail measuring half the width of one of your legs.
Cut the Tenons - Clamp a metal ruler to the tenon mark on your wood, and use a wood file, or a sanding block to carefully file a straight edged tenon roughly 1/3 of the way into your bed rail (see photo). You want to keep the shoulders of the tenon as square as possible, which is why you clamp the ruler to your bed rail, so your file or sanding block will be taking away only the exposed wood on the end of the bed rail. Use a file to set the top edges square with the tongue. Now turn your wood over and repeat the filing on the other side of the bed rail to make a narrow tongue of wood which is centered on your rail. Repeat this step for all four ends of the bed rails.
Make The Slots or Mortises - Read these instructions and practise at least once on a scrap piece of square wood stock before you cut the mortise slots into your bed legs.
To make the slots in the legs for the tenons to fit into, lay your bed rail across each leg, so the bottom edge of the bed rail is level with the mark you made to indicate the bottom of your head or foot board. Make a mark on the leg to indicate where the top of the bed rail meets the leg. Do this for all four legs.
Now draw a line down the center of the leg between the two marks which indicate where the bed rail should fit. Use a craft knife to cut along both marked lines just above and below the center slot line (less than 1/8 of an inch in the center of the marked area for a 1/12 scale bed). This cut is the 'stop' line for carving your mortise slot. To make the slot the correct width and depth, cut down the center line between the marks made for your bed rail on the legs, cutting the wood to the same depth as you made your tenon or tongue (1/8 inch for the 1/12 scale bed).
Now move your knife 1/16 inch away from this center line, and make an angled cut in towards the bottom of the cut you made in the center. You should be able to remove this thin v shaped sliver of wood from one side of your slot. Repeat the angled cut on the other side of your center cut.
Next make a cut straight down into your leg 1/16 of an inch away from your center mark. Repeat this straight cut on the other side of your slot. Remove the wood between the straight cuts to make your mortise, or rectangular slot. You should be left with a small slot, the width and height of the tenon you cut on your side rails.(See photo just under the knife blade).
Repeat these cuts on all four legs, making sure you are cutting the slot above the base of the head or footboard position. Check each tenon fits each mortise before you proceed to the next. This process isn't nearly as difficult as the explanation!
You can see more photos and a slightly different method for making square tenons in square stock in the instructions for the picket gate bedContinue to 6 of 11 below.
06 of 11
Check the Fit of the Bed Rails Into the Legs
When you have cut your mortise and tenon joints, fit the bed rail into the legs and check to see that the 'shoulders' of the tenon meet up neatly with the face of the leg. You want a nice square join, not one that is wobbly. If your legs aren't square to the bed rail, you may need to tidy up the shoulder join of the tenon with a file (a nail file will work in a pinch). Take the pieces apart once you have a good fit and leave them to glue together after the rest of the bed is assembled.
The purpose of these joints is to make your bed sturdier, and more able to support the weight of a doll and a mattress without the joins giving way. If you are making a bed for a child's play, these joins will last much longer than ordinary butt joins.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
07 of 11
Glue the Mattress Supports To the Head and Footboard of the Doll Bed
Cut sections of narrow square stock (I used a long burnt match)and glue them to the inside base of the head and footboards as shown. These will support the mattress and the bed slats.
Clamp the pieces securely while the glue dries and make sure you clean up any glue that oozes from the join.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
08 of 11
Add Slat Supports to the Bed Side Rails of a Doll Bed
Using the same square stock as you used on the head and footboards, cut and glue a line of wood to the bottom inside edge of the bed side rails. Start your rail slightly back of the tenon so that there will be space for the rail on the head and footboard to fit without pushing against the side rail. Set the rails aside to dry.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
Glue the Legs of the Doll Bed to the Headboard and Footboard
Make a slight pencil mark for the base of the footboard of your doll bed on the back side (opposite from the mortise) of your foot board legs. Lay your footboard legs on your work surface with the mortise slot facing down into the work surface. Apply a small amount of wood glue to the ends of your footboard and set it carefully between the legs so that the footboard and the mortise side of the legs are all flat on your work surface. Set a square brace against the base of the legs to make sure the bottom of the legs are square and the same distance down below the footboard. Clamp or brace the legs against the footboard and leave them to dry.
Repeat this process for the headboard, but this time, the mortise slots on your legs should face up, away from your work surface. Make sure when you glue your legs in place that they are glued square to the footboard, and that they line up even with each other. A bit of care now, will save you from having to fix a wobbly, uneven bed.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
10 of 11
Test Fit the Doll to the Dollhouse Bed and Glue the Bed Rails
When the head and footboard assemblies for the doll bed are securely glued together, test fit the bed side rails into the slots and join the bed together. Check that the bed is square, balances evenly on its legs, and is the right size for your dolls house or doll.
If everything fits, apply a small amount of glue to the tenons on the ends of the bed rails and fit them square first into the headboard (laying flat on a work surface) and then into the foot board. Clamp the bed assembly or set it on a magnetic jig to hold it square and true until the glue dries.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
11 of 11
Cut, Fit and Glue The Mattress Supports To The Doll Bed
To strengthen your bed, cut two slats from craft wood (I used stir sticks) to glue to the support rails at the head and foot of the bed, gluing these slats to both bed sides as well as the head and foot rails. If you are building a bed for a child to play with, you may want to use a piece of appropriate thickness plywood or craftwood to make a solid base for a mattress. A solid base will add extra stability to the bed.
Measure across the width of your bed between the supporting rails and fit and glue bed slats. I made my bed slats from stir sticks (check to see they are flat first). Glue the slats to the supporting rails inside the sides of the bed at roughly 3/4 inch intervals (for a 1:12 scale bed). If you will be putting a stiff mattress on the bed, and if it is not for a child's play, you can skip this step if you wish.
Finish your bed with trims, stickers, patterns made with thread, or painted finishes. You can build all kinds of beds using these simple techniques, just vary the finishes or the styles of the head and footboards.
Some possible finishes for these simple pieces of furniture include:
- Classic Painted Finishes
- Faux Mahogany Finishe
- Carved Rope Mouldings
- Decorative Details Cast From Silicone Moulds - using gesso, resin, or polymer clay.