• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Dolls House - MDF or Ply?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

drillbit

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2011
Messages
284
Reaction score
0
I want to make a dolls house for my daughter for Christmas. Nothing major, just a simlple design etc.

I want it to be strong, easy on my wallet, but most importantly safe.

Everything I have read on the subject talks about using birch plywood, but it's expensive and hard to source around here.

All the commercial dolls houses are made from mdf as far as I can tell.

So question is - which one would people advise to use?

I've heard that mdf is dangerous if not sealed properly. Is that really true? Would coating in wallpaper and paint count as sealing? Or still dangerous?

Any advice would be great... :)
 

mac1012

Established Member
Joined
28 Oct 2011
Messages
670
Reaction score
0
Location
chesterfield
ive never heard about it being dangerous if not sealed properly i thought it was only when you are cutting routering etc when you have to be carefull because of dust particles but if it a one off a well ventilated area with p3 dust mask will suffice when you are cutting, and it is a good material for dolls houses a lot of dolls house sellers sell them blank for the customer to decorate so must be ok without wall paper on.

mark
 

jasonB

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2004
Messages
5,044
Reaction score
1
Location
Surrey
Most MDF these days is low formaldihide so of little danger.

Likely to do more harm with wallpaper paste containing fungicides and paint that is not child safe.

I'd go for MDF for the lack of splinters

J
 

Harbo

In Memorium
Joined
13 Nov 2006
Messages
5,548
Reaction score
1
Location
Hampshire
I used both on a couple I made for my Granddaughters:





Simple design, 1/16th scale so not too big?

Rod
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
840
Reaction score
0
Lucky granddaughter, that's a nice present Rod!
 

Jensmith

Established Member
Joined
19 Aug 2010
Messages
1,029
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Use MDF. 9mm is the standard thickness for 1/12th scale (1"=1ft). I think the release of the chemicals on unsealed MDF is more of a problem in the US where they don't have as strict controls as us. It came up in a topic of conversation with some of my fellow miniaturists a while ago and that's when I found out they have different standards.

Using a mask when cutting is pretty important as the dust is very fine and hazardous. P3 mask.

What you need to do, ideally, is make up your panels and then, before assembly is easiest, coat all the faces and edges with a mix of 50:50 PVA and water. This is a cheap way of sealing the MDF so the paint or wallpaper paste doesn't get sucked in.
Painting with a mini roller makes painting the house really easy too and gives a good finish.

Silk emulsion is harder wearing than matt. Don't know if you need it to be child safe though or if your daughter is old enough?
Don't use gloss - it's too shiny for dolls houses.
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,599
Reaction score
59
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
As an aside,

Youngest daughter's dolls house is a commercial MDF kit I've modified.

I found with care I could run a 4mm drill down the middle of the MDF (it's denser nearer the surfaces), enabling me to hide the lighting cables. I tack-welded a long series 4mm drill onto a bit of slightly thinner steel rod, ground off the lumpy bits, and I now have a 40cm 4mm drill.

You start the hole with a long series bit in a pillar drill *very* carefully set up, and finish with the long drill in a cordless. Once it's started straight it keeps going. I broke through once (It'll be under carpet) the other ones worked really well.

E.
 

drillbit

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2011
Messages
284
Reaction score
0
Thank you everyone for reponses. Looks like MDF is the way to go.

Thanks for all the advice on sizes, sealing and painting as well... can't wait to get started!


Harbo - that dolls house looks exactly the kind of thing I am hoping to make. How are the walls and base held together? Are they butt jointed, glued and nailed?
 
Top