When I purchased my first dollhouse it was as a gift for my granddaughter. One of the first things that I discovered was that there are 2 primary materials used for the construction of dollhouses. Then came the question, “Which is better…wooden dollhouses or plastic dollhouses?”
There are those who may disagree with the answer I came up with, but essentially, plastic dollhouses are toys and wooden dollhouses can serve as either toys or as projects for collectors and hobbyists. So, to determine which construction material is right for you the first thing to consider is how the dollhouse will be used.
Surely there are hobbyists who will take exception to my conclusion. In reality for every item on earth there is at least one collector. So, I am speaking in generalities. Wooden dollhouses are the norm for the majority of collectors.
Plastic dollhouses are more likely to come assembled but the wooden variety most often requires assembly. So that, too, may help you make your decision on which is better for you.
Another consideration is accessories and furnishings. Again, plastic dollhouses are more likely to come with at least some extras, if not all. When shopping for a little girl this can be a particularly attractive option.
Wooden dollhouse accessories are remarkably plentiful and come in just about every variety imaginable. You can pretty much replicate anything found in your home even down to the dishes and silverware. Another attractive option is the ability to add electrical features like lamps, chandeliers, and even electrical appliances.
Something else that you may want to look at is the element of style. Certainly, plastic dollhouses come in a myriad of styles but there is less variety than you will find with wooden houses.
A further consideration is the scale of the dollhouses. Here is where a lot of people make a mistake when making their purchase. The most popular doll size is 11 ½ inches but dollhouses come in a variety of sizes. In other words, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.”
Wooden dollhouses, at least those most commonly used by collectors and hobbyists, are either built on a 12 to 1 ratio or a 24 to 1 ratio. That is to say that for every foot dollhouses are scaled to 1 inch per foot or a half inch per foot. Since the average doll is nearly a foot long that means that the doll will appear in giant proportions to the standard scale dollhouses.
In the case of the aforementioned 11 ½ inch doll you will likely find more wooden dollhouses built specifically to accommodate that scale than plastic houses. In this scenario the wooden structure is preferable to plastic for use as a toy.
Even plastic dollhouses are constructed for various size dolls so it is important to do a little research to make certain that the size of the doll works with the scale of the house.
Additionally, you should give some thought to the durability of the dollhouse. Plastic is a good choice for play because it doesn’t break easily. Conversely, wooden structures, especially those used by hobbyists can be fragile. If you do settle on a wooden dollhouse for a little girl make certain that it has been built to stand up to child’s play.
Then there is the issue of cleaning. Toys that are used by children should be easily cleaned. Again, plastic is the preferred material for ease of cleaning.
Who knows, somewhere along the way, you just might get hooked on wooden dollhouses as a hobbyist and collector. If that does happen you are in for a wonderful experience.