Understanding Dollhouse Scales

common miniature scale sizes
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Dollhouses come in many different shapes and sizes. When we talk about scale in dollhouses, we generally mean how big something is. In this post, I wanted to explain some of the most common dollhouse sizes and help you figure out how to determine what scale you need.

The Most Common Miniature Scales

This is growing to be the most popular and probably one of the easier scales to find dollhouse items for. With this scale, 1 inch = 1 foot. Simple as that!

So for example, the height of the room for the dollhouse would be between 8-9 inches {depending on what ceiling height you would like} and the dolls would be roughly 5-6 inches tall.

If you’re ever in doubt about what size to make something in 1:12 scale, just measure an object in your house and convert it into inches. So for example, if your sofa is 3 feet high, you would make your dollhouse sofa 3 inches high. Pretty easy, right?

We also have a free handy dandy cheat sheet printable for 1:12 miniature dollhouse scale sizes for all the common household items.

1:6 Scale: Fashion Doll Size

This is another popular scale size, where every 2 inches = 1 foot. It’s the scale most fashion dolls such as Barbie or Monster High dolls and other common dolls are. A standard Barbie doll is roughly 11.5 inches tall.

To measure for this scale, think of an object in your house, and then convert to inches and double it. So for example, our 3-foot sofa would be 6 inches.

The benefit of this scale is you can get REALLY detailed – the disadvantage of this scale is that it takes up some space, unfortunately! I love this scale but I live in a fairly small house so sadly just don’t have the space for it.

Half Scale: 1:24

Half scale is another popular size because it definitely saves on space! With half scale, 1/2 an inch = 1 foot and 1 inch = 2 feet (24 inches).

To calculate sizes for half scale, you would divide the regular size in half and convert into inches. So, for example, our 3-foot sofa in half scale would be 1.5 inches.

It’s a little more challenging to do fine details in half scale as it does start to get quite small, but it does save on space and you can actually get pretty elaborate if you don’t mind using the precision tweezers!

Other Scales to Consider

There are, of course, many other scales to consider, but they can be difficult to find items for and you may not get the detail you’re hoping for.

1:48 Scale is where 1 inch = 4 feet. The math gets complicated which is why I personally don’t work in this scale but I’m always in awe at those who do!

1:16 Scale: This is another scale that’s slightly smaller than 1:12 but not as small as 1:24. It’s common called 3/4 scale. Again, too complicated of math for me, and its hard to find things in this scale but it’s not a bad size to work in.

1:18 Scale: This scale is mainly used in Europe – it’s fairly close to 1:16 scale so often times you can mix and match items without it being too out of proportion.

1:3 Scale: This is where 1 foot = 3 inches. This is often the scale used for the larger 18″ dolls such as My Generation and American Girl Dolls, although that’s not exactly true to scale when you consider they are supposed to be kids – that’d put them at adult size.

Many toys and dolls have scales that fall somewhere within these ranges. Calico Critters, which I absolutely LOVE can work with 1:12 scale, but that isn’t always entirely accurate, as many 1:16 scale items can work well with them also.

How to Check the Scale

There have been many times when I buy something online and it comes and it just seems too big or too small. So while it’s nice when a package says 1:12 scale or 1:24 scale, you still might want to check!

The first thing to do is to measure the item you have.

Next, go directly to the ginifab scale calculator because it works so well!

In their calculator box, try putting different numbers and different scales in the inputs until you get something that makes sense for your character.

For example, here I tried it out in several different scales for the character.

We already know 1:12 scale would make our 3 inch character only 3 feet tall in real life, so I experimented with different scales.

1:18 scale was the first one I wanted to try, but it would make my character of 3 inches only 4.5 feet tall “actual size” which means they would look very small against different sized furniture.

1:24 scale makes my character around 6 feet tall in real life, so while they may seem a little big for some things, that scale is the closest for us.

screenshot of scale calculator

While you could theoretically work in a 1:22 or 1:23 scale if you wanted it to be accurate, the math would be painful for someone like me! Also, it would be very, very hard to find anything at that size which means you would have to DIY everything.

There’s nothing wrong with DIYing everything – but I know my limitations and there are some things I would just have to buy (like windows – I cannot build windows successfully lol)

What Size Scale Should You Work In?

Really, it’s a matter of personal preference. When you are choosing what size dollhouse to build or start, there are several things to take into consideration:

Storage Space: This is super important because you want to make sure you have a space where you can work on the dollhouse, display the dollhouse, as well as store supplies for it.

Amount of Detail: The larger the scale, the more detailed you can be, however, this doesn’t always equal easier to make! Sometimes the smaller scales are easier because you can find more stuff for them from your junk drawer and around the house.

Your Comfort Level: For some, working in very small scale sizes can be very hard to do. For example, I don’t have the steady hand required for very small work, so I tend to work in larger scales.

Your Characters: If you know you want to work with a specific doll or character in your house, then you will want to make things match the scale of that character. For example, if you wanted to make a Calico Critters house, you’d want to work in a scale around 1:12-1:16 and check the proportions as you go.

I hope this guide to scale is helpful for you, especially if you are new to the world of miniatures. If you have any questions about scale I will definitely try to answer them for you, but be aware that I am bad at math, which is why I use things like my printable miniature scale cheatsheet all the time!

What scale do you like to work in? Do you have any tips you’d like to share for choosing what dollhouse size to choose or deciding on what scale you need? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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  1. This article left me with a complete understanding of scale ratios. Thank you so much. ❤️

  2. I’m so glad I found your site!
    I’m remodeling a dollhouse my father built 30 years ago, and preparing to build one from a kit.
    I think your information has been the most helpful!

    1. Aw, I am glad you found us too Trish! Sounds like you have some fun projects – I would love to see what you’re working on!

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