I have admired the (full size) McLoughlin Folding Dolls’ Houses for a very time.
They were first produced in the late 1890s and are now highly collectable – and way beyond my pocket. (There is one for $1,500 on the Aleph-Bet Books website).
However, nothing daunted, I have been collecting (usually damaged) bits of the book/dolls’ house – only to realise that, although I probably had all right the bits, I had absolutely no idea how the various pieces should be put together.
Then, by a stroke of good luck one came up for sale on eBay in March this year (2011) and, although it was in only moderate condition, the seller had gone to a great deal of trouble to show the order in which it unfolded.
– A big thank you is due here to tnc-antiques2 for being so thorough –
So here is my miniature version, 12th scale, 1 inch (2.5cm) square when shut and 2 inches (5cm) square when unfolded and open.
The colours are as vibrant as they were on the originals but, because it is constructed from copies of old materials, it has the feeling of something that has been played with and loved.
I chose to leave the small defects that were on the original pieces, and not digitally ‘repair’ them, because I felt that they added to the charm and individuality of the dolls’ house. However, during the resizing process 99.9% of the scratches and bumps disappeared – and the most noticable remaining is on the final page where there is a very tiny amount of faint pink staining where the colour had run from the original binding.
My miniature version is made from acid free card and paper (with excellent archival qualities) and is paper bound – and, due to to the assembly process, the moving parts have been covered in waterbased glue (at least twice) and are robust as well as flexible.
Due to the ‘memory’ of the glue I find that, when it is fresh out of its box, it is a good idea to put a small coin on each piece of floor (for a short while) so that it ‘remembers’ to stay flat and open.
It comes in its own custom made box and, although this features a picture that was used on the original dolls’ house box, this is all my own invention – as I do not yet have a good box lid…
One day maybe…
The pdf files and a walkthrough for how to make this folding dolls’ house are here
and there are more things to Do and Make on the Projects Page