Wooden Dollhouses vs. Plastic Houses: Which is Better for You?

When I bought my first dollhouse it was a gift for my granddaughter. One of the first things I discovered was that there are 2 main materials used for the construction of dollhouses. Then came the question: “Which is better… wooden dollhouses or plastic dollhouses?”

Some may disagree with the answer I came up with, but essentially, plastic dollhouses are toys and wooden dollhouses can serve as toys or projects for collectors and hobbyists. So, to determine which building material is right for you, the first thing to consider is how the dollhouse will be used.

Surely there will be fans who will oppose my conclusion. Actually, for every item on earth there is at least one collector. So, I’m speaking in generalities. Wooden dollhouses are the norm for most collectors.

Plastic dollhouses are more likely to come assembled, but the wooden variety usually requires assembly. That can also help you make a decision about which one is best for you.

Another consideration is accessories and furnishings. Again, plastic dollhouses are more likely to come with at least a few extras, if not all of them. When shopping for a girl, this can be a particularly attractive option.

Wooden dollhouse accessories are remarkably plentiful, coming in almost every variety imaginable. You can replicate just about anything you find in your home, even down to the flatware. Another attractive option is the possibility of adding electrical elements such as lamps, chandeliers and even appliances.

Another thing you might want to look at is the style element. Plastic dollhouses certainly come in a wide variety of styles, but there’s less variety than you’ll find with wooden houses.

Another consideration is the scale of the dollhouses. This is where many 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 the ones most used by collectors and hobbyists, are built in a ratio of 12 to 1 or 24 to 1. That is to say that for every foot the dollhouses are scaled at 1 inch per foot or half an inch per foot. Since the average doll is almost a foot long, that means the doll will appear in gigantic proportions compared to standard scale dollhouses.

In the case of the aforementioned 11 ½-inch doll, you’re likely to find more wooden dollhouses built specifically to fit that scale than plastic ones. In this scenario, the wooden structure is preferable to plastic for use as a toy.

Even plastic dollhouses are built for dolls of various sizes, so it’s important to do some research to make sure the doll size works with the scale of the house.

Also, you need to think about the durability of the dollhouse. Plastic is a good choice to play with because it doesn’t break easily. By contrast, wooden structures, especially those used by hobbyists, can be brittle. If you decide on a wooden dollhouse for a girl, make sure that it has been built to withstand the play of children.

Then there is the issue of cleanliness. Toys used by children should be easily cleaned. Again, plastic is the preferred material for easy cleaning.

Who knows, somewhere along the way, you might get hooked on wooden dollhouses as a hobbyist and collector. If that happens, you’re in for a wonderful experience.

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