Introduction to Wiring and Lighting a Dolls House
If you've never fitted dolls house lighting before it can seem like a daunting task, but it's probably easier than you think and hobbyists can generally complete the task relatively easily and safely without any specialist knowledge. Dolls house lights make a very attractive addition to any dolls house, creating lighter rooms and a warm 'lived in' glow so it's well worth doing. The main exception is young childrens dolls houses where more delicate lighting components could become damaged through play although lights can always be added to the dolls house later when the child is older.
It's a good idea to plan your dolls house lighting and do the necessary preparation early, before you start to build and decorate the dolls house, so you can ensure the dollshouse wiring is completely hidden from view when the it is finished.
LED Battery Lights or Wired 12V Lights
A recent development in dolls house lighting is the introduction of LED battery dolls house lights. These lights need no wiring as they have their own replacable 3V battery so they can simply be positioned wherever required in the dolls house and switched on and off when required. Ceiling lights are generally attached using disc magnets so they can easily be removed and replaced. This offers obvious advantages over wired lights, but there are disadvantages too. For example, each LED battery light will need to be switched on and off individually which may be fiddly and inconvenient in a large dolls house wheras wired lights are generally controlled by a single master switch or optional individual switches. LED lights are a popular choice in smaller dolls houses or where wiring access is difficult. Whatever your preference its's worth giving this option careful consideration before proceeding.
Dolls House Wiring Methods
For wired lights there are two main wiring methods to choose from when planning your dolls house electrics - twin round wire or flat copper tape (or a combination of the two). People have differing opinions as to which method is best for dollhouse lighting and there are advantages and disadvantages to either method. We sell dollhouse wiring components for both systems and will provide an overview of the basic methods used for each, however, many different methods can be used depending on the particular dolls house, position of the lights and personal preference.
Dolls House Wiring Using the Twin Wire Method
This is the simplest and most popular method for dollhouse wiring. You will need a 12v power supply, a fused socket connector strip and the individual dollshouse light fittings. These can be purchased individually or as a dollshouse lighting kit. Several types of socket connector strip are available with optional single master switch or individual switches so each dolls house light switches on and off intependantly. A remote controlled dolls house lighting system is also available allowing individual lights to be switched on and off remotely. When choosing a power supply you must ensure that its capacity is sufficient for the maximum number of bulbs you are likely to fit in the dolls house - this information is shown on the website page for each power supply.
When installing the lights in the dolls house the first step is to decide on their position in each room. Lights for dolls houses come in many types from miniature chandeliers to wall lamps to table lamps to glowing fires. Dolls house light fittings are usually supplied complete with a wire measuring about 450mm and two pin plug attached. When fitting the dollhouse lights the plug can be removed from the wire by removing the pins with pliers, this will allow the wires to be passed through holes as necessary and the plug can then easily be reattached. Dolls house chandeliers and other ceiling lights are usually fitted in the centre of each room. To do this you should first mark the exact position of the light and drill a small hole through the ceiling to the floor above so the wire from the light can be passed through. You then need to cut a small 'V' groove along the floor from the hole to the back of the house using a chisel, router or a file. Finally drill another hole so the wire can be passed through the back of the dolls house. Wall lights, table lamps etc can be installed similarly, finding the most suitable path to route the wires to the back of the dolls house. It is often easier to cut the necessary channels for the dolls house wiring before the dolls house is assembled.
The socket strip is usually located on the back of the house. When all the dolls house lights are fitted and the wires routed and hidden the two pin plugs can be reattached and plugged into the socket strip. Finally the transformer should be connected and the lights tested. You should do the preparation work for the dolls house lighting before building and decorating the house if possible, but it's probably best not to install the actual dollhouse lights until later on in the building and decorating process as they are quite delicate. It is worth bearing in mind that you may need to access the dolls house lighting wires in future after building and decorating so if possible wires should be accessible with the minimum or disruption to the dolls house.
Flat Copper Tape Wiring Method
Flat copper tape can be used in a variety of different ways to create dolls house wiring circuits. The flat copper tape has a self-adhesive backing so can be fitted inside the dolls house behind decor or under floors. Most commonly it is applied to the outside of the back wall of the dolls house to distribute power from the power supply connection point to each floor of the house. Separate lengths of copper tape can be connected easily by driving a brass eyelet through overlapping tapes where an electrical connection is required. Electrical continuity can be tested using a test probe. The wires from the lights can be connected to the tape at the back of the house, usually using solder joints. This method results in a neater finish at the back of the house compared to the twin wire method as there are no trailing wires.
Make Lights Removeable Using Back Plates and Grip Contact Sockets
From time to time it may be necessary to replace your dolls house light bulb or to replace a damaged or faulty light fitting. This can be fiddly and difficult and replacing a light fitting may not be possible without damaging the dolls house decor. To avoid these problems it is possible to fit sockets in the dolls house and convert the light fittings using back plates or so they can be plugged in and removed easily.
This diagram shows a typical flat copper tape circuit on the outside back wall of a dolls house.
This photo shows a dolls house chandelier light with a back plate fitted ready to be plugged into grip contact sockets fitted in the lighting circuit.
What to look for if your dollshouse lights don't work:
Everything connected and switched on - It may sound a obvious, but it's worth checking that the dolls house lighting transformer is plugged in and switched on, the transformer is connected to the socket strip and the socket strip is switched on and that the dollshouse light fittings are plugged into the socket strip.
Dolls house lighting fuse - Check the fuse on the dolls house lighting socket connector strip. There is an indicator light on the socket connector strip which is designed to illuminate only when the fuse has blown.
Bulbs securely fitted - Check that the dolls house light bulbs are screwed in or pushed in firmly. The dollshouse light bulbs often work loose during transit and installation so this is a common problem resulting in the dolls house lights not working. With many dolls house light fittings it may appear difficult to access the bulbs, but in most cases the lampshades can be removed by carefully unscrewing or unclipping to gain easy access.
2 Pin plug securely connected - Check that the twin wire is connected properly to the 2 pin plug and that the plug is connected to the socket strip properly.
Other Faults - Other dolls house wiring faults will need to be resolved by testing each component and connection in turn until the problem is located. Loose connections can usually be located by gently moving the wires, connections and light fittings until the fault occurs. If one particular dolls house light doesn't work you can usually swap the bulb with another light to establish whether the bulb or the dolls house light fitting is faulty. Dolls house light fittings and wires are very delicate so it is important to handle them carefully. If the dolls house light fitting becomes damaged it may not be possible to repair, in which case a replacement may be the only option.
Wired dolls house lights including Chandeliers, wall lights and lamps
Dolls house power supplies, connectors,and wiring accessories
Led lights for 12V wired systems
Battery powered dolls house lights with LED bulbs.
Glowing Fires for dolls houses- Authentic Log and Coal Fire Effects.
1:24 Scale Dolls House Lighting & Wiring Components