Thursday, December 4, 2008

How to Electrify a Dollhouse

"Oh what a tangled web we weave ..."
I get slightly philosophical when I look at the exterior of the Garfield, crisscrossed with electrical wires. Looks a fright now, doesn't it?

The photo above shows the house from the right hand side. Below are photos taken from the front, the left and the back, respectively.

A single strip of copper tape wire goes around the house. The wires from the interior lights are brought out to the exterior through tiny holes on the walls. These wires are soldered onto the main copper wire, and the junctions are secured with electrical tape.

Front View

Left View

Back View

If you look at the photo below, you can see close-ups of the connections. Instead of using a junction splice, I decided to solder the transformer's lead-in wire directly to the copper tape wire. In my experience, sometimes the junction splice's pins jiggle and lose connection with the tape wire.

So these are the steps. I am eternally paranoid about short circuits. But today, while I was blogging about the electrical work, I came across the most wonderful tutorial on Christine's Blog - Small World Builders. Upon reading the steps of the tutorial, it seems like I did things right, so I am slightly at ease at the moment. Here is the link:

I will cover the wirings with card-stock paper before I put bricks on the exterior. I am a bit anxious though, because once the brickwork goes up, I don't think I will have the patience to take it all down in case of a short circuit. If you find any potential red flags after reading my blog, please leave a comment, or send me a note at, so that I may fix the problem before I cover it all up.


Kathy Calhoun said...

"Tangled web" indeed. I couldn't tell you if there's a problem with the connections, since I've never wired a house before and doubt I ever will.( That's were I chose to do my own cost cutting ) I am curious, though, at how you'll keep the brickwork smooth with no bumps, especially where the foundation is on the front right porch. I'd surely save those photos somewhere, in case you do need to get inside the brickwork to check for shorts. Wow, what a chore that must have been. Good work, dear.

Sumaiya Mehreen said...

Dearest Kathy:
I have decided that if there is a short after I cover up the wiring permanently, I'll just have to live with it ... because I don't think I have the patience to take off the brickwork in order to look for the problem spot.

I will cover the wiring with a sheet of thick card-stock paper or poster-board. Hopefully that will make things smoother, and the bricks will be laid on top of the paper.

Elizabeth S said...

Hello Sumaiya, I found your post through Pinterest and my friend's collection of tutorials on the Garfield since she is also building one. I also use the copper tape with the soldering iron to secure and it has been fine. I found the pins loose up, so I push in the brass pin then I solder the wire onto both the pin and the tape. Then like you I cover it over with electrical tape. I also purchase my transformers from the thrift store' electrical dept. as they are usually only a few dollars and they work fine. You have to make sure that the transformers are the correct voltage for the doll's house lights, because you don't want to wreck all your hard work and the Garfield is a challenge already. I bet it is finished by now since it is 5 years since this posting. See you later!