Just like in a real house, hardwood floors in a dollhouse add a high end touch. I've tried wood-look scrapbook paper, but I think it looks too fake. On my first dollhouse, I made hardwood floors out of popsicle sticks, which was the world's biggest nightmare, and I'll never do it again. I found a way to get authentic hardwood floors that are a lot easier to install: real wood veneer edging!
Y'all! This stuff is amazing. You can get it in a variety of woods and widths, but I like the 3/4" white birch (you can buy it on Amazon here). It's thin enough to cut with regular scissors, and it comes pre-glued so you just need an iron to apply it. If you mess up, no big deal: just reheat and reposition.
-Wood veneer edging (depending on the size of your project, you'll need more than one roll)
-Paper cutter or scissors (scissors work just fine, but I have a paper cutter from my teaching days, and I like that I get a straight cut, and it has a built-in ruler)
-Stain (or whatever you want to finish your floors; the natural birch is really pretty, too; for this room box, I wanted whitewashed floors)
I'm a math nerd so I like to start with a plan for the length of planks I want for my dollhouse. Of course, you could just measure the depth of your floor and cut a bunch of strips in that length, but I don't think that looks as authentic. After all, real hardwood floor planks don't extend the length of the entire room. I also like variety so I pick a couple different combos. For this room box, my floor is 10" from the front to the back. I decided to have rows with 2 5" planks and rows with 2 3.5" and 1 3" planks. I like to get all my cutting done at once so with a width of 12", I needed 16 rows, which means I needed 8 of each row.
Because my paper cutter has a built-in ruler, I didn't need to measure each plank, but you could easily do that with a ruler, a straight edge, and a sharp pair of scissors. I cut all of my planks at once: for this project, I needed 16 5" planks, 16 3.5" planks, and 8 3" planks.
Once the planks are cut, it's time to glue them on with the iron. I put my iron on its highest setting, but that probably isn't necessary. I laid out the first plank in the back corner (which is hopefully square) and press the iron on it gently for a few seconds to heat up the glue. It's repositionable while the glue is hot so you can move it around if you need to.
Add the next plank and keep gluing. It's a tedious process, but I promise it's a million times easier than applying glue to the back of a million popsicle sticks.
Here's a progress shot where you can see the variety of plank lengths I'm using. I think it gives it a more authentic look.
It's pretty rare when the very last row is the exact width of your planks so you might need to do some trimming for the last few. I used a ruler to measure how wide my last row of planks should be and then just used my scissors to trim the planks to the correct width.
When you're all done, run your hand over the planks because sometimes they curl up at the edges. Just add your warm iron to them and press them back down. I usually add a heavy book for a few minutes to ensure the floor is flat while the glue completely dries.
Now, it's time to finish the floor. Of course, you could just leave it raw; this white birch is beautiful on its own. You can paint the floor or stain it. You need to use painters' tape on the wall to make sure the paint or stain doesn't get on the walls. Since my walls in this room box are white and I'm white washing the floor, I didn't feel the need to tape it off. For oil-based stain, you'll need a clean rag (I like to use my husband's old undershirts) to apply the stain. For paint or white wash pickling, you'll need a paintbrush.
I wanted my white wash to be pretty heavy on the floor so I didn't use a rag to wipe up the excess. I just brushed it on in the direction of the wood grain.
That's all there is to it. Now you have genuine hardwood floors for your dollhouse!
In The Aubrey Dollhouse, I used a dark stain to match the floors of the real house I was duplicating.
In The Grace Dollhouse, I used white wash pickling but wiped off the excess here so more of the natural wood comes through.
In The Cotton Stem Dollhouse, I used a warm stain to match the wood-like tile in her real house.
In The Emma Dollhouse, I even used the wood veneer edging to create wood planks for the stairs.
And I used it as shiplap to plank the ceiling. I've also used it on a vent hood to look like shiplap. The possibilities are endless with this versatile material. I hope you share with me if you decide to use this technique in your next dollhouse.