Early Adoption of Mass Customization and Laser Tech: Dollhouses!


Mass customization and rapid manufacturing are still considered to be in the early stages of popular usage, but there’s at least one hobby that has embraced both from the beginning. Think Victorian architecture, painted lady grilles, miniature side chairs, and tiny four poster beds. For years dollhouses have been literal play grounds for laser-cut design and customization.

After the jump are five companies keeping the dollhouse tradition alive with current manufacturing technologies.

Greenleaf has a collection of detailed dollhouses in various architectural styles and complete furnishing kits. Some of their most popular houses, like the Arthur shown below, have their own blogs at the Greenleaf Miniature Community to keep hobbiests connected.



Northeastern Scale Models Inc has been in business for sixty years. Today, all of their kits are laser-cut in California. They have singe farmhouses, log homes, Queen Anne mansions, and cute cottages. But they also have larger complexes like tenement housing and a fishing pier and vernacular buildings like a box factory and a bank so you can create an entire early 20th century town.


Lasertech Miniatures has several country living kits with unique offerings like a Dutch windmill and a paddle boat. There is also an extensive catalog of laser-cut architectural detailings.


For dollhouse interior furnishings, take a look at Michelle’s Miniatures and Karen Benson Miniatures.



Building and decorating a dollhouse may seem old-fashioned, but this hobby encompasses everything we love about on-demand manufacture, flat-pack shipping, customization, and especially DIY design. Maybe it’s time for a dollhouse come back.

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I can certainly appreciate the work involved with these very small doll houses but they are just too fragile for my tastes 😉 Would be neat to see more “behind the scenes” of these companies though.

http://WoodMarvels.com – Create Unique Memories

I want a full size version of the spiderweb chair – how cool is that!!!
I’m convinced that there are a load of hobby type applications laser cutting that would attract an unlikely audience for Ponoko… Working on a few ideas myself…

This post has totally taken me back to my childhood of collecting miniatures! Who knew that a typically nostalgic hobby would be a leader in mass customization and rapid manufacturing? Love it.

Another laser cut dollhouse part provider – victorian dollhouse parts

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