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Dream a dream - a miniature Les Mis tutorial!

15 July 2013

Whether you’re lucky enough to have seen the powerful stage musical or enjoyed the
compelling film version of Les Mis, there’s no doubting the potential for a miniature diorama!

The characters, furniture and décor of revolutionary Paris, where the story is set, lend themselves perfectly to dreaming a dream of another life.

The musical version of the Victor Hugo book Les Miserables has become a global phenomenon… were you swept up in its wake?

Audiences have left performances elated at the show.

Our creative assistant Louise has also immersed herself in the history and the drama - to recreate screens from the story as inspiration for you to try.

If you want to follow the epic storyline, it’s easy to start at home!

It needn’t be quite as intense as the dramas in the story…

Simply click through to the Les Mis Miniature Tutorial here.
View the complete tutorial at
The opening scenes of the film are set in the walled city of Montreuil-sur-Mer, not far from the Channel ports, where hero Valjean trod the winding cobbled streets.

The story moves to Paris for the characteristic 19th Century backdrop.

The musical’s emblem is a picture of the waif Cosette, based on an etching which is itself based on an original drawing by Emile Bayard.

It appeared in several of the novel’s earliest French-language editions, and you can include it in your display by cutting out the miniature version we’ve posted on this page for you.
Les Miserables in miniature

Recreating Deyrolle of Paris in 1:12 scale!

7 November 2012

Deyrole is an unusual Paris store, situated at 46 rue du Bac.
It opened in 1831 and is part store, part museum and part gallery.
And it was this wonderful mix which provided the inspiration for Jeanette Causon's entry to the 2012 Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition!
Jeanette, from Victoria, Australia, describes the real thing - and her own 1:12 recreation - as hosting a variety of formerly living merchandise and other "natural curiosities".
It contains everything from a meteorite to a wall of birds to a giraffe!
Dolls House Emporium creative competition

Here's a video she's made of the work:

Dolls House Emporium creative competition

And here's the real thing for comparison: Amazing!

Dolls House Emporium creative competition

Dolls House Emporium creative competition
Back inside Jeanette's version, nearly all of the animal figures are Scleich brand as they are about the right scale.
She made her birds from fimo and they all sit on stands made from buttons and toothpicks. Many of the actual exhibits she hand-made too.
Dolls House Emporium creative competition

Dolls House Emporium creative competition
But there was drama before the project could be completed: not only did Mother Nature throw down 11 inches of rain in a day, stranding Jeanette's mail-order goodies at the post office but she also suffered an earthquake and another flood a week later, which severely held up the build, to say the least. So here's a picture of the inside of the real store to look at for a moment:
Dolls House Emporium creative competition
Jeanette says: "While waiting for the flood waters to go down, I spent time filling the dollhouse with handmade items, and cutting the heads off plastic wildlife animals (which scared my visitors and started rumours around town that I had 'swamp fever'.
"We also need people. A lot of them as a shop like Deyrolle is a very busy place. Out with the fimo and 15 people come into creation. Thirteen went into the house - one didn't survive the cooking process and my dog ate the other while I wasn't looking."
Dolls House Emporium creative competition

Dolls House Emporium creative competition

How well-travelled is YOUR dolls’ house?

26 April 2012

This jet-setting Grosvenor Hall dolls’ house winged its way to Brisbane, Australia, as a kit, was built there and lived happily for many years.

It was something of an ambition fulfilled when Nessie Middleton took delivery of the Dolls House Emporium kit.

She said: “I had yearned for a doll's house ever since I was three years old!

“It took me 50 years to get it! We logged onto from Brisbane, Australia, and decided that Grosvenor Hall was the one for us. We ordered it and in due course the flat pack arrived."

Grosvenor Hall from The Dolls House Emporium

“With the help of three close friends, we conquered the problem of how to build it. We inevitably made some mistakes. Notably, putting one floor in upside down (!) which makes adding the electricity for lights somewhat difficult - but in Australia everything is upside down anyway!"

All the fabrics for decorating the rooms were taken from samples from Colefax and Fowler where she served an apprenticeship. The furniture was 40% hand made, and 60% bought from craftsmen.

Grosvenor Hall from The Dolls House Emporium

“I used a wide variety of materials for the home made articles, including bottle tops, matchboxes," she added.

Cushions were crafted from fabric, table mats by her sister, reduced on computer, copy of cover of 18th century book on the stair case. Artist friends did miniature pictures, the outside painted with faux finishes learned at Colefax.

It was then that the Grosvenor upped its foundations and made a move half-way around the world to Vence in southeastern France.

“We decided to retire to the Cote D'Azur, so the dolls house accompanied us in a special crate with all furniture individually bubble wrapped. Only one finial was broken - a good result.”

Can you beat that for a well-travelled dolls’ house? Or have you ever had to wrap your up carefully for a move? Drop us a line at and we could feature your story in our blog!

Grosvenor Hall from The Dolls House Emporium

New dolls' house: Le Château - The essence of life in France!

25 January 2012

The Dolls House Emporium's new house for spring 2012 is this stylish French Château.
The Château is modelled on the elegance of 18th Century France and has been carefully researched to ensure every last detail is authentic, from the characteristic slope of the roof to its ornate upper windows.

Le Chateau Dolls House Emporium
Dolls House Emporium designers have been working on images and including features inspired by true continental palaces and manor houses from the period to give this dolls’ house version the authentic flavour of France.
Launching in February, The Château is set to be a big hit with romantics everywhere and is definitely something to fall in love with!
With an elegant sweeping stairway leading to the grand balcony running the full length of the frontage, this latest 1:12 scale model will surely fire the imagination of miniatures fans. Could it be the home of a nobleman? Would it be a divine lovers’ retreat? Or a top-class wine-country hotel for quintessential Englishmen travelling across the continent? The choice is yours!

Historically, a château was built as the badge of a family of nobles or French citizens of rank, the Loire Valley being as popular spot, where there are more than 300.
To complement its grandeur, there is a range of associated accessories available through The Dolls House Emporium, including the beautiful new hand-painted French armoire cabinet and a Louis XV sofa. There is also a French-style console table, a 'buffet' sideboard and an upholstered single bed, all in classical cream.
Or you could pack it with contemporary items hand-picked from the 2,500-strong range available.
The Château is available in a range of finishes, which means that enthusiasts can do as much – or as little – work as they would like to bring it to life. With nine rooms, the stylish, front-opening house is a blank canvas waiting for someone to put their mark on it!
Le Château features:

• Six well-proportioned rooms on three floors;
• One opening front panel;
• Hinged roof for access to the top floor;
• Authentic steep-pitched roof in the provincial style;
• Carved ‘stone’ dormer windows faithful to the French style;
• Typical corner stone and roof detailing;
• Five beautiful opening French doors featuring pretty balconies on the first floor;
• Intricate front entrance door opening into the impressive hallway;
• Exquisitely-detailed internal doors;
• Dog-leg stairs with ‘wrought iron’ railings and wooden posts;
• All windows and doors are pre-assembled;
• Le Château is packed in two boxes.

Le Château Basement:

• Offers a further two rooms;
• Stairs link seamlessly to the main house;
• Supplied with extra railings for optional use on the main house ground floor doors;
• Impressive curved staircase with authentic balustrades leads to the main entrance;
• Two French doors for access to the gardens;
• All windows and doors are pre-assembled;
• Le Château Basement is packed in one box.

The essence of life in France -

Le Chateau Dolls House Emporium

The essence of life in France -

The Pop-Out House – a different kind of dolls’ house

28 September 2011

We thought you might be interested to hear about a lifesize dolls’ house created for a children’s store in Paris.Read More
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