Whether you just picked up a dollhouse at a garage sale or some roombox in your workroom has become separated from its label, there may be a time when you find yourself, “Exactly what scale is this piece?”

Yep, it happens. ;)

In order to figure out the scale of your piece, get out a measuring tape and follow this chart — even though it can be confusing, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.

Dollhouse Scale Chart/Table

Roomboxes usually have a scale ceiling height of 8-10 feet (floors of a dollhouse usually fall within this same range) . So if the roombox is 9″ tall, find 9″ in the first column and find the number in that row that falls within the 8-10 feet.

In this example, the roombox is 1/12 scale (wherein 1″ = 1′).

So, if the roombox measures 0.75″ — what scale roombox is it? (Answer below.)

You can make the same calculations with furniture. To figure out what scale a dollhouse grandfather clock is, the first thing you need to know is the size of a real life grandfather clock. You could measure one of your own grandfather clock, or use this “Standard Furniture Sizes” reference guide.

Once you have the height of the real life grandfather clock (about 7′), measure your dollhouse grandfather clock.

Let’s say the dollhouse grandfather clock is 1.75″ tall. Rather than make up a chart with every single measurement on it, I’m going to ask you to do some addition. Look at the 1″ and 0.75″ rows and add those together — here’s an example using the grandfather clock:

Scale Chart Addition Example

Since a full size grandfather clock averages about 7′, it’s clear that the 1.75″ grandfather clock is 1/48 scale.

It is clear, right? :)

Now, what scale is that 0.75″ roombox? 1/144, of course — my personal favorite. ;)

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little beads

One thing about 1/144 scale — it’s almost always smaller than you think. Except when it’s bigger.

Which is to say, it’s really tough to “eyeball” scale and get it right. It gets tougher when you’re at the craft store and you buy some excellent beads that you know will be perfect for 1/144 door knobs — only you get them home and find out they’re perfect for 1/144 beach balls.

Which is where the 1/144 scale ruler comes in handy. It’s a ruler marked up to measure in 1/144 scale. So where the normal 3/4″ marking is, the 1/144 scale ruler is marked 9′. The good people of The Scale Card have a nice plastic 1/144 scale ruler for sale — buy two, one for your work area and one for your wallet.

But if you’re anything like me, you’re going to misplace your scale rulers. I do it so often, I finally made up one of my own that I can print any time I can’t find my other ones. I print it out, cut it out, and cover it in clear packing tape (the poor woman’s version of a lamination).

Here’s a sample of what the ruler looks like:

1/144 Scale Ruler

Click to download this 1/144 scale ruler.

If you need a dozen or more 1/144 scale rulers to scatter about your house, you can download this PDF file (which requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view).

And then you can stop guessing whether those tiny little beads are as tiny as you think they are. ;)

Beads with Scale Ruler

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No Hole BeadsIf you’re new to 1/144, you may be hearing about some supplies that are staples of the teeny-tiny world, but you don’t know what they are, where to get them, or how they’re used.

No hole beads (sometimes called “microbeads”) are one of those staples. No hole beads are tiny glass balls (and I do mean tiny) that come in a variety of finishes — everything from clear glass to metallics (gold, silver, copper) and a rainbow of colors.

No hole beads come in two common sizes 1mm and 1/2mm… at least that is how they are labeled. What you will find when viewing no hole beads under magnification, is that those labels are an “average” — you really get a much wider variety of sizes.

What size are these beads in scale (1/144)? If you check the conversion chart, you’ll see that 1mm is approximately 6 inches and 1/2mm is approximately 3 inches.

Potential Uses

And if there’s a color you want, but don’t have, you can even paint them. I’ve found the best way to paint them is to wrap blue painter’s tape (found in the paint department of hardware/home improvement stores) sticky side up, around a block of wood. Then pour more no hole beads than you need on the tape. Once the beads are stuck to the tape, apply paint and allow to dry. Rub the beads to remove them from the tape — some beads will lose paint, but that’s why you do extras.

Working with No Hole Beads

Plan on a LOT of these beads flying from your grasp, never to be seen again. It happens. There are two main ways of
picking up these beads — the first is the most obvious, tweezers. But you need a good pair of tweezers, most cheap tweezers don’t have fine enough tips to work with these tiny rascals.

The second, less obvious way, is inexpensive and you probably have what you need in your house. Spaghetti — just moisten one tip and pick up beads like a pro. Toothpicks also work (once you moisten the tip). The “spaghetti tip” is the type of great info you’ll pick up off the MicroMinis Group.

no hole beads

no hole beads

Where to Buy

Most local craft stores (in the US) carry no hole beads. However, you can usually get them cheaper online. I found the best prices at Minikitz. Please note: I have no affiliation with Minikitz… other than spending money there. ;)

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