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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Whether I’m building my own or considering purchasing miniature furniture and appliances, I have one big problem — how do I tell if it’s in scale if I don’t know the “real life” size of the object?

So I’ve started doing some research on various household furniture and appliances to find standard sizes (these are U.S. standards). The chart below is the result of that research — it’s an ongoing project, I’ll add to it as I move from room-to-room of the house I’m currently building.

Numbers are rounded off to inches and are a general average of the sizes I have found.

Furniture Sizes

Furniture Sizes 02

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