Whether you are looking for dollhouse supplies to make your own miniatures or you are looking for finished dollhouse accessories, here are my favorite places to shop for miniatures on a budget.
Whether you are building a dollhouse kit or revamping an old dollhouse, creating a miniature wonderland can be expensive. There are so many things you need from building supplies, cutting tools and paint brushes as well as the actual dollhouse accessories from store bought to home made.
After diving back into miniatures a few years ago, my daughter and I have enjoyed slowly stocking up on our mini supplies. We found adorable dollhouse furniture in stores and online, but of course everything started adding up quickly.
We soon discovered to think outside the box so that we didn’t break the bank with our miniature adventures. Making your own miniatures is a budget-friendly way to fill up and accessorize your dollhouse. But even dollhouse supplies can get pricey.
I have found some not-so-typical places to find budget friendly supplies to make a spectacular dollhouse and without going broke.
Supplies you can find at home
The first place I suggest you look for miniature supplies is in your own home. There are lots of bits and baubles from everyday items that you already use, so why not recycle them to use in mini making?
Did your pen run out of ink? Save the tubing, spring cap as they can be used for plumbing, bottles and almost anything your imagination can create.
- Bottle caps for pie dishes or stool seats.
- Hot sauce caps for bowls or pots.
- Plastic pull tabs from juice and milk jugs can be used for plates or handles.
- Medicine caps for pots, tubs or bins.
- Mesh bags from potatoes and oranges can be cut and covered with glue to be sturdy screens for door cabinets.
- Broken watches can be opened and the gears and other parts can be reused.
- Popsicle sticks and toothpicks (Diamond toothpicks have decorative tips that are perfect for miniatures)
I keep my baubles in a plastic bin and I rummage through it looking for certain shapes that I don’t have to carve out of wood, metal or clay. Once you start looking at your discards with miniature eyes, you will soon find yourself collecting every little bit you see.
The dollar or 99-cent store
Another favorite trip I like to make is at my local dollar store. Most Dollar Tree stores have wood or plastic dollhouse furniture in their toy department. They aren’t anything fancy but there are plenty of ways to spruce up these simple pieces.
You can also find at both 99-cent stores and Dollar Trees:
- Fairy lights, tea lights and other small lights that you can take apart or modify to use for various dollhouse lighting projects, like my miniature chandelier.
- Miniature glass bottles for your dollhouse kitchen, garden or even laboratory.
- Popsicle sticks, small wood pallets and wood craft kits that you can use to build dollhouse furniture or anything else you need.
- Bags of moss and spools of burlap, twine and ribbon.
- Acrylic paint, paint pens and paint brushes.
- Googly eyes that can be halved and used as drawer pulls.
- Assorted tools like pliers, cutters, wood carvers, hammers, blades and clips.
- Wire brushes or bottle brushes can be used to texture clay.
- Eye shadow can be used to tint and color clay.
- Other tools: small magnets, mini pom poms and various other craft supplies
Honestly, I hit these stores about every other month or two as they rotate their inventory and have terrific items for the holidays too. Again the prices range from 99¢ to a few dollars. I found a string of jack-o-lantern lights and used the plastic pumpkins to make miniature halloween pumpkin pails.
In the fall, look for more pumpkins, fall leaves and colored beads. In December, you can find small trees, presents and ornaments. Hearts for Valentine’s Day and garden gnomes in the spring. So many fun mini things that don’t cost a fortune.
One of my super favorite stores is the Japanese version of the dollar store, Daiso. Again, I visit this place every season as they are constantly changing what they have in stock.
But there are certainly items that are evergreen and available all year long. You never know what you are going to find. There are some seriously fabulous finds you can get at Daiso that range in prices from $1.50 to $5.
- Fabric swatches of various textures and colors
- Embroidery floss, felting kits and sewing supplies.
- Jewelry supplies
- Air dry clay and silicone molds – you can find more great mini molds in the kitchen section, too.
- Art supplies like paint, paint brushes, x-acto blades, pencils, markers, mini fun shaped erasers.
- Make up like eye shadow, nail polish, acrylic nail accessories.
- Plastic organizational bins, large, small and mini sized.
- Micro mini Lego-like sets and other small toys
You can sometimes find small plastic dollhouse pieces like chairs, crates and house forms. It’s always an adventure and you never know what you will find.
Be sure to wander down the kitchen aisle where you can find small cutters for bento boxes that can also be used for clay. You can also find small silicone baking molds that can also be used for clay or resin work.
Second hand sales
The ultimate way to recycle miniatures and dollhouse supplies is to reuse old ones. You can find great treasures for the fraction of their original price. This can include:
- Dollhouse furniture
- Hand tools and power tools
- Clay molds and supplies
- Costume jewelry to break down into parts
- Retro and vintage fabrics, napkins and handkerchiefs
- Old leather gloves, wallets and purses
Where are the best places to find these second hand treasures?
- Thrift stores
- Garage sales
- Swap meets
- Antique shops
- Facebook Marketplace
For more unique vintage items that cost more than a few dollars, you can shop Ebay and Etsy.
More places to shop
You can of course, shop more traditional places for miniatures, old and new. There are specialty brick and mortar miniature stores. Unfortunately, these stores are harder to find but deserve our patronage as they are typically independently owned family businesses.
Then there are the larger box craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby where you can find dollhouses, dollhouse kits and dollhouse miniatures themselves. Their prices are pretty reasonable, too.
But don’t just look for dollhouse miniatures here. You should also look at all of the art supplies available to make your own miniatures, such as:
- Jewelry tools and supplies
- Stationary and scrapbook paper
- Stickers and embellishments
- Ribbons, twine and cords
- Clay supplies
- Resin supplies
- Silicone molds in various aisles, including the baking section
I have also found random house forms and art supplies for great prices at Target, Wal-Mart and discount stores like Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx.
Another tip: Always check out the clearance sections of these big box stores to find bigger discounts and deals.
You can also order miniatures and supplies online, as well. From big sites like Amazon and Ali Express, as well as Ebay and Etsy. Some more website favorites include Factory Direct Craft and Miniatures.com.
So many great miniature artists are creating amazing pieces by hand and with 3D printers. They are selling their wonderful miniatures on Ebay or on their own small platform websites.
Remember, if you use search engines to find unique miniatures, be sure to click past page one of your search results. These smaller individual stores may take a little work finding them, but they have such wonderful and unique pieces.
Did I miss anything? Where do you like to shop for your dollhouse supplies?
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