A dollhouse that has electric lighting can add just the right touch of elegance and magic to make a dollhouse really special. Many people don’t think about adding electric lights to a dollhouse until the dollhouse is complete but the easiest time to do the wiring for electric lighting is when you start putting the dollhouse together. In fact it makes sense to decide what kind of wiring you might want when you purchase your dollhouse kit. Before you decide on a type of lighting system think about how the dollhouse will be used. If it is for a child you probably will not want to add the element of electricity. If the dollhouse is for display lighting is almost essential for a quality exhibit. You also may not think it matters if all the lights in the dollhouse are on at one time but once you see a dollhouse using flickering lights in a fireplace and individual light control you may change your mind about the type of system you want. The material used in the dollhouse also matters – if it is made out of very thin plywood it may be difficult to install wiring.
There are a variety of different ways to wire a dollhouse depending on the complexity of the lighting system and what you want to spend. The most common lighting system for dollhouses is tape wire which is fairly easy to install but it does have its disadvantages. Tape wire is usually double or plastic coated copper tape. Using a tape wire the electricity is all on one circuit so if one light goes out they all go out. There also can be problems where the tape joins. This type of wiring usually runs on the walls.
Another type of dollhouse wiring is the round wire system. This type of system is more
sophisticated than the simple tape wire. In a round wire system the all of the wires go to a wiring board which is usually located on the bottom or back of the dollhouse. The wiring is direct so that each light fixture is independently wired to the controller. You can use plug in lights with this type of system and if you want to get fancy you can add dimmers or a remote control system. The wiring will need to run on the flooring or under molding.
There are also combination wiring systems that are hybrid in nature using both tape wire circuits and round wires which run to a power supply. If you decide to install the lighting system yourself there are several good books on the subject including the Dollhouse Tape Wire Instruction Book, How to Light a Dollhouse by Jean Dickey and Miniature Wiring for Dollhouses and Miniature Rooms by Ed Leonard.