Saturday, 2 July 2016

Fitting cranked hinges

I did some research on the best hinges for a heavy-fronted dolls house and the usual cranked ones win.  

I ordered and messed about with bits of piano hinge (and other ideas) but it is generally agreed that piano hinges are fine for small houses and light doors but by the time you get to three feet wide project and a doors with a basement attached, the screws will want to pull out of the MDF because one of the plates is screwed into the front cut edge and not the surface of the wood.

cranked hinge

The cranked hinges that came with this kit came with steel (?) screws.  I sent for some brass screws from Dolls House Emporium.  They were actually better value and decidedly the best fit (purpose made) than all the ones we could find in B & Q.

wrong colour screws with their replacements

Start with the doors rather than the box of the house.

My house needed three hinges down the side so I started with the centre hinge.  It doesn't necessarily need to be the centre of the door.  Each of my three hinges are 'centered' on each window on each floor.  As long as they are reasonably balanced and spread out the position is pretty much up to you.  Logic dictates that each hinge should carry about the same weight, so an even spread is obviously needed.  Mark on the edge of door where you want the centre of your hinge to go.

Keep the hinge really straight and press it hard into the side, looking for the mark you made; this will be where the centre screws will go.  Keeping the pressure on, mark where the screws are going to go.

Use a very fine drill............... drill some starter holes for the screws - take care not to go too deep you just want a marker place to help you keep the screw in place when it starts being screwed into the wood.

For putting in the screws (if possible) use a good screwdriver.  I started with the little one on the right as I was only putting in tiny screws.  Unless you have muscles I suggest you 'upgrade' to a decent size one - in this case a ratchet screwdriver - it was just about ten times faster and easier.

Fix all the hinges in place on the door.  In this case there are three of them.  Now to attach the door to the box.............. 

Try to get your house in a position where you can stand the door side by side with the box.  Makes it easier than working with it at an angle.

shimmed up

The door needs raising a fraction just so that it isn't constantly dragging across the surface that you house stands on.  Anything you can find will do.  This is just a piece of trim from something or other.  Thick cardboard will do.... just something to get it off the surface.

Wrap the other half of the hinge around the box edge and repeat what you did with the doors.  Mark up where they go, drill starter holes and then fix on the hinge itself.

job done

Doors in place - looking like a house.


  1. Excellent post Marilyn - thank you and very timely for me. I'm working up to this task but, luckily, have been able to find a few more jobs to do before I don't have any choice other than getting on with it!

  2. Most welcome, hope it helps someone. The key is making sure you push the hinges well into the side of the wood so there's no gap. Not an easy job.... And trying to get the front to line up spot on with each other is also a challenge if you're a perfectionist.

  3. I think that you have done a Marvelous job of attaching the hinges to your house Marilyn!
    Because North American dollhouse kits are generally open at the back, adding a hinged 4th wall would be unusual, especially given the thinness of the wood, and yet what a difference it does make in having one.
    You certainly picked the right materials to do the job- it looks GREAT! :D

  4. I am very familiar with American dolls houses as I spent half of each year in the States for the last fifteen years. We sold up there just a few months ago. I love both types for different reasons. Many of your real house styles can be very complicated with porches etc and don't lend themselves to an easy split to open the house at the front. I do think the UK front openers make for easier viewing as you don't have to be able to get tothe back of the house. The
    doors also offer some dust protection..... but they can be a pig to get on perfectly.