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Dollhouse Wiring Tips     

A free brochure provided by the Mott's MiniaturesTM On-Line Service.

  By now you have selected the dollhouse of your dreams and are trying to decide if you want electric lights in your dollhouse.  Electric lights add character, charm, beauty and realism to your doll house and we recommend that you put them in.  But it is YOUR doll house!  Here is some information that might answer some of your questions.

Do It First. If you are going to put lights in your dollhouse, you need to run the wiring after you assemble your doll house, but before you install carpeting, flooring, wallpaper or do any painting (except primer).

How Difficult is it?  To run electricity in a real home you have to drill a lot of holes and run a lot of wires. But a special system has been designed especially for dollhouses. The wiring is two thin strips of copper foil on what is essentially a roll of scotch tape. You run the tape wherever you want to have power by applying the tape to walls, floors and ceilings. You then connect the transformer and after you have finished your dollhouse, you won't be able to see the tape-wire.

What Will I Need?   There are a few basic things you will need no matter what size house you are going to do. For up to 6 rooms you will need:

CKC1014-1 Pilot Hole Punch

CKC1015 Instructions Book

CKC204 Test Probe

CKC1001 15' Tape Wire

CKC1021-1 Brass Brads, approx. 60 pkg.

CKC1009A Transformer

CKC1007 Junction Splice

CKC1008-1 Lead-In Wire W/Switch

For up to 12 Rooms you will need:

CKC1009C Transformer (instead of 1009A)

CKC1021-1 Extra Package of Brass Brads

CKC1001 Extra 15' Roll of Tape Wire (if putting in a lot of lights or when wiring a very large house use CKC1017 50' roll of tape-wire instead of two 15' rolls.

OTHER: There are a few other factors you need to consider when making your electrical purchases. The first is HOW MANY LIGHTS will I have? If you put in a chandelier with 5 bulbs that counts as 5 lights on your transformer. Each transformer is rated for a different number of lights so if you want to do lots of lighting you will either need one large transformer or run two sets of wires in your house say for left and right or separated by floors and use more than one transformer. Will I have FLICKERING LIGHTS in my house? These are lights such as flickering fireplace lights and flashing Christmas lights. If you think you will want these in your house, you want to run a separate wire system just for these as their flickering can cause your regular lights in the house to also flicker.

Optional      A new product by Cir-Kit Concepts is a tiny Brass Eyelet which can be used in place of the brass brad #CKC1021-1. To install these eyelets at your junctions you will need a small hand drill, CK201 with a #55 bit. You can substitute the X-Acto Pin Vise #XAT7144 and use the same #55 bit. First you drill a hole and then use the CKC1014-1 Pilot Hole Punch to install the eyelet in the hole. While they are much easier to use and install, they are slightly more noticeable under wallpaper or paint. Cir-Kit recommends the use of a sealer, such as Gesso, to be applied over electrical connections to make them less noticeable. If you use eyelets you may substitute CKC1023-1 Brass Eyelets for CKC1021-1 Brass Brads. CK1021_sm.gif (9724 bytes)
Switches   One thing some people like to do is to install miniature switches in each room of your dollhouse. These can be used to turn on all the lights in the room or just one item like a special light or a t.v. The CKC1015 Instructions book will tell you how to wire for these switches. If you want to utilize them you will need one CKC1011 switch for each room you intend to have switches. There is also a pretty brass cover for the switches CKC1012A which makes the switch look more realistic. CK1011_sm.gif (8464 bytes)
Outlets      Wherever you run power in your house remember that you will be covering it up with paint and wallpaper later. There are a few ways to get that power from the wall to you lights and appliances. One is by direct wiring. This is where you take the two ends of the wire and use eyelets or brads to connect the wires directly to the tape-wire.    
          Another way is with the use of tiny plugs and outlets. The outlets, CKC1003, looks like a standard house outlet and can accommodate up to two plugs at a time. You simply pound these into the tape runs after you paint and wallpaper. Your lights and appliances will need to have CKC1004 Plugs on the end of them to plug into the outlets. This is not only the most realistic way to wire you dollhouse, it is also the safest and most convenient. It makes changing things around later much easier. If you will be using the CKC1003 Outlet you will probably need about 2-3 per room. Cir-Kit also makes a CKC1003A Brass Outlet Cover which is very decorative.
ck1003_sm.gif (6755 bytes)
Large Outlet     Many of the lights on the market are from Miniature House. Anyone who has used these lights knows that their plug is too large to be used with the CKC1003 outlet. The only way to use the light would be to cut the plug off and brad it directly to the tape run or to put a CKC1004 plug on the end of the wire. If neither of these solutions appeal to you, there is an alternative. The first alternative is to use a Miniature House Receptacle #MNH776. The pins on the one side will pound into your tape run and you can plug a standard MNH658 Male Plug directly into it. If, however, you feel that the MNH776 does not look right you can use CKC1023-2 Large Brass Eyelets. By using a #52 bit you can drill a hole in your tape run, then you insert the large eyelets into the holes. The standard MNH658 male plug will fit snugly into the eyelets and the plug will be flush with the wall. Larger outlet accommodates large male plug already on most lights.
Light Bulbs      As you have guessed there are a few different ways you can light up your rooms. Probably the fastest and easiest is with the use of CKC841 and CKC842 Large and Small Pin-In Ceiling Globes. These are tiny globes that you push right into the tape runs after you paint and wallpaper your house. They are self-contained lights and globes that light up after you push them in. Cir-Kit recommends these as beginning lights for your house. You can easily change them later after you decide what kind of lights you want.  
    Another type of light is the direct-wire lights. These bulbs come on the end of small wires which you connect directly to the tape runs with brads of eyelets. You then cover the bulbs with a ceiling sconce such as CKC509.
       If you want a "Bare Bulb" look in a room, say an older home or in a closet, you can use CKC502 and CKC503 Porcelain Type Ceiling Fixture. There are also screw-base fixtures you can use for the same look.
ck841_sm.jpg (3501 bytes)
     Fluorette Bulbs, CKC1018 regular and CKC1018-2 frosted bulbs are available, they fit into a CKC1019 socket and can be used for greater light in a room. Remember if you use these that you will need a baffle of some kind so they will not be visible to the outside. CK1018_2_sm.gif (5799 bytes)
      If you will be hanging chandeliers, there is a ceiling canopy which can make it much easier. CKC800 and CKC800-1 have two pieces, one attaches to the ceiling while you attach the chandelier to the other. The two pieces can then be twisted on and off. CHY109X from Chrysolite is another alternative. If you will be installing wall sconces and you don't want the cord hanging down the wall, you can cut the plug off and direct-brad the wire to the tape-wire or, you can use the new CKC801 Sconce Attachment. This product is easy to use and comes with everything you need. This product will allow you to plug and un-plug wall sconces with ease. CK800parts.gif (3174 bytes)
Plugs     As we have mentioned, one of the best accessories for electrifying your dollhouse is the CKC1003 Outlet, but you need to have the CKC1004 Plug on the wires of all your lights and appliances. You can use either the CKC1004 or the CK004-2. The CKC1052 Wire Stripper is a handy little item, as is the new plug-set tool.  
Bulb Types     One point to consider when selecting lights for your house is the type of bulb it uses. Most bulbs are guaranteed by their manufacturers for up to 10,000 hours of use but when they burn out, some are easier to change than others. On newer packages there is a bar-code label on the back with some letters and numbers typed on it. If you see the letter "R" it means that the light uses a Round Screw Out Bulb. An "F" means a Flame Screw Out Bulb. And a "B" means a Bi-Pin Pull Out Bulb. Other lights will require that you remove the old bulb and wires and insert a new bulb with wires and re-connect it. Not an impossible job but one which will take a little time.  On our web site, lights that have Replaceable bulbs will be marked as such.  All lights not marked as such contain non-replaceable lights.  Some non-replaceable lights can be replaced but requires that you dis-assemble the fixture.  
What about batteries?     One question we get frequently is if you can power our electric lights with a battery?  The answer, well, yes and no.  All of the pre-made lights we sell come with 12 volt light bulbs.  They can be powered with a 12 volt battery.  You can get a 12 volt battery at a hardware store or camping supply.   We do sell some items that can power a small number of low volt, low watt, bulbs for short periods of time.  But we do not support this.  For use in a dollhouse, we recommend only the 12 volt transformers we sell.  Remember that ALL round batteries (AAA, AA, C, D) are 1.5 volts.  You need 8 batteries x 1.5 volts to equal 12 Volts.  We do sell some 3 volt light bulbs that you can power with two round batteries, but you have to buy these bulbs separately and install them in your fixture yourself.  
Get Some Advice!    We carry a number of books on wiring your dollhouse, we strongly recommend that you purchase one before you begin. If you do not buy a wiring kit, you will absolutely need CKC1015 Wiring Instructions.  This book is packed with the pre-packaged wiring kits. Two other good books are CKC1015-1 Buyers Guide to Electrical Components and BOY134 Dollhouse Lighting. A few dollars spent before wiring can save you time and money later on. And if you would like to see how the wiring is done, Mott's has two displays showing different wiring connections and techniques. CK1015.gif (5229 bytes)
Pre-Packed Wiring Kits.     If this is the first time you will be putting lights in a dollhouse, we strongly recommend that you purchase a Pre-Packed Wiring Kit. These kits come with instructions, transformers, tape-wire, brads, eyelets, pilot hole punch, and test probe. They come in three main sizes, CKC100 for a small house or room box, CKC101 for up to 6 dollhouse rooms, and CKC103 for up to 12 dollhouse rooms. Each kit comes with just the right amount of everything to get you started and each comes with a different transformer for different needs. CK100_small.gif (5478 bytes)
     

First Aid. If you are going to be using any type of knives, glues or sealers be prepared. Always use your tools safely, and have a proper stand for your soldering iron. We recommend that you always use a "Knife Block" (XAT3801) when using an X-Acto or hobby knife. Read all the instructions, warnings and first aid recommendations on all your tools, glues and paints. Be sure you have some ventilation when using glues and sealers. You're going to be using a hammer so watch your fingers and always use pliers or tweezers to hold brads when hammering. Pick up a booklet on First Aid from the supermarket and read how to treat a cut or burn. And always make sure that you turn off the power when wiring your dollhouse, only turn it on to check the connections.

If you have children you already know that you can't leave them alone for a minute. If you leave your work be sure to put your tools away. A hobby is supposed to be fun, so enjoy yourself. Just remember that some of the items you will be using can be harmful so be prepared.

Tools.  These are a few simple items which you will need to electrify dollhouse kit.

Pencil, Ruler (XAT7726 3" x 4" Square)

Hobby Knife (preferred) or Pair of Scissors

Pliers (preferred, CKC1042 ) or Tweezers

CKC1014-1 Pilot Hole Punch

Roll of Scotch Tape

Small Hammer, Brass preferred (CKC1041 or XAT7050).

Optional:

Bottle of Gesso Sealer, 8oz. (PAL887208)

CKC1044 Wood Awl for placing Eyelets.

CKC201 Mini Drill or XAT7144 Pin Vise Set

We strongly recommend that you come down to Motts and take a look at what is available. We are sure that we can find a dollhouse kit that is right for you.  If you want, you can also visit our On-Line Mail Order Catalog.

For more dollhouse tips, see our other free online brochures:

Main Tips Page

  Dollhouse Building Tips

Picking The Right Dollhouse

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