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light in dollhouses


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Hello to everybody,

I have open this new topic in order to talk about the importance of light in our miniature houses and structures.

I'm not going to talk about sophisticated setups which try to reproduce optical illusions in our scenes. This is quite common in dioramas and the techniques that we use are closer to theatrical scenery rather than architecture.

What I want to show you is how we can change a room only playing with light as if it was a real one, that is, with natural light that goes through a window and artifical light of our lamps.

I use modern lights. the modern light's designer is not only worried about the shape of the lamp, or the materials he use, but also for the kind of light he want to show: direct, indirect, diffuse, intense, its colour, warmer or colder light, and this give us many possibilities.

I have boxed the room that will serve to explain what I mean.


the first photo shows  the room lighted by the sunlight that goes through the window.


the second one, the same sunlight but filtering through the blinds


the next one is dark and the light enters through another room


the fourth is lighted by a "cubrik" lamp (Antoni Arola in 2005, for Santa e Cole)


the fifth, by a "twiggy" ( Marc Sadler in 2006 for Foscarini)


the sixth, "TMC", a very famous design made by Miguel Milà in 1961


the seventh, both "twiggy" and "TMC"


finally all lights togethe





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Francisco, this is wonderful to see the different effects of modern style lights In a room. It captures the mood so well from morning till night.

Thank you for posting this. I also looked on your website, loved the chairs and some of the other things.

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I am so glad that you posted on this as I am trying to decide how to light my room box.  Have you ever considered using hidden LEDs so that you can have more light as needed if you want to study details in the room?  And I love your use of modern lights in an otherwise traditional room - great juxtaposition of styles.  Lisa

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thank you for your comments in this topic.

lsalati, the modern lights have some problems when I try to reproduce them in miniature, because they normally have very light structures and wires can be "reduce" up to a point.  As I plug them using miniature sockets, a Led with its polarity and resistor give me some problems. As I always try to reproduce real lighting, I would use leds in spotlights recessed in the ceiling.

Anyway, make photos of lights is not easy and less if they are  miniature, it is  quite easy to burn the image due to an overexposure, so in live, rooms are quite lighted even with a single bulb of 60 mA, because many lampshades are big and white. Look here this rice paper japanese ball, and the Arco lamp (with black marble)







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Great topic, thanks. Love seeing all the effects of the different lighting. 

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I recently had several room boxes made by Michael Walton. The style of the rooms is traditional. We decided to use conventional 12volt fixtures for the rooms. Michael was able to hide LED light behind the facings of each room. We used one warm and one bright LED 4- bulb strip positioned several inches apart. The LEDs are on a separate circuit. This allows the flexibility to see the rooms as an inhabitant would or to brighten the room to study details. Also if you are showing the house or or working at decorating the much longer life of the LEDs saves your 12 volt bulbs.

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Love the rice paper light. And Connie, you should start a topic with you room boxes so we can see the lighting.


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  • 2 months later...


at the beginning of this post I said that I was used to illuminate my houses with modern lamps because you can create different atmospheres in miniature rooms. Here, you have an example of the same corner of a sitting-room and the effect in it of five different lamps.






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Great topic! I was going to post about lighting a while back because I'm less than happy with my lighting in my roombox.


I went with the cir-kit fluorette bulbs to illuminate the dead space area behind the open doorway, and the dead space hallway under the stairs, and I wanted to illuminate "sunlight" thorugh the curtained window in the dead space area.


I put a 3 bulb chandelier and a table lamp in, the lamp was not wired in this photo yet as the panel under the stairs was not finished:





There is a fluorette bulb behind the rear wall which I wanted to look like sunlight where the half opened door is, and another behind the open doorway on the left in the dead space area. I planned to put another behind the window where the curtain is but the fluorette bulbs are not as bright as I thought they would be, and somewhat yellowish like incandescent.


I decided to order a foot strip of the 12v minature LED and plan to cut it and install it in those 3 locations and see if it improves the sunlight effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I received the strip of LED  by realgoodtoys, it's bright! I had trouble with the connectors I bought to use for them and decided to ditch the special slip on- solder the wire connectors and just hard solder the LED strips directly to the wires.

I then discovered my new  Cir-Kit transformer is not right for these LED bulbs, I had originally bought a 5 watt  12 VDC transformer and didn't notice, and it didn't matter at the time since I was using fluorette bulbs- that it's output is A/C, the LED bulbs require D/C.

My LED bulbs had a rapid flicker which I immediately recognized was from the 60 cycles of A/C.


Looks like they discovered that too on realgoodtoys' web site, where they included an update about this:



Sure enough, the lights had a just-barely-detectable flicker.  


Now, I have done many many displays with ExtraBrite LEDs with nary a flicker… what’s different here?  When I switched to a Power Supply from a CirKit Large House wiring set which was close by, the light was steady and perfect.

I called my friend Vern at Cir-Kit concepts to get the lowdown on Power Supplies.  Vern is an electrical engineer and designer, and explained the difference between the old “analog” style of transformers, and the new “switching” transformers, also called “electronic” transformers, which are more efficient and give a steadier output.  CirKit’s new transformers are electronic and they are “DC”, which is the difference that I was seeing. 


As of today, CirKit’s CK1009A (10 watt), CK1009C (20 watt), and CK1009D (40 watt) transformers are electronic DC power supplies (in time, all of them will be).





So I bought the 10 watt model since it was the smallest with the D/C output and much more wattage than I need anyway.

I'll be taking the transformer now that I have it in hand- to work and swop it out with the other one.

WIth that change my roombox is done with the exception of tidying up the wiring, taping up the soldered ends and permanently attaching the little led strips (they are "self stick" but we all know how long that lasts)


I still want to get a non glare glass but that can wait till later.

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  • 2 months later...

While I wait for the final effect in lighting in Artist's roombox, and how he has solved the problems with leds (sorry but i have never used them till now!)

I show you two new collage of how we can play with light, and how ours rooms change thanks to it




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My lights are much better with the LEDs added, but I sure can't get a decent photo of the room with the lights on, I tried during the day and in the dark, and if the scene isn't yellowed it's overpowered by the bright light glare. It's not the type of photo I've ever had to take before now, but suffice to say the scene looks much better than before and this photo might indicate.

The LED bulbs are behind the walls, the chandelier and table lamp are normal bulbs



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As a colophon, I invite you to read the article "the transforming power of light" that Auralea Krieger has written in Dollhouse Miniatures Magazine about my lamps in the latest issue nº 43 (January-February 2015)

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Having done a lot of photography I understand that lighting is a major hurdle.  I think Artist hit the nail on the head when it comes to appropriate lighting!

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  • 4 years later...

Hello, some new lamps to make insides more realistic

Louis Poulsen PH4.5 designed by Poul Henningsen

Grossman gräshoppa floor and desk lamps designed by Greta Grossman

Tolomeo for Artemide, designed by Michele de Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina

nuevas lámparas.jpg

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  • 1 month later...


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