About this project
Doll houses are space hogs, dust magnets and insanely expensive to boot. That is why I designed this pop-up paper house. Knock it down and fold it up for storage or travel, and if you're willing to put in a little sweat equity it can be yours for under $15.
Kids love it! They run up the stairs, play piano, take a bath and jump up and down on beds with their two fingers. I even caught my son forcing an Asterix mini figure to do the dishes once, though I must admit he mostly used the house as a garage, pushing his toy cars down the stairs… Each room is made of two interlocking pop-up cards, so it is much more sturdy than you'd expect, and the house can withstand some serious (albeit gentle) play.
I believe that the best doll houses are hand-made -- but I also know that children of doll-house playing age usually do not have the necessary skill or patience, and that their parents often do not have the time for such an ambitious project. This house is already available as a PDF download or as a printed template in booklet form, but I would like to be able to distribute it as a ready-made product. Pop-up rooms would be cut, folded and glued to the house structure, then mailed out flat. Assembly would take minutes rather than a week-end.
An entire, freestanding house requires a sturdy structure in addition to the individual pop-up rooms. Both the PDF and the book include instructions on making a simple knock-down structure out of foam core, and a full scale pattern can be downloaded for free from my website. Alternately, a ready-made, laser-cut hard board version is available.
Completed house is a little under one cubic foot (each room is 5 cubic inches), and the PDF files are formatted for letter sized paper, though they can be printed on A4 paper without cropping the image.
New Stretch Goal: $25,000
If I reach this new goal I will be able to produce the house structure myself, rather than sending orders to be manufactured on demand. What does this mean for you? A new $75 reward and upgraded house structures if I reach this goal for all rewards $100 and up!
Following are pictures of the rewards offered. For details of the specific reward please refer to the sidebar on the right.
For $2 you get to choose a PDF download of one of these rooms, or, if you prefer, you could request another template for a card posted on my website:
For $12 and up you get a PDF file of the whole house with all rooms
For $25 you get the whole house in a printed book format
NEW REWARD! For $26 I will make this intricate village square for you
NEW REWARD! For $75, in addition to the book, PDF file, etc. you will get a hand-made house structure in foam core -- or if I reach my new $25,000 stretch goal, you will get an upgraded house structure similar to the one pictured with the $160 reward below.
For $160 you get the completed house fully assembled on laser-cut hardboard house structure
For $500, amongst other rewards, I will work with you to design a custom pop-up card (sample cards pictured here; see more on my website)
How the funds will be used
To produce a completed house (rather than selling the DIY template) I need a few basic tools: a color printer and an electronic craft cutter for drafts and small runs, then a die cutting machine and dies for production. I would need supplies: paper, blades, and of course prints of the house. I would still be folding and gluing by hand, which is possible if the volume remains relatively small, but if this project takes off and gets extra funds I would be able to get some help assembling them.
Why the rush?
First, I have heard one too many times that someone loves the house but can't even think of making it themselves. I'm really, really tired of hearing that.
The second reason is more personal: up till now I've designed these pop-ups in my spare time, distracted by the necessity of earning a living. A lifetime ago I worked for Woody Allen's production company, then I edited wedding videos, worked as an accountant, and advised architects and builders on acoustics, amongst other activities. I recently lost my last job (house/construction manager for a private family), so now I'm trying to make some lemonade and earn a living doing what I love. I love designing but I also love sharing. You might be one of the thousands of people who have downloaded my free paper craft projects, and with your support I could continue to design more. This could be my day job.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk in completing my project would be overwhelming success; I have budgeted for the kind of tools which will allow me to create small runs of the house (in the range of 50-100 per month) not large orders in the thousands. Though cutting and scoring will be automatic, folding and gluing will still be done by hand, in my office. This means that the completed rooms will be more expensive than I want them to be. Even with these tools I can't make all 16 pop-ups and 8 rooms for under $100, but I would prefer to sell the ready-made house for $50 or less. If this campaign is wildly successful I would take a different approach: I would still get these tools but I would use them for designing new products and making prototypes, not for manufacturing. Production would be handled by a specialized printer/manufacturer, and the costs could come down -- but I'd need a minimum run of 10,000. With numbers like that it would take a few more months before I could deliver the completed houses.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The $25 reward is limited, because after paying for the book, tax and shipping there's not much left for buying tools; if everyone chose that reward I would reach my stated goal but I wouldn't have enough left over to buy the tools I need.
The ready-made houses are limited because of the March delivery deadline. I want to be sure I can make and deliver all the houses I promise on time. If you want a completed house but those slots have sold out, become a $12 backer. I'll put you on my mailing list and when I'm ready to make more houses I'll let you know -- or pledge $100 and up (without being officially in that category), and I hereby promise to make the house for you as soon as I possibly can.
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