Lighting 101

Miniature Designs exclusively uses the round wire technique for dollhouses. Many have asked why we prefer this while so many others seem to prefer the tape wire method. I do want to preface this discussion by pointing out that some tapewire installations are excellent and work wonderfully. But


Round wire is buried in the walls and floors of the dollhouse or roombox. This offers several advantages, the primary being that each light fixture or outlet has it s own dedicated wire running from the fixture to the power strip. If one light goes out because of a problem with the wiring system, only the one light goes out. With tape wire, if there is a loose connection in the tape (example, where two pieces of tapewire intersect) all the lights on that run of tape will go out. Think of it like Christmas tree lights: in the "old" days, if one light on the strand went out, your whole tree went out, and it was hard to fix. Modern Christmas tree lights are better: if one bulb goes out, all the other lights still work!


Here in the South, humidity is rough on tapewire, and the brads used to make the connections in the wire can corrode. Tapewire cannot be hidden easily under wallpaper, making walls appear lumpy. Tapewire problems are much harder to diagnose and fix. Also, if tapewire is applied to non-primed walls in your house, it will eventually come loose as the adhesive on the tape breaks down. In addition, most light fixtures currently sold are made for round wire, meaning that adapters will be need to be purchased for chandeliers and ceiling fixtures adding $5 to $7 to the cost of each light.


About the only disadvantage to round wire is little hands that pull out light fixtures. These hands often belong to 2-year old brothers (or grandsons). The other little hands that cause problems are more often called paws as in attached to your cat! If a light is physically yanked off the wall or out of the ceiling, surgery may be required to get to the buried wires and make a new connection to your fixture.


Why do some folks recommend tapewire The most common reasons are that it s easy to install both for shops and for do-it-yourselfers. Also, there are tapewiring kits that supposedly include everything you need to wire your house. While buying (or selling) one kit is easier than determining exactly what you need, it s likely you will have too much of something and not enough of something else, making the kit less than perfect.


Finally, with round wire, you get to use power tools! Using a drill and/or dremel tool is better than brads and a little hammer any day!


Questions Feel free to ask us! Want to learn how to wire your dollhouse Ask us! We have classes about every 6-8 weeks or can help you one-on-one!