Which Paint to use for your Dollhouse?

Until recently, I always used craft acrylic paint for my dollhouse projects. It’s cheap, comes in many colors, and is easy to come by. But when I started a modern bookend project, I started thinking about using interior paint. I knew exactly what color I wanted and I didn’t know how to match it from the craft store. So I ran over to the paint store and grabbed some of my favorite wall color. Let’s see what I found out!

My Project

I am experimenting with a new bookend kit for my store. The kit will consist of a floor and side wall as well as a fireplace. I cut all the pieces from 1/8″ Baltic Birch with my Glowforge laser.

miniature bookend project
Sneak peek of my new bookend kit for MN Mini Market

I want to finish the bookend like a traditional living room, with a stone fireplace. For the wall behind the fireplace, I wanted something modern and light. I don’t have any craft acrylic paint in the right color, so I decided to go to the paint store.

I bought 1 qt of Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray interior paint+primer, in a satin finish. This is one of my favorite colors and I used it in my house on the whole main level!

dollhouse paint color by Sherwin Williams
Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray

I cracked open the quart of paint and used a small foam brush to apply it to the back wall piece. The wood on the back wall wasn’t primed or prepped at all. I generously applied 1 coat and let it dry.

dollhouse paint with interior latex

The finishing result was great! Barely any blemishes or brush strokes are visible and 1 coat covered everything.

bookend final result

The wall has exactly the soft gray color I wanted.

The Results

There are definite pros and cons to working with interior paint for a dollhouse project.

Pro: Interior latex paint only requires 1 coat

If you buy an interior paint+primer, you can save so much time with only 1 coat of paint, even for lighter shades. I often end up using 3 or 4 coats of craft acrylic!

Make sure you apply it neatly and smoothly to avoid brushstrokes, that way you won’t have to go back and reapply!

I like using cheap foam brushes, as they are disposable. For a larger surface, I like mini rollers for the smoothest application.

Con: Latex paint is messier than acrylic

I am a messy crafter and tend to get my hands in the paint or glue that I’m using. With interior latex paint, you need to be much more careful, as it is harder to clean up.

I found that buying sample cups or 1 qt cans of paint made them much easier to pour, stir, and store.

If you can’t get a 1qt size can, I recommend pouring it into a smaller paint can.

Pro: Interior paint has realistic colors for your dollhouse

If you are looking to paint your dollhouse walls or exterior in a realistic color, painting with interior paint is definitely the way to go. Modern homes have tons of options at the paint store, but period dollhouses are in luck too.

Benjamin Moore has a wide variety of historical colors to choose from.

benjamin moore historical paint colors

Sherwin Williams also has a historical collection and palettes from different historic cities.

sherwin williams historical paint colors
Sherwin Williams historic Charleston paint palette

Con: Interior paint color can’t be changed

One of the things I like about acrylic craft paint is that you can easily create your own shades. The color too dark? Mix in a drop of white. Want the shade more blue? Easy!

With pre-mixed interior latex paint, you can’t change the color. So if you don’t like the shade you ended up buying, you are stuck with it!

Pro: Latex paint is durable

While your dollhouse won’t have human wear and tear, the durability of interior latex paint is still nice. My projects get restaged a lot, which means furniture is scuffing up the walls and floors. Interior latex paint handles that better than craft acrylic, so I don’t need to touchup my mini walls!

Con: Interior paint is pricier than craft acrylic

You can buy just about any shade of acrylic paint at your local craft store for around $1. But interior latex paint comes in larger quantities and is more expensive.

Don’t need much paint? Ask your friends and family to borrow some when they are doing a home project. These touchup containers are perfect for samples.

The Final Verdict

I was really encouraged by my experiment with interior latex paint for my dollhouse. I think its a perfect choice for walls and siding and even things like bookshelves or large builtins.

What do you think? What kind of paint do you use for your dollhouse or mini projects? What’s your favorite color for walls in your dollhouse? Let me know in the comments!

And follow along as I finish my bookend kit and put it up for sale! The next step is putting stone on the fireplace. Should I use my egg carton technique? Or try something else?

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