1/12 scale dollhouse built in an old radio

This is an old radio that used to belong to my mother's parents. It had not worked for ages and no one else had any use for it, so I thought it would be interesting to convert it into a dollhouse.

More about the furniture can be found here.

I emptied and cleaned the inside and changed the fabric on the front. The large hole is where the speaker used to be and it will be a window.

Radio front

This is the back of the radio. The glass and the knobs are attached using mirror mounting tape as the structure that used to hold them in place was removed. As the bottom has a large hole, it needed a separate floor to cover it.

Radio back

This picture shows what was inside before I started.

Original insides

This is the inside with two coats of paint and two coats of varnish. I had to remove the glass pane before I started painting as the double-sided adhesive didn't stick to the untreated wood very well. After painting the walls it seemed to work better.

After painting

I got a great idea for making the dollhouse floor partly translucent. I had purchased the Eternity II puzzle. I kept the cardboard sheets that held the puzzle pieces, because "these look nice, I'm sure I can use them for something." So, I cut a suitable piece of the cardboard and placed clear adhesive plastic on the other side. On the reverse side, I colored the squares with window colors. In this picture, they don't look translucent, but that's because the colors are still wet.

The floor

I cut a larger piece of the cardboard to place under the hole in the floor and attached led lights to it. There are ten little led lights with a small battery compartment and switch at the end of the cord. This is what it looks like without the floor in place.

The floor lights

This is how the floor looks like with the tiled part in place. I glued it to a larger piece of cardboard to be used as the floor. I didn't want to glue anything directly to the structure, because I want to be able to replace the floor with something else later, if I feel like it.

The floor tiles

Front with the shutter in place.


This is a temporary version of the back wall. It is made of cardboard and covered with plastic.

Back wall

View to the inside with window and half-finished floor in place.

Inside view

This was one option for lighting the house. The light is battery operated and large enough to not fall through the hole in the ceiling.

Ceiling light

There used to be a record player in the compartment under the lid. That's why there is a hole in the ceiling. This compartment is a waste of space, but on the other hand, you can hide quite a bit of wire in here if you want to install a bit more elaborate lighting.

Radio top

I made a temporary back wall for the house earlier, but after that, I got this piece of board that was almost the right size. So, I decided to try some sawing. I had to shorten the board a bit and that's why the left side isn't quite straight. The saw I used for that was bigger than the one in the picture and I just couldn't get a straight line with it. Making the hole for the door was even trickier. The board was very hard and at one point when I was making those round holes, I thought the power drill was going to break. The smoke turned out to come from the board, not the machine. The small saw was easier to handle than the one I used earlier, but the lines were still not quite straight, but it doesn't matter as the edges of the hole won't show once the door is in place.

Back wall

Here is the outside of the wall.

Back wall

I installed some more lights. These are battery operated like the ones under the floor. Those cardboards that held the puzzle pieces turned out to be very useful with this project.

Ceiling lights

The lights seen from below.

Ceiling lights

First piece of furniture for what is becoming a bar. For a detailed description, see here.


No matter what it says in the packaging of the mirror mounting tape, it just doesn't hold. Three times I attached the glass front with mirror mounting tape and three times it fell off. Fortunately, the glass is thick and didn't break. I finally gave up and tried another method. Fortunately the radio is made of real wood, not some rock hard MDF board, so it wasn't too difficult to do this. I ended up putting adhesive tape to the glass in these places to prevent the gold paint from getting scratched.

Front glass

The detachable wall with a window cut into it.

Back wall

Almost ready.


I got this light as a birthday present and of course I soon got the idea that it's suitable size for the bar. It can be used with batteries or AC power. With batteries, it only lights up, but with AC power, it also rotates slowly. The light also changes color constantly as there are different colored led lights inside the base.

Decorative light

View in through the window.


More furniture.


The wine rack for the bar. The front parts were taken from the original back board of the radio, which had a lot of small round holes. For more photos, see here.

Wine rack

The sign I made for the radio house. The light has a switch on top and that's why there's a hole on top of the frame as well. Otherwise I would have to remove the front every time I want to switch it on. For more photos, see here.

Bar sign

Finally, the finished bar.

The floor

There are also two videos about this house. You can find them on the video page.