Wondering if you’d like to try building one of those miniature house kits? Read our review of the Rolife Detective Agency book nook kit, and let me know what you think!
Not interested in this particular kit? Scroll down to read our general recommendations on what to look for and what to consider in choosing a kit.
DIY Miniature House Kit Review
What You'll Find on This Page
My kids and I all enjoy crafts, and I’ve been curious about these model building kits for a while. So when Timberdoodle asked if I’d like to review this Mose’s Detective Agency miniature house/book nook it, I said yes.
Timberdoodle includes this kit in their 11th grade curriculum kit. I think it is both possible for a younger child to enjoy the kit, and for an 11th grader to struggle with this kit. I’ll explain way below!
Disclosure: I’m a member of Timberdoodle’s blogger review team, and they sent me this product to review. I did not request or receive any other compensation, and all opinions are my own.
Opening the Box: What’s in a Miniature Building Kit?
What an involved kit! When you open the box, there are planks for the walls, and paper to fold into shapes and to decorate the floor and walls.
The kit comes with liquid glue (below). I supplies scissors and a glue stick. The kit includes tweezers, which you definitely need for some steps.
Pieces are mostly pre-cut, but flat packed. Anything 3D you will build yourself.
There are some pieces that come as finished pieces, like the satchel and telephone you’ll see in the finished photos.
The furniture is not easy to build. All of the pieces in the photo above are for a book case.
Building Model Furniture
Even though I do a lot of crafting, building the model furniture was more complicated than expected. My kids all got annoyed with it, leaving me to finish off.
I pulled out a glue gun, which made it easier, but also made the pieces look messier than they would have. I’m sure the liquid glue that is included would dry to a nicer finish, but it was hard to get it to hold the pieces together long enough for them to dry.
Adding Details to a Miniature House or Book Nook
Once we got the furniture put together, it was time to add the details! The phone, satchel, typewriter, magnifying, croissant, and pipe in the above photo came premade. Everything else – including tiny details like the pocket watch and the hat – required some sort of building.
The suitcase and boxes were all flat and needed folding. The hat was a plastic base that we covered in fabric – the same fabric that we folded to make the tie that hangs out of the desk. We covered small blocks of wood with paper to make the books.
The blue lamp on the desk is wired for electricity, and there is a battery pack on the back of the building. We got it to work once, before it was all put together, but we couldn’t get it to work once we threaded the wires through the lamp base.
Wiring the lamp was definitely the most fiddly part of this kit.
The bulletin board should have tiny thumbtacks and string connecting all of the clues, the way you would find in a mystery movie. We skipped that because it was also fiddly and we felt that it looked all right the way it was.
We spent a lot of time building this kit. The process got frustrating a few times, but the finished product is pretty cool!
Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations
This was a tough kit for newbie tiny model builders, but we made it work! Here’s what we liked, what we didn’t like, and what we’ll look for next time we’re choosing a kit like this.
What We Liked Best About This Doll House Kit
The finished product for this kit is pretty cool! It was fun to have a few details pre-made so that we knew those, at least, would look good at the end.
The messy detective office was a nice theme for this first kit, because our messy furniture building looks more okay in this messy setting.
The kit included a range of different building techniques. The light actually lighting up was a nice touch; I wish we’d been able to get it to work.
What We Would Change About This Miniature Room Kit
None of us had ever built a kit like this before, and we could have benefited from easier to follow instructions. The instructions were all there, but it wasn’t always clear where to start.
We found the furniture hard to build. I imagine there are tips people use to help with this process, and it would be nice to have these in the instructions. The instructions for this kit are pretty minimal.
We might have had better luck with the light working if the base of the lamp where a little wider. We could barely fit the wires through, and there wasn’t any room once they were through to adjust them much. I also feel that the wiring instructions for the lamp could have been clearer.
We realized AFTER building the kit that some people build these kits and put it on YouTube to help people. So, if you’re feeling stuck, try googling the kit over there. Here’s a video of someone who really knows what they’re doing building this kit:
Look at their gorgeous construction, and the working light!
Our Recommendations for Choosing a DIY Miniature Kit
Even though we’re crafty, this kit was more involved than we expected. And we struggled as a result.
I think we’d try a kit like this again if it had an amazing theme, but we’re not rushing out to buy another one any time soon.
We do have a few recommendations if you are miniature house or book nook kit shopping:
- Read the details on the kit. Is this a beginner kit? If so, what does beginner mean? New to crafting? New to model building? Those are two very different beginners!
- Read reviews, if possible. We also recommend searching for a building video of the kit on YouTube before buying, so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Just remember that anyone putting a video on YouTube probably has a lot of experience with this type of crafting, so they likely make it look easier than it is!
- Remember that it’s no disaster if the kit isn’t perfect. At the beginning our furniture looked kind of awful, but it was fine once we added everything else to the scene.
- It’s okay to switch up the scene, move things around, or add something else. It’s also fine to skip parts of it (for aesthetics or because you’re frustrated like we were with the lights and string,) if you want. This is all about enjoying the process and creating something you personally like.
What do you think? Is this miniature house kit something you would enjoy building? Is there a kit like this that you particularly recommend?
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