Small-Scale Building Kits

Why Amazon Building Kits?

Because I moved to an 821 sq ft condo (in keeping with my small-scale stuff obsession), I don’t have the room for a large dollhouse.  During pandemic boredom, I was getting antsy to build something. I decided to look on Amazon and noticed a number of small-scale building kits.  Completed, these little buildings would fit on shelves in my condo. Plus, the price of these building kits was far cheaper than the cost of a 1:12 scale dollhouse kit. Finally, the reviews were, for the most part, positive. (I did run Fakespot to see if the review were fake, and the score at the time was A.) I decided to give the kits a try.

First Building Kit I Bought – Time of Coffee

The first small-scale building kit I bought was Time of Coffee House. It cost about $35 on Amazon, but I believe I got it on sale for around $25. I noticed that Amazon has the kit listed under various names. The kit is from Asia.

This building kit structure is very nice, but I found three major flaws with the build. First, the instructions were subpar and difficult to understand in some instances.  Clearly, a non-native English speaker wrote them. Also, given my age and poor eyesight, I found the tiny typeset difficult to read.

Second, my building kit was missing some materials, such as the dust cover and a few wood pieces.

Third, the kit requires you to assemble items from paper, beads, and tiny pieces of wood.  You have to cut intricate and detailed paper items (food, foliage, packaging). Then, you need to fold and glue microscopic tabs to assemble the items. With my bad vision and fingers that lock up, I found it difficult to assemble the tiny pastries and little food packages. Perhaps those without these constraints would not find the little packages and desserts difficult to assemble.  

Instructions of Time of Coffee kit
A picture of the instructions and materials from the Time of Coffee kit.
Finished kit
Time of Coffee kit front view
Time of Coffee small-scale building kit from Amazon.
Lower floor of Time of Coffee kit
View of the lower floor.
Time of Coffee kit upstairs
The upper floor of Time of Coffee.

Bottom line: This is a cute small-scale bakery café. I like the final product and it is small enough to fit in my condo. But, this kit is pretty difficult to build. If you are up to the challenge and have good manual dexterity, this kit might work for you. However, if you don’t mind spending the money on a bakery kit, you might wish to consider a pricier alternative, which is the Lego Parisian Restaurant.

Second Amazon building Kit I Bought – Cathy’s Greenhouse

Cathy’s Greenhouse is sold under several different names on Amazon, including Cathy’s Flower House. In my opinion, the greenhouse is a better small-scale building kit versus Time of Coffee.  But, it is still a challenging build. Basically, I have the same complaints as with the Time of Coffee kit. Specifically, the instructions could be better.  Second, the plants require tedious assembly. Again, you need to cut intricate and very detailed paper items. However, I found the plants far easier to make in this kit than the teensy tiny pastries in the other kit.

Picture of instructions and wood items from the greenhouse kit
Greenhouse instructions.
Paper leaves that need to be cut and glued in making the greenhouse
Some items need to be cut and glued together to make plants.
Other paper items that need to be assembled for the greenhouse
Other paper items that need assembling for the greenhouse.

Finished Greenhouse
greenhouse kit from Amazon
Front view of the greenhouse.
greenhouse interior
Side view of the greenhouse. I added the two premade plants on the lower left and the garden tools on the right.
greenhouse interior 3
The greenhouse includes a little painting.
greenhouse interior 2
Some items in the greenhouse kit. I didn’t do a great job assembling flowers
greenhouse exterior 2
A view through the greenhouse door to the back.

I decided to make some minor modifications to the greenhouse and added some premade plants and gardening tools. However, I had difficulty constructing the greenhouse plexiglass walls.  The tabs to connect the plexiglass would not stay glued in place. Whatever you do, don’t use a hot glue gun. Nevertheless, I found building Cathy’s Greenhouse “easier” compared to Time of Coffee. I really like the end result.

Would I Buy More Small-Scale Building Kits?

Overall, I didn’t hate the experience of building the two kits. I recognize that, given the low cost of these kits, they are not the highest quality. Also, building the small-scale objects in these kits requires much assembly and tedious cutting and gluing. Would I do it again? Probably. I just bought another kit, this one on sale for $17. I plan to hack the kit, probably using the building structure of the kit and most of the furniture. However, I am going to replace the frustratingly teensy-tiny items with better quality and less tedious to make objects.

Ananda

My passion is small-scale stuff, from small toys to miniatures to small home decor items. If you enjoy collecting and viewing miniatures and other little things, I hope this website will provide you helpful information and useful links.

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