Electrostatically defined quantum dot arrays offer a compelling platform for quantum computation and simulation. However, tuning up such arrays with existing techniques becomes impractical when going beyond a handful of quantum dots. Here, we present a method for systematically adding quantum dots to an array one dot at a time, in such a way that the number of electrons on previously formed dots is unaffected. The method allows individual control of the number of electrons on each of the dots, as well as of the interdot tunnel rates. We use this technique to tune up a linear array of eight GaAs quantum dots such that they are occupied by one electron each. This new method overcomes a critical bottleneck in scaling up quantum-dot based qubit registers.