Dollhouses are a family tradition for all the little girls in our family. My mother (bless her little pea pickin’ heart) started this. I had several dollhouses as a child. The first one she made from two wooden orange crates that were glued together. Several years later, she did an “add on” and a bookcase was decorated and set next to the orange crates. As things would break or get lost, Mom repaired and remodeled.
When my first two girls were ready for a dollhouse, Mom built an “A-frame” for them. Many years later, after my mom passed away, I redecorated the A-frame for our youngest daughter.
I did a dollhouses for my old boss’ daughter, and another one for my son’s little girls. Today I just completed one for my oldest daughter’s little girl. Next year I’ll do one for my second daughter’s little girl. When my youngest daughter gets married and has children, I’m sure there will be another one for me to do.
NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month) suffered the last few days (as well as my sleep) for this latest dollhouse, but as you can see from the pictures below, it was well worth it. The A-frame was rescued from the rafters for this one.
This is the front of the dollhouse. As you can see, it is all decorated for Christmas.
This is the back of it. Yes, real windows.
Starting at the bottom of the house, this is the living room, complete with Christmas tree and creche for Christmas.
The lamp is an air freshener bottle I found at Dollar Tree and emptied out the contents and washed thoroughly. (Making lamps is a bear, so this find was wonderful!) The gold end tables are St. Patrick’s Day shot glasses that came off a green necklace. (I put little things like that in a small bin awaiting the next dollhouse.) The area rug was crocheted with white crochet thread.
This chair is made from the lid of a hairspray can turned upside down. The bottom is covered in burlap I had around the house. The back of the chair is a piece of cardboard covered in green fabric. The cushion is a small handful of polyester fiberfill with fabric wrapped around it. The whole thing is glued together with white glue.
This chair was done the same way with the lid from a can of Pam.
The couch turned out really cute, and the picture does not do it justice. The bottom is an old necklace box. I debated whether to leave the lid so it could be opened for storage space, but in the end, I glued the lid on the box. The cushion is sheer elegant fabric filled with polyester fiberfill. I hand stitched a few times down the middle to make the back poof up.
I went looking for little presents at the craft store, but I couldn’t find any this year (it’s a little early yet), so I ended up making my own little gift boxes from poster board, wrapping paper, and crochet thread. They were tedious, but turned out cute.
Another angle of the living room.
Every living room needs a family picture. I just printed a recent picture wallet size on printer paper (I didn’t even use photo paper), glued it to an index card, and hot glued it to the wall. Notice the wallpaper throughout the dollhouse. Paint stores often will give you old wallpaper books, and I just pick the smallest print in the books for dollhouses.
Next we move to the dining room. The table is made from craft sticks (notched popsicle sticks). I stained them with some stain I had in the garage. Everything that I make with these sticks I hot glue together or use wood glue so it doesn’t come apart. If I use stain, I stain them before gluing, as the glue doesn’t stain well.
Notice the curtains in these rooms. Curtains are tedious business, even if they don’t look like it. They are glued to a wooden dowel. It’s just tedious to get them to look nice and hang right. The pot for the plant in front is a plastic wire connector.
The chandelier is the top of a soda bottle. When we took the A-frame down from the rafters, the chandelier was still attached. I’m almost positive that my oldest daughter made that chandelier when I was doing the A-frame from my youngest daughter. I left it in there because this dollhouse is now going to her daughter. I thought it would be a fun little touch.
The picture frame is made from craft sticks. I try to personalize each dollhouse for the child who will receive it.
Every home needs a picture of Christ.
The plates are wood buttons, and the cups are electric wire connectors. Since this dollhouse has to travel, I have put tacky putty under them to keep them in place temporarily, but that will be removed. I’ve used tacky putty for some other things, as well.
At the bottom of the room divider between the dining room and the kitchen are some extra cupboards which are made from pill boxes. I cut the Christmas pictures off of some address labels that were hanging around and covered up the days of the week on the pill boxes.
Another personal touch. Every Mormon home has a corner somewhere with food storage buckets that don’t quite fit in the pantry. These are made from small glitter containers with some address labels. So we have wheat, rice, powdered milk, beans, flour, and sugar.
Another angle of the dining room.
This is the kitchen. The stove I found in a dollar store, and I just stuck a block of wood underneath it.
More pill box cupboards.
The kitchen sink is made from an aluminum soda pop can, pipe cleaners, and the caps off of my diabetic husband’s lancets. It is glued to a wood block. NOTE: If you do anything with soda pop cans, be careful to fold all sharp edges with a pair of pliers, and then hot glue over the top of all seams.
It was hard to get a picture of the refrigerator inside the dollhouse, but here it is.
Here’s a picture of the refrigerator as it sits on my kitchen table. It is the plastic box that the individual pill containers came in, covered with contact paper. The knob is the cap to a lancet.
Food in the refrigerator.
The little stove I bought came with some utensils. Originally, I put them in the kitchen sink for dirty dishes, but finally decided to hang them on a ribbon above the sink (like a pot rack). This shot also shows the trays (plastic buttons) that are sitting on the divider between the kitchen and dining room. The room divider is original from my mother, but it received a fresh coat of white paint.
Moving upstairs to the second floor, this is the master bedroom. The red furniture was picked up several years ago at the Dollar Tree store awaiting the next dollhouse.
The area rug was crocheted with some yarn scraps.
The master bed. (Below in the children’s bedroom I’ve shown how the beds are made.) The picture in front is a small picture frame I found at the thrift store for $.50. I put a family picture inside.
More family pictures to personalize the house, as well as a picture of the living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors. I was pleased to be able to save the original brown wallpaper here that my mother placed in the dollhouse for my daughters.
The lamp in the master bedroom sits on a plastic container covered with yarn. I’m not really happy about the glue job on the yarn. This is my “Dat-S0-La-Lee” moment. Dat-So-La-Lee was a famous Native American (Washoe) basket weaver. She purposely put a mistake in every basket so that she would not offend the Great White Spirit by pretending to be perfect. Raising my children, they would often get frustrated at their lack of ability to do something, and I would remind them of the story of Dat-So-La-Lee.
Moving to the bathroom (always a challenge for me). The toilet is two small glitter containers glued together. The seat and the lid are cut from an old plastic lid. The flusher (pipe cleaner) is stuck through a small hole in the seat and lid to keep it together, and is capped with a lancet. Over the sink is a real mirror, which I have framed with a pipe cleaner. You can’t see it (I couldn’t get a good picture), but next to the mirror is a medicine chest made from another pill box.
The tub and bathmat. The bathmats are scraps of fuzzy material that was hanging out at my house.
The sink is made from an aluminum soda pop can, pipe cleaners, and caps to lancets. It is glued to the spool from an old spool of thread.
Likewise, the bathtub is made from a soda can. It is difficult to see, but there is a tiny towel hanging over the edge of the tub. I just cut a small piece of terry cloth out of an old towel I was using for a rag.
Next we have the children’s bedroom on the third floor.
A picture of the Redlands, California LDS Temple. I tried using toothpicks to sort of frame the picture (another Dat-S0-La-Lee moment).
Crocheted area rug with toy storage.
I was quite pleased to save the little fireplace with Christmas stockings hung from it. I believe my oldest daughter made the fireplace for my youngest daughter. This wallpaper is the original wallpaper that my mother put in the dollhouse for my oldest two girls.
This is how I made the beds. Craft sticks make up the frame.
A soft sponge from the Dollar Tree store became the mattress.
A piece of fabric for the sheet.
I crocheted the blanket from scrap yarn. The pillows were made from soft sponges cut into pieces. I hand stitched white fabric around the sponges.
From the back of the dollhouse, you can see the windows. This is the only remaining original window that my mother made. She was much better at windows than I am, and she put much more detail into it.
This is the way I did my windows. The frames are narrow craft sticks painted white. I used plastic for the window cut out of an old report folder.
All dollhouses have to be equipped with the American flag. You can see the chimney in this shot, which was frankly a pain in the rear to put on an A-frame. My daughter (an engineer) is going to laugh at me when she sees how I built the stupid thing. It is poster board covered with red construction paper. I just used a white crayon to make the bricks.
You can see in this shot how the chimney is attached. It rests on a stiff piece of cardboard which is hot glued to the A-frame. Craft sticks are hot glued underneath the cardboard to keep the chimney straight. As I’m typing this, I’m having an epiphany as to the way I should have built this stupid thing — but I’m not changing it at this point! I obviously did not offend the Great White Spirit, but my daughter the rocket scientist will have a good laugh.
Santa coming down the chimney.
There you have it — everything you didn’t want to know about building a dollhouse.