Introduction: Beanie Baby House
How to make your own Beanie Baby house (or dollhouse) using only basic craft supplies and household objects. It takes a long time, but it's fun, creative, and incredibly cheap. Remember, though, that my house just provides ideas, and you may not necessarily have the same materials. Look around the house for other items you can use, and be creative!
Step 1: Gather Materials
-Cardboard boxes (If you don't have any lying around, try asking a liquor store. They almost always have tons that they're willing to give away. We'll paint, so it doesn't matter what it says)
-glue (hot glue works better than anything else, but gluesticks, super glue, and elmers all have their places)
-Exacto knife, scissors
-paint (house paint if you have any, acrylic. You could use tempera for furniture and accessories, but I wouldn't recommend it)
-styrofoam (I used the packing inserts from a DVD player)
-sticks and stones (for the fireplace, if you're making one)
-plastic caps from water bottles, old CD's, seashells, clementine boxes, and any other junk you have around the house.
Step 2: Infrastructure
-Cut off the flaps and tops of your boxes until they're the right height. Save the cardboard, it'll be useful later
-make the floor even (if it's not already) by cutting pieces of the box flaps. Make sure all the parts of the floor are glued down. I used masking tape to hold it all in place and patch up any holes.
-Stick the boxes together. Hot glue is going to be your best bet here, but I'm using a regular glue stick and super glue.
-For the windows, I'm using sample theater gels. Any type of transparent plastic, colored or not, would work. You could use clear packing tape, from both sides.
-For the window frames, trace a square slightly smaller than your window material. Trace it where you want the windows to be, and cut them out. For the doors, cut three sides of the desired door, and it should fold out
-Then you can glue the window insets over the window frames, or use clear packing tape to hold the whole thing on
Step 3: Loft Bed
The previous pictures show my sister's house. For mine, I glued three boxes together then made a loft bed by stacking two clementine boxes (Use hot glue to stick them together- I learned the hard way that nothing else works), and gluing that onto the back of the house.
I wanted to utilize the bottom box, so I pried off the back slat of wood (I used a hammer and a screwdriver and some pliers, but there's probably a better method), and attached some velcro to the slat and to the sides of the box for an instant storage space! (now I just have to figure out what to put in it.....)
Step 4: Build Some Shelving
-To build shelves, cut a rectangle out of cardboard, as tall as you want your shelf to be, and as wide as the back and both sides put together. Make sure that it's oriented so that the cardboard's natural grooves are horizontal.
-Bend the sides in
-To make the horizontal shelves there are two options;
1) take more scraps of cardboard, as wide as the whole unit, and as tall as the sides are wide. Fold the cardboard so that it has a flat top and two flaps on either side. Glue the flaps to the sides of your shelf, and it should hold
2) Cut slits into the sides, directly across from each other, and use popsicle sticks to make the actual shelf. Trim the outsides, and glue in place (In the picture shown below, I made my sides bend outwards instead of making them perpendicular, but you get the idea)
Step 5: The Kitchen
Where cooking and eating happen, the center of every house!
I made a set of shelves for the kitchen from a box, cut in half. This way both counters are the same height. The stove is just a set of shelves turned around, with a white area painted on the front and decorated with sharpie. The refrigerator is a plastic box I found with a door that latches. It's small, but it fits in my kitchen. I built the third shelf around it, so that it fits.
I'm sure you could also construct a fridge, or paint an appropriately sized box- a tea box would probably work well for this. Mine doesn't have anything on it in this picture, but it's easily decorated with mini report cards, "drawings", and sequin "magnets". Go wild.
I posted a bunch of sample food, but this is really an area where you get to be creative. If you have access to fimo clay, that would also be a really easy and effective way to make yourself some great little food items.
The meals that I made are in the metal cup that's left over when a tealight burns away. I glued saran wrap over the top, rather than making sure that all the parts of the meal were stuck down.
For the flour and sugar sacks:
-take two squares of felt
-sew three sides
-turn it inside out, fill with a pinch of stuffing
-fold and pin the top
-sew it closed
-write "flour" and "sugar" with sharpie ("rice" or "grain" would probably look cute too)
Step 6: Dining Area
The other side of the kitchen is where the food is consumed. Here we have;
The table is an old CD glued to the top of a plastic cup and painted.
The chair on the right is the top half of a syrofoam cup, with a circle of cardboard glued to the top for a seat, and a semi-circle of cardboard glued around the back for the backrest.
The window seat is a painted tea box (I drink a lot of tea). It looks nicer when accented with throw pillows.
For the throw pillows
-Cut two pieces of fabric and place right-side-in
-Sew three and a half sides
-turn inside-out, stuff with a pinch of stuffing, fold in the loose ends and sew the last side closed.
-Tie a knot and push the needle through the center of the pillow, and then back to the other side, and pull tight to cinch the middle in. This step is optional but makes it look more like a throw pillow.
Also pictured: an alternate idea for a dining set (this is what my sister made)
Her table is a big piece of cardboard, with a flap folded down and glued to the wall one one side, and clothespin legs on the other
Her chair is a folded piece of cardboard with legs made out of mini craft sticks.
Step 7: The Bathroom-overview
Now, it's up to you how to decide how many rooms you want your house to have. The simplest beanie houses can have only one room, without a kitchen or bath. But following the simple rules of digestion, if you have one, you've got to have the other. Thus, I present to you... the bathroom.
Tub: I got really lucky here, the DVD player had a perfect bathtub-shaped insert. I wouldn't recommend buying a DVD player just to get it, though. You could probably do just as well with the packaging for all sorts of things. In a pinch, a box would make a more modern and boxy tub. The faucet is tinfoil
Sink- again, I got lucky with a piece of styrofoam. There's a piece of cardboard making the side, though, and the actual basin is the plastic ball (from those vending-machine trinkets you can get outside grocery stores), glued into a hole I cut. The faucet and taps are bent pieces of a paperclip. They'll stick right into the styrofoam, and if not glued down, will turn for that interactive water experience.
The construction of the toilet is similar to the sink- styrofoam, cardboard, and a part of the plastic ball. The flusher is tinfoil as well.
Step 8: Bathroom Details
Who wants such a spartan bathroom? It's all in the details!
-Bathmats were cut from a old dishtowel and glued to the floor
-Towels- also cut from the same dishtowel. I glued two thumbtacks into the wall to hang them from.
-The "bubbles" in the bathtub are glass pebbles
-For soap I cut little discs from a packing peanut. You could also use pastel clay or even chunks of real soap if you want. The soap dish is a tiny seashell that my grandpa found on the beach for me.
-the shampoo bottles are just packing peanuts. I didn't bother labeling them, but you could.
-The mirror is just a rectangle of cardboard with tinfoil over it. Make sure you don't wrinkle the foil as you make it, or you'll ruin the effect.
And of course, my favorite part of the bathroom- the toilet paper roll!
-Cut a paper clip and bend the two sides in
-cut a real piece of toilet paper into long strips. I used a little bit of hotglue to hold the end onto the roll
-put a thin layer of glue along the whole strip and then wind it around the paper clip as tightly as possible (without breaking it). I did this with two strips to make it thick enough. Don't put glue on the last half inch or so, and leave it hanging down.
-pre-form holes in the wall with a thumbtack, and make sure the ends of the paper clip fit into them. Take it out, put a little hot glue over the holes, and shove it back in. It should stay.
Step 9: Living Room
This is where your beanies will spend most of their time, of course.
The furniture- shelves are great in here. I usually fill them up with books.
-Take a long strip of cardboard, with the natural grooves running lengthwise
-Fold it it half, lengthwise
-put hot glue down the inside and glue the sides together
-when the glue dries, cut the strip into sections, each about half an inch long (Don't worry about making them all the same length, it looks more natural if they're not)
-Color each one with markers so they're all different colors. I usually just make them solid colors and write the titles on the front with pen. It's up to you how fancy you get- you could certainly search online for the images of book jackets, shrink them and paste them into a word document, and glue those on. But I'm too lazy for that.
-I usually repeat the whole process with a couple more strips of different lengths. Adds variety.
The armchair is made out of pieces of styrofoam. The couch is two pieces with a cardboard seat glued in the middle. The other seat is another painted box. I filled it up with toys (I'll show you a couple of those later)
Step 10: Living Room Details
-The planter is another cap from a water bottle, colored with an orange sharpie.
-Put enough play-dough in the bottom to fill it up about halfway
-The small plant is pieces of a green toothpick, with felt leaves glued to the ends
-the larger one is pieces of pipe cleaner with felt leaves. I cut out leaf shapes for the ends, and used the bow-tie shaped in-between bits for the lower leaves.
-Search on google images for the games you want (ex: "Scrabble board")
-Copy the image and paste into a word document
-shrink the image until it's an inch and a half square or so
-print out, glue onto cardboard, and cut out
-Open whatever you'd like your beanies to be doing on your own computer (alternately, if you're a Sims addict like me, take a screenshot from the game)
-paste it into a word document and shrink (you can probably save paper by doing this on the same page as the others)
-Search images for "keyboard" or "laptop" keyboard and put a tiny copy of that on your document, too.
-Print them out and paste them to a folded piece of cardboard, and color in the background with a marker. I didn't show it here, but silver sharpies are excellent for this.
While you're at it with the word document, now would be a great time to paste in some little copies of your favorite pictures for the walls, and to search for images of whichever beanie baby you have, so you can put some family photos around the house. If you're feeling particularly inspired, take some pictures of yourself with the beanie and print them as well.
Step 11: Rag Rug
-Take long strips of fabric in three colors (I've found it actually works better if they're relatively similar- that is, don't use white, black and red. White, light gray and pink would look nicer).
-Tie the ends and braid them. You have to sort of keep them folded, so that the edges are on the underside of the braid
-before you run out of any color, fold a new strip of that color into the existing strip, with at least an inch or two of overlap and keep braiding. It will hold.
-Check the length of your braid as you go by curling it on the floor.
-When you have enough, tie the end. Hot glue one end of the braid to the floor, making sure to have the nicer side up. The longer your first strip is, the more oval your rug will be. For a circular rug, just glue down the end.
-Put a line of hot glue around the first strip and press the braid onto it, making sure to keep the nicer side up. Repeat until you run out of braid, but be sure to press the loops tightly together so you don't have any gaps.
Step 12: The Fireplace
Probably my favorite item in the whole house.
-Gather a bunch of small stones and at least one or two larger, flat ones (I picked them up during a walk on the beach)
-Use caulk (available at craft stores) or hot glue to make the two side pillars. You may need to wait until they dry, stand them up, and then add stones to the bottom to make them stable.
-Put the larger, flat stones across the top (unless you'd rather make the top of out smaller ones, let it dry, and then set it on- that would work too)
-Build a chimney with a couple more stones
-paint the inside gray
The logs are pieces cut from a stick I found outside, and my dad cut them with a handsaw and split them by putting a screwdriver (the flat kind) on top, and hitting the top of the screwdriver with a hammer. I piled extras next to the fireplace, if you can see it. A woodpile is essential.
The pictures on the mantel are printed out images of the beanie babies I have. There's also a couple of seashells.
Step 13: The Bed
I sewed a pillow by measuring fabric about an inch bigger than the clementine box on every side, sewing it, and stuffing it loosely. Make sure to make it big enough, because remember, when it's stuffed it'll get taller, but then shorter horizontally.
I glued the pillow into the box, then sewed a very small quilt and pillows. There are lots of other instructables on quilting and I'm no expert, so I won't go over that in detail here. I've knit a couple of blankets, too. If you're feeling lazy, a square of fleece or felt would probably work, and the edges shouldn't unravel.
The ladder up to the bed is two poles (made of two big craft sticks glued together but you could experiment. I was planning on using chopsticks) with smaller sticks glued across. I've also made them by cutting a row of squares out of a long rectangle of cardboard.
If you're not making a loft bed, a bed could easily just be a pillow on the floor, or on a cardboard box. One of my friends made a bunk bed out of craft sticks. You could try a loft bed with four toilet paper rolls as pillars.
Step 14: You're Done!
Make a welcome mat from a square of fabric or felt, write a greeting, and welcome your beanies to their new home!