Introduction: Cardboard Doll House
This doll house will make any doll feel at home in the woods, with an exterior paint job designed for minimal impact on the surroundings. And a colorful interior that will make you wake up happy and ready to make something!
Duct tape- use Duck brand or Nashua brand, the stuff I had was terrible! Some multi from Amazon.
Paperclips 10 pieces
Fabric a couple square feet
Hot glue gun
At least 40 glue sticks
3 to 4 boxes
Step 1: Boxes and Cut Outs
Once you get the supplies. We need to come up with a rough draft layout. I marked out the windows, stair case, and the rooms. I chose to switch the living room and kitchen around, I felt it made more since of where the stairs are at. The box I started with was 17.5x12x12.
Once I got got the general idea and liked it. I used an Exacto knife to out the lines. Note save the window cut outs for shutters later. I also made the stair cut out 3 inches longer, i felt the stairs would look more natural.
Step 2: Stairs
Stairs, the greatest invention that brings us to another level! Here I used one of the flaps and cut it to 3 x 15 inches. The for the stairs I cut 12 pieces at 2 x 3 inches. Then I folded them in half lengthwise, I used my ruler on the line to help keep the crease straight as I bent it.
After folding them all, grab the hot glue gun and start gluing them into place 1 or 2 at a time. I tried to keep it at right angles the peaks. I then used the last step as a flap to go on top to secure the stairs to the top floor.
Now to color the stairs, i cut strips of blue duct tape in half and about 6 inches long. I then place the strip on the top of the step and folded the ends around the sides.
The stairs still felt flimsy. So I cut a piece of cardboard about 11 inches long and maybe 3 inches wide. I folded it in half, then hot glued it down. Then I added yellow duct tape as an accent color.
Step 3: Bland Boxes
Before I added the stairs I felt the plain old brown box was too bland. So I chose colors my daughter would love. I cut long strips of duct tape and layered them up on the inside. It can be tedious but totally worth it. Pink for the walls, purple for carpet, and green for the upstairs, which I'll show how I made it next.
Step 4: Second Floor
Here I wanted to have a high pointed roof so after thinking on it for a bit I wanted 3 to 4 inch walls. Then the roof angle starting from there. I found some cardboard and cut it to match the length of the back of the doll house and 4.5 inches wide. Then I glued the bottom inch of the cardboard to the house. Then I cut 2 more pieces to match the sides but left about 4 inches to fold around the back to hot glue it to the 1st piece. I used a ton of hot glue because I could and it was fun.
Step 5: Roof
I found to flaps of a box about 8 inches wide and 20 inches long. I glued them end to end, overlapping by about 2 inches. Then I marked 3 inches in on each end, and creased them. This is mainly for the glue to have more surface area to hold onto. Once the roof was in place I covered the outside in strips of brown duct tape.
Now I also need to add a back wall. I cut off 2 flaps of a box. I put one up on the back and marked the roof lines then cut it out on a cutting board. Then taped it up and did the same with the other flap. I then covered the inside roof and back wall in white duct tape.
Step 6: Kitchen
The doll house now needs a counter and sink to work at and prepare dinner parties. I a piece of cardboard about 12 inches wide and roughly 6 inches tall. I folded it at window height for this house. So it makes an "L" shape of 4x2. I measured it against the doll house and found the center point of the window and marked it on the counter, this will be where the sink will go. I made the sink a 1x2 inch hole. I then made the sink by cutting a 3x4 piece of cardboard and cutting out the corners. Then shaped it into a box and wrapped it in duct tape then glued it to the under side of the sink.
Cut out 4 supports that fit inside the L shape and glue them in, 1st doing the long side and letting it dry. Then do the short side , glue them all down and hold in place till it sets.
Next take a paperclip straighten it a bit and poke it through the middle backside of the sink. Pour the hot glue on the bottom to hold it in place, this will be the faucet that I finish later.
Now for contrast covered the counter in white duct tape including the sink. Then I used blue duct tape for the cabinets and drawers, to keep things simple I used the width of the duct tape as the width of the cabinets, the drawers I cut at 1/2 inch and eyeballed it for placement. Then the cabinets I cut at 2 1/2 inches and placed them below the drawers. Then to keep with color theme I cut small pieces of duct tape with a Exacto knife to 1/8 inch by 1/2 inch for the handles, and 1/8 by 1/4 for the hinges.
The faucet I used a yellow flexy straw cut to length, I put a couple squirts of hot glue in the base of the straw and stuck it through the paperclip. Once it cooled I bent the straw over and trimmed it to look like a cool modern faucet.
Put the cabinet assembly in place and glue it in place and fill in any gaps.
Step 7: The Refrigerator-inator
For the fridge I found a small box that seemed like the right height so I used it. But any box will do. My fridge is about 8 inches tall, 2 inches deep, and about 3 inches wide. For the cut out pattern see the picture. Its easier than trying to explain it. Use a straight edge to help fold the sides in a straight line. Then fold the edges in and tape or glue them together. You should be left with a nice box. Next completely cover the outside in blue tape. I then made the inside white. Cut two pieces of cardboard that that will fit inside the fridge and cover it in white duct tape and hot glue them in.
Cut a piece of cardboard to cover the front of the fridge , this is the door so cover it in blue duct tape also. Then cut 2 strips of duct tape about 2 inches long. Tape the door on with the 2 strips. Take the yellow straw we had earlier and cut 2 pieces one at 1 inch and the other at 2 inches. Add a small bead of hot glue to the straws and put them on the fridge as handles. Final thing to add is a skinny piece of duct tape to make it look like 2 doors. Also I added a magnet on the inside of the fridge and a paperclip on the door, I hot glued them both in. this will keep the door closed.
Step 8: Railings
Grab some straws and cut 13 pieces to 3 inches. Then on every other step put a decent blob of hot glue on the edge. Stick a straw in it and hold them upright till it cools down. On the second floor I had 2 inch spacing between the straws. Once all the posts are in place we now need to add the rails, I put three straws together being mindful of where it bends. I used the glue gun tip to expand the end of the straw to make it easy to join all 3.
I used skinny strips of duct tape to go over the top of the rail and attach it to the posts. The I went back and hot glued the joints. I also wrapped duct tape around the posts to keep the piece that goes over the railing from peeling away.
Step 9: Support Beam
I saw that the second floor would sag a bit with little pressure, so I needed a support beam. I found a box flap that was the same width as my house. Cut it to 3 inches wide, then use a marker to separate into 3 one inch segments lengthwise. Now to make it easier to form into a beam, use a ruler and an Exacto knife and cut only the top layer of cardboard. There should be 2 long surface cuts.
Next fold it into a U shape, with the cuts on the outside. Pre cut a bunch of duct tape strips to about 6 inches long. Now being careful to keep the shape wrap the ends 1st. Then continue wrapping the duct tape around it till its completely wrapped.
Next use a couple of strips of duct tape and attach it to the ceiling. Then hot glue the edges. This makes it nice and strong.
Step 10: Exterior Paint Job and Shutters.
Now it's time to get some color on the outside, I chose green because the doll that lives here likes being in tune with nature and her surroundings. I had to cut short strips of duct tape to go around the window, and after that its just long strips to cover the rest.
Remember the window cut outs from earlier? Well now we will turn them into shutters. Start by cutting them in half. Cover them in blue duct tape, then cut yellow strips about 3/8 inch wide. Place three on each side. Then put 2 blobs of hot glue on the back and stick them on the outside next to the window.
Step 11: Couch
Here I had to think inside the box, and just at the edge of it. I cut 2 pieces of cardboard at 2 inches wide and 6 inches tall. Here the grain pattern of the cardboard matters! Orient the cardboard so the long part can roll. I marked 4 inches where I will roll it and left the last 2 inches as the sides of the couch. Take the side that's going to be the outside edge and cut the surface layer of the cardboard, do this every 1/4 inch till you get to the 2 inch point of the legs. Now roll it a few times before adding glue, add hot glue along the path that its going to roll on. Roll it. Hold it in place and add more glue at the end of the roll once it dries, I did the exact same thing to the other 2 pieces.
The back rest was 6 inches tall and 5 inches wide. But I wanted the end of the roll at 3 inches, so start cutting the surface of the cardboard there, and do the same as before.
Now here I chose to cover the pieces in blue duct tape before assembling them. The seat was 5 inches wide by about 2 1/2 inches deep and about 1 inch high. I just cut a piece of cardboard at 1 inch tall and 4 to 5 long and glued it on as the seat support.
I glued the pieces together starting with the arm rests to the seat . Then glued the back rest on. Then I cut out the part under the arm rests and then covered it in blue duct tape.
To match it to the rest of the color scheme I cut out 2 inch squares of yellow duct tape and tried to make a sorta star pattern. Then I put it on the ends that were still brown and hot glued the tips because this duct tape is terrible and won't stick to itself for long.
Then I added a blob of hot glue on the bottom of each corner, once cooled the act as sticky feet and held keep the couch in place and still movable.
Step 12: Coffee Table
The couch didn't seem complete without a coffee table. I used a roll of duct tape as my template for a circle, marked it. I had to replace another Exacto knife blade before I got too far. Finish cutting out the circle and cover in yellow duct tape. I grabbed 4 large paperclips and straightened them out a bit. Place them on the bottom, and pour on the hot glue. I bent the paperclip about 90 degrees which left good surface area for glue. I then trimmed the legs to match and also added a tiny bit of hot glue to the feet (paperclip) to help keep it stable.
Step 13: Computer Desk
I needed a place to work at so I made a desk. Cut out a piece of cardboard at 5 inches by about 6 to 6 1/2 inches. I then marked out 3 inches for the top a the other 2 inches will be folded down for the back of the desk. Next cut two 2x3 inch pieces these are the legs. Now glue the together one side at a time. Then cover the entire desk with blue duct tape.
Step 14: Queen Bed
The bed is made from a piece of cardboard cut at 4x7 inches with two strips of cardboard at 1x6 that make the box on the bottom. Glue them together. Cover the bed in blue duct tape and the bottom box in yellow duct tape. Grab a scrap of cardboard and make it a triangle and hot glue it to the bottom of the bed, this piece will help stabilize the head board.
The back board is a single piece cut at 4x6. Cover the top 5 inches in blue and the bottom inch in yellow.
Grab a used roll of toilet paper and cover in yellow duct tape. Use Scissors and cut it 1/4 inch strips, the tube will collapse but that's ok. I used 3 of the circles and made a pattern on the headboard and secured them with some small blobs of hot glue. Then glue the headboard to the bed.
Step 15: Curtains
I used some fabric my wife had, but you can use an old shirt, holey socks or whatever fabric you have. The windows are 6 inches wide and I want 2 curtains for each side. Cut 4 inch strips, I hemmed up the bottom layer. Put a bead of hot glue all the way down each side and fold over about a half inch on each side onto the hot glue. Then I used pencils as the curtain rods, fold over the top and leave enough space for the pencil to freely move, then hot glue it down. Do this on all 4 curtains and trim it to length for the kitchen.
The curtains need something to hold them up. Cut out 1 inch squares of cardboard and cut out the corners. Then hot glue them in place once the dry fit is complete. And hang your brand new curtains! I had some blue fabric that I cut 5 inch by 1/4 inch strips to tie the curtains.
Step 16: Pillow
Take a strip of the yellow fabric about 3 inches by 8 inches, put the scraps of the curtain in the middle as stuffing for the pillow. Hot glue the sides closed. Then fold them once more and glue them down again, this hides the seams.
Step 17: The Blanket
With some blue fabric cut it to 6x8. The like the curtains fold over all 4 edges and glue them down. Then you have a nice no sew blanket.
Step 18: Desk Chair,
The first attempt is terrible( the arm chair), I decided to go with a coffee table type of chair, to make the circle outline on the cardboard use a Starbucks coffee lid. Then cut out the circle with an Exacto knife. Cover it with yellow duct tape. Then take 4 large paperclips straighten them out a bit. Glue them to the bottom. Trim the legs to allow it to fit under the desk with a 1/2 inch to spare.
Step 19: Tiny Details
Use some white duct tape, cut it into 1/2 by 3/4 strips and use a sharpie to make it look like power outlets. Place them around the house.
Small tablet, cut a small rectangle of cardboard, cover it white duct tape. Use a sharpie to draw a rectangle and a dot.
Make a painting with a 3x5 piece of cardboard and attach it to the wall over the stairs.
Step 20: All Finished!
Here I made this for you! If its not for you that's ok too! I hope you enjoyed the journey, I had a lot of fun building this!
Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge
1 year ago
Kind of wish I had this when I was growing up and someone to provide me with boxes since I had no one to buy me a real doll house. If onnly there were time machines.....
Reply 1 year ago
I agree, im trying to change the future for my kids, and be the person i wish i had as a kid