Hope Chest Dollhouse and DIY Furniture!




About: Designer of things, Maker of weirdness and Baker of the macabre.

Happy Summer everyone! I'm so excited to share this fun SUMMER project for the whole family!

This Hope Chest Dollhouse and DIY furniture cost less than 30 dollars to create, and gave my family lasting memories, and hours of endless play! Let's get started!

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Step 1: You Will Need (For House Only)

To make your Dollhouse, you will need:

  • An old hope chest, preferably with built in compartments
  • Modge Podge (homemade works great as well)
  • Paint for ceiling/Paint brushes
  • Paper for walls and floors
  • Wood slats cut to correct dimensions, to add if needed.

The great thing about a hope chest, is that it is essentially a pre-made dollhouse, it may just need a little tweaking, but so much of the time they come with compartments built in, and need only be decorated!

Step 2: Add Wood If Needed

This particular chest had three sections built in. I wanted 6 rooms, so I added three small slats of wood to each compartment.
  • If your hope chest needs more rooms, like mine did, purchase the wood, and have it cut to the correct dimensions.
  • Most all home improvement stores will cut the wood for you, free of charge!
  • Hammer Wood slots in, and nail or glue them, if you'd rather they be extra secure.

Step 3: Paint Outside of House

I just used white crafters paint, and a fine tipped paint brush.

This was a great part to let the kids help with!

This was all done free hand, I wanted a doodle kind of look, but you could outline with chalk first to get it more exact.

Step 4: Paint the Ceiling!

Paint your ceilings with white crafters paint. Don't worry about it being messy, because your wall paper will cover any discrepancies.

Step 5: Add Your Wallpaper and Floors

making a dollhouse can get SOOOO pricey, this step alone could save you so much money! Instead of using dollhouse carpet, flooring and wallpaper, just use PAPER!

You could print your flooring/walls for free online, which is a great option, but I prefer to buy my own paper. You get less ink, and dimension issues that way.

  • Pick out your paper
  • Cut paper to correct dimensions
  • Modge podge, let dry and do another coat.
  • Let dry

Step 6: Book End Beds

I bought these Book ends at a thrift store for 2 dollars! These could also be easily made with 2 slabs of wood.

I covered the metal part in felt to make it safe, and give it a softer look.

The bedding is just scrap material.

Step 7: Floss Container and Lid Turned Toilet

This was free to me, because I already had these items in the house!

You will need:

  • White Floss Container (empty)
  • White Shampoo Bottle Lid
  • Strong wire

Feed wire trough the bottom of the floss container, into the top of the shampoo lid. Pull tight, twist and that will hold both pieces together. (see video for demonstration)

Step 8: Pin Box Vintage TV

This was also free to me. It's amazing how many things around the house can become doll furnishings, if you look at them with new eyes.

Simply paint a small pin box, and add a paper antenna if desired. So easy!

Step 9: Eyeglass Case Refrigerator

You will need:

  • Eyeglass case (generally 25 cents at thrift stores)
  • White crafters paint
  • modge podge
  • Paint brush
  • Dollar store food stickers

Paint your refrigerator first, inside and out, and let dry.

Add food stickers, and modge podge entire refrigerator.

Let dry overnight.

Step 10: Eyeglass Case Sofa

You will need:

• Quilting foam, 1 inch thick
• scrap material
• eyeglass case
• hot glue/gun
• felt

1. Cut cushions to fit in sofa out of foam, one long, two short, and two small ones for arms.
2. Cover cushions in scrap material with hot glue
3. Hot glue cushions into eyeglass case
4. Make legs out of rolled felt (hot glued to bottom of sofa)
5. Make throw pillows out of scraps if desired.

Step 11: Plastic Bottle Turned Bathtub

You will need:

  • Any plastic bottle that has the right shape at the bottom. Large soap containers, and fabric softener bottles have this shape. You can get them at the dollar store, or you may already have one right now~
  • White spray paint
  • Modge Podge
  1. Cut out the shape of the clean empty bottle. (dotted line)
  2. Spray paint inside and outside
  3. Allow to dry fully
  4. Add layer of modge podge for protection against chips.

Step 12: Old Couch Leg Turned Washer Dryer

I found this old couch leg in my garage. You could also use two old wooden blocks.

  • Saw leg in two
  • Sand
  • Paint with white paint
  • Paint details
  • Modge podge finish

Step 13: Wooden Block Turned Oven

This wooden block was left over form an old set, and never played with, so I simply painted it to look like an oven and covered it in modge podge.

Step 14: Add Details to Walls!

I got lucky and found a book for a dollar at a thrift store that had all of these fun wall embellishments and windows. BUT you can print off awesome details for FREE online! Just be sure to let your paper dry fully after printing, before attempting to modge podge or the colors may run.

Step 15: Arrange Your Furniture, and ENJOY!

You did it! You created something beautiful and fun, and hopefully you got the kids to help you.

This is a great project to beat the heat this summer, and the play-time will create lasting smiles and memories for years to come!

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    18 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. They are so doable and affordable. I will be hitting the linen closets and bathrooms looking for supplies after posting. Fun!


    1 year ago

    I love the wallpaper idea, so simple and effective.

    I'm planning a doll house for my daughter now, and now it will be wallpapered!


    3 years ago

    those ideas are cheap and effective, pure genius :D

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    OMG I am in love with your dolls house! You are so creative, thanks so much for sharing these ideas they are amazing!

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    The ideas on how to make simple furniture are absolutely brilliant. Although in my case I will have to make the main part of the dolls house I will certainly use your ideas for furniture, and finishes on walls and floors.

    1 reply
    That Redheadroley1

    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm so glad! Please send me pics when you do! Happy creating! Thank you!


    3 years ago

    It is seldom that I feel compelled to post comments. I literally have been scouring the I-net for over a year now, looking for ideas on making doll houses, trying to incorporate portability, upcycling, durability, space saving and cost effectiveness. In everything i found, that I liked; I had to compromise one thing or another. Until now, truly motivating and inspiring. Love the recycling ideas and creativity. Thank you for the detail given in this ible and for not simply posting though a YouTube video. I'm in awe and now in pursuit of a hope chest. Thank you again You got my vote

    1 reply
    That Redheadvillager

    Reply 3 years ago

    This comment made my day. I am overjoyed that you found it helpful, and are going to give this project a go. Thank you so much. That really means the world to me.


    3 years ago

    this is the cutest! I can't believe how creative and amazing this is!

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    You are seriously creative! This is adorable beyond words.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    I have THREE hope chests (relative's) This Instructable is so much fun. I love miniatures!

    1 reply