Repair and Remodel a Doll House




About: I've built houses, decks, custom cabinets, furniture of all types. Ive done furniture repair and restoration, residential and commercial remodels, restaurant seating and tables and hotel furniture. Ive been ...

My fiance brought home a doll house the neighbor was trashing. It was badly beaten and abused and had definitely seen better days, but we could fix it. We decided to give it an overhaul and gift it to her best friends daughter.

Step 1: Dis-assembly

This house is a pretty nice one. It came apart pretty easily Just keep track of the screws, nuts and bolts. Its always nice to have an extra pair of hands while doing this.

Step 2: Clean, Scrape and Sand

Clean, Scrape and Sand the walls you are re-using. This house needed new flooring. It is made from 1/8" MDF with a sticker on it.
The pieces you are replacing do not need to be sanded, just set them aside for now.

A glue scraper works well to get the "extra" stickers from thru-ought the years. after you get the stickers off, wipe it down with a damp, slightly soapy wash cloth. You may be able to skip this step depending on how dirty it is.

Then after they are scraped, wiped and dry, Its time to sand. I went straight to 220 grit. This is to scuff the surface and prep for new paint.

Step 3: Prime the Walls

We primed all walls that are getting new paint. This was done all at once, so have them all ready before beginning this step.

There isn't much to the instructions here, just paint them and let them dry...

Step 4: Replace the Floor

I located and measured the floor pieces I needed to replace and picked up a sheet of 1/8" MDF.I finish cut all the pieces.

Then mark the new pieces and find their old counterpart. Lay the old one on top of the new floor and trace the floor-plan as needed.

I used my band-saw for these odd cuts.

I replaced ALL pieces that were 1/8"MDF

Step 5: Time for Paint

Before laying the color, mark for wallpaper and tape off the lines needed for room separation.

Mix your paint (don't forget to save a little for touch-up)

I think what we ended up with looked great.

We added stripes to one of the walls. We first painted a nice layer of yellow. After drying, using a pencil, I made a mark every inch on the top and bottom line. Then using 1" painters tape, I taped off every other line.
Mix another color and paint over that area. after drying peel the tape off and look at your results.

Step 6: Paint the Accessories and Exterior

We used spray paint for the exterior of the house as well as the stair rails and stairs. All of these pieces were cleaned and primed before their final color. The spray paint takes much longer to dry so let them sit over night  before handling.

Step 7: Wallpaper

We used cheap dollar tree self stick wallpaper on this and it worked well. Its nice to have the cutting mat for this but basicaly peel and lay the wallpaper on the area and trim the excess with an Ex-Acto knife.

Step 8: Re-assemble

After all the paint and wallpaper is finished, you can now re-assemble the house. There are no instructions here, just piece by piece put it all back together.

This is the fun part, as you get to see all your hard work pay off. With a little skill and luck this all assembled pretty easily. I did lose a nut and a bolt in the process, so I had to raid the nut and bolt jar to find one that would work. I also had to widen that groove for the lower level interior wall.

Step 9: Add Chair Rail

I found some scrap that had some "bull-nose" molding 1/2" thick. I cut each piece to fit and glued them in place using an all purpose craft glue. This glue takes a few minutes to set so I used a couple of strategically placed drops if Instant bond CA adhesive to hold it in place I also took a little time to add a few dabs of glue at the exposed edges and corners of the wallpaper.

Step 10: Finishing Touch

I raided my scrap bin and found some stuff that would work perfectly.

I measured and cut the correct amount and mounted it between centers on my lathe.
Next I roughed the whole thing round and then rough and finish shaped them. as well as finish sand them.

I needed to flatten one side of the column so I put a drop of glue on the center of a piece of plywood and laid the column on the glue spot. Put a tiny drop at the front edge as well. This will allow you to simply lay the plywood against the fence and the table to cut a straight slice off-center. finally, the column was primed painted and glued in place on the interior wall.

We spent about $20.00 for materials to renovate this home and I think This sweet little girl will get a couple of great years of play out of it before it becomes abandoned again.
Thanks for looking



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    20 Discussions

    That is adorable! It is bigger than her! Are you thinking of making little furniture for it? I just LOVE little furniture! I wish I could sit on little furniture :D

    MaritterosePenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 3 years ago

    i wanna sit on little furniture......

    with little ppl.... and little food AND A LITTLE PIG OR ELEPHANTTTTT


    4 years ago

    Did you paint directly over the decals that were already on the house or did you remove them first?

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Check out my Captain America beanie and other instructables

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    Great job. Thanks for sharing the happiness it brought to it's new owner.

    1 reply