Ultimate $10 Dollhouse With 15+ DIY Furniture/accessories

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About: I am an Industrial Designer, who obviously loves to create. Now that I am a mom, most of my creations are inspired by my daughers. I believe that if more parents were making stuff with their kids, the world ...

If you have a daughter, niece or granddaughter who is obsessed with Barbie, score major points by making this dollhouse. You can even make it with her as your little helper. I know it takes a lot of hours to complete, my daughter and I've been working on it for 6 months. But we had a lot of fun, it was a nice project and it gave us tons of quality time together. Overall, it was a great way to bond with my daughter.

I managed to make everything (including the accessories) with less than $10, because everything is from recycled materials every household with girls should have: stretched bobby pins, girls tights with holes, cereal boxes, popsicle sticks...We spent less than $10 in few supplies, mostly glue and a couple of scrapbook papers.

Today I'll share with you step by step how we made it, and because it involves a lot of steps (91!!!!! yes I counted them) and exactly 286 pictures, I figured it was easier for you if I made other detailed instructables for each accessory and give you the links here.

So, are you ready to become that little girls favourite person? Make this gift for her and for only $10 give her the present of spending quality time and an awesome dollhouse. Let's begin.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

For the dollhouse you'll need:

  • A big sturdy box
  • Scrapbook paper
  • White paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Glue gun and lots of hot glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Printouts of different materials. Granite, shingles, bricks, wood. I have two tips regarding the printouts:
  1. In google look for brick+wallpaper or wood+wallpaper to find the pictures of the materials with good quality. And make sure they can easily be tiled.
  2. I didn't spent a penny printing them because my local library has free printing. Have you asked in yours? I was surprised that many people in my neighbourhood didn't know about this awesome service.

Step 2: Make the Windows

Begin by deciding where will you want your windows and draw them in the box.
Cut them out with the craft knife.

Then cut rectangles of white paper about 1inch wide to cover the edge of the cardboard in each window. Glue them with glue stick.

This simple step will elevate the look of the house.

The side with the windows is going to be the front, I cut three sides of it (top, right and bottom) so that it can open and close. The left edge now works as a hinge.

Step 3: Cover With Paper

Then we started covering the dollhouse with paper. For the outside I used mainly bricks, and for the inside, white paper.

We used glue stick to glue the paper, and we double checked that all the corners were glued properly.

Because our house is very big, we had to glue many pieces of paper cover everything.

Then I used the craft knife to cut out the holes of the windows.

Step 4: Moulding

Then I cut a lot of rectangles of white paper for the moulding. Those are 1cm width.

It's important to make sure the corners are well glued. I used hot glue to stick the moulding, because that's the last layer of paper, and it's a small piece of paper,

The moulding matches the first rectangles of white paper we glued to the edge of the windows. It looks nice.

Step 5: Roof

Because I didn't found a high definition picture of a roof I liked, I decided to print out a grey texture and make the texture of shingles by myself.

I started by trimming the white edge of the printout. Then I measured the desired width and made marks.

Then I folded it as shown in the picture. That simple paper now has a very nice texture. I made several pieces and glued them with hot glue.

Step 6: Facade Details

At the bottom I added another rectangle of cardboard covered with the textured gray paper to make a little roof.

Then with two triangles of cardboard, I made the piece of roof that will go at the top of the door, then I covered the door with the wood texture I printed out.

At the bottom I glued rectangles of gray felt with a rock embossing.

Step 7: Interior

I thought it would be easier to paint the interior as I wanted plain white walls, but I didn't like how it looked.

The brown colour of the box makes it difficult to have a neat finish with the white paint. After three coats it still looked brownish. And it was taking longer with the waiting time between coats.

So I ended up covering the inside with white paper too.

As you see in the second picture of this step, I didn't cover the smaller walls of the first two floors.

I used another box to make the floor for the second and third floor. I cut a rectangle, first I measured the width of the inside plus two times the height I wanted for each floor.

To make it sturdy, I used several layers of cardboard and in a single piece. Then I measured the desired height and folded each end as shown in the picture.

I covered everything with paper. The sides and roof with white paper and the floor with wood.

I made two identical pieces to make three floors. As you see, the top floor is way smaller. My daughter wanted that attic as a room exclusively for Chelsea (Barbie's little sister).

But depending on the size of your box and the design of the proud owner of the house you can make more floors.

Finally for Barbie's bedroom my daughter chose a sparkly scrapbook paper.

Step 8: Accessories

Now your dollhouse is ready for all the fun stuff. Get ready to spend many hours of fun at your favourite crafting spot.

Although kids get easily bored and have a short attention spam, here is a tip for successfully completing this project. After years of crafting with kids, I learned that they are capable of completing huge projects like this one if we guide them and brake the big projects into chunks.

This is the perfect project to use that strategy. As each furniture can be completed as a mini project and that feeling of achievement fuels their desire to continue with the next one.

So let's continue now with the furniture and other accessories.

Step 9: Make a Table

For this cute table you'll only need:

Bobby pins

A cereal box

Popsicle sticks

glue gun and scissors.

With my instructions (click here to go to my other instructable) you'll be able to make the same hexagonal table I used as a side table for the bedroom. Make more tables for the dollhouse, you might need a coffee table for the living room, and one for the dining room.

Instead of bobby pins I used popsicle sticks as legs for our dining room table.

Step 10: Make a Modern Chair

For this cute chair we'll need:

  • A styrofoam takeout box
  • Skinny sticks
  • Glue gun and scissors

As you see we use several bobby pins for our crafts so you better stop throwing to the garbage the ones that loose the round tip.

In my other Instructable you'll find detailed instructions about how to make the chair sturdy enough to hold Barbie's weight. It's an easy and fast project because it doesn't involve painting, I chose those materials specifically because of their natural color.

Step 11: Make a Rocking Chair

For this statement piece of furniture you'll need:

  • Foam from packaging
  • Skinny sticks and popsicle sticks
  • Nail polish remover
  • X-acto knife and glue gun

Head to my detailed instructions in my other Instructable to find out how I curved the popsicle sticks and how to assemble the rocking chair.

Although making this rocking chair is not complicated it does takes time, specially because shaping the popsicles will take between 4 and 24 hours. But it's worth it.

Step 12: Make a Tufted Bed

This is my favourite piece of furniture. To make yours you'll need:

  • Basic tools (glue gun, scissors, etc...)
  • Styrofoam from packaging
  • Stuffing
  • Cereal box
  • Old baby blanket and clothing
  • Old tights

Go to my other instructable and you'll see that it's not complicated. This project will take you between 1 and 2 hours. But the results are amazing, and every dollhouse needs a bed, so it better be a cute one.

Step 13: Make a Lamp With Real Light

For this little craft you'll need:

  • A cake candle holder
  • A tomato container
  • Glue gun and scissors

Take a look at my Instructable where I teach you how to make this lamp, you'll see you can make yours in less than 10 min. The fact that it has real light will delight the proud owner of the house. You'll see it´ll be one of her favourite items in the dollhouse.

Step 14: Make Some Vases

To make the vases that will accessorize the dollhouse, you'll need:

  • Beads
  • Plastic plant
  • Wire
  • Pliers and glue gun

Take a look at my Instructable where I show you how to make different vases depending on the shape and size of your beads. Once you learn you'll want to make at least one for each room in the dollhouse.

Step 15: Make a Coset / Accessory Display

Because Barbie loves her accessories she would like a cute place to display them. This shelf unit has two sides one with shelves and the other one with hangers.

For this piece of furniture you'll only need:

  • Basic tools (glue stick, scissors, glue gun...)
  • Q-tips
  • Rocks
  • Foam board (poster board)
  • Wire

Check my other Instructable and you'll see that it's easy to make. And I even teach you how to make the necklace display and a hanger.

Step 16: Make Some Accessories for Barbie's Wardrobe

Now that Barbie has a perfect way to display her favourite accesories you should make her extra stuff for her wardrobe.

How about some glasses in different shapes? This is the only part of this project that involves a more specialized tool (an electronic cutter) I share the file I designed and the detailed instructions in my other Instructable. If you don´t have an electronic cutter I made another version of sunglasses. Click here to see the instructions.

For a quick project that only requieres paper and a cereal box, take a look at the makeup set I designed, I also share the file I made and detailed instructions in this instructable.

Make a panama hat that looks very real with only a tart pan, yarn and paper. Click here to go to the instructable.

Make a purse that can actually hold stuff inside. Most of Barbies purses are all made with a solid plastic that look ok but can´t hold anything. I made this one recycling baby clothes and it doesn´t requires sewing.

I also found out a way to make a headband that is really easy, you´ll only need a small slinky and embellishments. Find the detailed instructions in this instructable.

I´ll also teach you how to make a makeup bag that won´t require sewing in this instructable.

Step 17: Make a Kitchen

For this kitchen I followed the instructions I found in this video. You'll see I added my personal touch. The materials you'll need are the same we've been using: print outs of materials, cereal box, etc.

And for the range hood I used a black styrofoam takeout box.

It turned out beautifully, every single door and drawer opens up. Measure the space in your dollhouse where you want the kitchen, and then make it outside the dollhouse, this way will be easier and you can rearrange the rooms in the dollhouse later if you want.

But I must warn you, this is a very time consuming craft.

Step 18: Make Miniature Food

Barbie's kitchen also needs some accessories, how about some fun food to make playtime more interesting.

With few tools, polymer (or air dry) clay, and a couple of printables I designed for you, you´ll be able to make donuts and a happy meal.


Step 19: Enjoy!

Now that everything is ready, you´ll end up with a feeling of achievement, and a dollhouse that will give you even more hours of fun.

You are a maker, and now a little girl´s hero. Lets empower little girls by showing them all that can be done with their own little hands. After all they are the next generation of makers.


If you enjoyed this tutorial, a vote for the contests will be greately appreciated! HAVE A FANTASTIC DAY!

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    4 Discussions

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    jessyratfink

    9 months ago

    AHHHHHHH!!! I love everything about this. You used your materials in such creative ways. I about squealed when I saw the tiny hairpin leg table :D

    1 reply
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    Penolopy Bulnick

    9 months ago

    That looks like a lot of fun to make and play with :D