Header image 3_April 2013

DIY: American Girl Doll House

I’m really excited to share this DIY American Girl doll house  project with you guys. I wanted to share it earlier, but it was a Christmas gift for Abby and Bella and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

Both of my girls are really into American girl dolls. For them it’s not just about dressing and playing with their dolls. They love decorating rooms, creating DIY doll accessories and repurposing items to incorporate into their doll house. That’s a whole separate post, so today I’ll just get right their new doll house.

My plans always start with a sketch and notes to myself. I generally do a little materials cost checking and think about the design before I move forward to it. I’ve found in the past that if I rush into something out of excitement I end up making mistakes or realizing I could have done things differently to end up with a better final product.

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In this case, I wanted to create two large identical structure for both of my daughters that would allow them to play with several American Girl dolls simultaneously. The rooms needed to be somewhat scale appropriate for an 18″ doll. Each structure would be 4 feet wide by 6 feet high and two feet deep, so when put together it would fill almost an entire wall at 8 feet wide by 6 feet tall. MDF ended up being more expensive than just going with standard plywood, and because I wanted this project to be budget friendly, that was the best way to go.

Supply list

4 sheets of standard plywood

Wood glue

Finishing nails

Screws

Primer

Paint

Optional: Touch lights (I found these at Menard’s. A two pack was $2.99 x 6)

(You’ll need some way to cut the sheets of plywood. A table saw or circular saw would do. Hammer or nail gun. Screwdriver. Clamps. Paintbrush/roller. Paint tray.)

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This photo was taken Christmas morning at about 5:00am.  Don’t mind the messy Christmas morning hair.  :)

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This is the way I had it set up for them on Christmas morning. Many of the items are hand made or repurposed. The area rug in the living room is actually a placemat. The table in the kitchen was an old cutting board; the legs are scrap pieces of  2×2 from another project, cut to the appropriate height, glued and secured with a finishing nail.

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Since Christmas the girls have had a lot of fun customizing their doll house to suit their tastes. This is Marie Grace’s bedroom. The bed is a drawer organizer box I found at Goodwill. The mirror came from an exchange party (everyone brings stuff they don’t want or use anymore) hosted by a friend early last fall. The bedside table is a jewelry chest found at goodwill.

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This is Sage’s room. Both girls have a Sage doll, this one belongs to Abby.  The bed was purchased from The American Girl website at 50% off as a Christmas gift for Abby. The bed side table is a jewelry chest from Goodwill that was repainted white. The pink shelf is a cardboard insert from some toy packaging that Abby up cycled into a shelf.

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This is Julie’s room. Bella upcycled a colorful storage container we found at Goodwill as a captains bed. The bedside dresser, originally brown, was also found at Goodwill. Bella loves lots of color so we painted it teal. The locker to the right of the bed was a gift from Justice from the previous Christmas that she thought worked really well in the doll house.  The girls like a lot more clutter than their Mom does. :)

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This is Caroline’s room. I made the bed out of scrap wood. The bedding and pillows were made from scrap fabric from another project. The bedside table was also found at Goodwill (shocker), and was a brown wall mounted shelf. We gave it new life, and a fun chevron detail, with some paint. Abby made her own little doll sized tissue box out of card board and patterned duct tape.

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Most of the doll food we make ourselves using polymer clay.

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This really was a fun project, and I enjoy watching my little girls have so much fun playing together.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

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