Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bookshelf to Dollhouse

 I have been the proud owner of this little bookshelf since 2003, when I was a poor college student and rescued it from the dumpster :-)

You can even see the chew marks at the bottom from when my first rabbit, Moonberry, took a few nibbles.  Ah, the memories!

Now that our budget allows us to actually buy furniture rather than dumpster-dive for it, the little bookshelf is moving on.

But not too far, because I am making it into a dollhouse for Sprite!

I am in love with this project, not just for the upcycling aspect (which is still awesome), but because it has a lot of potential.  Furniture can be added, flooring, roof, pictures on the will always be a work in progress, and that makes it fun!

small bookshelf
doll house sized windows and stairs
dollhouse accessories

small saw
sander or sandpaper
hot glue gun

The windows, stairs, and other dollhouse accessories all came from Hobby Lobby.  They have a decent selection, and often 40% off coupons online.

Ok!  First, trace the backside of the window on to the inside of the bookself, whever you want them.  The windows are designed to pop right a square hole.  If the back of the bookshelf is thin, like mine was, be careful to avoid splintering.

Also, trace openings on the shelves where the top of the stairs will be.

Cut the openings carefully (or make your father-in-law do it, ha).

 The cut shelves:

Use a file to smooth and shape the opening.

A little sander also worked well for this.

Test the windows and stairs at this point to make sure they fit as you want them too.

Use the sander the lightly sand over the entire surface (except the thin backing).  This will allow the paint to stick better.  Also, sand down any rough edges caused by curious bunny rabbits.

Dust off the sawdust, and wipe with a damp rag.  Allow to dry before adding your first layer of paint or primer.  In a few hours, add a second layer.

Meanwhile, paint the stairs and windows.  When the paint is dry, pop the windows in the holes and hot glue them in place.

Align the stairs and hot glue them in place as well.  Use a lot of glue in a lot of places, because kids play rough and you don't want the stairs to fall down as Dolly is stomping up them.

Sprite started with just some small dolls, peg people, and other little things we had around the house.  She also got a set of 2 chairs and couch (on clearance at Hobby Lobby) and some little dollies and toys.  She got a little wooden chair and painted it herself.  I had the dollhouse waiting for her when she got back from preschool.

We were at Hobby Lobby again yesterday, and got a tiny framed picture of horses for the wall, and a tiny toaster with even tinier toast.  Each of those was only $1.99, and there were a TON more little things to choose from for that price.  Here's the toaster, with a 3 year old's hand for scale:

They're not in time-out, she tells me, they're just looking at the horse picture on the wall:

The peg people work nicely too. 

This bunny was a favor from Sprite's baby shower!

These peg people were from when we visited the Tower of London and the cat is from Grammy Apple.

Gnomeo and Juliet took over the bottom floor.

There is a lot more we want to do with this house.  I want to add some flooring, and Sprite wants to make beds because baby Strawberry Shortcake is tired of sleeping on the floor!

You can even buy dollhouse sized mini light fixtures, with mini plugs and mini power strips that actually work! Seriously!  A little advanced for a three year old, but if she's still into it in a few years, it might be a fun upgrade to do together.

I set up a corner for Sprite's dollhouse and "backyard" in the living room. She has a little rug to sit on, and a shelf for some "outdoor" activities.

The pilgrim and Indian hang out in the "backyard" mostly, with a giant fire made by Sprite and a canoe and teepee made by Mommy.  They were kits from Hobby Lobby, about $3 each and super easy.  I think they need a greenish rug instead of that old thing though!

I am so excited to continute to work on this with Sprite.  I hope this tutorial helps you to make your own little house.  We are looking forward to sharing our dollhouse upgrades as we do them, and would love to hear about yours!



Blessed Girl said...

I'm visiting from Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party, and wow...I love that dollhouse! Such a great idea for upcycling and such a nice, big dollhouse for you guys to continue to "remodel" together!

Carmen said...

Wow! Super cute doll house...LOVE the mini toaster!! My problem is that my daughter uses her doll house AS a book shelf...go figure.

Also, I would like to personally invite you to our new Rockin’ link party every Friday at RoCa and Company. Come and show off this super cute doll toaster and all ..seriously...stop by this coming Friday. Hope to see you there...

Remember...YOU ROCK!!

Carmen @
RoCa and Company

DWYHomemaking said...

Wow! I've never heard of a dollhouse made from a bookshelf! Way to go! I'm def. featuring this today, grab a featured button if you wish! I"m sure your little girl LOVEs this!

Rachel Lynn said...

I love this idea! I only wish I had a little girl to build one for. lol

Fleur4Her said...

Very creative! I really like this idea and will try something similar for when my daughter is bigger.

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