DIY GIFT HACK: The perfect Toddler Doll House

Jurni and her custom doll house

This past Christmas, I began searching for what I would describe as the “Perfect” dollhouse for Jurni. I was on Amazon, Target, Walmart, and even Ebay. Everything being sold was sole form of cheap plastic and if you have met my kids, easily breakable items are the last thing they need. If you have kids you fully understand that most toys either end up broken, lost, or randomly thrown away when mom is having a “cleaning tantrum”. I will be often, I throw toys away often, especially the ones that just end up everywhere all over my house.

While on my search, my mother reminded me of the My Size Barbie dollhouse I had as a kid. It was plastic, but not that low quality plastic. The furniture was big, so not something you could easily lose or step on and break. It was truly meant for a Barbie to easily fit. After continuous searching, we found the house for sale, used. The seller was out of state and I did not truly trust the shipping process or condition of the house. After going back and forth on my options, my mom suggested that I build the house.

Having never built a dollhouse, I started looking on Etsy and Pinterest for ideas. I found some really great woodwork and craftsmanship, but nothing I would easily be able to put together. When we started looking at the standard plastic dollhouses they sell in stores, my mother mentioned that each house was just made up of multiple squares, or those storage cubes. We set a date to work on the project and I began my trip to Walmart and Michaels to get my supplies.

Basic Supplies:

1. 4 x 4 Storage Cube (Walmart, Big Lots, Target, Amazon)

2. Can of Paint or Spray Paint (your choice) for exterior and interior walls

3. Material for Carpet (Felt Paper or Mini Rugs)

4. Kitchen/Bathroom peel and stick Backdrop Tile

5. Mini stick on mirrors

6. Saw

7. Nails and Hammer

8. Gorilla Glue or Glue Gun

9. Fake Grass

10. Popsicle sticks

11. Doll Furniture

12. Fabric for curtains

13. Your own unique decor items

My daughters room is purple, gray, and white with some hints of pink throughout her room. I decided to use these same four colors throughout her mini dollhouse. We decided to change the size of the rooms from a perfect 4-squares to two larger rooms for the living room and bedroom and two smaller rooms for the kitchen and bathroom. This required drilling new holes in the tops and bottoms of the dividers for attachment to the top and bottom base pieces of the storage unit. In order to provide the house with doorways, my mother used and electric saw. I drew out measurements on each divider and she, along with some help, cut out the doors.

Bedroom before the carpet

Once the house was fully put together, the next step was to start painting the interior and exterior of the house. Utilizing primer+paint spray paint, I changed the brown wood on the outside to white, the first floor interior to white, and the second floor interior to pink. Her ceilings remained brown. Once the paint had 24 hours to dry, placement of the tile in the bathroom and kitchen began. I cut the tile to match the measurements of the rooms and individually placed each piece row by row. I used the remaining peel and stick tile pieces to create a border in the kitchen. For her living room, I chose a zebra skin shag rug, which I glued down with gorilla glue. (PLEASE, PLEASE, avoid getting this on your hands as it is super hard to wash off and can irritate the skin).

Once all of the flooring was laid down, we used counter contact paper to cover the wood piece or the back and nailed the back onto the house. Some may wish to cut out windows, we chose not to and to make our own. Using small square fabric pieces, I created my own curtains and my mother found pictures of beach settings for the background scenery, to signify that the house is on the beach. We glued each photo to the wall and then placed the curtains around it to give the house a feel of having multiple windows. Next, I began decorating. I found some peel and stick lettering in the scrapbook section, some mini peel and stick mirrors, and my mother found a sticker book with flowers and butterflies. We added cute little sayings to her wall and her bedroom wall even says “Sweet Journey” (my dessert business named after Jurni).

One of the final steps was to add furniture. My mom found these furniture sets at Hobby Lobby for loving room, kitchen, and bedroom. Kevin’s mom also found some pieces for the bathroom. To ensure their would not be doll furniture all over my house, I gorilla glued everything to both the wall and the floor. We allowed the glue to set for over 24 hours. We added a backyard, complete with grass and two dogs, and a driveway with a shed (my moms idea). The final touch came with the top of the house.

My mom created both a grassy area and a water area on her rooftop, complete with picnic area, fishing area, and a small personal hot tub. She even has her own little dock with street lamps for lighting. Our custom DIY dollhouse was complete.

Thinking of completing your own DIY gift? This custom dollhouse is great size for a toddler. My daughter is two and the house is perfect size for her. She spent over an hour in the house when she first saw it. There is so much individual creativity that went into the creation of this house. The house is nowhere near perfect but it is perfect for Jurni and that is what counts.

Do you have a recent DIY gift you have created?



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