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By Debra in CO
By Jill Iannetti
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Tips for making dollhouse furniture and decorations out of everyday items.
If you have a Valentino's pizza near you, they used to put little white plastic things in the center of the pizza to keep the top of the box from getting stuck to the toppings. They look a lot like little tables and when I was younger, my grandma would save them for me and we'd use them as tables for my dollhouse. They worked especially well for the smaller Kelly dolls.
The plastic protectors on roll up deodorant are clear and oval shaped. They could be used as a sink. Hairspray tops could be used as trash cans.
Small school pictures work well as gigantic artwork on the walls. Also, the "after eight" mints have tiny ornate clocks on the front of their wrappers which dress up a room nicely. I used to use wrapping paper as wall paper in the room and scrap fabric for curtains. If your child has a Barbie play-set many times items can be used from it in the doll house. Also, a tiny drum set can be made with enough Dixie cups!
By Debra in CO
When I was a little girl, we used the green plastic containers that strawberries come in. We turned them upside down, and placed a washrag or scrap fabric over the top. It could be a bed or a table, depending on the size of the doll. (11/01/2004)
I love making things for my dollhouse from found objects!
I have found that small doilies work fantastically as rugs, tablecloths, bedspreads, etc.
You can make small (or large) furniture from craft sticks or Popsicle sticks by cutting them to the right length and gluing them together. Most public libraries also have books on this topic.
I've covered those little medicine cups that come with NyQuil with pretty fabric. Hot glue a bead on top for a finial, attach a lollipop stick to the inside center, and a large heavy button to the bottom for a base. Makes a nice sized lamp for 11" dolls.
Russell Stover candy boxes make an ideal sized bed. Glue wooden beads at the four corners for feet. Cover with fabric.
My mom used the strawberry plastic containers for the shelves in the fridge and stove which she made from balsa wood, she made them many years ago and they are still in my proud dollhouse today! Balsa wood is great for carving things for your doll house!
When I was a kid, we had a book called "Things to Make and Do". It had instructions for a six-drawer desk in it made from matchboxes. You make two stacks of three matchboxes, with a matchbox-width space between them. Cover with a piece of cardboard long enough to fit up, over, and across the stacks. I didn't have the brass prong paper-fasteners for drawer-pulls, so I used thumbtacks. I think tiny buttons would also be cute. I covered mine in denim Contact paper (it was all I had), but I guess you could paint it. Contact paper also comes in woodgrain. Thanks for asking for tips; I'm warm and fuzzy remembering how I loved my creation!
Cut the bottom of a detergent bottle to make a tub for Barbie. Thick foam works well to make the sofa, just hot glue fabric on it.
I've found that sculpey clay makes a lot of stuff for doll houses, such as rugs, picture frames, toys, and food. The furniture can be made with cardboard, then painted. I just cut out pieces and hot glued them together. (10/09/2007)
You could use pop bottle caps as base for a pie. For crust, cut thin strip of tan felt to fit inside the edge of the cap and glue. Fill and glue with colored beads (red for cherry, blue for blueberry). Then use light tan felt cut into strips and glue onto top like the lattice weave of a pie.
By Kelly B
I have found that the boxes that bank checks come in makes a great bed base. For the headboard, use cardboard or posterboard, cut to the shape you want for the head of the bed and use batting and scrap material to pad the headboard and attach headboard to bed with paper fasteners. Finish the look by making matching pillows, curtains and bedspread with same scrap material. So much fun! Balsa wood makes a great chair rail and hardwood floor to any room. Good use for the leftover stain in the garage. (02/09/2008)
Making furniture from an old oatmeal box is easy. I made:
A tea-table, with a white lace tablecloth. I cut out a circle from cardboard, traced with a compass. For the legs, I cut out a 2-d silhouette of what I wanted the leg to look like, wider at the top and bottom for support, cut slits in those 2 areas, then cut silhouettes of the other legs and inserted them into the slits. No painting is required, a little glue, a litte fabric and you are done. I made a bed too, from cardboard and tape and paper and paint.
I'm a Blythe collector, and I'm frequently short of cash so I enjoy making little things like this from materials around the house. Tanks for the tips! (02/16/2009)
Tiny plastic food containers with lids make good no sew foot stools and bed side tables for Barbie. Cover the container with thin fabric, stuff the edges inside, then seal with lid.
The metal plastic end piece or jack of tape player head phones makes a nice drill for Ken.
Large size clear tape placed on Barbie size picture art work gives it a nice shine like glass. This is really good if you printed off something on the net.
Use a golf tee as a lamp base. Then glue a toothpaste lid on the pointy end (its the lamp shade). There you have a lamp!
You can also use toothpaste lids to be potted plant pots (03/28/2009)
Felt is great for curtains and bedspreads, etc., as it doesn't fray so no sewing needed! (12/23/2009)
You can make great furniture from reusing wine corks. Cut them to shape using a Stanley knife, and glue with hot glue. Cover with fabric (with hot glue) and tuck under the bottom of the furniture. Cover the bottom with a piece of card or thick fabric, then glue on sliced rounds of cork to use as feet. This method is great for making couches, armchairs, chaise lounges, etc. Use corks to make other furniture like beds, or to make pets, cars, etc. I made these with my friend. They are great, very strong as well as light.
Tash, Australia (01/14/2010)
All of my doll houses are made out of printer paper boxes turned sidewise on the long end so the opening is in front (not on top).
For a bathroom: I used a Crystal Light container for the toilet (it is sturdier than a toilet paper roll) and cut it so that the doll's feet would touch the ground when they sat on it. I glued the lid onto the top of the Crystal Light container (luckily it was blue- so it simulated water). For the back of the toilet I just glued Popsicle sticks to the back wall behind where the toilet was going to go and drew a "flusher knob" with a marker.
For the bathtub I used a Velveeta box. I used the brass brads for the hot and cold water knobs and cut a small hole at the top and put a wire pipe cleaner through and glued it put on the outside of the "room". The pipe cleaner worked as the movable shower wand. I never made shower curtains.
For the sink I cut a toilet paper roll to size and glued a hair spray lid on top.
I got a square piece of cardboard and covered it with foil and glued it above the sink for the mirror.
Now I'm working on a Hogwart's Castle, 12 boxes total, complete with trap doors and movable walls! It is awesome! (03/20/2010)
Here is the Barbie house.
Bottom floor: Kitchen, dining room (with Japanese styled table), and living room.
Top floor: bedroom, Jack and Jill bath, bedroom.
The closet is just a part of heavy cardboard with a wire pipe cleaner stuck through and glued down on the sides.
I was very short on cash and only used what I had laying around. It worked great though! (03/20/2010)
Me, my daughter, and 2 friends have recently made a Barbie house from cardboard, picture below. I have produced a photostory of how it was made, if you're interested in seeing it or getting tips please contact me and I will be more than happy to send it you.
I made this for my daughter when she insisted that Tinkerbell needed a house! You can kind of tell what I used for everything, and the little table is a cap for a baby bottle with grosgrain ribbon wrapped around it. Enjoy!
P.S. If you put water in the "bucket" on the roof, the shower really works.(10/09/2010)
I made my grand daughter a Barbie house by purchasing a three cubbie birch shelf. I spray painted the cubbie pink on the outside, as well as the "ceiling" of each section. I did it vertically, but you could also do it horizontally. I used scrapbooking paper to wallpaper to walls and floors. Use Modge Podge to glue down and decoupage the paper to waterproof it. I used the extra length (cut off to length) to add to the width where needed. I have plans to use small mirrors to glue on fir windows. Also, I am going to add wood trim for crown molding at the top of each room, as the paper is not large enough to cover to the ceiling. Molding will camouflage that.
I plan to use plastic needle point screen to make furniture. (12/28/2010)