Mandi Makes a Dollhouse

1:12 Modern Dollhouse Project

A month ago, I thought it would be really fun to make a dollhouse for Lucy’s Christmas present. I was so inspired years ago by Nicole’s dollhouse, and others who followed along with the I’m a Giant Challenge, and finally I have an actual excuse to make a dollhouse. It’ll be fun, I said. It won’t be too difficult, I said. I’m laughing at myself now. This project has basically consumed my life! For starters, I built a dollhouse that was the wrong scale (too small for the furniture I wanted to put in it), so I had to find someone to buy it to recoup my money, then I had to buy a new one and rebuild. (Kind of embarrassing to admit I did that!) So that’s where I am now. Working on finishing details to the interior before the next stage begins- decorating!

I haven’t been doing the best job at documenting this project, because it’s just nice to not have to worry about that all the time. Hashtag blogger problems! But you can see some photos on my Facebook page and at the Instagram hashtage #mandimakesadollhouse

1:12 Modern Dollhouse Project

Here’s the inside! You can see it before I did any painting here. I wanted to place the furniture before deciding on wall placement and colors for each room. I still haven’t settled on a color for the bathroom or other bedroom on the second floor. I figure, things should be colorful, because this is a kid’s dollhouse, after all! It’s not just for me to play with, though make no mistake, I will be playing with this beaut when it’s finished. I’ve decided to generally stick to pink, orange, and yellow for the main colors, with natural colored accents thrown in. Maybe I will do more of a neutral color scheme for the first floor, pinks and rusts in the second floor, and yellow on the third floor. That’s my plan so far, but as you can see, I’m still working on painting (masking tape still in place), and haven’t added trim or stairs yet, so anything is fair game at this point!

The dollhouse kit I decided on is pretty basic, but I decided to buy two dormer kits to add to the attic space. It was a bit challenging to add dormers that didn’t belong to my dollhouse kit, but I definitely think it was worth it. Cutting out angled holes for the dormers, sanding and wood filling my heart out until they were perfect, and then wallpapering one and caulking the other was no joke! Sometimes I feel like I’m building a real house. Each tiny little detail needs to much attention. Each little stair spindle and trim piece. So much priming, sanding down the primer, priming again, painting, and sanding between coats of paint. And let’s not forget hand scribing each individual plank into the plywood floors and staining it in layers to try to get the look of wood flooring. What?! Yes. Perfectionism at its finest. (Sanding down tiny clapboard is best done while frying out your brain to Gossip Girl episodes on Netflix.) I suppose it doesn’t need to be that much work, but I figure if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.

DIY dollhouse accessories

I still have to add exterior details, like windows, shingles, etc, but am not looking forward to that so much. I’m really chomping at the bit to add trim and fill the interior with all of the fun things I’ve been making and collecting along the way. Some of the little things are vintage, found on eBay, and other things I made myself (I’ll share a couple of easy DIYs later), but here’s everything I bought new. I found some of these things at local craft stores (Pat Catans and Michaels) but I’ve linked to everything you can buy online:

1-12 dollhouse accessories

Dollhouse Kit (not pictured)
Dormer Kit (not pictured)
1. Bookshelf with miniature books
2. Porcelain bathroom set (this is getting glued down)
3. Cuckoo clock
4. Kitchen set (I painted mine)
5. Dollhouse rugs (I bought three from this shop, and am making the rest.)
6. Miniature tea set
7. Miniature Amber glass jars (I actually found mine in the jewelry section at a craft store.)
8. Step stools
9. Bathroom flooring
10. Nursery set
11. Attic wallpaper (scrapbook paper)

Here’s the Calico Critter family that will live inside:

calico critter cat familycat family available here / cat family babies available here

Wallpapered dollhouse dormers

Wallpapered dormers! This intimidated me so much, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. (I thought it would be impossible, and it turns out it was just mildly challenging. hehe) I did decide to caulk the corners of every room that wouldn’t receive wallpaper. It was easy and took care of any little cracks, making it look really nice and finished. It’s a good thing I have all of those random supplies already on hand (like wood glue, super glue, caulk, wood stain, and interior paint), or else I can see how all the costs would really add up!

Dollhouse Dining Room

How cute is this dining set! I made the table myself, and the chairs are vintage found on Etsy. I kind of want this to be my actual dining room!

Dollhouse Dining Room

So excited to get everything inside! I’ll share more progress soon. Thanks for following along!

11 Responses

  1. Lucy says:

    You should check out @little.linzi on Instagram for inspiration. Follow the hashtags #maddiesdollhousereno and #thelittlelinziproject

  2. Leigh-Ann says:

    you’re pretty cool! by a lot :)

  3. Cheryl says:

    I love this. My mom made me a dollhouse when I was younger and yours is bringing back so many good memories. I even had that same cuckoo clock!

  4. Courteney says:

    Love this! For my daughters birthday, we just redid the dollhouse that my parents made for me when I was a kid. They built everything (the furniture, cabinets, toilet…you name it) from scratch! It was very 90’s though so we ripped out all the carpet and wallpaper repainted and laid down hardwood (popsicle sticks!) and added some new wallpaper. I know how all consuming it can me. hah!
    Lucy will love it, I’m sure! I played with mine till I was probably too old (*ahem* 13…)

  5. Steph M. says:

    Oh man! I love this. I played with my dollhouse for years growing up. Probably way past the normal age, but it is some of my fondest memories. My parents handed it down to a neighbor girl when I finally stopped. This gives me great inspiration to make for my own kid someday!

  6. Tiffany J. says:

    Who doesn’t love a good dollhouse?! I don’t have kids yet, but I found some awesome wooden furniture from a favorite vintage seller on Etsy last year, and now I am DYING either start a project for my future/hypothetical kids or someone else’s! :) I also convinced my BFF to buy an old dollhouse and rehab it for her girls. Thanks for sharing your progress.

  7. Hillary K says:

    Ok, I’m so obsessed with this! I get such a Wes Anderson vibe from the house and design details (especially Moonrise Kingdom)—which I love! So so inspiring.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Hi Mandi! May I ask what you used to caulk the house? Was it silicone? Do you then paint over it? Thanks!

    • Mandi says:

      It was silicone, and it was paintable. So I painted over areas where the room would be painted, like in the corners. But I didn’t paint over where I caulked around white moulding and paneling. That’s because it was white and I mostly taped off before caulking. I didn’t want to try to get a paint brush in there and do detail work afterwards.