Ella, Dino and the doll's house

PRINCESS Ella and I made and painted a doll’s house yesterday… out of a beer carton! Hmm, not sure that’s sending a good message to Ella. Not unless you add a doll’s house dog kennel made from a cigarette packet. Note: Neither of us smoke. And I’m so much classier than beer… sometimes!

Ella and I took to the craft drawers again, because the budget didn’t quite stretch far enough to include a grand three-storey doll’s house for the now dreaded October to December Birthday-Christmas period that will forever overwhelm us. We are now accepting donations for the annual Help Save the O’Brien Family From End of Year Financial Ruin!

But anyway, back to the doll’s house. Apart from the second floor sagging, the paint scheme including a wonderful mix of a brown roof with pink walls (Ella’s choice) and it having no windows, it looks a treat.

Sort of. Actually, truth be told, I’ve refrained from photographing it up close because, well, it looks like something from UglyHomes.com. There’s a reason Rome wasn’t built in a day, because it would have looked like this otherwise. It’s certainly not up to Barbie’s usual standards.

Although, judging by this photo, Barbie clearly doesn’t have standards.

The main thing was we had a great time and it’s now her favourite “toy’’. Why do we bother spending a few hundred dollars on a grand whizz-bang kitchen when she can have a beer carton doll’s house?

Here’s how we made it:

  1. Take a cardboard box (preferably not one that’s housed alcohol) and cut away any flaps.
  2. Cut a piece of cardboard that’s the same depth as the box and 4cms wider at the sides. Fold 2cms down at each side and slide it into the middle of the box and glue or sticky tape it in to make a “second floor’’.
  3. Cut a piece of card the same width as the box and with enough length so when it’s folded in half it makes a triangle roof. Glue or sticky tape this to the top of the box. Then cut out triangles for the ends of the roof and glue these on.
  4. Paint the roof and walls of the exterior (preferably the same colour, unless you have a child who’s not afraid to experiment). Add “brick work” with a black texta.
  5. Either paint the interior walls or create your own wall paper and glue in. We used old paintings and drawings Ella had done that were originally destined for the bin.
  6. Use scraps of material or further art work for carpet and glue down.
  7. Get out your child’s favourite dolls and teddies and start playing.
  8. Now to make some furniture… That post’s to come.

What’s your child’s favourite toy?

NOTE: A much grander version of this doll’s house has since been made.

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26 Responses to CRAFT: How to make a doll’s house

  1. Toni says:

    FanTAStic!! can’t wait to see the furniture now.

    • Kel says:

      Yes, the next challenge!! hehe!!
      I can’t wait ’til she we get her and Holly a “real” dolls house. I really loved mine as a child and spent hours playing with it.

  2. Marita says:

    It looks fantastic, a house built with love 🙂 What more do you need 🙂

  3. Caz says:

    Well done Ella and Kellie. Boxes are the best hey! You can do so much stuff with them. Love the dolls house – you guys are so clever.

    • Kel says:

      Thanks, Caz. Yes, we love making things out of boxes. We used to make cubby houses out of big boxes that housed postage packs. But Ella’s a tad too big now and the walls usually burst after a few hours!!! 🙂

  4. Glowless says:

    I much prefer homemade things to shop bought (other than bikes and stuff) – it’s so gorgeous to see 🙂
    I never had a dolls house, but I had a 3 tiered storage thing that I would convert to a 3 storied villa every day!

    • Kel says:

      Sounds absolutely wonderful, Glowless!! We used to use a blanket on the floor, create grooves in it and pretend they were roads with our Matchbox cars! Homemade is definitely much better! 🙂

  5. Holly says:

    I think it’s a great doll house!! And the project of you doing it together made memories that will last long after the doll house is gone. 🙂

    Following from Lady Bloggers tea party

    • Kel says:

      So very true, Holly. 🙂
      She had her little cousin visit her the other day and the first thing her cousin said to her mum was: “can we make one of those too, Mum?”. Seems the doll house really is a hit!

  6. Hi there! Just had to check out your site! I’m from the Lady Blogger’s Society. I have such blogger’s site envy! You have a great site an great ideas! just wonderful!

  7. […] edition by Kel on August 16, 2011 · No Comments WHILE trying to build our new (non beer carton) doll’s house – I stress “trying’’ because we’ve run out of sticky tape, which is […]

  8. […] by Kel on August 19, 2011 · No Comments I KNOW sometimes you post an innocent little doll’s house made from a cardboard box on your blog and it becomes one of your blog’s most searched items via Google. I know that I’m […]

  9. Photographer-Mum says:

    Great Idea – might have to try this one 🙂

  10. Cath says:

    It just goes to prove that kids need no more than a cardboard box and a Mummy with time on her hands! Great effort, a most suitable home for nudist Barbies.
    Cath recently posted..Party StuffMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh yes, nudist Barbie was right at home in her new house! That was until we built the new doll’s house and suddenly this one has become the “shack”!! LOL! 🙂

  11. sarah says:

    that’s cool! my boy builds all manner of crap-i mean masterpieces- from junk. I just have to very quietly move them into the recycling bin after a little while!
    sarah recently posted..meaningful gift: birthday heroMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      LOL!! Yes, this doll’s house is now well overdue for the recycling bin, Sarah. Especially after we built the second house! We’re being overrun with doll’s houses at the moment!!! 😉

  12. Erin says:

    Love it!
    (visting from rewind)
    Erin recently posted..7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol 92)My Profile

  13. Bronwyn says:

    WHoA! How creative of you .. and what special memories you have!

    Visiting via the Rewind!
    Bronwyn recently posted..Grateful for TEDMy Profile

  14. MultipleMum says:

    This is a fantastic idea! The perfect place for Barbie’s nudist colony! It is amazing what a box can turn into – I will have to give it a try with the Minx because, like you, we have a crazy birthday festival but it is all in December! Thanks for Rewinding x
    MultipleMum recently posted..Weekend Rewind – Something creative editionMy Profile

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