MAKE: a DIY customized dollhouse with fabric.
I admit it. I have issues. Why on earth would I want to mess with a perfectly-nice-to-begin-with dollhouse?
While I don’t have the answer to that question, I’ll tell you that sometimes, I can’t leave well enough alone. Sometimes, I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for, so I make (or customize) it myself. Sometimes, you just gotta play with paint and decoupage, you know?
Why a dollhouse? Well, while on vacation this past fall, we stayed at a beach house and the kids bedroom had this cute little dollhouse in it. My daughter went nuts for the toy and played with it constantly that week. I decided then that a starter dollhouse would make a great Christmas gift for her.
We have a small home, so I did not want a toy that was going to take over my daughter’s play space, especially if she lost interest in it quickly. My online search for something cute and compact led me to a sweet, little fold-and-go dollhouse from Melissa & Doug. It was the perfect starter size for my toddler.
The wooden dollhouse was darling, but those plain wooden surfaces were just begging for a little customization! I couldn’t resist. I found a sweet, vintage-inspired, cotton floral fabric that I loved. The print went with her play area, plus my daughter’s favorite color is blue. I covered the exterior of the doll house with the cotton using decoupage. Lots and LOTS of decoupage!
Once I figured out what to do, this craft project was not difficult, it just took awhile to finish. I decided to only cover the exterior of the house… partly because of the time I’d already invested but I also thought my daughter may want to help me decorate the inside rooms down the road.
I thought I’d show you how I made this dollhouse and my tips for customizing your own. In about six minutes, you can see what took me weeks to complete (with the multiple steps and drying times). I gotta say, it was worth all of that work! I’m glad I trusted my gut to change it. It was cute before, but now the little house exudes vintage charm. Plus, most importantly, my daughter loves to play with the dollhouse and the little bunny figurines.
Watch to see how I transformed this plain house and check out my supply list and crafting tips below:
CUSTOMIZE A DOLLHOUSE: RESOURCES AND SUPPLIES USED
(Some of the links below are affiliate links.)
- Calico Critters Bunny Figurines
- Melissa & Doug Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse
- Floral cotton fabric
- Craft paint (I used white, black and pink)
- Mod Podge Matte Formula
- Mod Podge Hard Coat Formula
- Brushes, various sizes
- Brayer & decoupage tool set
- Craft blade/knife
- Paper doily (to make the door mat)
MY TIPS FOR THIS DIY CUSTOMIZED DOLLHOUSE PROJECT:
- Water down the decoupage (both the Matte during fabric application and the Hard Coat at the end). I found water made the application easier, smoother and produced fewer bubbles in the glue.
- Be liberal with the decoupage application, especially around the windows, roof line and other detailed areas. Squish the fabric in and around those details as best as you can to remove bubbles.
- Be sure to get glue on the fabric over the edges of the house. This helps prevent fraying later on.
- Do not (I repeat do not!) try to trim any of the edges of the house until the glue and fabric are completely dry.
- If possible, use a whole piece of fabric for each section of the house to help create a seamless look.
- In hard to reach places (like under the porch for this house), cut strips of fabric to fit around the windows and tighter areas.
- Use a fabric with a small pattern repeat. This helps blend together any of those cut lines.
- Once the decoupage is dry, sand any fabric frays that show on the edges.
- Apply at least 4 thin coats of Mod Podge Hard Coat over the painted and fabric covered surfaces. (allowing adequate time to dry between) Once cured (four weeks), it will provide a durable finish that may even be toddler resistant. (So far, it is for us!)
P.S. If you are looking for more toddler-related craft and toy tips, you may be interested in these posts, too.