Sadie has been asking for a dollhouse. There are a few important reasons why a dollhouse isn't a good match for our family right now. They are as follows:
1) Dollhouses are big. Our apartment is small. New math tells us that big stuff in a small home is a bad combo.
2) Dollhouses are expensive. Oh, money tree, oh money tree, wherefore art thou, money tree? Even the "cheap" ones are over $100. A really super awesome one is $400.
3) Dollhouses are not cute. I don't mean to be rude to Barbie, but I'm just not into her house. Especially not for $150.
I thought (and thought and thought) about how I could possibly reconcile Sadie's desire for a dollhouse with my desire to combat the three evils of dollhousedom: It had to be compact, inexpensive, and cute. Welcome to the tutorial on how to make this happen on a dime!
Step 1: Purchase FOUR three-ring binders...these will be your "rooms"
Step 2: Purchase cute (small print) scrapbook paper to serve as "wallpaper"
Step 3: Trim the paper to fit your binder, and decoupage (carefully to avoid creases) onto the inside "walls"
Bedroom (used two different papers for this one + trimmings from the bathroom for the chair railing):
Step 4 (optional): Make a little cover-curtain for the three rings. I just sewed a piece of fabric with a hole at the top and the bottom (for the top and bottom rings to go through), just like you'd sew a simple curtain:
Open the rings, put the curtain on:
Ta-da! No more glaring indications that these are actually 3-ring binders :)
Step 5: Decoupage any furniture that you will not be making/buying for the house directly onto the walls (dude...not every piece of furniture needs to be mobile...even Barbie's dream house is half made up of cardboard pictures on the wall, amirite?)
1) I found all of my paste-to-the-wall images online and printed them in color onto normal printer paper - furniture, lamps, Barbie-themed artwork, etc...I got all the images online. I have no recollection of where I got them - if they are your images, please let me know so that I can appropriately source!
2) Before decoupaging them onto the walls, I decoupaged them onto cardstock paper so that you wouldn't be able to see the wall pattern through them (since copy paper is so thin). In hindsight, I could have saved this step if I had just printed onto cardstock. Live and learn, right?
Step 6 - Furniture making time!! Make everything you'll need for the house (that isn't already pasted to the walls). I made (mostly out of styrofoam, cardboard, fabric, and hot glue):
Sofa, chair, and coffee table (living room)
Bed and bedding (bedroom)
Bathtub and sink (bathroom)
Table and chairs (kitchen)
I broke down and bought a $1.99 miniature topiary at Michael's. Sorry.
Once the rooms are all finished, you'll have an adorable three ring binder Barbie house! Sadie's has a...
Here are all the rooms together:
Aerial view of the house when opened (sans furniture):
The best part...the Binders are SO compact that you can remove the furniture, fold them up, and put them on a bookshelf!
So there you have it. I probably spent about $30 on the entire project, but you could EASILY do it for less than $10. Cheap notebooks, cheap paper, re-use things for the furniture pieces...easy peasy.
Compact? - Check.
Inexpensive? - Check.
Cute? - Double Check.
Mission Accomplished. Christmas is gonna be awesome!