Jan 2, 2013

Collapsible Dollhouse

I thought I would share something that took a good chunk of my time prior to Christmas.  My granddaughter wanted a dollhouse for Christmas.  They live about 900 miles away and don't have enough room in the car to bring home a full-sized doll house, so after spotting this great idea I decided to make something similar.  Instead of using three-ringed binders for the structure, I went with thrifted double album covers.  I got them for 10¢ each.

I needed four double album covers for the project, and a couple of single covers as well.  The first thing I did was to place white duct tape down the outside and inside spine of each double cover, making sure to fold the tape over the top edges.  I then placed two covers together and taped along the top and right edges.  I left the bottom edge untaped for the time being.  I did this with all four covers so that, when finished, they were all connected together and would create four rooms when standing up and open (see one of the following pictures.) 

The next step (which is an addition to the original idea) was to add a floor to each room.  I did this by taking apart the single covers, cutting them down slightly, and taping them to the bottom of each double cover.  I taped them along the top edge (of the floor) to the front and the back.  After taping, I folded the floor up and closed the cover to make sure it was going to fit okay.  If the fit was okay, I finished taping around the rest of the floor edges.  I did the same to each "room" of the doll house.

When I was all finished taping, it looked like this with all the edges covered with duct tape.

The next step was to decide on what scrapbooking paper I was going to use for the walls and floors of each room.  I adhered them all with mod podge, letting each room dry before moving onto the next.

The finished doll house folds like this when its not being played with.

Before I go further, I thought I would mention that I entertained the idea of cutting 12 x 12 squares of masonite for the doll house, which would make it pretty sturdy.  I opted for the album covers because they were recycled and lightweight.  But, they do warp a little when applying mod podge to them.  So do what you want with that little bit of information!

Anyway, now for an overall tour of the house before I get into more of the furniture details.

The bathroom and bedroom.

The bedroom and living room.

The living room and kitchen.

The kitchen and bathroom.

The bathroom started with these thrifted pieces...a tub-shaped soap dish, a small ceramic dish, and a candle holder.  I didn't have to do anything to the tub.  I spray painted the candle holder white and glued the dish on top to create the sink.  I used E-6000 for all of the furniture gluing.

I used a vintage crocheted pot holder for a rug.  All of the images were found on the internet, resized, printed, cut, and mod podged into place.

The family room was created from an old wooden box, two candle holders, and an acrylic dessert cup. (I didn't end up using the wooden piece...probably because I couldn't find it at the time!)  The lamp was easy.  All I had to do was turn the dessert cup upside down and glue it to the top of the candle stick.  The ottoman was just a matter of gathering a circle of scrap leather around some batting and gluing in place.  The couches were a bit trickier.  I removed the hinges, ran the front edge of the lid through the table saw to barely cut of the front edge.  I had to run the base of the box through the table saw to make it the same height as the lid, then cut off the front edge and put a new bottom on it.  Once they were the same size, I glued some decorative wood pieces to the bottom for feet.  I completed them by making little cushions and pillows.

The drapes, plasma tv, fireplace, basket, and plants are all images from internet.

The bedroom began with a wire napkin holder, picture frame, and air freshener.  I sprayed the bed pieces white.  I then drilled holes through the wooden frame and wired it to the head of the bed.  (I actually turned the napkin holder upside down.)  I removed the board of the picture frame, drilled small holes spaced alternately, then covered it with batting and green fabric.  I then pushed white brads through the fabric and holes and secured them to the back.  This created a tufted look for the headboard.

I removed the air freshener liquid from the lamp, made a mattress, pillows, and cover for the bed, and mod podged some coordinating paper to a cute little trunk.  I pulled a thrifted doily from my stash to use as a rug.  Once again, the images were from the internet.

The kitchen was a lot of fun.  The furniture was pretty easy.  It consisted of four wooden salt and pepper shakers (two not shown), a pedestal candle base, and a ceramic trivet.  I glued the trivet to the candle base to create the table.  If you're worried about it breaking, you could use a cute lid from a metal canister instead.  I cut the tops off of the shakers.  Originally, I was going to make a padded cover for them, but went super simple by gluing a canning lid to the top of each and adding a scalloped paper medallion to the top with mod podge.

The fun part was finding all the cute images to glue to the walls.  Another thrifted doily makes a cute rug.

An aerial view of the kitchen gives you an idea of how the house stands when its open.

This project did take quite a bit of time (especially waiting for the mod podge to dry) but it was fun.  Everything but the canning lids, scrapbook paper, duct tape, and air freshener lamp was thrifted.
And, the best part is that my granddaughter loved it!

I like to link to these great parties!

Featured on:

UPDATE 11/4/13:  I just received the latest issue of Romantic Country magazine which I'm happy to say includes the following article!!


  1. Very cute and beautiful ! Marvellous :)

  2. Susan,
    These area amazing. My aunt does rooms in the boxes behind glass and doll houses. I have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this and any other posts with everyone. It runs from Wednesday through midnight Sunday. Here is the link to the party.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  3. That is so darling and clever!

  4. WOW this is ADORABLE! I am waaaay older than your granddaughter but I wouldn't mind this dollhouse as a Christmas gift ;)

  5. Absolutely Awesome! Dropping by from Shine on Fridays. I didn't link up, just browsing today, but I wanted to leave a comment. I'm sharing this and pinning it also. You did such a great job :)

    Roxana from http://fourelevenrox.blogspot.com/

  6. This is the cutest thing!!! I bet you had as much fun making this as your grand daughter will have playing with this and I love how it folded up and is so portable. Thank you for the great instructions, sometime folks show things they make but do not explain. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Wow! So much creativity. Lucky granddaughter.

  8. This is like a dream! I have loved the idea of dollhouses my entire life. As a child, I fortunate to have a small one. But, alas, I grew up and the dollhouse was left behind. This would be a practical way to bring back some much-needed impracticality in my life. Thank you for sharing this with the world... and with me!

  9. Hi... I'm Handmadecreativity from Italy....great work!!!
    I love the sofa: is a new idea for me... if you want, visit my blog. I also do a dollhouse from a cardboard... bye, Handmadecreativity

  10. Susan, this project has me speechless! I can't believe all the time and effort, combined with the fabulousness of the finished product...and it folds up!! I can't even imagine how much your granddaughter will enjoy and cherish this; the little girl in me wants to play with it myself! Featuring you tomorrow on One Artsy Mama: www.oneartsymama.com

  11. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured today!
    --Mandy, www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

  12. Wow this is amazing! I want to play with it!!

  13. Susan, your doll house is amazing. I love it!!!!

  14. This is absolutely adorable! I have pinned it and am following via GFC now. I'd like to invite you to participate in my Pin Me Linky Party. It goes Fri-Wed. I allow up to 3 links each week!

  15. Just amazing. I love all the details and clever ways you've created the furnishings. I've featured this fabulous idea at this week's Craftastic Party. Be sure to grab a Featured On button & thanks for linking to Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do:)

  16. So adorable! I love how it collapses and takes up almost no room!

    My first dollhouse was made out of upcycled boxes from the grocery store with quite a few hand made furniture pieces. I loved it to death! I bet your granddaughter loves playing with her new house!

    Stopping in from Sew Can Do!

  17. Hi Susan - popping over from Southern Disposition after seeing your comment. This turned out so cute!! You did an amazing job, and I love that you did it with album covers - so clever!

  18. Very cute! Love this collapsible dollhouse and the dollhouse furniture is absolutely cute and so chic. Nice Job! I found your site on pinterest and shared your link under my dollhouse page. Thanks for posting!


  19. WOW!!! That's incredible! You are my kind of grandma for sure. Please link this up with me either on Saturdays-Mondays for Grandparents Say It Saturday or at Wow Us Wednesdays. Love it! Hope to see you there.

  20. I just love all the creativity that went into this. All attention to details and of course, all the love. This is a gift to be treasured for years to come.

  21. What a lovely gift! You are so creative. Thank you for sharing.

  22. This is awesome. I have a 3 yr old niece (she's the youngest little girl now) and I think this would be a fun gift. Just a thought......since you used album covers, you could always slide something inside each cover for extra stability (a heavier piece of cardboard, or even have some very thin plexiglass cut to size at Lowes/Home Depot) then just slide it inside where the record was stored and tape it in. Heck, you could even leave the old record inside! ;)

    1. Thanks! You certainly could slip something inside to make it sturdier before taping up the edges. I hope your 3 yr. old niece has as much fun with it as you will have making it!

  23. Just a wonderful Idea. There are many things that we can do with our little girls without braking the bank thank you for this wonderful inspiring idea.

  24. How fantastic! I am definitely filing this one away for when I have babies :)

  25. Fabulous! Saw this on Pinterest! You are so clever!
    Miniatures can get pricey and your ideas are just genius!
    Thanks for sharing such great easy to follow tutorials! :)

  26. AWESOME! I knew someone out there could take the guesswork out of making a folding Barbie house. I'm giddy with childhood memories and so happy to not be purchasing a plastic house that's entirely pink. Thank you so much!

  27. Love this project and can't wait to make it. Have to wait till weekend to hit the garage sales for vinyl. I'm assuming -- I have trouble visualizing things in 3d in spite of your pix -- that you apply the scrapbook paper to walls & floors with structure in "flat" format, not fully opened, right? Or can it be applied to the appropriate record cover sides before even connecting the pieces? Yes, I am very spatially challenged! I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you!

  28. wow, you did a very creative work, thanks for this wonderfull idea.UK Cheapest Online Beds Store

  29. This is so unbelievably adorable! You are so clever!

  30. This is the cutest thing ever! I love this project!

  31. A-fold.com provides the best foldable and affordable modular houses. We believe everyone in the world will be able to afford prefabricated houses.

    Visit here:- foldable houses

  32. A-FOLD house is an international registered trademark of the prefabricated modular system. Get the houses are Designed And Manufactured in Italy

  33. Thank you for a great and inspiring blog post. I just want you to know that I enjoyed reading your post. https://baycountybuilderservices.com/

  34. Fabulous! I saw this on Pinterest! it's such a clever design!
    Thumbnails can be expensive and your ideas are just awesome!
    Thank you for sharing such great easy to follow tutorials! :)
    I could put my little miniature doll wheels in it and play with my daughter.
    Thanks again


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan