My daughter, Chriselle, is almost 4 years old and I think she is ready for her first dollhouse. I was doing some searches online to see which ones were getting the best reviews and I stumbled upon this dollhouse. It rolls on casters, it’s HUGE and it’s open so Chriselle can move her dolls freely throughout the house….it’s perfect!
…….but this KidKraft Chic Dollhouse costs $279.99 + tax and that is something we just can’t afford right now. Since we had just finished making a photobooth from scratch and already have all the tools we need, my husband and I decided to try and make it. Luckily, we found this AWESOME website http://ana-white.com/2011/10/dream-dollhouse that had all the measurements and materials list for us!
Our first step was purchasing the wood. We found that the 2×2′s from Lowe’s are a lot nicer than the ones from Home Depot (the edges are routed and the sides are sanded down, which means less finishing work for us later). We also decided to use 3/4” MDF instead of plywood because I knew I wanted to do something with the floors. (However, with the cost of the wallpaper and sealer that I used on the floors, it might have saved us money to stick with the plywood and add a nice stain). The total cost for the 3/4” MDF, the 2×2′s and the 1×2′s was around $65-$70. Our cost could have been a lot lower if we had waited around for scrap pieces of wood. If you’re not in a hurry to make this thing, keep checking Lowe’s and Home Depot for 3/4” scrap pieces (and even the 1×2′s and 2×2′s) and make sure you know your measurements so you don’t buy a pieces for the floor that is too small. I was able to get the 1/4” roofing material at $.51 from the scrap section!
Our next step was to cut everything down to size. I measured the pieces, and Adrian (my husband) cut everything down to size. It’s very important to make sure your cuts are precise in order for things to fit together properly. The cuts from Home Depot or Lowe’s are just rough cuts and are always a bit off, so make sure you measure and recut everything! Here is a picture of the 2×2′s that are cut down to size and separated into piles:
Next, we wanted to practice on some scraps using the Kreg bit and screws to see if they would hold the angled pieces at the top of the dollhouse.
The pocket holes worked during this trial, but when we put the frame together, it was pretty loose and since the top of the frame was going to be covered with the roof, we decided to just use the nail gun and glue for the 30 degree angled pieces. When the glue dried, everything was extremely sturdy.
Before we put the pieces together, we made sure to pre-drill the pocket holes in each piece to save time. The 2×2′s needed pocket holes on the ends of one side to be drilled to the frame, each floor needed pocket holes (2” from each end and about 6” in-between), and the walls needed pocket holes in the top and bottom. After all the Kreg holes were drilled, we were ready to start assembling each floor. (Note: Ana-White.com says to do the entire frame first and then add the floors, but we did the floors first and stuck them into the frame. It was just easier for us to do it that way). Oh, and don’t forget to use wood glue on each piece! Wood glue is actually what holds everything together..the screws and nails just hold the wood in place while the glue dries!
After each floor was put together, we added the walls…
We put the two side pieces of the frames (the 4 longest legs and the 30 degree top pieces) together separately so the glue could dry and the pieces would harden. Then we started to build the frame around the first floor, and added the second floor.
And then we added the third floor…
And finally the crossbeam at the top…
After we had this main portion together, I started using wood filler to cover the visible Kreg holes and seam them edges of the frame while Adrian started to work on the stairs.
Finally, I made used the bottom of a glass to draw out the scalloped edges for the roofing. I used a jigsaw to cut them out. My scallops are larger than the ones on Ana-White.com because they are just too tedious to cut. I think the size I used worked out just fine.
After that was cut, I decided that I wanted to paint the frame to match the antique white Pottery Barn Kids storage units in my daughter’s room, so we had to sand, prime and paint the frame, and prime the floors and the walls since we were decoupaging everything. We also painted the ceilings because I didn’t want them to look unfinished. We put the casters on before we started painting.
The entire structure only took about 5-6 hours total to make. It was the decoupaging of the walls and the floors that took so long because we used scrapbooking paper for the walls and we had to cut everything so that the patterns lined up. Make sure you buy the scrapbook paper that is on sale or you’ll be spending way too much. We used about 3 sheets of paper per room (or 2 sheets of a pattern and one sheet of a border). The wallpaper floors were paintable and I just painted them white and also decoupaged over that so it would be more durable. I used the paper Mod Podge for the walls and regular Mod Podge for the floors. Here is the side without the roof (we still need to nail it on and paint the underside of the roof):
Last year I was able to find some wooden dollhouse furniture on clearance from Toysrus for about $5.00/set, so I had bought what I could and saved it until now (: We might make some more furniture pieces if I can’t find any more that are cheap.
Now that we’re done with this project, we’re going to start making a rolling dress-up cart. This is the first semi-instructional blog entry that I’ve made….we make a lot of projects at home but I’m finally posting about it. By sharing this project, I hope I’ve inspired you to make something, too! Feel free to email me with any questions (: