Cardboard boxes are a great material for making fun and inexpensive Barbie dollhouses, since you can easily cut and decorate them anyway you want. Most Barbie dolls are 11½ inches tall, and Ken dolls are 12 inches tall, so you'll need cardboard boxes that are at least 13 inches tall to allow the dolls to stand upright inside the house. This dollhouse uses four cardboard boxes to make four rooms, but you can vary the number of boxes depending on how large you want the house and the cardboard you have available.
Things You'll Need
- Four cardboard boxes at least 13 inches tall
- Glue or double-sided tape
- Packing tape
- Large, colored paper
- Decorative contact paper (optional)
- Felt or fabric scraps (optional)
- Colored markers or felt pens
Choose cardboard boxes that are at least 13 inches tall when you stand them on end with the open side facing you. Choose boxes that are all the same size or close to the same size and shape, if possible.
Cut off any box lids or extra flaps of cardboard and set them aside. Carefully remove and discard any staples from the boxes to prevent children from getting hurt.
Place two boxes side by side so that the openings face the same direction and the edges of the openings line up. If your boxes are all different sizes, use the largest and deepest boxes for this step.
Stack the other two boxes on top of the first two, lining up the edges of the openings with the bottom two boxes. Glue all the boxes together, or attach them together using packing tape.
Add a roof to the Barbie dollhouse (optional) using the leftover pieces of cardboard from the box lids. Cut two triangles, both the same size and shape, with a bottom edge the same size as the sides of the top of the house. Attach the triangles to the sides of the top boxes using packing tape.
Cut pieces of leftover cardboard for the front of the roof (optional) so that they're the same height as the angled edge of the triangles and as wide as the top of the dollhouse. You may need to tape several pieces together to make the cardboard wide enough. Attach the front of the roof to the angled edges of the triangles using packing tape.
Cover the outside of the boxes with paper the color you want the outside of the dollhouse walls to be. Cover the roof with a contrasting color (optional). Glue the paper to the box, or attach it with double-sided tape.
Cut windows and doors in the boxes as desired. Be sure to hold a Barbie doll up to the dollhouse to make sure the windows and doors are the right size and height. Add shutters, window boxes or other decorations to the outside of the house using markers (optional).
Wallpaper the inside of the cardboard boxes using self-adhesive contact paper, or attach colored paper to the walls with glue or double-sided tape. If you would like to decorate the paper, do so before attaching it the walls.
Cut pieces of felt or fabric scraps for carpet the size of each floor area in the dollhouse, or use pieces of colored paper or even contact paper that looks like wood. Glue them to the floors of the dollhouse.
Tips & Warnings
- You may want to use the same wallpaper and carpeting for the whole house, or make each room different to give them contrasting looks.
- Although the Barbie dolls won't be able to stand in the area under the slanted roof, it makes a great area for storage or for sleeping dolls.
- Use caution when cutting cardboard. You may find it easier to cut the cardboard with a box cutter or sharp razor blade rather than scissors. Never allow children to use box cutters or sharp blades.
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