How to Build a Doll House

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How to Build a Doll House
Debbie Williams

A dollhouse is a classic toy for a little girl. And every child's room needs a bookcase. So why not create a unique piece that serves as both, by repurposing a purchased closet organizer component and adding a few special touches? This project can be accomplished by an average crafter in a couple of days.

Things You'll Need
Debbie Williams

Things You'll Need

Shop your local home improvement store for a closet organizer that can be adapted to this project. Look for a piece at least 24 to 30 inches wide and about 38 to 42 inches high. We used a shoe organizer.

Assemble the Closet Organizer
Debbie Williams

Assemble the Closet Organizer

Assemble the closet organizer according to the manufacturer's directions. (We used a shoe organizer available at Lowe's.)

Build the Base
Debbie Williams

Build the Base

Measure the assembled organizer and nail together a s by 4 frame to match. Locate the holes on the bottom of the organizer. Position the organizer over the frame and drill holes in matching locations. Insert dowel pegs into the holes in the frame. Run a bead of construction adhesive along the edge of the frame, align the dowel pegs, and press firmly into place.

Trim the Base
Debbie Williams

Trim the Base

Cut baseboard trim to fit the sides and front of the dollhouse, mitering the corners. Attach the trim to the bottom of the assembly, with the top of trim level with the top of the bottom shelf. Cut 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch square stock and attach it, covering the gap at the bottom of the baseboard trim. Cut and attach door stop to fill in the remaining space to the floor.

Cut Out Windows
Debbie Williams

Cut Out Windows

Install the shelves, cutting an additional shelf if necessary. Lay the assembly on its side, position the windows so they sit between the shelves, and mark the window locations. Drill a 1/4-inch hole at the corner of each marked window opening. Place a jigsaw blade through the hole and cut out to the marked lines. (The holes in the corners will allow the blade to cut a square corner.)

Cut the Backing
Debbie Williams

Cut the Backing

Cut a piece of bead board the width of the cabinet and the height necessary to create a 45-degree angle for the roof. From the center of the bead board, mark 45-degree angles to create the peak. To get an accurate cut, make a cutting jig by attaching a 1-inch by 3-inch board to a scrap of Masonite. Clamp this edge along the cutting line, then hold a circular saw against the edge of the jig as you cut.

Attach the Back Board
Debbie Williams

Attach the Back Board

Paint the back board and let it dry. Glue and nail the bead board to the back of the assembly.

Make the Roof Sections
Debbie Williams

Make the Roof Sections

Measure the width of the cabinet and add the thickness of the bead board to get the width needed for the roof section. Measure the height of the roof to the peak of the 45-degree angle to get the measurement for the height of the roof section. For one piece of the roof, add the thickness of the bead board to allow for overlap. Cut pieces of bead board to these measurements. Frame the roof sections with cove trim, insetting the trim by the thickness of the bead board along the top and inside back. Place the front trim flush with the roof edge. Glue and nail these pieces in place.

Set the Roof in Place
Debbie Williams

Set the Roof in Place

Paint the roof pieces. Turn the cabinet against the wall or enlist a helper to hold the roof section in place. Glue and nail the roof sections into the back board. Nail through the roof section into the side panel of the cabinet to add stability.

Install the Wall Dividers
Debbie Williams

Install the Wall Dividers

Measure the distance between the shelves, and cut "room" dividers from shelf material. Set these dividers in position and clamp blocks to hold them squarely in place. Drill a small hole down through the upper shelf and through the divider. Countersink a 2-inch screw through this hole and glue in a plug to cover the screw. Mark the location of the divider on the back of the bead board and drive nails or screws through the back and into the dividers to hold them in place.

Finish the Trim
Debbie Williams

Finish the Trim

Cut and place a piece of corner trim for the top peak of the roof. Miter cut a piece of decorative trim for the sides and front edge of the roof. Glue and nail these pieces in place. Paint trim pieces prior to installation, if desired.

Attach Windows, Shutters and Fence
Debbie Williams

Attach Windows, Shutters and Fence

Paint all decorative pieces and let the paint dry. Glue the windows, shutters, fences and any other trim pieces in place. Make sure each piece is square and straight.

Build and Attach Birdhouse
Debbie Williams

Build and Attach Birdhouse

Cut a 45 degree angle on a piece of 3-inch PVC pipe about 10 to 12 inches long. Cut opposing 45-degree angles on the other end. Drill a 3/4-to-1-inch hole about 4 inches down from the center of the peak. Spray paint the pipe. Attach the pipe to the roof, using contact cement.

Finishing Touches
Debbie Williams

Finishing Touches

Add a roof and a perch to the pipe, creating the look of a birdhouse. Paint the roof of the dollhouse or add square-butt dollhouse shingles.

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