Since our trip to the American Girl store in Atlanta, little bit has been dying to make an American Girl doll house. Now, we’ve had the typical Barbie houses before, but 18″ dolls like American Girl just don’t fit. I searched the internet, found some options, recovered from the sticker shock and decided that wasn’t happening. Not even a little bit. Then I put my brain to work…
Some of the options I considered were wooden crates, Closet Maid storage pieces, and IKEA shelves. They weren’t nearly as pricey as some of the rooms I’d seen online, but they still were more than I wanted to spend (especially considering how much we’ve already sunk into the doll and the few official American Girl furniture pieces we have.) I wanted CHEAP!
Where do you go when you want cheap??? Of course, we headed to Wal-mart. I loathe that store with a passion (hopefully they aren’t reading this), but sometimes you do what you have to do. After loading both kids in the car solo and hitting the road, I knew I was coming home with something. We cruised the aisles, inspiration hit and we were on our way!
Planning and Execution:
I knew that adhesive shelf paper ($3.97) worked great to cover the inside of tri-fold display boards ($2.77). I’ve used that trick a few times in the past for display board projects. I also knew the girl would love some of the funky patterns. Hello, wallpaper.
I unrolled the shelf paper, measured three strips the full height of the board and started peeling. I did the sides first and the center last. Start at the top, only removing a little backing at a time, and be sure to smooth out the air bubbles as best you can. I still ended up with some and it’s still just fine.
As you can see, it’s MUCH prettier now. It will stand on it’s own perfectly well, though ultimately ours will end up sitting against a wall.
For the sake of size comparison, here you can see how an 18″ doll (sorry for the nakedness) compares.
You could totally stop here and call this a room, but why would we do that? Our rooms have windows… and rather than cutting out a hole, I went with a slightly (at least in my mind) easier method and created a window and scene using scrapbooking paper I already had on hand.
You could print a picture to use here, or even cut one out of a magazine. I’m always looking for a reason to do a little art though, and this was it. Some circles, a few squares and a flower punch later…
Then I got crazy and added curtains. I have a pretty decent fabric stash, but you can get little fabric bundles in the craft section at Wal-mart for $4 and there is more than enough in one bundle for a set or two of curtains. My sewing machine made quick work of hemming these, but you could use iron down hemming tape, or just a pair of pinking sheers to cut the fabric to keep the edges from fraying.
I tacked the curtains up with regular sewing thread (needles push through cardboard really easy) and used small hair ties as curtain ties.
We even found tiny embroidery hoops ($1.97 for 2) that made super cute picture frames for the wall (look just above Caroline’s head.) You could glue in a picture out of a magazine, a personal photo, or print out an American Girl photo like we did. I also tacked up the photo frame with plain old thread.
The Big Reveal:
Little bit was so excited about her new ‘bathroom’ that we had to get it set up right away so she could make a ‘tour video’ to put on Youtube. (That kid LOVES Youtube. We’ve learned how to make all kinds of great things there, like this Frappuccino.) I promised her I would share her video, so here it is…
Next up, we’re using that zebra print shelf liner to make a bedroom for her dolls. I’ll be sure to share picture of it on Facebook when we have it finished. Like our page if you haven’t already so that you’ll be sure not to miss it.
Do you have any ideas for ways we can improve our bathroom or things that we might want to incorporate in our bedroom? Please share in the comments. Also, if you’ve found any great tutorials for American Girl on the cheap, please share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.