Make An American Girl Sofa {Upcycling}

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Make An American Girl Sofa {Upcycling}

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Make American Girl Sofa

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Since the girl got knee-deep into the American Girl craze, we’ve been on the hunt for inexpensive ideas to add realistic touches to her collection.  Sometimes the things we find are made for dolls and sometimes they aren’t.  For example, at Dollar Tree, I found a pack of little plastic crowns made to be party favors.  Coincidentally, they were also the perfect size to fit her dolls, so for $1 we added a pack of 6 to her collection of doll accessories.  She loves to have parties with her dolls, so we thought she could use these to have a Princess Party or a beauty pageant.  We’ve picked up fake foods in the floral section of our local craft store, crafted a shower out of a box and about a million other little things.

Once we started this little adventure, and discovered exactly how expensive it could get…really, really quickly… I’ve started to look at various items around the house and when we’re shopping and think, “What could we made out of that?”  Finding fun little inexpensive things to add to the realistic feel of her play is great, but it’s the bigger pieces that will break the bank.  I’ve started focusing more on looking for bigger things to repurpose… Enter the clementine crate.

It’s a Fruit Holder, It’s a Sofa!

We go through phases of eating certain fruits around here.  Sometimes it’s a matter of what’s on sale at the store and sometimes it’s just because the kids feel like devouring one type of fruit or another.  A while back, we had a run on clementines.  Instead of buying a smaller bag, I grabbed a bulk pack (well, actually my personal shopper grabbed them for me – but that’s a story for another day) and they happened to be packaged in the little crate you see in the picture above.

That crate sat on my counter for about 2 weeks while we worked our way through the clementines.  I hadn’t given it a single thought beyond it being big and in my way.  Until it was empty.  I decided I could do something with it… our American Girl Sofa was born.  Rebecca’s Settee was $98, plus shipping.  Our sofa, clementines included, will cost you less than $20.

Make American Girl Sofa Set UpGet It Together

The material list for this project isn’t very long, and can really vary depending on how much you want to put into the project.  Here’s what we used:

Small Clementine Crate

Wooden Craft Squares for the Sides and Back

Thin Sheet of Foam

Fabric (2/3 yard was enough for me)

Decorative Trim (Cording, etc)

White Paint (optional and the need really depends on what fabric you choose)

Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks, Drill with Small Bit, Screws, Staple Gun

Make American Girl Sofa Taking ShapeAlmost A Sofa

I started by giving the crate a few quick coats of white paint.  The lettering on the side of the crate was showing through my fabric, and I needed to make that not happen, so…  If you’re using a darker fabric or a crate that doesn’t have stuff stamped on the side, you may very well be able to skip this part.

Assembly is an easy process, but you will need to pre-drill holes for your screws.  The thin wooden slats will crack and split if you try to screw or nail directly into them.  Pre-drilling will save you a major headache.  Trust me, I know.

Start by positioning the back of your sofa.  Using a slat that allows a little overhang on both sides will give you something to settle your sides against, but you don’t have to have it.  Pre-drill straight through the slat and the crate.  2 screws on each side should be plenty to secure the sofa back to the crate.  Once the back is on, you can do the same with the sides.  You want them to stick above the seat of the sofa about 1-1/2 inches to allow space for the cushion, but not to come up so high that they are even with the back (see picture above.) Once you’ve attached the backs and sides, you should be able to see the sofa taking shape.

Make American Girl Sofa Almost A SofaFoam Is Fun

I picked up a 12 x 12 foam pad to give my sofa a more realistic shape.  Also, it helps to cushion any pointy corners.  I cut the seat cushion first and used the left over to cut my arm padding.  A little snipping with scissors and my foam sides fit right over the side slats.  I trimmed up the cushion a little more for a better fit once I saw how the sides were coming together.  For a better look under the fabric that will cover the sofa, you can trim the square edges just a bit to round them out by barely snipping the corners with your scissors.  Once you’re happy with your cuts, remove the cushion (leave the arms padding on) and set it to the side.

Make American Girl Sofa Fabric WrapThe Hardest Thing

The hardest part of this whole project is the upholstery.  There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this.  You can hem your fabric, or not (I didn’t.)  You can attach your fabric with glue or you can staple it down (I stapled.)  The biggest thing here is really just doing the sections in the right order.  You want to cover the arms first, then the sides and front and save the back for last.  Tuck and fold around the ends of the sides for a cleaner look.  Just make sure you pull everything tight and smooth.

For the cushion, you’ll want to cut a section of fabric basically big enough to make a pillow case.  It’s just folded over and stitched closed with thread on the three open sides.

Make American Girl Sofa TrimFinishing Touches

Cord, ribbon or other trim makes for a great way to hide little imperfections, but it is completely optional and just adds a nice finishing touch.  It can be hot glued right to the fabric.  I covered all of my exposed seams and trimmed around the back of the sofa.  I snagged a whole roll of this cord in the clearance section for $7, so I’m sure you’ll see it again in the near future.

The finished product fits 2 18″ dolls.  They look so cute sitting side by side on their new sofa!  My daughter LOVES it and it will be the perfect piece for our family room we’re working on, complete with a fireplace (coming soon!)

Let me know what you think of our finished product, and if you have a project for 18″ dolls you’ve completed, be sure to share it with us so that we can share it with our followers on Pinterest!

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27 Responses to Make An American Girl Sofa {Upcycling}

  1. That is the cutest craft ever I’m going to have to keep this in mind because my niece is starting to collect dolls like this. However, what I’m really loving is that fabric!!

  2. Love this. Sadly, we just sold all of our American Girl stuff but I will pin this for all my friends with younger kids. Very creative!

  3. Melissa says:

    How fun, my daughter would love this. She never loved dolls until she got into the bigger AG ones.

  4. Ange says:

    Absolutely adorable!!

  5. Ange says:

    Ok, that cut me off!! Absolutely adorable!! My niece has an American Girl doll and I am SO sending this to her mom!! She’d love it!

  6. So crafty! My daughter isn’t even one yet but it is going to be so fun doing stuff like this with her!

  7. Jennifer says:

    SO cute!!1 My sister and I used to love to make furniture for our barbies and dolls out of kleenex boxes and anything else we could get our hands on… they were never as nice as this though lol

  8. Carly says:

    This is the cutest idea, can’t wait until our daughter is old enough for toys like this!

  9. Laura says:

    Now why couldn’t this been a thing back when I was collecting American Girl dolls ten years ago? They tried to make you buy the stuff instead! Love this!

  10. Astrid says:

    Great idea. I love all kindsof dolls still even though I’m an adult and I love the idea of upcycling things, although I’ve never done it myself. This sofa is great.

  11. Deanna Ritz says:

    Is this not the cutest thing ever! Your daughter is very lucky!

  12. Paige says:

    So cute!!!

    I love that American girl is popular again!

  13. Katie says:

    Oh, this is SO cute! I will try to make it this weekend.

  14. dangit i just threw one of these crates away. I’ll give it a whirl next week when i buy another one.

  15. So cute! I have a girlfriend who LOVES American Girl dolls. I’ll definitely pass this along to her!

    xo Michelle

  16. Wow! This is just too cute. My daughter saw this and got so super excited. I might need to keep my eye out on materials to make this.

  17. Trish says:

    Such a cute idea!

  18. Carissa says:

    My daughter would have been THRILLED with this about 3 years ago… DARN! 🙂

  19. You are so crafty!! This is awesome. I can’t wait to see the new store opening up this year.

  20. Pingback: Win Isabelle, The Newest American Girl {Giveaway} |

  21. Aubrey says:

    Super cute! We are giving our daughter her first AG doll — a Bitty Baby, actually — for her birthday this year, and I was looking at how expensive the accessories are! Yikes! I love this idea just for that reason, plus it seems to make it even more special having something handcrafted by Mom. Love it. (Visiting from Parenting Pointers link up.)

  22. Happysuz says:

    I have been saving the clementine boxes and I knew there was a doll craft in there somewhere, but never really put my mind to designing one. I can’t wait to try this for our AG doll house (made of boxes and foam board). I love the fabric you used! Great idea!
    Stopping by from Artsy Fartsy Link Party

  23. karen says:

    Wow! Furniture design for dolls! Who would have thought? Thank you for sharing!

  24. millaj says:

    Super Cute, i really like it 🙂

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