Building (without carpentry skills) – Part One of the Dollhouse Series

There’s no need for hammer or nails or saw, just a trip to the dollar store. Your child can help with some or all of the construction depending on her age.

Assign a large work area where the dollhouse can be left in progress for several days. Trying to do it in one day is too much.

Purchase 12 or more styrofoam craft sheets from the dollar store for $1.50 each as well as several bottles of Lepages glue. You’ll benefit from a glue gun as well. This will allow you to work faster. Your child can spread the white glue and you can use the glue gun. If you’re making a two-storey, dowels or something similar can be handy.

Use three full sheets and two half sheets to create a box. At this point you are only using the glue gun.

Glue on a second layer for strength but make the pieces overlap the way you would lay bricks. Do this by scoring and bending the styrofoam but not splitting it. Have your child spread white glue all over the piece. You hot glue gun the edges. This will hold it in place while the white glue dries and you can keep working. If you are going to do a second floor, make a third layer for strength. You can clamp the edges together while it dries. I also glued two pieces together and made a half wall for extra support. I just hot glued that in place.

For more strength, I added pillars to the back corners. I was making a three storey so the bottom box would need to hold a lot of weight. I scored a piece of styrofoam to make it like a fan or accordion bellows. Then I soaked it with glue and wrapped it with masking tape.

I glued these into the back two corners. Be sure you cut the first piece the right height to fit snugly.

This is a good spot to stop for the day. That will give the glue time to set well.

I was concerned about the front of the storey sagging in the middle. If you’re only doing one floor or a one-and-a-half- storey, you can skip this.

I thought I could try to make a header for extra support. Using the cheap dollar store imitation legos at $5.00 a box (probably using almost three boxes) we made a 4 X 6 peg pillar. You and your child can work on this at the same time and then join your pillars to make one.

We used some scrap pieces to extend the top and then taped some craft dowels  to spread the support out.

We covered the post with the same sticky paper as we used to wallpaper the walls.

On the second floor, we just made three pillars for the two front corners and the middle. I taped them in place with heavy duty clear tape.

Pick a day to gather wall covering. Cheap sticky paper is available at the dollar store but it can be frustrating to  use. It’s a two or three person job. They also have small rolls of  fabric you can glue on the walls or floor. Be careful not to make the second floor too heavy with thick flooring. Let your child do as  much as possible. It won’t be perfect, but it will be hers.

You can use anything you like for wallpaper, flooring, or paint. I discovered it was super dark inside, so I added a window. This would have been easier to do as I went along. Too many windows will weaken the structure so use caution on the bottom floor.

I let my granddaughter pick the colors, etc. It’s her doll house so it doesn’t need to be showcase perfect. I printed out picture frames and she drew the art inside to tape to the walls.  You could use real picture frames but be careful how much weight you add to the second floor.

On another day, we built a half-storey and roof-top garden out of Duplo.

For more information, watch the video.

Next week: How to light the interior of the dollhouse when you aren’t an electrician. Ideas for you and your child.




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