Saturday, December 11, 2010

Build-A-Bear Box Dollhouse *

Any of you moms who have gone to Build-A-Bear Workshop, know you usually come home with a big cardboard box, which they refer to as a "house" for child's your new stuffed friend. This box is cute for your child's new friend to travel home in, but once home the new stuffed friend is removed and usually the box is forgotten about. My daughter will play with her box for a day, maybe two, then it's doesn't have a use anymore. It ends up in trash or recycling (hopefully). I have felt bad that the boxes are getting wasted in massive quantities, and that's when I came up with a fun idea - make a dollhouse out of it!

This is simple, it doesn't take much time at all, but you have the freedom to make it as detailed or simple as you like. You can add another floor with extra cardboard, put two Build-A-Bear boxes together to "add on an addition," you can add wooden dollhouse furniture, whatever your child will love. I have been blessed with a daughter who adores the things I make for her, and she never notices when it doesn't look professionally made. She quickly loses interest in fancy store bought toys, but always finds ways to play with the more simple toys, and the homemade toys. I am going to share with you how I made our dollhouse and you can add and change anything you like. We plan to take a trip to the craft store soon to pick up some cute little wooden furniture for her dolls to have in their new house. :o)

     First step, tape down the bottom flaps inside. It doesn't really matter how it looks when you tape it, you're going to cover it up. I used clear packaging tape. I taped them down enough to stay down. You can also add some extra tape on the bottom on the outside of the box as well.

     Next, use a knife (be careful!) to cut out a bigger area for the door. You want the opening to be big enough for your child to see inside and reach their hands inside. Only cut 3 sides so that the door stays attached and can swing open. Once you're done, take clear tape again and tape the little door that the store had pre-cut, and tape it shut. This way it's now part of the big door and doesn't get in the way. This door does not need to be cut perfectly and evenly. Children do not see what we consider to be flaws!

     Next, I added a doorknob. I found a piece of some plastic thing that had a round piece sticking out that was perfect to put into the door. I glued on a multi-colored puff ball for the knob. You can use whatever you like for your doorknob. My daughter likes the puff balls and it's soft to touch. Just make sure it's something they can grab to pull open the door.

     Next, add "carpet." I used some old fabric I had leftover. I put the box on top of the fabric, traced around it, cut it out, and used a glue stick to glue it in. You can use other types of glue if you prefer, I used what was handy. Again, this does not need to be perfect. However, if you want you can sew the edges or add embellishments if you like.

     Next, add little curtains. Again, this was very simply done. I had two little windows, one on each side. So I took a piece of fabric from the same big piece, estimated how much I'd need and cut. I then bunched it up in a few spots to give it that "curtain ruffle" kind of look. I glued it on a little above the window. You can do long curtains if you like, but I wanted to get as much light in the box as possible. Again, these don't need to be perfect, and you can add whatever you like to them.

     Next, add a picture. Now, this can be a picture of your family, of your child, a cut out from a magazine, one of your child's drawings, or those included pictures you get in a new picture frame. You can make more than one as well! I took a picture, added a paper frame, and then added sparkly puff balls to it. You can add glitter, little gems, shells, buttons, etc. to your frame. You can even make a wooden frame from popsicle sticks or something else. Again, you do what works for you!

     Next, I added a wall flower vase. I had this little flower in my mixed items box and no use for it until now. I took the lid from a small marker that had dried out, and I glued it to the wall of the box near my picture. You can add yours anywhere and use any kind of flowers.

     Next add a light of some sort. I decided to try a hanging light. I used a small plastic cup, the kind they give samples in at the stores. I poked a hole in the middle big enough for a thin piece of wrapping ribbon left over from a present. I traced the bottom of the cup on a piece of green paper to make the top part you see, and I poked a hole in the middle of that as well, then glued it onto the bottom of the cup. I tied a small knot on the end of the ribbon, measured how long I wanted it to hang, then I put the ribbon through the holes. Again, I traced the bottom of the cup but this time on a piece of yellow foam, to use for light. I glued that on the inside of the bottom of the cup, covering the ribbon knot. I cut out other small strips of foam to make beams of light. I used all scrap foam for this, I like to try and use up as much of our leftover craft scraps as possible. Once I was done gluing the little beams of light to the inside of the cup, I hung it from the middle of the box handle on the top. Now, the other handle has a cardboard piece that goes under the 1st handle. So I just cut a line down the middle of that cardboard piece so when you put the two handles together, and go to tuck that cardboard piece under to connect the handles, the ribbon for the light stays in the middle of the handles and doesn't get pulled to the side.

     Next, I added a mailbox. We had a small metal mailbox for stamps that wasn't really being used much. I took 3 popsicle sticks, glued and taped them together to make my stand thick, then sanded down the tops of them to make them flat, and attached the mailbox on top. I taped the mailbox to the dollhouse just to keep it in place. It's a cute thing to add because I plan to make little felt "mail" for her to send to her dolls.

     That was the end of my work on it for the night. We will add furniture when she wants, and maybe some embellishments if she chooses. The great part about these boxes is that they are white with just the outlines of pictures on them, so to create the outside design of the dollhouse just let your child color it! This way they can add to their doll's home and make it look how they like. It's fun for them to take part in the creating process. :o) Once the coloring is done you can add glitter or glitter glue, stickers, gems, any embellishments you want to add. It's such a nice use for the box because it has a handle, which means this dollhouse is easy to carry and take with you. You don't have to pay a lot to create it, which is great on your wallet! And the best part of all is that your child will enjoy it! They can use it will dolls, stuffed animals, little plastic animals, whatever they want. If you need any help with this, please let me know!


  1. Hi,
    You've won the personalized paper doll from the giveaway at my blog, Chasing Cheerios. Please email me a picture of your child, and I'll get the picture and your email address to Sandy.

    1. Stop lying I know ur saying that just to see her kidd

  2. This is awesome but can I add a handle to it