Making your own doll house is a great way to spend some quality time with your children and to encourage their own creativity. It’s also a great way to teach them the value of reuse. Actually making the doll house, though, can be frustrating when you’re not sure how to go about it.
Here are 5 helpful tips for making your own doll house without the frustration.
1. Plan Your Doll House
Most of us aren’t blessed with the ability to play it by ear on a large project and have everything turn out. You should have a good idea what you want the finished product to be, and how everything will fit together. Know where you need to cut, why, and clearly mark “this side up” where needed to keep yourself oriented. There’s nothing worse that getting most of the way done, only to realize that one of the pieces won’t fit because it was upside down!
If you do wing it, keep detailed notes about what you did so that you can repeat the process when your neighbor wants one for their kids.
2. Involve Your Children
Unless the doll house is being made as a gift for one of the children, it’s best to involve them in the entire process. The act of making something from scratch, of constructing it and seeing it take form is very healthy for a child and encourages their own creativity and confidence. While it’s tempting to think that it would be faster to just do it yourself, involve your kids and enjoy the experience, no matter how long it takes.
Do be safe, and keep track of the scissors and exacto knife at all times!
3. Make It Durable
Doll houses are made for playing, so focus on making it durable. You can also make it fancy if you and your kids want, but durable should come first. They’ll have much more fun with a doll house that lasts years, rather than one that falls apart after a couple of play sessions.
Cardboard is a convenient and inexpensive building material, but isn’t known for being durable. The edges of cardboard are danger spots, as young arms might reach over a wall into a doll house. You can reinforce the edges with wood scraps from any other projects you might have going on to create an edge that will hold up to abuse.
4. Use What You Have
It’s tempting to go to the craft store and buy everything you need for a doll house new. But it sends a better message to your children, and is cheaper, to use materials you already have around the house.
An empty paper towel tube, for example, can become a dining room chair or a painted column. Be prepared to learn from experience what works and what doesn’t. For example, old popsicle sticks might work as the surface and legs of a dining room table, or the sides of a stroller. But craft sticks are cheap enough and far more durable.
5. Accept What Comes
The chances are good that something won’t go according to plan. Rather than fume about it, just accept it as something new in the plan and continue on as best as you can. If the window isn’t exactly where you wanted it, well the view’s probably better from the new location anyway.