For Christmas, I decided to make a “real” Barbie house for under $40. The final cost was $51, but I only spent $36 since Grammy bought the IKEA replica living room set. (Thank you, Grammy. The tissue box couch I tried to make looked like it belonged under an overpass.)
Here’s the spending breakdown. See below for a description of how each room came together.
The blue walls are craft paper I already had attached with double sided tape. The “window” on the left wall is a punch out piece from the IKEA furniture box. The photography “art” came from photos my brother took. The ceiling light (a push activated LED), Tupperware tub, and doll vanity all came from the Dollar Store. I love that only the base of the light is attached so we can twist off the pink part and replace the batteries when it dies.
The vanity was spray painted black, and I attached a water bottle lid for the sink and jewelry clasps for the “faucet” and “towel holder.”
The mirror was assembled from an old compact and mosaic tiles left over from another project.
The only part of the bed that I spent money on was the fashion duct tape ($3 at Walmart), but I have since seen fashion duct tape at the Dollar Store. The other materials included a shoebox with lid, fabric, 2 pencils, a small piece of cardboard, and some stuffing. Here’s the tutorial I followed from the Crafty Couple blog. The Bear loves that it’s big enough for lots of Barbies so they can have sleepovers. We found burp cloths and wash cloths are perfectly sized for blankets.
The Kitchen/Dining Room
The window and bookcase were also punch outs from the IKEA furniture box and the wallpaper is more craft paper I had lying around. The kitchen was the only part of the house I wanted to splurge on. I figured functioning appliances and cabinets would be nearly impossible to build (and wouldn’t look good). After looking at a bunch of different doll kitchens, I chose “My Modern Kitchen Mini Toy Playset” from Amazon. It was only $19.95 when I bought it last month. I love that it came with pots, pans, dishes, cups, cooking utensils, and even clear plastic ice cubes. The oven lights up and sounds like something is boiling when you push one of the dials. It’s basically awesome.
The dining chairs and table are actually locker clips and a little basket I found at the Dollar Store. I superglued white beads to form the back legs for the chairs.
The Living Room
The walls, again craft paper. The IKEA furniture set included the bookcase, couch, heart shaped pillow, chair, table, and striped “rug.” The box had the mirror, parrot, books, and picture frame (that I added my daughter’s school picture to) to punch out, and I made the floating wall “shelf” by gluing two popsicle sticks together.
The “flat screen TV” was made from a small picture frame I found at the Dollar Store. In the picture above, the back of the frame was attached to the wall, but it was too difficult for the Bear to slide the front on and off so she could change the channels. I ended up modifying it by adding black cord and a hook the TV could hang on, pictured below. For the TV channels, I cut out three pieces of black construction paper to fit into the frame. Then, I applied stickers to each one to make the Bear’s favorite shows: Sofia The First, Doc McStuffins, and Minnie.
For the door, interestingly enough, we couldn’t find a small sheet of high density particle board to purchase. Lowes actually gave us a 2’x2’ sheet that came off of their warehouse packaging. We already had black spray paint and small hinges. The $3 I spent on the door was for the crystal knob since little Bear adores sparkles. Splurge.
Rocksteady really pulled through with the elevator. We purchased a pink plastic vase from the Dollar Store and he used left over particle board to construct the base. The metal rod was actually part of our office desk; it attached a slide out portion that we never used. The base of the elevator has a hole drilled into it so it can slide up and down the metal rod. It was also shaped so the protruding part could slip into a notch cut into the wood strip mounted to the side of the doll house. This allows Barbie to stop at the second floor. Unfortunately, our metal rod wasn’t tall enough to span the height of the bookcase, but the elevator still “stops” at the third floor when it is tilted slightly to the side.
This house is definitely The Bear’s favorite Christmas gift. Her aunt and uncle surprised her with a washer and dryer set, which fit perfectly along the left wall of the bottom floor. The Bear loves to rearrange the rooms and furniture. In fact, she decided to permanently move the bookcase to the bedroom as cubby storage for shoes and purses. So Barbie now takes a bath on the roof. Living the dream…