cardboard dollhouse

October 16th, 2007

Here it is the second installment of Making Mondays: a cardboard dollhouse. Sounds simple enough, butI think the project was a little over my daughter’s head–she is only 2 after all. I was inspired by the Constantine dollhouse (pictured below). It’s a lovely and simple idea, but unfortunately there isn’t a spare $145 lying around these days. So we made our own.

We started with a box, cut it apart, and used one long side and the two shorter sides. I cut a slit in each of the short sides almost up to the top and slid them on top of the longer piece of cardboard, so they were perpendicular to it. Then I tried to make the walls a little sturdier by taping the corners and my daughter pulled the rest of the tape off the roll. To decorate, we looked through magazines and cut out pictures of kitchens and bathrooms and couches and chairs, and she picked some pretty paper for the walls as well. I thought this would be the best part, but really she had no patience for it, thankfully the glue stick made up for that. And with that glue stick we slapped it all on, cut some doors and the dollhouse was done.

I think this is a good project for kids that are a little older–hell, I might just make another one myself. There are a couple things I would do differently the second time around. I think it would be nice if the house came apart and could be stored flat. This would make decorating both a little easier (you can lay everything flat on a table and work on it) and more difficult (you have to remember what walls go to what room). Also, in order for the house to be stable the shorter walls must be taller than the long wall they fit over (I didn’t do this and our house is very wobbly). And though I think it’s fun to find pictures of things in magazines to decorate the house, it would be nice if the walls were felt. You could cut couches and chairs out of felt as well and stick it to the walls–then you always would have the option of redecorating!

To see all the rooms, you can go to my flickr page. Even though my daughter was frustrated with the amount of time it took to make, in the end, of course, she loved it. And now she calls it her castle (where did she learn that word?). If there is interest I would be happy to make up a pattern (obviously with the improvements I mentioned) and have it be available to download and print.

One more thing: if it wasn’t obvious,this is my little post for Blog Action Day. Reuse your old boxes and magazines by turning them into dollhouses and Recycle them when that dollhouse falls apart.

Posted in tutorials.

26 Responses to cardboard dollhouse

  1. Kate says:

    That dollhouse is brilliant!

  2. Kelly says:

    This is so adorable! I love it! -kb

  3. sarah says:

    What a wonderful idea- thanks for sharing!

  4. tracie says:

    I love this idea. I always have gone for the very basic cardboard house (one room, doors and windows) but this is much more inventive. Will try it soon. I’m also up for Making Mondays. Funnily enough I find Mondays often end up as a home/ craft day. Maybe I just have more energy after the weekend. Love your new blog.

  5. Annhb says:

    I fell in love with your chop stick buttons and then read your blog – what wonderful wonderful ideas. Thank you!

  6. mamasgotmoxie says:

    what a cool idea! i love it!

  7. Myam says:

    You got a piggy in your castle’s bathroom! That’s a funny sentence. :D Great project.

  8. VictoriaE says:

    Brilliant idea, I never would have thought of putting magazine pics of the particular rooms in each, and the cut out furniture, etc – so cool, will be stealing this idea from you!

  9. karin says:

    It’s so so beautiful!

  10. Jenna says:

    Oh I love this idea. I can’t wait to show my daughter. She’s five and is a huge fan of scissors and glue sticks and magazines. Perfect. Thanks!

  11. Alix says:

    brilliant. my recycling rubbish contents will be saved this week to make houses!

  12. kristy says:

    thanks for the inspiration! my daughter and i just made one today. if you’re interested, see it at i decorated the walls individually as you noted, and it seemed to work well that way. (however, then it really needed some braces to keep it from being too wobbly…) great project all from the recycling bin, i love it.

  13. brookharts says:

    This is super cute. You could probably use that thick white poster/foam board (can’t think of what it’s called) to make it to be sturdier. LOVE the idea!

  14. […] October 16, 2007 I moved to a new site and you can now find this post at […]

  15. Hi Meg – what a fantastic dollhouse! I’m a little bit partial because you featured my beach house kitchen as the kitchen in your cardboard castle! It was from the bit in Blueprint magazine right? That is the highest compliment to me – I’m a longtime dollhouse collector, builder, admirer – my mom gave me my first when I was 5. I had such fun with it when I was a kid, sitting around for hours with elmers, cardboard and magazines…i went from a little shack to a big three story extravaganza in my teens. building environments has completely formed my life since 1967.

    I loved the house you built and admire your enginuity. I think it’s a fantastic idea, and would love to figure out how to fabricate and market it with you. My email is please write and maybe we can brainstorm!

    Warmest regards,

    Elena Colombo

  16. natalia says:

    this is perfect with my ikea catalogue!

  17. […] 20, 2008 by serinat Make a cardboard dollhouse with your kids. So fun! I can’t wait to try […]

  18. Jayme says:

    another idea instead of cardboard those poaster board that are kinda foamy, i bet the slightly larger foot print would help the building stand up (and it kinda looks what they use in the priceir version)

  19. Kara says:

    I love your idea, how cool! I think foam board may be a good alternative to the cardboard (has more girth to stand on its own) and it is pretty cheap, although you may still need alternative supports. I also think they sell sticky back felt at the craft store (but I think it only comes in 8×11 sizes), so a cheaper alternative might be to buy it by the bolt and then use spray glue to adhese, or fusible fused with your iron. I’d be so cool if the shapes had velcro backs and could be moved around!

  20. Xue says:

    hi elsie! I’m so glad to come across this. we are making dollhouses this afternoon & it is so nice to see what other mothers have done, so prettily!

  21. […] Cardboard Dollhouse: Simple to make yet provides hours of fun! Reuse your old boxes and magazines by turning them into dollhouses and Recycle them when that dollhouse falls apart. […]

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  24. jenni says:

    This is also fun and easy to do with a scrollsaw. Ofcourse its not as child friendly then but I still let my daughter paint and decorate it. It is incredibly sturdy and comes right apart for easy storage.

  25. […] Taking inspiration from the Constantine Dollhouse from Kidsmodern, this creation was born out of a cardboard box, lots of tape, and some magazines.  Read the full tutorial from Elsie Marley. […]