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DIY Dollhouse Thrifted Makeover

Tips and tricks for using what you already have and repurposing every day items from around the house to create a beautiful, real-looking DIY dollhouse.

Welp… add DIY dollhouse to the list of hobbies I never thought I’d love. All of those diorama projects back in middle school really prepared me for this one apparently. 😉

This dollhouse bookcase I found for $60 at a consignment sale sat in our garage for months. I figured I’d just give it a quick paint job, maybe add some cute scrapbook paper to the back, and be done.

Buuuuuuuut then I got sucked in BIG TIME.

Before

Thrifted Dollhouse Makeover | Tips and tricks for using what you already have and repurposing every day items from around the house to create a beautiful, real-looking dollhouse.

So while Robert was working on the first big project of the office makeover, I made this cute little DIY dollhouse my task for the last two weeks.

Olivia has been the BEST helper and big sis throughout these last couple of months of staying home. And this seemed like the perfect reward for her.

This was a labor of love that didn’t feel like work at all! Although, I’m not sure my fingertips will ever recover from the hot glue burns. 😉

After

Thrifted Dollhouse Makeover | Tips and tricks for using what you already have and repurposing every day items from around the house to create a beautiful, real-looking dollhouse.

DIY Dollhouse Makeover

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

Supplies:

  • Scrapbook paper (I used sheets from this pack for wallpaper and shiplap, this for a “wood” floor, and this for the white bricks.)
  • Old and new Barbie furniture (A mix of my old pieces, Etsy Barbie furniture, consignment finds, Ebay Barbie furniture, and a couple of new pieces like this doll kitchen and this living room set.)
  • Spray paint (I only used leftovers I already had)
  • Acrylic paint & brushes (For small details)
  • Clothes from the donation pile (Pick out clothing items that your kids have outgrown and cut them up to make bedding, rugs, pillows, towels, curtains, anything)
  • Small knick-knacks repurposed from around the house (Toothpaste lids and hairspray caps are especially great for making little light fixtures, planter pots, ottomans, baskets, stools, whatever you can think of.)
  • Rubber cement (It’s the best I’ve found for quick, strong adhesion without wrinkling paper.)
  • Hot glue and glue gun (To make no-sew Barbie pillows, light fixtures, etc.)

DIY dollhouse using items from around the house

Olivia picked out what wallpaper patterns she wanted in the DIY dollhouse, and then she told me she wanted to be surprised with the rest, so I worked on everything little by little each day to make it look like a real house as best I could.

Kitchen

doll kitchen in a DIY dollhouse using scrapbook paper and Barbie furniture

  • Kitchen set – I bought this one online since she didn’t have a kitchen for her Barbies already, took the doors off, and spray painted them with Krylon Catalina Mist. The rest of the set got a coat of white spray paint. And I hand-painted the handles and knobs with gold acrylic paint.
  • Backsplash – To make the backsplash look like marble, I used this marble scrapbook paper. Marble contact paper could work great too if you already have some.
  • Tree – I repurposed a woven napkin ring as a “basket” and stuck a faux stem inside held in place with aluminum foil, painted black on the top to look like dirt.
  • Rug – This was just a cut up piece of a straw hat.
  • Light fixture – I painted a face wash bottle lid with brass spray paint I already had and hot glued a mini ping pong ball in it.
  • Art – And I printed this landscape art from Artfully Walls on cardstock to make it look like it was hanging on the backsplash.

Barbie kitchen in a DIY dollhouse

Living Room

Barbie living room using handmade and thrifted items

  • Board and batten – I kind of rushed through this spot but it was easy to make using just a foam sheet and white card stock glued to the back wall.
  • Jute rug – Printed from an image of this rug I screenshot on card stock and glued to the floor.
  • Sofa – Spray painted from this living room set
  • Coffee table – Spray painted using old furniture from my Barbie playing days
  • TV stand – Made by spray painting a piece Olivia already had and hot gluing popsicle sticks on the front to look like drawers and gluing on beads to look like knobs.
  • Throw pillows – Made from cut up old clothes and hot gluing the edges
  • TV – Made from this set with a screencap of Frozen 2 (her favorite movie) glued to the front
  • Planter pot – A toothpaste cap with a tiny faux succulent hot glued inside
  • Light fixture – A plastic Easter egg half with a straw hat remnant glued on
  • Art – This floral still life art printed on card stock

Dining Room

Barbie dining room using scrapbook paper and items from around the house

  • Dining set – I spray painted this set using black and gray colors I already had.
  • Rug – Straw hat remnant
  • Curtains – Cut up remnants from an old shirt
  • Curtain rod – A chopstick
  • Chandelier – A spray painted keychain
  • Art – I printed this flamingo art because Olivia is completely obsessed with flamingos. And this geometric art and this geometric art seemed to work well alongside it.

Barbie dining room in a DIY dollhouse

Bathroom

Barbie dollhouse bathroom

  • Bathroom furniture – A mix of pieces that were mine as a kid + pieces she already owned
  • Rug – Remnant from an old sweater
  • Towels – Remnants from an old washcloth
  • Art – This abstract landscape printed on card stock.
  • Light fixture – Toothpaste cap spray painted brass

DIY Barbie dollhouse bathroom

Bedroom 1

DIY dollhouse bedroom in a Barbie dollhouse

  • BedEtsy find
  • Nightstand – Ebay find
  • Large plant – Hairspray cap wrapped in straw hat remnant + faux stems hot glued inside with aluminum foil
  • MirrorsFairy garden accessories
  • Bedding – Cut up clothes
  • Sheepskin rug – Cup up fleece mitten
  • Picture frame – Photo frame charm
  • Pendant light – Hairspray cap with straw hat remnant hot glued on attached with beaded strand
  • Art – This kite flying art printed on card stock

Barbie dollhouse bedroom with scrapbook paper as wallpaper

Bedroom 2

DIY Barbie dollhouse bedroom

  • Bed – vintage Ebay find
  • Nightstands – Made by hot gluing pieces from my old toys
  • Book – Fairy garden accessories
  • Bedding – Cut up clothes
  • Planter pot – Hairspray cap with straw hat remnants glued on and faux mini succulents glued inside
  • Art – This abstract portrait and this abstract portrait on card stock
  • Chandelier – Spray painted keychain
  • Sheepskin rugs – Cut up fleece mitten

Barbie dollhouse makeover

I always thought those tiny toy videos on YouTube were a little creepy and weird, but after doing all of this tiny dollhouse crafting, I can definitely see the draw. It’s so fun!!! Fair warning: Once you start, it’s hard to stop on all of the cute little details.

If you ever want more dollhouse inspiration, these are some excellent places to get ideas:

Barbie dollhouse makeover

Do you have any other fun dollhouse accounts/bloggers you follow? Or have you ever done a dollhouse makeover yourself before?

It’s times like these that I’m extra thankful for my girls.

And even though it’ll be tough to see Olivia (and eventually Regan when she gets older) destroy this dollhouse, it’s all be completely worth it! Thank heaven for little girls.

P.S. You can get more ideas for kids’ decor here.

P.P.S. If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

Thrifted Dollhouse Makeover | Tips and tricks for using what you already have and repurposing every day items from around the house to create a beautiful, real-looking dollhouse.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular dollhouse scale?

1:12 dollhouse scale is the most common, and there are typically more options for furniture and accessories you can buy in this size for that very reason.

What dollhouse scale do I need for Barbie?

Barbie’s size requires a 1:6 scale dollhouse.

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39 Comments

  1. I loved playing with dollhouses as a young girl and would have loved this one. As the mom of four boys, though, I’ve not had a chance to play with dollhouses since then. :o) Olivia is one lucky little girl!

  2. Omg, Lauren, this is so beautiful! I love Olivia’s choices of paper and you really had the creative juices flowing making all of those accessories, especially the light fixtures! I taught home ec for five years and one year I had my students make model rooms in cardboard boxes to teach them about interior design concepts like scale and proportion. I have actually been saving little random items for years that could be used in a project like this because I can’t bring myself to throw things away that could be used. My daughter is now almost 21 and I could see us making one together as a project (maybe for future grandchildren🤔❤️. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I have never been into dollhouses but had to take a peek to see what you did with it – AHHHMMMAZZZINGGGGLY adorable!! You are so talented and creative! Your girls will enjoy this for years! Great job!!

  4. I considered myself a seasoned mini maker, having started with cardboard and glue around the age of 10, but I’ve learned so many great tips from you today! Thank you and great job!!

  5. Amazing work Lauren! My daughter and I built a Barbie camper from cardboard, found objects, etc., a few years ago and it was addicting! Good memories! I am sure your girls will have so much fun with your creation!

  6. this is the coolest dollhouse! You did such a great job and gave us all some wonderful ideas! PERFECT!

  7. I started doing dollhouses a few years ago. Isn’t it addicting? You can check out my Instagram @patti_cupcake. 💕💖

  8. Wow!! That has to be the cutest dollhouse I have ever seen, what an amazing job, Lauren!
    I especially LOVE all the tiny light fixtures throughout the house, well done!
    Gemma.

  9. Lauren, this dollhouse is ABSOLUTELY precious! Olivia did a fantastic job picking the paper. Looks like she is taking after her Mom already. Kudos to you both!

  10. I might just make one of these for myself! Maybe I should finish decorating my new, real house first though. This is so much fun!

  11. Love this. My daughter’s boyfriends mom was gifted a kazillion dollhouse pieces when she was much younger. They’ve been sitting in her attic forever. She gave me everything. They were all victorian style pieces. I’m in love. I saw a pic on Pinterest where they took an old tallboy dresser and removed all the drawers. Installed “flooring”. Each level was a different room. I intend to do just that and keep it in the spare room we have. You did a lovely job on everything. Looking forward to working on mine. <3

  12. Lauren it truly is a one of a kind doll house. Olivia definitely deserves this for being such a great big sister!

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