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Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

Santa and I, we’re good buddies. He gives me the low-down on a frequent basis.

I’m not sure if you know this about the big guy or not but he’s a thrift store junkie. It’s true. He told me himself.

If you caught yesterday’s Christmas tour post, I mentioned that we’re not big gift buyers around the holidays. Last year was the first year Olivia was old enough for us to really get into the Santa thing, but we weren’t ready to spend hundreds of dollars on toys for her.

So throughout the months leading up to Christmas I, ahem I mean Santa, kept a lookout for some awesomesauce presents to fix up and have waiting under the tree. (Some ended up as Birthday gifts instead since I found soooo many.)

At my neighborhood thrift store, I snagged this kitchen that retails for over $250 for $25. Whaaat! All it needed was a good cleaning and it was like brand new.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

In another thrift store, I found this old puppet theatre for just $6. With a little paint and some fabric, it turned out to be the best imagination station. And that piano that retails for $80 was a $20 score at a local kids’ consignment sale.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

My grandmother had bought a wooden doll crib for my mom from a Sears catalog back in the 60s. My mom gave it to me when I was a little girl, and then last year, she fixed it up with some white paint and a hand sewn doll mattress, pillow, and blanket. (I think I got the DIY bug from her.)  It melts my heart every time when Olivia plays with it…which is basically every day.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

THEN I found this Pottery Barn doll stroller marked at almost $100 for $20 at a kids’ consignment sale and a $2 highchair at a thrift store that I painted.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

This girl is a happy camper. And this mom is a happy camper because I didn’t have to break the bank for Christmas and Birthday presents.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

I think she was just a teensy bit happy to see all Santa had brought her on Christmas last year.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

Now this year, I’m cooking up another budget DIY Santa surprise. A few months ago, I found this wooden dollhouse for $10 at the thrift store. It was really plain and simple and could use a little TLC, but it was so cute, I couldn’t walk away from it.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

And the inside gave me plenty of potential to make some magic.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

So I swung by Michaels to pick up a few sheets of scrapbook paper to put in some wallpaper. (Goodness knows I don’t have the patience for the grown-up wallpaper, but I can handle the dollhouse kind.)

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

Over the course of a couple of days sneaking into our garage whenever Olivia was napping, I stained the floors, installed the “wallpaper” with Mod Podge, added curtains with felt and hot glue, and hung a few tiny picture frames I found.

I ordered a few dollhouse furniture pieces too (since I didn’t trust DIYing that for child safety reasons), but it didn’t arrive in time to show you guys. Booo.

Now she’s looking mighty snazzy. My photos really don’t do this one justice since I had to squeeze in a quick photo shoot while Olivia was busy.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

I painted the outside in Martha Stewart Mother of Pearl acrylic paint, so it has a pretty shimmery sheen to it. I painted the shutters and chimney with some leftover Fusion Mineral Paint in Ash from my china cabinet makeover.

And I added some corrugated silver glittery scrapbook sheets to mimic a tin roof.
Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

And this is the inside!

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

I can’t wait to see it completely finished when the dollhouse furniture arrives. I might go back and paint the ceilings white and paint on a few area rugs. Depends on how tired Santa is. 😉

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

For the miniature picture frames, I took the glass out, added a few prints from The Graphics Fairy, and hot glued them to the walls.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

This one reminds me of Olivia’s room.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

I found this beautiful cottage print on The Graphics Fairy too, and I think I’m tempted to blow it up as a grown-up sized print. It’s gorgeous!

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

I’m so anxious already for Santa to leave this sweet little house under the tree. I just know she’s going to flip for this thing.

Santa Thrifting and Dollhouse Makeover | www.blesserhouse.com

Is your inner little girl a teeny bit jealous? Mine is! I think I’m going to love playing with it as much as Olivia will. And now I think this girl is set on toys until she’s…oh…16. Sounds about right.

Best of all, we can use the money we would have spent on a retail priced dollhouse to buy gifts for an Angel Tree child.

Have you ever DIYed any of your kids’ toys before? Or found some rockin’ great deals at thrift stores and consignment sales for your little ones? Money savvy Santa is the best, don’t you think?

You can check out all of the creative makeovers my Trash to Treasure Transformation friends are up to today too. These gals never disappoint.

t2t collage

(Clockwise from top left) Prodigal Pieces | Confessions of a Serial Do-It-Yourselfer | Artsy Chicks Rule | Girl in the Garage



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  1. Aww, that dollhouse is soo SWEET! She will LOVE it! I got a kick out of seeing her with all the gifts of the doll buggy, high chair, crib, and little kitchen. You scored big on all those. How fun to have a little girl to buy for! Anyway, I also love how you prettied up the dollhouse! I would have loved that as a little girl myself. I had a metal dollhouse, popular in the 50’s, that I played with a lot, but my favorite one was in the bottom of an antique washstand. You just open the cabinet doors, and voila, there’s the dollhouse! All the scrapbook papers you used are just perfect for it. I hope you’ll show us the final result with all the furniture.

    1. Thanks, Florence! We gave this dollhouse to her last Christmas and she absolutely LOVES it! It’s definitely no longer perfect. She took a marker to some of the wooden floors in it, and her doll furniture is all over our house. Haha! But it’s been worth every bit of work to make it something she enjoys.

  2. I have been thinking about splurging on a PB doll pram, just because we’ve had enough cheaper ones break to make a sturdy investment piece worth it. Do you think two 15″ dolls would have room to sit? Sorry for the random question, but I don’t know anyone who has one! Love getting home ideas from you!

    1. Sorry for my delay, Jaime! But absolutely! My daughter can fit 3 or 4 of her dolls into her pram usually. Hers are a bit smaller than 15″, so I’m sure two would fit. Hers is very sturdy.

  3. My inner little girl SO wishes she could play with this! Since I have 3 boys I might never play with a real dollhouse again… ha. But they have a firestation with mini furniture so that’s kind of the same, right? 😉

    1. We played with it ALL day on Christmas, and it hasn’t stopped. You can come over and play with ours anytime, Jen. Although, a firestation sounds pretty awesome. 😉

    1. Thanks, Elaine! I’m a Habitat for Humanity Restore, Salvation Army, and Goodwill junkie. There are a few smaller thrift stores I’ve visited in my area before, but they don’t often carry furniture, which is what I’m usually after. If you get the Yelp app, you can find all kinds of great places in your area.

  4. Wow, Lauren. You truly made those thrifty finds shine! I adore the kitchen and the dollhouse is to die for! She is going to love it and when she grows up and realizes that you made it with your own hands, it’s going to mean so much more for her! Merry Christmas! XO

  5. Love how you have done up the dolls house . That pink kitchen is amazing so nice that you have given it a second home. Olivia’s bedroom is fabulous as is all of your house. Merry Christmas from across The Pond.

  6. Wow, those are amazing finds!! Good for you. Your daughter is one lucky little girl.
    She must have a lot of fun in her room. Adorable.

  7. So cute! My dad built my girls a dollhouse from a kit and I’m thinking of re-doing it for them. I was in Micheals yesterday and happened to see all their Christmas miniatures were on sale 70% 79% off! They had some really cute things for the kitchen and den areas! Hobby Lobby has a great selection too! She is so lucky to have you for a DIY mom!

    1. Oh wow! I didn’t see that! Maybe you shouldn’t tell me that because I’ll be tempted to look. Haha! You are so sweet, Caroline. Thank you!

  8. Oh my goodness….too cute!! Olivia will love playing with it and arranging and rearranging the rooms! A little Christmas wreath above the front door would be cute, too…. You will definitely have to share when the furniture arrives! Blessings to you….

  9. Lauren you’ve taken me back to my childhood. When I was little my parents couldn’t afford these things. Instead they would buy sweaters for me. So now you have really awakened the little girl in me! Olivia will love this, it’s so adorable. Now make sure to show it to us with the furniture for the full effect, ok Santa?? Althought to be fair it looks mighty awesome without anything in! 🙂

  10. I have always wanted a dollhouse! This looks lovely so far. I can only imagine how thrilled she will be when she sees it. Maybe one day I will do a dollhouse makeover. 🙂

    1. It might be dangerous that I started this early. I’ll just be tempted to keep adding more stuff. Haha! Thanks, Michelle!

  11. Bravo!! Kudos to you for thrifting your gifts as we do the same if not build it ourselves, and half of the fun is working on the finding the right piece and making it your own. Your daughter will love it!! Have fun at Christmas and enjoy those sweet memories. Merry Christmas, Lauren!

    1. It’s the best, isn’t it!? Knowing you and your strokes of brilliance, I’m sure your presents are way better than anything you could buy in a store. Merry Christmas to you too, Larissa!

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