Here it is! The long awaited dollhouse renovation post. I was not expecting this Dollhouse DIY to go viral. The response I received was so overwhelming. I'm pretty sure I unlocked a core memory for all the millennials who owned this exact Playskool dollhouse growing up. I'm so happy that I got to give it a new life and enjoy it all over again in my thirties.
I've always loved miniatures, and I've been dying to do a dollhouse makeover for years. Not only am I doing this for funsies, I'm creating a 3D vision board for the house that I want to build someday in the future. I'm *manifesting* it. I knew my parents still had my old childhood dollhouse upstairs in the attic, but I just never had the time to go get it.
Well - inspiration finally struck a few months ago. One night when I was at my parents' house for dinner, I grabbed a ladder and poked my head up into their cobweb-infested attic. It was right there! But not only was there one dollhouse up there, I found a second one hidden behind it. We'll get to that later.
My dad helped me carry it down the ladder and bring it outside. It was filthy, so we had to hose it off. The Playskool pastel hues were still present, but starting to fade. Pinks, yellows, blues...it was like a cotton candy wonderland. My dad was laughing at me the whole time, saying "it's too outdated, it's not worth it, you're better off finding something else on Facebook Marketplace." But I was determined. I saw the vision, and I knew exactly how to bring it to life. Here's a breakdown of how we got started and everything we've done so far! (The before photos are at the end for comparison.)
Notice how I keep saying "we"... As soon as my dad started helping me paint, he was fully committed to the job. He builds small scale architectural models for a living, so this was right up his alley.
We started by taking apart the entire dollhouse - unscrewing everything, taking the walls apart, painting. It was a royal pain in the butt to disassemble it, but made it a lot easier to paint. It took about 3 cans of spray paint, but we finally got it to a neutral, white base. I also had a gray interior paint sample on hand that I used on the roof to give it some contrast. Finally, I sprayed all of the doors and railings black. A mini modern farmhouse in the making!
I knew I wanted hardwood floors throughout the house, but standard popsicle sticks were too small. I found a pack of wooden craft sticks on Amazon. They were a bit thicker and longer that I expected, so I had to measure and cut them with a table saw. When I laid them down on the base, I staggered them like real flooring. They turned out so much better than I could have imagined! They look just like the light, white oak floors on my vision board. *chef's kiss*
I found a book of textures at Michael's which was perfect for accent walls, backsplashes, countertops, etc. I also plan on putting up some faux walls made out of foam board from Dollar Tree. As you can see, the layout of this dollhouse is very open. I have a lot of accent walls, décor and paintings I want to add, so having a few more walls will allow me to really spice up the interior.
I bought most of my dollhouse décor from Amazon, Michael's, Etsy and Hobby Lobby. I created a Dollhouse list on my Amazon storefront with all the items I purchased. I also DIYed a lot of my furniture - like the live edge dining table I made out of foam board and popsicle sticks. The area rugs, blankets and bed linens are all handmade using cheap fabric scraps and placemats from Walmart. Here's the video!
The bed is also handmade by my dad. I sent him a simple wrought iron design that I liked, and I don't know how he did it, but he replicated it using his laser printer. The day he handed me that little bed, you would have thought I was a 16 year old kid getting gifted a brand new car. I loved it!
I decided that the original kitchen was not salvageable and had to go, so I ripped it out and purchased a new one on Amazon. It was a basic, black and white design. To spice it up, I used patterned scrapbook paper as a modern tribal backsplash and covered the black countertops with black marble contact paper. Instant upgrade!
We need to talk about two rooms in particular - the loft and the bathroom. For the bathroom design, I knew I wanted white subway tile, but wasn't sure how to do it. That's where my dad came to the rescue! He worked his magic by measuring out the walls, finding the correct scale, mocking up the design and printing out the tile pattern on white plexiglass sheets using his laser printer. Then we "grouted" them using black paint and wiping off the excess. This was probably my favorite part! Here is a closer look at the process.
To design the bathroom floor, I copied a tile square design that I liked off the internet and pasted it into a blank doc on Canva to make a large floor grid pattern. Then, I printed it out, cut it to size and adhered it to the floor using twin tack adhesive.
I'm still in need of a new bathroom sink. The current one is pretty scrappy. I used the top of the original sink, painted it white and gold and superglued it to an empty chapstick tube base. That'll do for now! As for the smaller details - the toilet is from Amazon, the toilet paper is real, rolled up toilet paper, and the books, plants and décor are all from Michaels. This might be my favorite room. It's a close call between this and the loft.
If you've been following me for a while, you know allllll about "The Loft"... It was the room I designed and built in my first house. My art studio, my sacred space, the room where I opened my Etsy shop and started my little business. After I sold that house, I then carried that same design into my rental. So, of course, I had to add it to the dollhouse!
After painting the walls, I cut up several thin wooden sticks that I found at Hobby Lobby and super glued them to the wall in crisscross patterns. I even copied my exact desk design using foam board and popsicle sticks. I love this room so much, and I can't wait to continue to add even more special touches to it. Check out the video tutorial.
This is just the beginning of my dollhouse journey. As I mentioned earlier, I found a second dollhouse up in the attic. I think it's a Barbie dollhouse, so it's a little bit bigger than 1:12 scale. It's also foldable, so the interior flow isn't as nice. Who knows, maybe I'll flip it and sell it (I will never under any circumstances sell the first one, it brings me too way much joy!) Stay tuned, there might be a part 2 in the near future!
The before pictures are below. If you want to see more before and after footage, check out this video on TikTok and view my Dollhouse series for more content.