Custom made dollhouses can be works of art and collectors sometimes spend large amounts of money furnishing them. But if you're looking for a fun project to share with children, you can make a more humble doll house with a cardboard box. You might use a small box to make a doll cottage, or find a refrigerator box to make a doll high-rise. Either way, making a cardboard dollhouse is an affordable project that children enjoy.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Cardboard box
- Utility knife
- Packing tape
Find a very sturdy cardboard box. Not all boxes are created equal. Be sure the cardboard is corrugated rather than single layer. For large dollhouses, household appliance boxes are best. Select a box that has not been bent or creased, as a bend will be a weak point and prone to collapse. Make sure all sides are perfectly flat.
Find extra boxes for making a roof and floors for extra stories. These boxes should be large enough to match the width and depth of your main dollhouse box.
Find smaller boxes in a variety of sizes. Your child might decide to make appliances, living room furniture, beds and tables to furnish the dollhouse.
With a ruler and a pencil, mark out windows and doors on the outside surface of your dollhouse box. If the dollhouse is going to be more than one story, mark where the upper-story floors will be so you can place the doors and windows at the right height.
Carefully cut all the way through the cardboard on the top, bottom, and one side of each door. Decide which way you want the door to open, then score down the uncut side of the door, penetrating only the surface layer of cardboard. You can now bend the door back so it opens and closes.
Cut out the windows you have marked. Alternatively, you can cut only the top and bottom of each window and score it down the middle for shutters that open on both sides.
Windows and Doors
Cut a piece of cardboard from an extra box, to the same size as the floor of your dollhouse.
Run strong packing tape along each side of the floor piece. Leave half the width of the tape hanging over the edge of the floor piece. Position the floor piece in the dollhouse at the level of your second story floor. Press the tape to the inside walls of the dollhouse.
Cut floors for as many stories as you can fit in your dollhouse. If you have a refrigerator box, and your dolls are small enough, you might be able to build an eight story apartment building.
Cut the two narrowest sides of the box to a point at the top of your dollhouse. This will be your angled roof. Cut two pieces of cardboard to fit as each side of the roof, measuring to make sure your roof will slightly overhang the edges of the doll house. Lay the roof pieces over the angled top of your cardboard house and tape them together at the top.
Cut small cardboard shingles from an extra box if you would like to shingle your roof. A grey or black box would be ideal for shingles.
Use craft paint to give your doll house an appropriate exterior colour. You might also use paint and pieces of fabric to simulate plants and climbing flowers on the outside of the house.
Tips and warnings
- Ask your child's friends to build their own cardboard dollhouses, then gather the dollhouses together to make a doll town.
- Do not let children use utility knives without close supervision.
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