If you enjoy do-it-yourself projects and would like to save a bit of money, consider building a castle as a new home for your child's Barbie doll collection. At a height of 11.5 inches, Barbie dolls require slightly larger dollhouses than you'll find on the market for most other dolls. By building your own, you can tailor the dimensions to fit your child's dolls and create a layout to suit your child's tastes.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 3/4 inch plywood
- 1/2 inch plywood
- 1/8 inch plywood
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- Keyhole saw
- Wood glue
- Decorative paper or fabric
Draw a rough sketch of the overall look you want for your Barbie dollhouse. Incorporate at least two stories, and potentially more, to create the look of a grand castle. Add a partial top story in the style of a turret for a striking castle-like effect. Include small details, such as a crenellated border around the edges of the castle's roof, accordance with your level of woodworking experience. Include a removable "fourth wall" if you wish to fully enclose the doll house when it is not in use..
Add measurements to your rough draft, adapting it to fit Barbie's 11.5 inch height. Make the individual rooms measure at least 12 inches high, from the top edge of the floor to the bottom edge of the ceiling, for a spacious Barbie-sized castle.
Add windows and doors to your plan. Position any doors linking individual rooms close to the open face of the castle. Avoid placing doors directly above one another to improve the castle's overall structural integrity.
Measure the 3/4 inch plywood to size for the base of the dollhouse. Cut it using the circular saw. Sand the sawn edges until they are smooth to the touch, with no splintered edges.
Measure the 1/2 inch plywood for all the wall and ceiling/floor pieces. Use a single, uncut piece of plywood wherever the walls align between upper and lower stories. Cut the wall, ceiling and floor pieces using the circular saw.
Cut the doors and windows out of corresponding walls, using the keyhole saw. Cut doors with extra caution if you wish to conserve the cut-out wood to construct hinging doors. Sand all exposed edges until they are smooth to the touch.
Assemble the walls to the base of the castle. Coat the entire length of the joint with wood glue and attach the pieces with the hammer and nails. Follow the drying recommendations on the wood glue before proceeding, waiting until the glue has set.
Attach the floors and ceilings of the upper stories using wood glue and nails. Let the wood glue dry completely before proceeding.
Add interior and exterior trim. Cut a crenellated, or notched, strip of 1/8 inch plywood along the perimeter of the roof. Line interior rooms with decorative papers and cloths. Paint the exterior light grey or pale pink for the look of a traditional castle or a classic Barbie-style palace.
Tips and warnings
- Use caution when working with any type of power tool and unplug them whenever they are not in use.
- Provide ample ventilation when using paint or wood glue indoors.
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