For a little girl, a dolls’ house is a magical present, even now, in the age of DSs and iPads and dolls’ houses are still incredibly popular, both as toys and as collectibles. Although they can be quite expensive, it is quite easy to buy a cheaper one or a second hand one and customise it.
This is a fun activity that you can do with your children on a rainy day, and you can be as creative as you like. And the best part is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money!
So, here are some tips and ideas for decorating your dolls house using craft supplies and bits and pieces you can find round the home. You’ll need the following:
- Fabric offcuts
- Old magazines
- Scissors and/or craft knife (keep away from little fingers!)
- and any other bits and pieces you can find!
The first step is to give the dolls’ house a good clean out using a soft cloth and some warm soapy water, especially if it’s second hand. Dust and grime can stop wallpaper and carpets sticking properly, plus, it’s more hygienic! Once this is done, you’re ready to go!
For wallpapering your dolls’ house, you can buy offcuts of real wallpaper from a DIY shop, cut patterns or pictures you like out of magazines, draw your own design, even find a pattern you like on the internet and print it out… there are tons of different options.
When you find a pattern you like, cut to fit and stick to the walls using a strong glue (be careful, this can get very messy!!). Leave to dry for a few hours, and you’ll have a beautifully wallpapered dolls’ house!
For carpets, again, you could use offcuts, but these can be quite thick.
A good alternative is to go down to your local fabric shop or craft shop and buy some offcuts of material. For example, you can buy felt in lots of colours, which really gives a nice warm feel to your dolls house.
You can also use leftover fabric to make curtains, rugs, even bedcovers for dolls.
If you don’t want to carpet in your dolls’ house, there is still so much choice. You can even buy very thin “floorboards”! Otherwise, you can buy mini-tiles and lay them (although this is fiddly and time consuming and might not be as interesting for the littl’uns), or you could buy textured paper or card from a craft shop. Once again, cut to fit and stick down.
Accessories and furniture
Have a look round the house for bits and bobs. When I had my Sylvanian Families manor house, years ago, which I used as a home for all of my dolls, I mixed together all sorts of bits and pieces that I found lying around at home.
I made armchair covers and curtains out of old hankies. I filled the tiny jars with seed beads, sequins and bits of Fimo, to look like food. I used clear nail polish to “varnish” furniture. And I even cut little photographs of bands and actors (mainly from Neighbours!) out of magazines so that my Sylvanian Families and their assorted friends could be cool and have “posters” on their walls!
Here are some other tips for making furniture:
- A toothpaste tube lid makes a great wastepaper bin or lampshade. And a golf tee is a good lamp base!
- Ribbons or bits of embroidery thread can be used as furniture trimmings or curtain tiebacks.
- Use empty matchboxes to make chests of drawers. Just paint them or cover with fabric and stick beads on for handles.
- The stick from a cotton bud (Q-tip) can be used as a mop handle (with some white wool for the mop head) or as a hanging rail in a wardrobe.
For a really nice finishing touch, your local craft shop is a good place to visit for pretty things to decorate your rooms and furniture. Buttons and beads, flowers, ribbons, mini stickers, even tiny plants and fences can be found here. And they’ll really make your dolls’ house look amazing!
There’s really so much you can do, so if it’s the school holidays and it’s raining outside, why not spend the day decorating? Roll up your sleeves, get the kids to go on a “treasure hunt” to find objects they can use, and get decorating!
Helen Laird writes for Sylvanian Heaven, a family run, Nottingham based company who sell new and second hand Sylvanian Families online.