There is something so magical about a dollhouse, isn’t there? I remember as a child I always loved, loved, loved dollhouses. As a little girl, my mom took me on an unforgettable excursion with a friend of mine to a specialty store that was filled with all things dollhouse. There were floor to ceiling dollhouses, furniture for dollhouses, accessories for dollhouses, and dolls. Oh my! It was a little girl’s dream! There were even dollhouses that had electricity. My love for dollhouses still exists today so that is what inspired this craft. Today we are going to show you how to make a shoebox dollhouse!
Although I love regular dollhouses, it is a ton of fun and a lot more economical to create one of you own out of a shoebox. Plus this is such a fun craft to do. It’s great as well because you can repurpose an old box and use many supplies that you may already have. It’s a win-win!
Also, my daughter just loved doing this project. It took us several hours to complete our shoebox dollhouses but boy was it worth it. We did get pretty detailed with our houses. You can use our shoebox dollhouses to follow our examples or create one entirely of your own. Plus, you can keep it as simple or as involved as you want. It’s all up to you!
Me and my trusty assistant – my daughter – are each going to make our own version of a shoebox dollhouse. We decided to each do a two-story dollhouse. The options are endless, however, and really you could just do a one-story dollhouse instead if you want. So, let’s get started!
What You Need for Your Shoebox Dollhouse
- Acrylic paints
- Wrapping paper
- Glue gun
- Glue Stick
- Box cutter
- Posca Pens (optional)
- Mod Podge (optional)
**Parents please assist your children with scissors, glue guns, or any materials that they may need supervision with.**
Decide the Orientation of your Shoebox Dollhouse
Once you find a suitable shoebox you can decide the orientation of how you want your dollhouse to stand. For example, I decided to put my box standing up tall because I decided to make it two stories. You could do this or if you want to lay it down horizontally you could do that, too, and have a one-story dollhouse. It’s totally up to you!
We found two shoeboxes that have the top cover attached. We liked that option because it keeps the whole house together as one piece. If you decided to make a one-story shoebox dollhouse and lay it horizontally, this flap can also serve as a play area as well!
Any box, however, will do to make a dollhouse. Let’s get started!
Cut out the Front Door and Shutters of Your Dollhouse
What’s a dollhouse without an opening front door and some shutters? I used a box cutter to cut out a door shape (I just cut on three sides so I could fold the door back and it would still be attached to the box and I used a bookmark as a guide to draw the outline of the door.
For the shutters, I used the bookmark again as a guide to draw some straight lines as guides for my shutters. I took the bookmark and made two parallel lines and then one intersecting line in the middle for my shutters. As pictured below I did this step twice – once for each shutter. Then I carefully used a box cutter to cut along the lines that I had drawn. And my shutters and door are certainly not perfect but I think it gives my dollhouse character.
**Parents please do not allow your children to use the box cutter. If your children are doing this project on their own please assist them with this step.**
Create the Second Floor for Your Dollhouse
Since I wanted to make my dollhouse two stories and so did my daughter, we had to find a way to create a second story. Using a flat piece of cardboard that I cut from a box, I placed it directly under my box (making sure to have it standing up tall) and used a pencil to trace around my box. After I drew the guide I then cut out the piece of the cardboard to the measurements that I just drew. I had to trim my down a little bit more. Then using my glue gun I quickly put a layer of hot glue around the back and two sides where it would attach to the box. Since the glue dries very quickly, I immediately placed the second story where I wanted it. I had to use a little extra glue to reinforce it a bit.
**Parents please assist your children with this step as glue guns and the glue inside can be very hot!**
Paint the Outside
Now we are getting to the fun part. We each wanted to paint the outside of our boxes. I decided to paint my box with a grey color. My daughter painted hers pink! In order to evenly cover the design that was on our boxes we did have to do multiple coats. After a few coats though it was totally transformed!
Work your way around the box to paint the other sides. It can get a little tricky because if you want to cover all sides evenly, you most likely will need multiple coats everywhere. Also, it does help to let the coats dry completely before painting another coat. I painted one area, then moved on to another area, and then went back to the first area to do another coat. Depending on the section that I was painting, I did 2-3 coats.
Add Some Fun Details on the Front of Your Shoebox Dollhouse
Now that you have a nice solid color for the front of the house, it’s time to have a little fun and give the front of your house a little pizzazz! First, I painted the door and the shutters a powder pink! As with the other areas of the shoebox dollhouse, I painted a few coats to make sure the color was even.
Then I wanted to add some more fun details so I drew on some bricks on the bottom part of the front of my house. I thought that it would add an interesting element. For this step I used Posca Pens (which are awesome btw!) to do this. First, I started just by drawing individual bricks in a staggered brick-like pattern. Once I did that, then I made sure that the black around the bricks was completely filled in. Afterwards, I used the white Posca Pen to draw some small white dots in each individual brick to give a more textured appearance.
Also, I used Posca Pens to draw a door knob and wreath for the door. Then I created my own unique frame around the windows.
I just thought it would be fun to add more details, but feel free to keep it as detailed or simple as you want. It’s your creation after all.
Also, you can add these details using just your acrylic paint and a small paint brush as well.
Decorate the Inside of Your Shoebox Dollhouse
Just as on the outside I wanted to spruce up the inside of my shoebox dollhouse. I painted the inside of the front panel of the house with a teal-colored blue. Also, I created my own painted “wallpaper” by adding a cute flower pattern using the Posca Pens again. You can do this just using a small brush and acrylic paint as well.
I also painted the two ceilings of my house white. This also took a few coats of paint to adequately cover the box underneath properly.
Next, I used a cool wrapping paper that I had on hand to create another wall paper. I used the outside of the box to mark and measure how big the paper needed to be. Also, I originally wanted to just cut out one large piece and fold it and glue it as one piece but after attempting this opted to cut the one piece into three sections and glue them individually to the box. It just worked better that way.
For the floors, I opted for two different effects. The first is I took a piece of felt to create a carpet-like floor in the top floor.
Another fun detail that I added which is completely optional is a little chalk board area in the house. I happened to have chalk board acrylic paint, so thought it would be fun to add this little detail. In the kitchen area I painted a large rectangle
The Final Step Mod Podge
This step is optional but will definitely protect the paint. We opted to do this because I know that we really want to use our dollhouses for play. If you want to make your dollhouse a little sturdier, then definitely add a layer of Mod Podge to protect the paint. I have glossy Mod Podge on hand so it did add a little shine as well.
We really hope you enjoyed this project! Tell how you liked this tutorial and about your shoebox dollhouse.