Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled
Building a Barbie Doll House from a Recycled Dresser is
Fun, Easy AND Cost Effective! Recycling is good for the environment as well
as costing less than buying a Barbie Doll House from a retail store. Plus
you get a couple of Bonus's - You feel good about it and it will last a
child's lifetime. Click on pictures for a larger picture in a new window.
Before and after
Finding a old wood dresser to recycle just takes a little looking
around. I found this one at the Goodwill for $7.11 including tax.
You can find them at yard sales and ask around - I just found 2
more that my mother-in-law has in her spare bedroom. One of them
has a broken draw, makes a perfect dresser to recycle for making a
Barbie Doll House. I would suggest that you use a all wood dresser
- a pressed wood dresser can break up when trying to take apart.
This recycled dresser was in good shape just that it was dirty
looking but nothing broken. Even all the handles were there.
Take the drawers out and start sizing things up.
See where all the wood rails are that the drawers slide on inside
this dresser. There are no rollers or tracks. If you have rollers
or tracks you will have to get creative with some of the steps I
apply in this project.
Barbie measures 11 1/2 inches. So before you start you will have to
make sure that your dresser will work for your project. You may
want to measure your prospective dresser before you buy it and take
it home and find that it will not work. So when you are out
searching for your a dresser, you may want to take a tape measure
This dresser will give me the height I need for Barbie to stand and
not be hitting Barbie's head on the ceiling. I will need to use two
drawer spaces to make one floor for this Barbie Doll House.
I find I have room for two floors and have a drawer left over. I
think this is great. This leaves me with a storage drawer for extra
Barbie Doll items I can keep in the drawer. So a 5 drawer dresser
can be a plus.
This Dresser is in really good shape inside, but there are a few
rails missing - I don't think they were put in when it was built by
the way mine looks. But no problem I will use some that I remove to
support where I am missing some rails.
The top drawer is two side by side drawer so I will have to remove
the center and the front crossing that supports the top two side by
After I remove the center and front wood supports for the drawers I
have the side rails to remove.
I have this little crow bar - really small - I found it at Big Lot
for only a dollar. Was just the right size to work it behind this
rail to start prying the rail out from the inter wall of the
Working carefully and slowly I get the rail out in one piece and do
not damage the wall much... and you may do some damage just take it
slow and do as little as you can. But you may have some damage but
nothing a little wood putty and sand paper can't fix up.
There may even be a back rail you will have to remove as I have one
here and I had to work this rail out. Slowly and carefully I got
the rail out with little damage.
I repeat removing the railings for the lower floor where Barbie is
hanging on to the support I will remove next - applying the same
process I did for the removal of the previous level.
On the bottom of the dresser is where I was missing some rails for
support of the bottom drawer. So here I am going to use the rail I
removed from the other levels.
Getting the rail in place will be easy I will even leave the nails
in because I removed them slowly as to do little damage. So I
recycle the nails too.
I replaced the back support too.
Here just to get a sneak preview of what I envision for my Barbie
Doll House - I took the bottom out of 2 of the drawers and sat them
in and placed a few Barbie Doll items in to just get a view. I
placed the drawer in too and I knew this was going to work just
like I envision in my mine. But here I find that the drawer bottoms
are short on the sides and will not work for the flooring. I will
have to buy some wood for the floors. Plus I did not like the thin
wood that was in the drawers for flooring - I would think without
support that it would warp in a short time.
So far I had the dresser in the garage - now I took it to the
basement and laid it on its side on my work bench. The rails left a
grove hole in the sides - so I got some dowels, your will to
measure what you needs will be - but mine here were 1/4 deep grove
that was 3/4 wide. I use a square 1/4 dowel and a wood strip 1/4 by
1/2. Got both of them from the craft store. Used a paint brush to
paint the glue in the grove to get it applied evenly.
After applying the glue I placed the strips of wood in the grove to
fill the major part of the grove in on the sides.
You can see here how nice they fit.
I clamped the strips down and left to dry. Now if you do not have
clamps to use - I would suggest using books, cans, laundry soap
bottle or anything else you can find with some weight to sit on
them to keep them in tight.
After the glue is dry, I used a little wood putty to fill in any
gaps, cracks or damage I did when removing the railings as well as
any other blemishes that the dresser had that I wanted to correct.
I got the wood putty in a tube for about $4 at the hardware store.
Then after the wood putty dried I sanded the excess off to make it
nice and smooth. I applied the wood putty in thin layers - for me
it took 2 applications.
After dusting off all the wood with my vacuum. I painted the
dresser with some white paint I had left from painting my ceilings
here at my home. The paint was high gloss white - I really like how
it looked. Here it is with one coat. It took 2 coats of paint to
Measured and cut the flooring. I used this pressed wood that was
finished on both sides. I like the idea that I did not have to sand
it or paint it, at least not yet.
After the second coat of paint I placed the floors in and some of
the Barbie Doll furniture I was going to use in the New
"Barbie Doll House" to see how it was coming along. I do
not plan on gluing or nailing the floors. I want to be able to take
them out. I have not made up my mind how I want to finish the
floors so I am going to keep them removable. I have thought that I
might paint one side, one color and the other side, another color
so I can change the look of the rooms, but for now I am going to
leave them alone.
Here is the first floor closer - see how nice and New my Barbie
Doll House Looks....
Here you can see how the first floor of my Barbie Doll House looked
before and after paint... Now everyone has their own style and
items to use to decorate their Barbie Doll House. This Barbie Doll
House can be just as much fun for you as for the child or
children.If you are like me you will be making a Barbie Doll House
for yourself. I am going to have a blast - I am going to be making
4 of them. The last Barbie Doll House will be for me :o)
Here are two Barbie Doll's on the second floor bedroom of my custom
Barbie Doll House.
Start adding things to the walls so it looks like a real ouse. I
used Google search on images for painting. Made them small and
printed them. Put them on the walls using Darice Stick To It. that
I got for a dollar and it is removable. Will not hurt the walls or
the pictures I used it on. I got some material for the carpet that
I liked and laid it down on the floor for now to give it that
Now I add some pictures of the my back yard in the windows to give
it that real window look. You can make windows - I have one I made
that I will be adding to the site. I will show you how to make a
window to put on a wall - used the same Stick To It for putting the
picture in the window - I can change the pictures for the seasons
if I wish. Think of the fun, decorate for Christmas, Thanksgiving,
Halloween, 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day, Easter... I am so
excited about decorating my Barbie Doll House for all the Holiday.
Closer here you can see the few items I added to the walls on the
first floor kitchen and front room of the Barbie Doll House. I also
used that Stick To It to put a glass in one of the Barbie Doll's
hands. You can use it to help with any kind of items you want to
put in Barbie Doll's hands.
The second floor bedroom with the mirror in the vanity and on one
wall with a painting. I was thinking of also decorating the bedroom
for a cheer leader - I think a pendent flag and stuff on the walls
would be so cool in Barbie Doll's bedroom.
Good By for now - come back soon and see the "Next Recycled
Dresser to become a Barbie Doll House" until then Have Fun!
Please feel free to send me your comments and share your projects
with me. I love hearing and seeing what others are doing... And if you
have not visited "Barbie-A-Sewing" go check
it out - it is one of my best pieces of work.