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Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser!

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.

How to build a Barbie Doll house from a wood dresser       Build a Barbie Doll House from a wood dresser

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.

Step for Step How To Make a Barbie Doll House
This recycled dresser was in good shape just that it was dirty looking but nothing broken. Even all the handles were there. How to Build a Barbie Doll House
Take the drawers out and start sizing things up. Fashion Doll House
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.  Create a Fashion Doll House
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 with you. How to build a Barbie Doll house from a wood dresser
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. Build Your Own Barbie Doll House
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. Step for Step How To Make a Barbie Doll House
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 side drawers. Build a Barbie Doll House from a wood dresser
After I remove the center and front wood supports for the drawers I have the side rails to remove.  Barbie Doll House on a Shoe String
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 dresser. How to build a Barbie Doll house from a wood dresser
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. Build Your Own Barbie Doll House
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. How To Make a Barbie Doll House
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. Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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. Custom Barbie Doll House
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. Build a Custom Barbie Doll House
I replaced the back support too. Build a Custom Barbie Doll House using a wood dresser

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.

No Larger Picture Available

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.

 Step for Step How To Make a Barbie Doll House Step for Step How To Make a Barbie Doll House
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.  Step for Step How To Build a Barbie Doll House
You can see here how nice they fit. Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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. Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled DresserBuild a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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. Custom Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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 fully cover. Custom Build a Fashion Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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. Step by Step Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Wood Dresser
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. Design a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Wood Dresser
Here is the first floor closer - see how nice and New my Barbie Doll House Looks.... Design a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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) Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled DresserDesign a Fashion Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
Here are two Barbie Doll's on the second floor bedroom of my custom Barbie Doll House. Step by Step Build a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
Start adding things to the walls so it looks like a real house. 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 finished look. Make a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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. Create a Barbie Doll House Using a Recycled Dresser
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. How to Build a Barbie Doll House
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. How to Build a Barbie Doll House

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.

Thank you

Debra

How to Build a Barbie Doll House
Debra@Just-In.net
Last Updated July 19, 2013