Back in December, I mentioned that I wanted to give my daughter a doll house, mostly because my father and I had built one together when I was a little girl. It took hours and hours, but it was a great experience that I’ll always remember and one I wanted to share with my own child. After searching fruitlessly for an eco-friendly option, I remembered that my father had actually kept the doll house we put together all those years ago. It was sitting unused in a dusty corner of his office, and it was unpainted because we never got around to that part, but he still had it. So after my dad and I shared a few fond memories of the time we spent building it, he shipped my lovely old doll house to me.
Forgive the horrible photos, but I took them with my cell phone. As you can see, it wasn’t in the best shape. It is easily more than 15 years old (I can’t remember exactly how old I was when we built it), and it hadn’t been touched in years. It was dusty with some parts that had fallen off, and some of it was being held together with crunchy old pieces of tape. I thought that this would be a project my daughter and I could do to celebrate Mother’s Day together. After all, quality time is the among the best gifts you can give or receive, and I knew we’d both remember this experience for years to come.
I won’t say this was an easy undertaking. Because it wasn’t. It took days to finish, and many hours spent contorted in weird positions to paint all the details and finish the interior. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in this world.
In addition to the house itself, we started off with a few supplies from Walmart: craft paint, craft glue suitable for wood, and sheets of scrapbook paper. We added that to the Olympic low-VOC paint we had left over from my daughter’s room and the mid-century Hooker desk we refinished a while back, along with an abundance of paint brushes. We also grabbed some doll house shingles and wood flooring from the miniatures section at Hobby Lobby and got to work.
And here’s the final result!
I’ll spare you all the details, but time was the major requirement for this project. When we were finally done, I told my husband that it’s “far from perfect, but looks perfect from far.”
I love the ice blue, white and hot pink color scheme, and my daughter thinks it’s absolutely perfect!
We used the scrapbook paper as wallpaper on the inside of the house, and I love how you can see the patterns through the front windows (even though my wallpapering technique was less than stellar).
I love how you can see the flooring and staircase through the front door, so it really feels like a home. We still have to line up and secure the flooring with adhesive and do some touch-up painting, but you get the idea.
We chose fun patterns and colors for the inside of the house: green and white damask for the living room, solid green with one damask wall for the kitchen, colorful stripes for one upstairs bedroom and a chocolate and pink damask for the other. The result is a look that is not at all matchy-matchy, but that still feels cohesive enough.
My husband got in on the action and added the wooden floors, and he was like a kid in a candy store at the thought of creating something together that our daughter will enjoy for years to come.
So although we have a gorgeous doll house, at the end of it all, the best part of this project was simply the experience of doing it together.
When we started painting, my daughter said to me, “Mommy, why is it so much work?” All I could tell her was the work would be worth it in the end. And I was right. The idea that I was able to pass this doll house down to my own daughter is rewarding enough, but the idea that she can pass it on to her daughter with the memory of having worked on it too? At the risk of sounding like a MasterCard commercial, that’s priceless!
Plus, the whole family has been bitten by the miniatures bug (How cute is that fireplace in the living room?!). The next job is to furnish the house and bring home a family for it. I plan to try making as much of the furniture as I can, but we’re not completely against buying some of it. We’d also like to wire it for lighting, and add some molding throughout the interior to cover up some of my mistakes
And another bonus? My husband already has plans to add another doll house to the collection when our daughter is a little older. He wants to put one together with her like I did with my dad. If that were the only reward of doing this, it would absolutely be worth it!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation for sharing a Mother’s Day DIY project with You. Participation is voluntary and as usual, all opinions are my own.