An Overdue Mini-Home Reveal... {Craft Time}

I mentioned here that we were working on a little project/gift for our daughter's 5th birthday. I finally got my miniature furniture ducks in a row and I have photos for you.

For her big day, we fixed up this three-storey, four room dollhouse for her bedroom.

A few months ago, our neighbor several doors down from us put a dollhouse out by the side of the road for garbage pick up. When I took a closer look at it, I could see why. Of course, their daughter(s) may have outgrown it - but it was also spotty, stained, sticker-fide, and well-used. It was also free so how could I pass that up? And yes, I do feel some shame in garbage picking - not my finest moments.

The images are great (kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom) but we had to sacrifice them in order to really make this dollhouse shine. I scrubbed it down with a vinegar and water solution - using a spray bottle, sponge, and wire brush. And of course, this tough scrubbing began to remove the images on the walls of the doll house - but no big deal to us. After giving the dollhouse a good scrub, I sanded it to even out the surface.

I decided to seal the dollhouse with a strong primer. We choose the Kilz primer/sealer/stainblocker which blocks stain, seals odours, and seals porous surfaces - I used two cans. I followed each layer with a light sanding. My top coat is Rust-oleum Painter's Touch in white gloss - I used two cans of this as well. Again, followed by sanding to keep a nice smooth surface. I purchased all four spray paint cans from Home Depot, along with a mask (which was a good call). Here's the dollhouse shortly after it was cleaned, spray painted, and sanded:

I didn't bother to completely cover the far walls because I knew I planned to cover those with colorful paper/card stock. So while I made my cuts, I brought in an experienced licensed electrician to take care of the lighting.

For the dollhouse chandelier, we purchased Dazzling Metallics in Splendid Gold from Michael's with a coupon - so I think it came to $2. And to adhere the paper to the dollhouse, I used Elmer's Craft Bond also from Michael's and purchased with a coupon - so it came to around $5. I highly recommend the craft bond glue because it spread so easily and has great "stick." I was done making most of my cuts and gluing the paper in about 20-30 minutes. See the cutter in the above photo to the right (so helpful and quick). The paper was all free (from my mother-in-law). 

Here's our final result: 

The handyman wasn't sure how this project would go, and in the end he said his expectations were exceeded. It's clean, fresh, and bright, and ready for the imagination of a 5-year-old girl. When we presented this gift we wrapped all of the accessories separately. The accessories/furniture came from a variety of places (and don't necessarily match so it's quite eclectic): from Talize (a thrift store), family, and friends. The rugs are simply scrap fabric and a doily. 

I thought it would be silly for our daughter to open her gift, arrange all of the furniture, and have no dolls/figures to live in her new doll house. So we splurged. But thanks to a gift card, this family of four (the McStuffins) came at no cost. I picked them up at Toys 'R Us (they're about $30). 

And they are the perfect fit. Our daughter's reaction was priceless! She was beyond thrilled to arrange all the furniture and introduce the McStuffins to their new home.

All in all, this project took about a week of my 3-year-old's quiet times and cost approximately $35 (the spray paint being our greatest expense). I noticed a dollhouse like this typically costs over $100, so we're pleased with the savings.

What do you think? I was so inspired by all the home-made dollhouses out there. Like thisthis, and this. So many possibilities.