DIY this darling cardboard box dollhouse using things you have at home

How to fashion this super cute residence complete with spiral staircase.

How to fashion this super cute residence complete with spiral staircase

(All photography by Lady Hayes)

Hang on to your diaper boxes, we're making a dollhouse! For this DIY we'll make everything from things we have around the house. This is a great way to use up some craft scraps and get creative! It's a perfect group project and fun for all ages. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • Diaper box or any other box of similar size (approximately 11 x 14 inch)
  • Utility knife
  • 1 additional cardboard box of any kind (for roof and other details)
  • Packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 1.5 inch ribbon or ½ yard of fabric for roof covering (optional)
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • 2-4 colours of craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • 5 wooden skewers
  • Small package of wooden beads (you will need at least 20)
  • Small hole punch
  • 10 small faux flowers and some faux greens
  • Printer (optional)
  • Old magazines
  • Scrapbook paper and/or wrapping paper for wallpaper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Pliers
  • 2 yards of ¼-inch ribbon for covering house edges
  • Fabric and ribbon scraps for curtains

Here's how to do it: 

1. Using a utility knife, begin by cutting off the top flaps at the opening of the diaper box. Set pieces aside. Now we are going to create our middle floor. Tape the two longest pieces you just cut from the top of the diaper box together using packing tape. I typically double up on my tape for added strength. Lay flat and size them to fix your box. My floor was a little longer than needed, so I trimmed off the excess with my utility knife and a ruler to create a perfect fit.

2. Now we are going to create the remainder of our inserts that will slide perfectly into our box and create the back walls and top floor. Measure the opening dimensions of your box. Using a piece of cardboard from another box, cut a piece that will fit perfectly into the box you are using for your dollhouse. Use packing tape to attach the middle floor piece from the previous step to the larger piece you just cut out. Now slide the insert into the box and secure with packing tape along all edges.

3. Time to create a room divider for our top floor! Use a ruler to measure the length of your floor from the back to front of your house, and measure the height from the second floor to the ceiling. Cut out a piece of cardboard with these measurements. Use a pencil to draw a door in the middle of your cardboard. Cut it out with a utility knife. Tape the cardboard wall into the top floor of your dollhouse to create two rooms. Next, use a utility knife to cut out two windows on each side of your house (one on each level). Use your first window cutout to trace and cut the rest so all four windows are the same size. 

4. Let's build the roof! Take some extra cardboard from your second box. Use two pieces to build the roof. I made mine longer than the width of my box so the edges of my roof hang over a bit. I used 12 x 12-inch pieces. Secure both cardboard pieces to the top of your roof with packing tape. Cover all edges with tape for added security. 

Next, use ribbon or fabric to cover the rooftop and secure with hot glue. Fold the ribbon or fabric edges under the bottom of the roof for a clean look. If you don't have ribbon or fabric that will work, painting the roof will do the trick!

5. Paint the inside of your box white with craft paint. If you don't have white, any colour will do. I prefer to use a lighter colour for this step. This will be our primer coat. Set aside and let dry.

6. Let's build our stairs! I chose to build a spiral staircase. To do this, you'll need one wooden skewer, 12 wooden beads, a small hole punch (or something to create holes similar to the width of your skewer) and some more scrap cardboard. Use a pencil to draw one stair onto a small piece of cardboard. I made my stair one inch long by ½ inch wide and then tapered the sides in slightly toward one end. Trace and cut out six stairs in total using your pattern. Hole punch the smaller end of the stairs. This end will slide onto the wooden skewer. Add two wooden beads in between each stair. Once all six stairs are in place, arrange the steps to spiral around. Once you have your design complete, secure everything into place with hot glue. Set aside. Note: depending on the height of your box and size of the beads, you may need to add more beads or stairs. 

7. Time to paint the outside of the house! This can be done with any colour or fabric and it's a great step to get your little ones involved in. Set aside to dry.

8. Sometimes it's the smallest detail that makes your project so much better. I added small window shutters and flower boxes and my kids just swooned! For the shutters, measure the height of your window and make the shutters a little bit taller than it. Cut eight pieces of cardboard and paint them any colour. Set aside. 

To create a flower box, measure the width of the bottom of a window and add one inch. Draw this piece onto a scrap of cardboard and cut it out. Fold ½ inch of the cardboard over on each end to make a 'U' shape. Trace the 'U' onto a scrap of cardboard and cut it out. This will be the bottom of the flower box. Piece the flower box together with hot glue and paint it any colour you like! Make one more box so that you will have flower boxes for both windows on the main level of your dollhouse. Once your shutters and flower boxes are dry, secure them to your house with hot glue. Add small faux flowers to your boxes.

9. Time to decorate the inside. I used old magazines and scraps of patterned paper. If you don't have pieces large enough for the floors, paint will do the trick! Measure your paper to match the dimensions of your floor and cut to fit. Secure to the floor with a spray adhesive. Hot glue will work as well. Repeat this process for all floors. Add wallpaper using fabric scraps, wrapping paper or scrapbook paper. Measure, cut to fit, and secure to the walls with hot glue or spray adhesive. Note: home design magazines are a great source for fun details like doors, framed art, mirrors and rugs. 

10. Cut out a small opening on the top floor for the staircase to go. I cut a quarter pie shape at the front of the floor. Glue the staircase into place with hot glue on the bottom and top. Cut any excess skewer off with pliers.

11. Add thin ribbon along the exposed edges of the dollhouse. Use a ¼-inch ribbon and secure it to the edges with hot glue. This will create a nice, finished look.

12. For the finishing touches, let's add some curtains! Fold some ribbon over a wooden skewer. Attach with hot glue. I added wooden beads on either end. Use hot glue to secure it to the windows. Repeat three more times so you have curtains for each window. I made a few variations using different ribbon and fabric.

13. Let your kids collect fun toys and some accessories that they can use to play with in their new dollhouse. This is a great way to bring new life to old toys and give them a fun new place to explore! Happy crafting!

Lady Hayes is a designer, photographer and mama, known for her beautiful floral inspired projects and lifestyle. Her love of flowers shines through her couture crafted Flower Crowns and Petal Pop, her line of Floral Confetti with sun dried roses and gold confetti glitter. Stay connected! Visit Hayes over on her Instagram or visit her website to shop and say hi!

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