How to make a dollhouse with a shoebox and some recycled materials. This is a great rainy day project for kids of all ages.
We made shoebox dollhouses here in my daycare today, and the kids loved the project. We decorated our dollhouses using wallpaper samples to cover the walls and floors, and we furnished the houses with clippings from home decor magazines.
When I was a kid, I loved making shoebox dollhouses. I still do! I actually made my own dollhouse right along with my daycare kids today and I enjoyed every minute of it. It took me right back to my childhood when I would carefully decorate shoeboxes for my Strawberry Shortcake dolls to live in, or multi-box condos for my barbies.
Repurposing recyclables for crafts and activities is one of my favourite ways to save money on daycare supplies and to encourage creativity and imagination. It gives kids a great feeling of satisfaction to create something cool with cast-off materials. Below are a few cardboard box projects we’ve made in the past.
More cardboard box crafts:
- shoebox nativity set
- cereal box self portraits
- cardboard dropbox
- box lid art
- cardboard box construction bin
Our shoebox dollhouse craft kept us busy for the better part of the morning. The kids making these dollhouses ranged from 6 to 12 and they all enjoyed the activity immensely. They decorated their shoeboxes with care, and were so proud of their finished projects.
To make a shoebox dollhouse, you’ll need:
- wallpaper samples (ask at your local paint and wallpaper store for their expired sample books)
- home decor magazines
- measuring tape, pencil, ruler
The best box for a shoebox dollhouse
We found the best shoebox for a dollhouse is a box that has a folding lid rather than a separate, fitted. The folding flips out and becomes an extended floor for the dollhouse and an area for kids to play with their dolls on.
Wallpaper samples are perfect for a shoebox dollhouse
We used our wallpaper sample books to decorate the floors and walls of our dollhouses. Wallpaper samples are great to use for kids crafts. The quality of the paper is terrific and there are so many different samples to choose from in each book.
Where to get wallpaper sample books
I get our wallpaper sample books from the local paint and wallpaper store. They just throw them in the trash when they expire so they’re always happy to give them away.
Drop by your local paint store to see if they have any that you can take off their hands.
Making our shoebox dollhouses
The kids loved exploring all of the colours, patterns and textures in the wallpaper books. They spent ages pouring over the pages, picking out the perfect paper for their dollhouses.
When they found the paper they wanted, they ripped out the page, and then used a tape measure to carefully measure the sides of their boxes so they could cut their paper to fit.
The wallpaper samples aren’t pre-glued like real wallpaper is, so we used glue sticks to glue the pieces of wallpaper to our shoeboxes.
There were some great textured wallpaper samples to use for flooring and carpeting.
Some of the kids used cool faux-brick wallpaper samples to cover the outside of their houses, and to some used that same paper to cut out a fireplace for the inside of their dollhouse.
Furniture for your shoebox dollhouse
When the walls and floors of their dollhouses were covered, the kids spent another hour or so flipping through home decor magazines to find furniture and random pieces to decorate their houses with.
They cut out couches, chairs, dressers and beds, and they found lots of smaller decor items like artwork, mirrors, lamps, plants and area rugs to glue to their walls and floors.
For a 3-dimensional look
Check out the creative way one child hung the chandelier in her dollhouse. Instead of gluing it to the back wall of the shoebox, she made a little fold at the top of it, and glued it halfway back on the ceiling of her house for a 3-dimensional look. You can see what I mean in the photo below:
Wouldn’t it be cool to attach some of the furniture that way? You might need to glue it to a sturdy piece of card stock first, so it would stand up, but it’s certainly worth trying.
A couple of the older kids were going for a certain decor style in their dollhouse, so they were quite particular when going through the magazines.
One wanted a shabby-chic look and the other was going with a California style. Those who weren’t picky about the style were particular about the type of room they were decorating i.e a bedroom or a living room.
In the end, our shoebox dollhouses turned out great and the kids really enjoyed the creative process. If you’re looking for a fun project to keep your kids busy on a rainy day, I would highly recommend this fun and easy shoebox dollhouse craft.
And now, if your kids want to make some homemade dolls for their shoebox dollhouses, check out the posts below.
Homemade Dolls for Kids to Make
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.