DIY Cardboard Box Dollhouse

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What do you do when one of your Little Feet is having a tough time? Do you take them out and treat them to cake and some one to one time? Do you make some popcorn and snuggle down and have a film afternoon?

I do all those things, but I also decide on a whim to make some crazy crafts for them. This acts as a distraction, something different from their toys, but also, I have found with Little Feet A especially, it is a moment of calm for her. She is really going through a tough time at the moment, needing much reassurance and cuddles through the tears that are coming more than normal. In times like these, especially when single parenting it is easy to lose the plot completely. It is very emotionally draining. So this time, instead of losing the plot I created a space for us to be calm in. With the addition of Little Feet B as well it gives Little Feet A a sense of camaraderie, even if it can be a little bossy!

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I received some post and it was in a large box and on a spur of the moment I decided it was the perfect size for a dollhouse. We already have a beautiful dollhouse that she received from her grandparents two Christmases ago, however, this did not seem to matter as it was the process of building it that I was after. Especially as I know they would both play with it. The excitement built when she saw it coming together as I cut it and sellotaped it. Which I did manically while cooking (because I never give myself an easy time…). She was rather put out about having to wait until the next day to paint it. In fact she was very worried we’d end up painting it while she was at school! I promised we wouldn't.

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So being uber prepared I preset everything up the next day so that when we got back from school they could immediately get to it. And they did just that! Then we did the same thing the day after, but this time with the decorations. The whole process was really calming for all of us and it definitely distracted her from all the emotions she has been feeling recently.

With half term creeping up on us in a few weeks, this could be a perfect project for you and your Little Feet to get your teeth into if you are lucky enough to get time off. It’s perfect as it is something that can be done a little every day and can really be strung out through the week.

What you will need:

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  • Cardboard box, medium to large

  • Kitchen or craft scissors

  • Loo roll cardboard

  • Pen

  • Duct tape or normal transparent tape

  • Poster paint/ acrylic

  • Paintbrushes

  • Paint palette

  • Water for paintbrushes

  • For optional further decorations: sequins, glitter, stickers, PVA, pipe cleaners, fabric fat quarters for curtains, string, lollipop sticks. Basically anything goes

  • Little people toys, dolls, furniture for them to use inside the house.

Instructions:

Stage one

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  1. Get your cardboard box and leaving the tape holding the bottom together, take off any extra unnecessary tape.

  2. Using the top longer flaps, bring them together to make a raised V shape, like a house roof. On the shorter flaps, draw along the edges of the longer side V’s and then cut off the excess cardboard. The top of your cardboard box should now look like a house. Tape it all together. If your longer flaps are too short, fill in the space at the top with some more cardboard. We used a cereal box.

  3. With your pen on one side of the wider side draw a large rectangle, leaving 2 inches from the edges of the box. Cut out three sides, leaving the left side in tact. This will be the main point of access for your Little Feet to play inside the dolls house as it will open right out.

  4. Design the front of your house, drawing where you would like to put the door and windows. Get your Little Feet involved in this part.

  5. Cut out the windows and door (big hands only if they are too little). We used kitchen scissors (I’ll end up regretting that when I can’t use them to cut meat anymore!)

    Stage Two

  6. Now your Little Feet can start painting. Have a think about what colours go well with each other snd try not to put too many dark colours out as your Little Feet will no doubt just end up making a pooey brown colour. Use bright colours, the more vibrant the better!

  7. Leave your house to dry. I’d suggest overnight.

    Stage Three

  8. Now comes the optional further decorations. With PVA and all your additional pieces of craft accessories decorate your house accordingly. I added curtains which was just glued onto string and sellotaped to the inside of the house. We added buttons for the front door handle. Sequins for all over decoration. Felt Baker Ross flowers for gardens on either side of the house. We bought this particular pack months ago and had loads left over so we just used some of the flowers for the garden on either side.

  9. It is up to you whether you would like to create and upstairs on your dollhouse, we didn’t, however stairs I was told was a must… stairs to nowhere apparently!

Basically once you have the structure of your house you can pretty much do anything. Snow on the roof with cotton wool, a picket fence with lollipop sticks, an outdoor pool and additional garage with cars. You name it, the only limit is your imagination… and your precious time!

Interestingly, while I thought Little Feet A would really enjoy playing with it, it has actually been Little Feet B who is 2 years old who has not been able to stop playing with it. She is completely enthralled with it. She got a Mother Hubbard Shoe HappyLand set for Christmas with lots of fairies and she has been playing with them inside the house every day since it was put up.

As suspected, Little Feet A really enjoyed the process of decorating it over a few days and putting her stamp on it.

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