Around this time of year, the kids at school are starting on science projects that they will present at the local science fair. Last year, Paige did a project on growing crystals. After the science fair is over, what can you do with the display board? The most obvious thing might be to throw it into the recycling bin, but before you chuck it, you can get just a little more use out of it. One way that you can use it is to turn it into a dollhouse!
I was inspired by this carboard dollhouse that you can buy, but why buy it when you can make it from materials that you already have? The design that I made is also more open and modern, and I love modern architecture and design.
To make this dollhouse, you need these materials:
- 1 used 24×36-inch display poster board, with 2 12-inch flaps
- additional scrap cardboard, about 42×29 inches in total area
- ruler or yardstick
- box cutter
- tape measure
- pencil or pen
First, cut the poster display board like this. With the flaps open, you start off with one very large rectangle. On the top right, cut out 1×4-inch pieces, leaving one 1×4-inch tab in the middle. This is your highest wall. On the top left, measure down 4 inches to start your cuts. You will be left with a 32-inch high wall, with one 1×4-inch tab sticking up. This is your lowest wall. If you draw a straight line from the lowest wall to the highest wall, the line will be 24 1/4 inches. Cut 4×1/8-inch slits at the middle and bottom of both side walls.
Don’t worry about making the slits perfect. Leaving a little bit of frayed bits helps grab the tabs that will be inserted into the slits. Our posterboard is from last year’s science fair. It’s pretty beat up from the kids playing with it, but it still worked just fine.
Second, cut two pieces of cardboard like this. Start with two 12×26-inch rectangles. Cut out 4×1-inch pieces from the top and bottom of both sides, leaving a tab that is 4×1 inches sticking out. These form the floors.
Third, cut one piece of cardboard like this. Start with one 18×28 1/4-inch rectangle. On the right, measure down 7 inches and in 2 inches to cut a 4×1/8-inch slit. Repeat on the left. This will be the roof.
Finally, put it all together by inserting all the tabs into the slits. Easy, right?!
You can embellish the house by adding windows or a staircase. To make the staircase, I cut a strip of cardboard. I scored it on alternating sides. I didn’t really measure; I just used the width of my yardstick to space the scores. I bent the cardboard into zig-zags and then taped it to another strip of cardboard for structural support. If you don’t do this, it’s very floppy. I then cut a small square that was the width of the staircase out of the 2nd floor. I then inserted one end of the staircase into the cut-out in the floor.
After the dollhouse was all done, structurally, I let my girls have at it with the decorating. They cut out pictures from catalogs and magazines and glued them to the walls. My husband and I made some cardboard furniture. Carrie came up with the idea of adding window sills and a refrigerator.
One of the things I love about this house is that the natural light coming from the windows is so gorgeous, just like in a real house. Ken—you and your poofy, supermodel hair, which looks like a toupee—you are looking so good in this window light. Do you need to go potty? There’s a toilet upstairs waiting for you. It’s striped! If you’re hungry, there’s a can of La Choy in the fridge. Yum.
Keep in mind that this dollhouse can become whatever you spin it to be. So, for example, if your children don’t like dolls and frou frou things, then you can tell them, “Let’s make a warrior’s house!” After all, every ninja needs a dojo to call home after a hard day of flipping out. The house becomes whatever you want it to be, depending on how you decorate. When your kids are done playing with the house, they can take it apart and store it flat.
Here are some inspiring pictures. Click on them to follow the links.
Isn’t this house just amazing?
(originally from NY Times)
Here are some funky, innovative ways to make cardboard furniture. These are real furniture on which a person can sit, but you can make small scale versions of them.
I hope you and your family have just as much fun doing this project as we did!