So how about a dollhouse you can make with material you probably already have on hand, and no hammers necessary? A sturdy dollhouse with lots of play appeal? Cardboard to the rescue!
Wren's Nest, above, is made from cardboard boxes, fabric, and glue. The key to making a sturdy, and attractive, dollhouse from cardboard boxes is to line the box, both inside and out, with covered cardboard.
tools and materials for cardboard cottage dollhouse
I used fabric to cover my cardboard lining pieces, and cut windows out of my boxes and the linings. You could also use white poster board and draw interior and exterior scenes for your house, or your kids could! If you are ambitious, you could applique windows, doors, flowers, whatever, to your fabric before applying it to the linings. Once you've sandwiched two or three layers of cardboard together, you'll be amazed at how sturdy the dollhouse is.
room box with interior lining pieces, ready to glue in place
Measure the interior and exterior walls, floor and ceiling carefully, to within 1/8 inch. Cut cardboard lining pieces to these measurements, and label each piece as to where it goes (e.g. left wall interior, back wall exterior, etc). Each room 'box' should have five interior lining pieces and five exterior lining pieces.
using the lining piece to cut fabric; note the cutting lines on the window fabric
Cover each interior lining piece separately, applying glue only along the edges of the wrong side of the cardboard linings.
gluing fabric around window; the edges will be next
exterior lining pieces laid out on fabric
For the exterior, lay the exterior walls out on the fabric with a scant 1/4 inch between them. Cut the fabric out around the edges leaving an inch extra all around. The exterior walls will be glued to the fabric as one piece, with the 1/4 gap as a 'hinge' around the exterior corners. This neatens up the outside of the dollhouse
bedroom box with interior and exterior linings installed.
dollhouse with all the interior and exterior lining glued in place
After all the lining pieces have been covered with fabric and installed, the dollhouse is nearly finished. At this point it is fun to raid your stash of trims and lace to trim up the house. I like to cover the front openings (you can still see the cardboard box edges if you don't), add some shutters and curtains, and maybe some gingerbread trim to the roof. Lets see what we have...
these look promising!
What a difference a little trim makes!
I started this project on Thursday afternoon, and finished it on Monday. I worked in snatches over the weekend, and pretty steadily on Thursday afternoon, Friday afternoon, and Monday afternoon. All the materials, including the boxes, came from stuff I had at home.
Here is a full picture tutorial for making this Cardboard Cottage.
I think Wren and Robin are going to be pretty cozy in this nest, as soon as I make some simple furnishings :-)