DIY Super Frugal Dollhouse With Felt and Cardboard


Although I made this gift for my daughter a few years ago I thought it would be a good idea to post about it in case you need a SUPER FRUGAL idea for a gift for a little girl.

When I was a little girl my mother and I would make cardboard dollhouses together. For some reason I had a lot of Barbie dolls and they needed homes.

Plastic Barbie homes back then were expensive and not in the family or my own allowance budget so my mom showed me how to make cardboard homes and furniture and we made lots of them.

They were always out of cardboard and using what we had around the house. And even when I finally did get that longed for plastic Barbie house for my birthday the cardboard ones had much more going for them so I transferred all the furniture and such to my cardboard houses.

A couple of years ago I shared with my mother that I wanted to make my daughter a dollhouse for her birthday. She’s never really been into asking me for the plastic toys we may run into in the stores but I caught on early that she loved hand crafted gifts. It’s what has spurned me to have a goal to make her a present for her birthday each year. This year I wanted it to be a dollhouse.

We actually put the basics of this dollhouse together in one afternoon. The furniture took me a bit longer and I worked on it at night after she went to bed.

First we scoured in the garage for some ideal cardboard boxes and I pulled out my stash of felt and fabric.

It had been over 30 years since I had made and cardboard furniture so I purchased dollhouse furniture patterns on Etsy and enlarged the pdfs to make the furniture a little bigger that the original plans.

We used spray on glue and felt and scrapbooking paper, that we already had, to cover the walls, floor and roof. My mother did the roof in a little felt shingle like pattern.

I printed little dollhouse pictures for the wall and some groceries from Jens Printables.

My aunt crocheted a little afghan and some teeny pillows for the couch or bed.

I probably could have made some dolls but I went withthe Plan toy rustic ones to give the illusion of my making them by hand 😉 I got them in colors to match our own beautiful mix of family members.

Here are the steps we took in making the dollhouse.

  1. So the first thing we did was to glue two boxes together to make a first floor and a second floor.
  2. Then we cut some cardboard to shape the roof and glued that so that is hung over the edge and glued a triangular piece of cardboard on the back of that to make a wall.
  3. Then it was time to cover the whole thing in various pieces of felt. We covered the back with a big piece of felt we had on hand. My mother cut the felt shingles and did the roof. I covered the floors with felt to mimick carpet.
  4. We covered the walls and ceilings with scrapbook paper. I have this big book of scrapbook paper I never use so we skimmed through that and found some stuff to use.
  5. After that it was making the furniture and pulling together the odds and ends.
  6. I whipped up a little table from an empty spool of thread, some cardboard, and a piece of felt.
  7. As I said my aunt crocheted some pillows, blankets, and a little doily.
  8. She also painted some tiny cupboards and make some Fimo dishes.
  9. There used to be cardboard food for the kitchen but that’s lost right now.

This was a great gift for our daughter. She was amazed at all the tiny little stuff and the cute little dolls. We gave this to her 3 years ago when she was 6. She’s 9 now and was playing with it this morning. Ah the gifts that last!


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