I renovated my childhood dollhouse during quarantine in 2020. Using a combination of my original furniture and accessories, bargain purchases, and DIY projects, I transformed my beloved but tired dollhouse into a modern, colorful abode for a lovely family of Calico Critter bunnies. Read on for lots of photos and inspiration from my colorful DIY dollhouse kitchen!
Dollhouse Kitchen: Before
My mom purchased my childhood dollhouse at a local dollhouse shop in 1978. It’s moved around a lot in the last 40+ years and it had definitely seen better, more stylish days. Here are a few photos of the Kitchen before the renovation…
That curved doorway from the kitchen leads to the Dining Room. Here’s the whole dollhouse, pre-reno (and post water damage).
And here is one more, low quality circa 1980 ‘before’ shot, back from the original glory days for my dollhouse:
It was definitely time for a makeover!
Dollhouse Kitchen: After
After months of work, here’s my updated, colorful DIY dollhouse Kitchen!
DIY Dollhouse Kitchen Walls & Floors
For the walls, I used patterned scrapbook paper attached with Mod Podge. Neither the walls nor floors are square in this dollhouse so there was a lot of dry fitting, cutting, trimming, and hoping for the best.
My very first step should’ve been to paint the ceiling but I was apparently eager to get started😉.
For the floors, I cut the ends off of large popsicle sticks to create hardwood flooring. I glued them down directly onto the original wooden floored, staggering the boards to mimic real hardwood. I used a combination of Fast Grab Tacky Glue and wood glue to adhere the popsicle sticks. Next, I painted the boards using a thick white acrylic paint ~ it still took multiple coats to get the coverage I wanted. Finally I used books and clamps to hold everything down while the glue dried.
Because I used scissors to cut the popsicle sticks, the ends of the boards have a slight curve to them. It doesn’t bother me too much but it’s something to note if you aren’t using a specialized cutter like this one: EZ Cutter.
Finally I added trim: balsa wood baseboards and ceiling moulding glued in place with tacky glue. I had a few pieces of fancier dentil trim so I used that on the area above the sink. I painted the trim before installing it and then did lots of touch up with while caulk and paint.
DIY Dollhouse Kitchen Island & Hutch
The kitchen island is a piece from my original dollhouse that I upcycled.
I removed the pump, painted the dark wood a bright turquoise and added a top made from a wood slat that was cut down to size, stained, and glued on to form the countertop.
For the stools, I used wood pieces cut from dowels, wood discs covered in batting and fabric, and lots & lots of glue.
If you look closely at the before pictures, you can see the rolling pin hanging on the wall in the old kitchen. I wanted to reuse it so I painted it to match the new decor. The stand mixer is from Michaels. The dough is white Sculpey clay. I made the cookie cutter by cutting a strip of tine from an Altoid tin and (very) carefully bending it into a heart shape using tweezers and pliers. I made the bowl from paper clay which I painted with acrylic paint and sealed with a glossy glaze.
The hutch is from AC Moore. I miss that place.
I painted the hutch a harvest gold color (another subtle nod to the 1970s) and added accessories.
I made the plates from paper clay and patterned scrapbook paper. The mini cookbooks are magazines covered with scrapbook paper (this tutorial was my starting point).
As soon as I figure out what else to put on the shelves, I’ll be filling them up!
DIY Dollhouse Kitchen Cabinets & Appliances
I made the cabinets from more cut wood slats and balsa/basswood.
The cabinet drawers just pieces of balsa wood glued onto the main cabinet box. The hardware consists of cut pieces of a bamboo skewer painted antique gold and attached with glue. The sink faucet is polymer clay wrapped around a wire base, painted, and glued to the sink. It took a lot of trial and error to get them looking decent. Maybe next time I’ll splurge and purchase a faucet lol.
I sewed the sink skirt from scrap fabric and glued it onto the hardware. The utensil crock is a plastic cap covered in scrapbook paper, filled with the remainder of my original kitchen tools.
For the fridge and stove, I used foam board, wood slats, and balsa wood. I read several tutorials and improvised construction based on my materials. The fridge opens but isn’t finished on the inside. The stove is equally cute but non-functional. The oven door and stove burners are made from gray card stock. I used decorative brad tops for the stove knobs. The pots are from my stash.
DIY Dollhouse Kitchen Wall Shelves
When I was designing the kitchen I knew I needed to add something on the right side to bring balance to the room. Wall shelves made from balsa wood strips fit the bill perfectly. I glued the shelves directly to the wall using a hot glue gun because I was impatient. The hot glue is hard to work with and difficult to reposition without damaging your wallpaper (ask me how I know…). Tacky glue with some temporary braces would be a better idea.
For the box type shelves, I used wood glue to attached the pieces together and added caulk where necessary. The long, open shelf is just a strip of painted balsa wood. The brackets are painted pieces of a wooden skewer with a bead on the end. The balsa wood is so soft that I was able to poke thin wire into it to create cup hooks. I secured the wire with a bit of tacky glue so they wouldn’t fall out.
The canisters are made from wooden spools (tutorial coming soon!).
And that’s a wrap on my DIY Dollhouse Kitchen tour! I hope you found some good ideas and inspiration for decorating your own dollhouse. It’s really so much fun and a tiny bit addictive. I’ll be sharing more dollhouse rooms, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, check out this post: 10 Easy To Find Supplies For DIY Dollhouse Decor to see some of my favorite, budget friendly supplies and a few sneak peeks of the rest of my renovated childhood dollhouse.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below, I’d love to hear what you think of my colorful DIY Dollhouse Kitchen!
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