noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

craft, dolls, party time, projects, tiny

dollhouse birthday party project

tiny dollhouseThis project could be adapted for many different age groups, boys or girls,  and made as simple or complicated as you like. Remember, sometimes letting the partygoers ‘make it up’ from the supplies on hand is a creatively simple option!

Hint: in this case a little bit of pre-party prep to make things run smoothly and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable event. How to prepare:

I used this party craft for a group of 7-10 year olds, and it worked wonderfully. They were engaged as long as you’d let them create. Some music playing and an organized grouping of supplies and they’d cut and glue for hours.
The wooden people shapes are from Michaels craft store, but can be found at just about any other craft store.

We made tables and chairs from different sized wooden spools and flat round wooden disks (all can be purchased in bags of 10 or so at the craft store). We pre-glued the tables and chairs together, then pre-painted the people and the furniture with acrylic craft paint.

**Pre-painting made things run much more smoothly at the party and entirely avoided the issue of paint messes.

We got a little crazy painting the hair and faces. Two-toned hair added a some dimension (and silliness). I put a clear coat of glossy Modge Podge over the people to set the paint, they looked very chalky without the top coat. The tables and chairs also got a top coat, with some glitter mixed in.

I searched many craft stores trying to find affordable “dollhouses”. Originally, I wanted to use the paperboard tiny suitcases that open up flat and make a perfect dolly space. They were way too expensive at $6.99 each to purchase for each guest. I found a round metal lunch box for $3 each at a craft outlet- still too expensive and when the door was left open it didn’t sit flat on the table anyway. Finally, I found these recipe boxes at Michael’s in the dollar section, (they actually ended up being .50 cents each at the register) not perfectly perfect (a bit too short/narrow- the recipe box would work better if the bed foam was thinner, like 1/2″ thick)- but the perfect price for buying a dozen or so.

Luckily, I have loads of craft supplies stashed, I have this habit of saving every single scrap of rick rack, lace and fabric no matter how short… and it finally paid off.
The bed is made from 1″ thick foam, the pillows from smaller piece of foam. The foam could really be any thickness (under an inch or so.) The girls chose the bedding from flannel fabric scraps ( from previous projects made over the years) and, with help, they hot glued the fabric over the foam to finish the beds and pillows.
We used hot glue to attach all the accessories to the dolls. The girls chose all of the ‘flair’ for their dolls, and came up with some great ideas-  the flowers in the hair (made from a sheet of gem stickers- scrapbook supplies) and rick rack headbands.

I found the cocktail umbrellas amid my party supplies and threw them in, they ended up being the perfect size for the tiny house. We painted the extra spools and they glued in tiny silk flowers then used the ‘flower pot’ as an umbrella stand.

We left out a stack of scrapbook paper and stickers to make flooring, and occasionally wallpaper to the dollhouses. They used the stickers to cover the words “Recipes” on the outside of the boxes and decorate the walls inside.
The party guests (and my own kids) loved making their dollhouse and had so much fun. After the party was over my kids played with their dollhouses for hours more, making sofas (with foam and fabric) and laptops and deck chairs with various sized square wood pieces we had used for some of the tables.

Variations: Craft paint for decorating the ‘house’, also cut up magazines or hand drawn pictures to decorate the walls. Paint the wooden figurines as boys and include wooden cars, trains or planes to be painted (previously or at the party) or a recipe box house with ‘boyish’ decor. My boys loved making this project just as much as the ladies. Craft doesn’t discriminate.

Here’s an example of the paperboard suitcase kit (mentioned earlier)in a more elaborate set-up, a entire wooden family, scrapbook papers and accessories for a more boyish or unisex version and add-ons like a clothes line, picture frame, mirror for the wall, beds for the kids:

wooden people family accessories for dollhouse tiny suitcase dollhouse boyish scrapbook papers paperboard suitcase
Customize you dolls with faces and outfits… recognize the Obama family in their first Inauguration Day outfits?
Obama family wooden dolls


  1. beautifullysewn

    January 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    OH my niece would LOVE to do this! Thanks!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      January 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

      You’re welcome- sharing crafty ideas is the best!

  2. kalamitykelli

    January 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    What cool diorama!! I love that you made the house from a suitcase….just really fabulous!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      January 15, 2013 at 8:42 am

      Thanks, its a good on-the-go toy- in the car, waiting room, Moms in a meeting, you get the idea!

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