Thrifty Thursday: DIY Gender-Neutral Dollhouse


Dollhouses are NOT just for girls! Even some top toy retailers are catching on to this fact according to this article on Daily Mail. They even have educational benefits and can promote the development of social, emotional, and intellectual skills when children start to explore dialogue and role-play.

Growing up, I always wanted a dollhouse but did not get one (it’s ok, I get to live vicariously through my children)! I decided a few months back that I wanted to make a dollhouse for my kiddos as a Christmas present. Now, when I say make, I don’t mean “build from scratch” although if you have those skills (I do not) then go for it! Instead, I came across some ideas online for creating a dollhouse out of a bookcase. Now, that seemed do-able!

The great thing about this project is that you can really make this as simple or complex as you like. For an extremely simple version, just find a bookcase, add doll furniture, etc. If you want to add a roof, I actually saw an idea to paint it on the wall above the bookcase. No extra construction necessary! Your dollhouse doesn’t even need to be a *house* at all. You can transform it into anything, really. Have a little one who has a fondness for firetrucks? How about making it into a fire station?

The two main reasons why I decided to go the DIY route: (1) Have you seen how much dollhouses sell for these days? YIKES! (2) I thought this might be something my little girls grow up to cherish. I even wrote a message for them on the back with the date.

The finished product!
The finished product!

I used a bunch of different images to get an idea of the look I was going for. I found my bookcase at Walmart for $15 – a great deal yes, but what I did NOT think about was the fact that I was going to have to sand the whole flippin’ thing before painting it. That was a royal pain in the a** and some of the inside walls definitely did not coming out as nice as I had hoped. I highly recommend using an unfinished bookcase if you are planning to paint it.

In addition to painting some of the walls of the dollhouse, I also Modge Podged some scrapbook paper (and a couple of plain sheets of paper with some artwork of my own) onto the back walls. The scrapbook paper I used creates the illusion of wallpaper.

Confession: The roof and room dividers – all my husband! My dollhouse would have probably ended up with some sad-looking roof it was left up to me. And I could have possibly created some room dividers out of cardboard (or just left it an open floor plan). Thankfully, my hubby is good with a saw and a brad nailer (it’s like a nail gun for those of you who, like me, have never heard of it before). He went as far as making shingles for the roof, and siding for the top of the house.

Some of the furniture used to furnish the house was actually from a Dollar Tree store, while others were from a put-it-together-with-wood-glue-and-paint-it-yourself kit I purchased from A.C. Moore. ALSO a pain in my rear end. If I had more time before Christmas I would have scoured Craigslist for more furniture. I’m thinking…future birthday presents???

The wooden Melissa & Doug dolls I purchased from
The wooden Melissa & Doug dolls I purchased from

All in all, the dollhouse turned out pretty cute I’d say. The best part? There sure has been quite a bit of creative play going on in my house lately!



4 thoughts on “Thrifty Thursday: DIY Gender-Neutral Dollhouse

  1. I love this idea Carly! I was just saying that my daughter would really like a dollhouse. And she needs a new bookcase, so i bet the old bookcase can be turned into a dollhouse. Inspiration!

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