For Christmas, Rob and I made Loretta her own dollhouse and she couldn't love it more. It's a pretty simple affair and the perfect little home for a budding Calico Critters collection. At almost-2, Loretta is already babies obsessed and loves to take care of all her toys. A dollhouse, something I always dreamed of as a child, felt like just the right move. Loretta will spend hours (well, at this point many minutes, but I am talking tens of minutes here) in front of her dollhouse, moving the "babies" "mommies" and "daddies" around. She loves to feed everyone and makes the cutest, "soup soup soup," noise when her dolls are eating. Putting everyone down for night-night is also a favorite. She has only misplaced a few pieces and it's been a month, which is all I can say for either of my kids, re: all their toys. She actually takes great care in playing with the dollhouse toys inside the dollhouse, at least most of the time. When we play dollhouse together her smile is so huge it goes all the way up to crinkle her nose! It's very peaceful play. And the only really weird thing she's done is remove the stuffing (a foam scrap) from inside the little mattresses to chew on it. Yipes! We've de-foamed the mattresses since that incident.
If you are interested in making a bookcase dollhouse for your kiddos it's incredibly easy to do:
The materials needed are: (1) bookcase with shelves that rest on pegs, (2) a can of spray mount, (3) light, non-elastic fabrics (quilting cotton is perfect) for the walls and floors.
1. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.
2. Use newspaper or other paper to make a template of your walls. 1 per floor. What I mean is it works best if you can cut 1 long rectangle to cover the side-back-side wall of each entire floor with 1 piece per floor.
3. Starting at the bottom floor apply spray mount to the wrong side of your cut fabric (it's fumey so I'd suggest going outside to do this step), then lay the sprayed piece into the bookcase and smooth until it's in there how you want it. You can adjust for a couple of minutes before the adhesive really dries. If you really botch this step you can always peel it right off and re-do.
4. Repeat Step 3 for each floor, layering the upper floor fabric over the one below as minimally as possible.
5. To cover the floors, lay the fabric wrong-side-up, spray with spray mount, and carefully roll your shelve along it so that the top/front/bottom (but not back or sides which will be against the inside of the bookcase) are covered. Once dry, trim the excess.
6. Put your shelf pegs back in by slicing tinily through the fabric. The spray mount makes the fabric plaster-of-paris-like so you can put the pegs in through the slit and then mold the fabric back around the hole.
7. Carefully insert the covered shelf onto the pegs going in at an angle towards the top, so that you're pushing back and down on the shelf to get it into place. It's a little tight, but if you press firmly and cautiously it should slide right down and into place.
Done! From here you can decorate the walls (we hung little framed photos by pressing tacks through the back of the bookcase and then super-gluing mini framed pics to the tacks. We've also, since, resealed the front/sides of the fabric with clear drying super glue so they wouldn't fray. You can see in the top pic that the black fabric was trying to pull away a little on the right side. Fixed! And a final touch, we used electrical tape to outline a red roof and chimney on the wall over the dollhouse. So cute!