Doll Furniture Rehab Projects AKA “This Old House For Dolls”

One of my favorite things about thrift store shopping is finding items that aren’t necessarily intended for doll use, but can be used, either as is, or altered with a little imagination.  In my last “Doll Sized Finds” post, I shared two items that I recently picked up:

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Somewhat similar in style, but decorated completely different, and each needing some “rehab”.  If you remember, I made a rule a couple months ago that I really couldn’t buy anymore furniture pieces unless I could use it to replace another item within the dollhouse (or bakery).  Both of these pieces fit that bill perfectly!  What was even better was that the work to redo these pieces was minimal and at no additional cost as I had the materials needed to do both.

First up: The ladybug jewelry box.

I got this for $2.99 at a Goodwill store near Pittsburgh.  Even though it was missing it’s drawers, I saw great potential in this piece, it didn’t appear to be too badly mangled and wasn’t even all that dirty.  After I got it home, I noticed a sticker from Kohl’s, so I looked it up online.  While they no longer sell this exact jewelry box, most of what they had on the website retailed for a regular price of $34, but frequently are on sale for somewhere around $15.

I started out by wiping it down carefully with a bit of soapy water, the rag I used was rung out well so that there wasn’t much moisture in it.  I let it air dry for a while, then I used a purple Sharpie marker to touch up any of the spots where paint was knocked off.  It was easy to find these because they came out a bright white, but the Sharpie did a great job of covering them up.  There weren’t all that many, so it was an easy job.

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The shelves where the drawers were supposed to be weren’t finished the whole way back, so I used the same technique I used on the Bakery Display Case to make them so things wouldn’t drop through.  I measured and cut poster board to fit, then covered the poster board with a suitable piece of scrapbook paper, then stuck it in place.  I think it worked very well.  I then used some additional scrapbook paper and made bins to slide into each of the shelf openings.  Please note that this paper was heavier than traditional cardstock, so it should be fairly durable.

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So, where is this piece going to go you ask?  It’s going to replace the chest of drawers I made from a jewelry box last summer that is currently in Marie-Grace and Rebecca’s room.  The girls have quite a bit of stuff in those drawers, but they really aren’t as big as they appear.  Add to that the fact that one drawer is full of necklaces that are turning into a tangled mess, the one side of this cabinet was perfect for solving that issue!


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What a mess!

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Much better.

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I also thought that if you didn’t want to use all of the bins, those would be nice storage slots for a pair of shoes or a couple of purses.  I definitely think it will be much easier to find what I’m looking for when I need it this way.

The next piece was the cabinet that I picked up in my shopping travels with Barbie Girl.  It was at another Goodwill, marked $2.99 but Barbie Girl had a coupon that day, so I actually got it for $2.25.   I knew immediately that this was going to replace the chest of drawers that we were using as an entertainment center.  I was never totally thrilled with that piece for several reasons:  the “bamboo” top made it difficult to set things on it and the piece was far too big for the living room, it hogged the one side of the room because it stuck out too far.  However, as cute as this new piece was, it wasn’t without it’s flaws.

First, I’d like to take the Goodwill employees and draw all over their bodies with Sharpie marker!!!  This drives me INSANE!  I can’t tell you the amount of time that I’ve spent trying to remove Sharpie marker prices from different things I’ve bought with varied results.  Barbie Girl has the same complaint.  Most of the time it comes off.  This wasn’t one of those times.  Plus it had some other sort of stain on the top.

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I’m also really puzzled about this mark in the one drawer, it looks almost as though it is burned.  I’m wondering if some idiot thought it was a good place to put an incense cone or something.  Stranger things have happened.  Again, I gave this piece a good wipe down with some soapy water and let it dry, while I thought about the best way to handle it.  I really wasn’t gung ho about painting it, I liked the wood tone of it.  Then it hit me!  To the scrapbook paper stash again!

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I found a piece that I felt reflected the colors that the living room is decorated in.  I then cut a piece for the top, for the bottom of each of the drawers (gotta cover up that burn!) and for the two shelves.  I then adhered the paper to the top and the shelves with my scrapbooking adhesive.  I just laid the paper in each of the drawers, just in case I change my mind later down the road as I thought it would be very difficult to get it out of there if I glued it in.  I took a Sharpie furniture marker I had and touched up some of the nicks on it.

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It also fits in the room better and looks much more like an entertainment center than the previous piece.  Oh look, I see Kit’s been watching Downton Abbey again!  Lots of storage space for games and such.  I need to get busy and make some DVD’s and Wii games.

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do over 13Guilty as charged!

So what am I going to do with the two pieces I removed?  Good question!  At this point I’m going to put them in storage as I may need them should I decide to do temporary room layouts for Louisa, Abby and Zara or Fiona and Kanani.  I’m not going to make any rush decisions.  I also thought that one of them might come in handy in the bakery, but I have to think about it.  We’ll see.  If I don’t come up with any ideas for them, I will probably rehome them.

Overall, I’m super pleased with how both of these pieces turned out.  Sometime after the holiday, I want to get to work on the chair I picked up in October, as well as that little pink cabinet.  I’m thinking that the pink cabinet will become part of the bathroom, and it may just need a really good cleaning along with some bins made for it.  The chair is most definitely going to go in Kit’s room to replace the chair that I’ve never been very wild about.  That will probably be a project for later as I’m seriously thinking about covering it with fabric, and I’m still working out the logistics on that in my head.  I’ll be sure to share it with you when it’s done though.

There you have it, two pieces that cost me less than $6, that both turned into very functional and attractive pieces for an American Girl dollhouse.  Keep your eyes peeled, you never know what you might find.


14 thoughts on “Doll Furniture Rehab Projects AKA “This Old House For Dolls”

  1. The rehabbed wooden cabinet is great! It almost reminds me of a Spanish style with the scrapbook paper looking like a tile top.
    Does Kit watch any holiday TV shows? Just started watching the Holiday Baking show with Mary Berry here.

    • Do the Downton Abbey Christmas specials count? Actually, we’ve been watching some of the holiday cartoons like Rudolph, Charlie Brown and last night we watched the Toy Story one and Shrek. We all thought the Shrek one was hilarious.

  2. You never cease to amaze me, I just think, “She’s my sister, and so clever?” My girls are looking forward to your visit soon, and also saddened by no more Downton after this season. I hope PBS comes up with something to follow it, perhaps another period drama.

    • It’s a way to combine two things I like together too, crafting and thrift store shopping. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Kanani and Fiona are both excited about getting to meet the girls. I’m still in denial about the end of Downton, I’ll miss Thomas and his scheming, Carson and his eyebrows and Mary the *****. Still hoping for a happy ending for Edith. **sigh**

  3. Oh and I have the same problem thrifting. I have to ask myself if we really have room for my finds in the dollhouse. Especially in the kitchen, we are overflowing with adorable dishes. What to do?

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