And when I say simple…I really mean simple – no tools, no nailing, no gluing, no difficult cutting! YES.
For the past two years, I’ve taken my daughter to the American Girl store for her birthday. Now that she has two dolls, she really wanted a bedroom for them. I did a lot of searching for ideas – some were insanely over-the-top American Girl houses, and others were much more simple. I don’t have any wood skills of which to speak, so I knew I needed to figure out something that would be affordable and simple.
For the room itself, I used a cardboard box that an accent chair was shipped in. It was roughly 4’x3′ so I knew it was going to be a perfect size for a room. I used a box cutter to remove the top flaps of the box, and then to remove one side of the box. What was left was the bottom of the box and 3 sides. I reinforced the strength of the box by using duct tape around the edges.
The next step was covering the “floor”. I found contact paper to be the best solution – it wipes clean, comes in lots of styles/patterns, and is affordable. I found contact paper with a wood floor pattern which worked great for the bottom of the box. I did have to be careful as I put it in place because without care, lots of air bubbles will get trapped.
For the walls I also used contact paper – this time a fun but somewhat muted polka dot pattern. Again, I had to be extra careful as I put it in place to minimize air bubbles – there were still a few that I couldn’t manage to escape, but they aren’t noticeable.
For the beds, I used two wire racks very similar to this. When purchasing one of these racks for a doll bed, it is important to check the dimensions – some of the racks are not long enough for an 18″ doll like American Girl. Three great things about the style we have are: they are coated and won’t rust or break; they are affordable, and they stack if my daughter wants to change them into bunk beds (note: not all styles of these types of racks are stackable – make sure to read the info to know for sure).
For the blankets, I suggest taking your child to JoAnn’s or someplace similar to pick out blanket fabric. There is so much to choose from, but I recommend something soft and pliable. Some patterns are really eye catching, but if it is a super flimsy or stiff fabric, it won’t look nice as a doll blanket.
Depending on the fabric type, you can make the blanket in different ways – sew with a machine, hand stitch, use liquid stitch, or if it’s a fabric that won’t fray, you could just cut to size and call it a day!
I could have gone all-out and made a headboard and a dust ruffle for the beds, but I chose not to. Instead, each bed only has a “mattress”, blanket, and pillow. I recommend not using cotton batting for the bedding because it is too fluffy – not what you want for a realistic looking bed. Instead, I used layers of an old terry cloth bath towel and used that as the filling inside fabric. For one mattress I used leftover felt, which is very easy to work with. For the other bed, I used a leftover cotton pillowcase which worked well, too. The mattresses are thick and soft, but not lumpy.
We added a few accessories – I picked up the small wooden doll dresser at Michael’s for less than $10 and my daughter painted it with watercolors believe it or not. The zebra rug was a piece of craft fabric I also picked up from Michael’s for about $5.
Breakdown of what I spent:
- Contact paper for floor/walls: $10
- Dresser: $8
- Rug: $5
- Bedding Fabric: $10
Everything else was repurposed, i.e. FREE:
- Cardboard box
- Wire racks (from my mom)
- Leftover fabric
- Terrycloth bath towel
I hope you enjoyed reading how I made a simple, affordable American Girl doll bedroom! Maybe one day I’ll be really adventurous and make a kitchen or bathroom…