When I was a little girl, I loved every type of doll. Baby dolls, barbie dolls, and those tiny dolls that fit inside a doll house. Our almost three year old granddaughter is the same. While thrifting last year, I found the most amazing vintage dollhouse…caster wheels and all! Today, I am starting a new series on how to make an old dollhouse new.

Let me start by saying that Big Al is helping me with this project. It’s so fun working on this together because it’s for our oldest granddaughter.

Our goal is to be creative, give new life and hours of playtime to something that basically could have ended up in the trash.

If you are new here, I do like taking something old and making it new. If you are passionate about that too, you can see how I transformed this old dresser into a pink beauty!

“You cannot use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

Are Dollhouses Still Popular?

Absolutely! These little houses are still very popular. Children are not the only ones who put them on there toy and gift lists. Many adults also love dollhouses. Collectors also enjoy maintaining and designing dollhouses as their hobby. Some even design miniture items for them as a creative outlet.

Designing the inside and outside of this dollhouse is something I am super excited for.

I am also partnering with Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint for this project. They have generously provided me with the paint products to help make this transformation possible. Their products are amazing and so easy to work with. You can create your own color to match your personal style or mix from their recipes! If you haven’t tried their paint and would like to, you can use my code COTTAGE20.

I will be mixing the perfect shade, which was a personal request from my granddaughter!

Can you guess what color she picked?

Let’s just call it a pinkish melon color!

“Let go of something old that no longer serves you in order to make room for something new.” – Roy T. Bennett

The Dollhouse Plans – Step 1

Just looking at the dollhouse you can see it needed plenty of work. The simple refurbishing plans were as follows:

  • Take off the roof/access the damage
  • Strip & replace wallpaper
  • Strip & replace flooring
  • Remove casters & replace with wooden feet
  • Replace trim
  • Paint outside & some rooms inside

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The Dollhouse Construction Starts – Step 2

Before we started pulling the dollhouse apart, we evaluated what we had on our hands. As with any project, please remember to take safety measures before you start. Big Al and I wore face masks and used gloves when tearing the dollhouse apart.

The house was in rough shape.

Real rough.

Getting the roof off and having a better view of what was in front of us was our first priority.

After checking everything out we started by stripping the paint off the roof pieces. We didn’t want to sand the roof in case it was lead based. We used Citrigel Paint Remover instead.

We coated the two roof pieces and let sit for about an hour. It didn’t all come off the first time. So we reapplied the Citrigel, wrapped in saran wrap and let both pieces sit over night. You don’t usually need to leave it sit that long, but we didn’t want to have to keep doing it, over and over.

Working smarter not harder, right?

Removing The Wallpaper – Step 3

Since the wallpaper was falling off in most of the rooms, we decided to tackle that next. Many of the pieces we were able to pull off and some parts we used a scraper on. There were a few areas that wouldn’t come off, even with a scraper.

We used an effective technique we learned years ago on some hard to remove wallpaper in our own home. The recipe is simple. You mix super hot water and dishwashing soap. We used a spray bottle to apply the hot soapy mixture.

If you have a wallpaper that is difficult to remove, I promise this will do the trick!

The key is to let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Then you can go back over the area with the scraper and it comes right off.

What little bit of wallpaper that wouldn’t come off, Big Al lightly sanded.

After that was complete, we washed the whole dollhouse with warm soapy water.

Preping The Dollhouse for Paint

After stripping wallpaper and washing the piece down there wasn’t too much to prep for the painting.

There were however, ten windows that were actually put in with puddy. Not wanting to have to remove the windows and reinstall, we taped each little window off, as to not get paint on them and possible risk ruining them.

How To Make An Old Doll House New – Part 1

That’s the first part in my series How To Make A Dollhouse New. Stayed tuned for Part 2. I’m so excited for you to come along on this journey with us!

As always, I’m so glad you stoppped by!

I hope you have an amazing day!

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16 Comments

  1. I love it….thanks for all the tips and details. I only have one dollhouse, that I bought on marketplace. I enjoy tinkering with it. But restoring an old one would be so much fun.

  2. Kim this is going to be so fun to watch you give it a reno! My girls want to give the doll house I found in the garbage a makeover so we’ll follow along with you for inspiration.

  3. What a treasure for your granddaughter. She will have so many precious memories of playing with it. My daughter and I refinished an old dollhouse that we found at a goodwill for only $7. It was precious time spent with my daughter refinishing it. Now my granddaughter gets to make sweet memories playing with it. Blessings to you

  4. Kim, what an amazing gift for your granddaughter. It is coming along great. And, I am so excited to follow along on your journey. It is a gift that she and her little sisters will treasure. I always wanted a dollhouse as a child. You are going to create many memories with this treasured gift.

  5. You are going to have so much fun making over this sweet dollhouse! It will probably be passed down through the generations and cherished by your family. Those casters – what a great idea!

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