From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously!
All, Make

Make: A Modern Dollhouse from Scrap Wood (Part 3)

Have you been following along with our MCM style dollhouse DIY? If you missed the build, start at Part 1 for the full tour & overview, then swing by Part 2 for the actual dollhouse build steps. To finish up our dollhouse DIY, today’s post shares instructions to help you make all the extra bits and bobs that add so much personality to our beachy beauty! From the stylized palm trees to the faux stainless planter, the extra accessories are really what takes this dollhouse from “fab” to “en fuego”! None of these elements required anything more than glue to put together, and can be made with precut wood items (a set of blocks, craft dowels, etc.) and things you probably already have around the house.

As you read through, remember that you can make these exactly to my specs (visit Part 2 for the PDF with full plans) but all of these are so simply built, you can easily modify my designs to work with wood scraps or materials you may already have.

Instructions for the planter

You’ll need:

  • Wood (see Part 2 for exact specs)
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint, wood stain, wood wax or another wood finish
  • Wheatgrass, succulents or other plants. You can use paper plants too!
  • Aluminum Foil (to line the inside for a little “waterproofing” if you’ll be using real plants)
From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously!

Although it may seem like a small touch, this planter is one of those elements I felt like I had to absolutely NAIL to get the cool dollhouse vibe right. I love that it adds a little bit of natural life and sensory-pleasing play to the dollhouse. The wheatgrass I used is so soft to the touch and provides an easy lesson in plant care for kids (lots of trimming opportunities too!) but you can easily sub out paper or faux plants for the real thing.

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously!

Step 1: To make this simple “planter” I started by cutting a dowel to create the 4 sides of my planter box.

Step 2: I glued the long sides on to the base with wood glue. After they were dry enough to feel sturdy, I flipped the planter over so the base was facing up and glued two small pieces of wood to the underside of the base to create risers and give my planter a little height. This is completely optional, I honestly just liked how it looked! As this was drying, I also glued the shorter sides on to the ends to complete the planter.

Step 3: Once the glue is dry, you can paint or finish to suit your preference! I covered mine with a coat of silver acrylic paint to give it the look of stainless steel and add to the “modern vibe”.

Step 4: If you’re going to be adding a live plant that will need to be watered, line the inside of your planter with a layer of aluminum foil to protect the wood from water, dirt and staining. If you’re not into maintenance, air plants or paper plants would look just as cute!

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously! | via barley & birch

I had a strong vision in mind, and desperately wanted our planter to be filled with something that would look like seagrass, so I used wheatgrass to mimic a miniature version of the real deal. Growing wheatgrass is a great “bonus” activity for kids, especially because the seeds germinate, sprout and grow so quickly. A little side of science with the build work! I  let my packet of wheatgrass seeds soak for a day, planted them in a small pot, and about 10 days later had enough to fill my planter.

Instructions for the palm trees and seagull

You’ll need:

  • Craft dowels (mine varied from 6″ – 12″ in length and 1/4″ to 5/8″ in width)
  • Square Building Blocks
  • A drill and spade bit/s that are the same size as the width as your dowels
  • Balsa wood
  • An X-Acto knife or utility knife
  • Wood glue
  • Paint
  • Small cut of fine gauge wire (if you’d like to make your seagull “fly”!)
From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously!

I honestly loved how these trees turned out so much, that I made a set of my own to decorate my desk! Palms seemed like a must for a fun beach house, what I love about these lovely little guys is that they are sturdy enough to be moved around, pushed over and rearranged again & again by busy toddler hands.

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously! | via barley & birch

Step 1: I started by putting together the base of my trees – a wooden craft dowel forms the trunk of the tree, while a building block acts as a simple base stand. Using a drill with a spade bit the same size as my craft dowel, I made a hole about three-quarters of the way through the block. Push the craft dowel in, and voila – you have your tree base! You can experiment with different lengths and widths of dowels to create a variety of trees.

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously! | via barley & birch

Step 2: I created a few different palm leaf patterns, traced them onto a piece of balsa wood, then cut them out using an X-Acto knife. I’ve created a template you can download and use to make this step super simple! Before you move on to the next step, make sure it fits on your dowel as expected.

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously! | via barley & birch

Step 3: Time to add color!  I wanted my large palm tree have a fun, bright graphic quality, so I used painted the leaves 2 different shades of green/blue (using just a standard acrylic paint). You can use as many or as few colors as you prefer. Once the paint has dried, you can secure everything with a small dab of wood glue at each connecting piece.

After everything has dried, your trees are ready to be added, arranged and rearranged as you play!

Instructions for the House Decor

You’ll need:

  • Wooden building blocks and wood glue (for the furniture)
  • Cardstock, paint, scissors and a glue stick (for the wall art)
  • Cardstock, paint and a fork (for rugs)
From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously!

Mini Wall Art: One of our dollhouse “must-haves” was a gallery wall fit for a mid-century museum, so we made mini collages! This is a fantastic afternoon art project all on it’s own. We painted some pieces of scrap cardstock (2″ x 2″), then cut fun simple shapes out of scrap paper, gluing them on with a glue stick to make small compositions. A couple dabs of craft glue later, this mid-mod art was hanging on the wall. And when you get tired of it, it’s easy to pop it right off and trade it out for new handmade treasures!

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY dollhouse in an afternoon. No, seriously! | via barley & birch

Tiny Statement Rugs: Let’s be honest – a wood floor isn’t finished until there’s a super sweet statement rug sitting on top of it, so that was our very last addition. We practiced our printing techniques by using a plastic fork dipped in paint to stamp a simple pattern onto a piece of card stock. If you’d rather not break out the paint, you can easily just cut a patterned piece of paper to size, or use a cool cocktail napkin like we did on our rooftop terrace! 🙂

Furniture: I don’t even have any DIY pictures of this bit, because there was so little to it! I found a bag of unfinished wood building blocks I had purchased at a craft store and, with various block combinations, created our table, bench, and patio chaise lounge. You can play around with blocks you have to create your own furniture items, using a thin line of wood glue to hold them together. I left mine unfinished because I liked the look, but you can paint or stain yours to your liking. That’s all there is to it!

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About Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.

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