Oh, the miniature magic of dollhouses! Back when I was growing up, dollhouses were one of the most coveted toys a kid could have. They came in all shapes and sizes – traditional, old-fashioned Victorian dollhouses, purely-plastic Barbie Dream Houses, the classic Fisher-Price dollhouse, tiny Polly Pocket homes. One of our very favorites was the Ewok family treehouse – swoon!
My sister and I happened to have the absolute best entrée to the dollhouse world – a very creative babysitter who helped us turn piles of old cardboard boxes and scrap paper into a miniature mansion. For months our ever-growing shoebox dollhouse took up a large corner of our small living room – lovingly housing our Sylvanian families, Lego people, and, Woodseys.
It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with simple, handmade dollhouses from recycled materials. In honor, I’ve put together this great big collection of inspiration so your own kids can discover the joy of making an imaginative dollhouse by hand!
DIY Cardboard Dollhouses
Cardboard boxes are pretty easy to come by these days, so grab 1, 2, or a few and try making one of these cool kid-made dollhouses!
- An off-the-grid eco dollhouse from Handmade Charlotte – this green little house is eco-friendly in every way imaginable.
- A Mid-Century cardboard modern dollhouse from Little Monster – MCM fans will delight in this minified handmade treasure!
- A mini play treehouse toy from hello bee – put a good stick to use with this tiny home in the trees.
- A stacked cardboard tree dollhouse from Mr. Printables – this DIY comes with a free printable template to help you get the sizes just right!
- A cardboard French masion from Helene Jourdain – C’est si beau, n’est pas?! Make your own gorgeous French villa with this lovely DIY.
- A cardboard dollhouse walk-up from Lay Baby Lay – The perfect upcycled craft for city-dwellers.
- A cardboard cottage bunny house from Mermag – Every detail of this charming DIY cardboard cottage is delightful, so be sure to visit the post for the steps and gorgeous pictures.
- A cardboard box mouse house from Cakies – I love the minimalist structure and details of this little mouse home!
- A DIY cardboard castle from The Artful Parent – Save ALL of your cardboard boxes and tubes – this project is royally fun.
- An upcycled cardboard dollhouse from The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood – you MUST see the furniture details and superbly cute peg doll crafting featured in this fun afternoon craft – so many good repurposes!
- A cardboard box dollhouse from Non-Toy Gifts – Magazines do the furniture design work for you with this clever upcycle.
- A box dollhouse from Made By Joel – Have some unique packaging you don’t know what to do with? This play home is inspiration to check out and save!
DIY Shoebox Dollhouses
It doesn’t get any easier than pulling out a shoebox, some paper, and glue, and letting your kids go to town creating their own rooms and houses.
- Shoebox dollhouses for toy storage from The Gold Jelly Bean
- A Mid-Century modern shoebox house from barley & birch
- Shoebox mansions from ART BAR
- A shoebox schoolhouse from Molly Moo Crafts
DIY Fold-Up Dollhouses
These fold-up upcycled dollhouses are perfect space-savers for small spaces!
- A scrap paper fold-up dollhouse from Made By Joel
- A collapsible cardboard dollhouse from Cakies
- A chalk-painted suitcase dollhouse from My Poppet Makes
- A fold-up cardboard terrace dollhouse from Kids Activities Blog
DIY Dollhouses from Other Upcycled Supplies
Getting tired of cardboard? Here are a few ideas that use other kinds of recycled materials to create cute mini doll homes…
- A DIY succulent plant dollhouse treehouse from hello, Wonderful
- Plastic bottle fairy houses from Handy With Scissors
- A scrap wood beach house dollhouse from barley & birch
- A Tetrapak house with cress garden from Montagskonfetti
- An oatmeal canister toadstool gnome home from barley & birch
- Scrap wood dollhouse rooms from Made By Joel
- A wood slice doll treehouse from Little Lifelong Learners
- A DIY dollhouse from wooden crates from Refresh Restyle
DIY Bookcase Dollhouses
An bookcase or shelving, some paint/scrap paper, etc to decorate, and a tiny doll moving company are all you need for these clever upcycles!
- A DIY Bookcase Dollhouse from A Bubbly Life
- A Billy bookcase modern dollhouse hack from April and May
- A DIY drawer dollhouse from DIYs.com
- A recycled nightstand dollhouse from Ambrosia Creative
DIY Upcycled Dollhouse Extras
Take your dollhouses to the next level with a few recycled accessories reserved for the most EXTRA play fun.
- A DIY Dollhouse Camper from Floral and Fawna Co.
- A cardboard car wash from Kit:sketchbook
- An upcycled cardboard parking garage from Jenny at Dapperhouse
- DIY upcycled wood crate play stables from Limma Land
DIY Dollhouse Cities
So you have the house…why not turn make a few more and create your own dollhouse city?!
- A cardboard box mouse-sized city from Play and Grow
- A cardboard box city neighborhood from barley & birch
- A recycled cardboard city from Handy with Scissors for Kids Gifts Toys
- A foldout city landscape book from barley & birch
DIY Upcycled Playhouses
Make a life-sized version for your real-life minis with these DIY ideas for upcycled playhouses for kids!
- A DIY cardboard box playhouse from Say Yes
- A DIY upcycled wooden palette play tent from Creative Green Living
- A bean pole outdoor fort from The Artful Parent
- A DIY cardboard camper playhouse from The Merry Thought
Aren’t these a great excuse for you to play with dollhouses too?!