Make: The Construction of our DIY Beach Dollhouse

If you caught the introduction of our beach dollhouse DIY, you know that today you’re getting a rundown of exactly how this mini mid-mod beach beauty was built! I’m going to be completely honest…I have almost zero woodworking experience, and the most complicated tool I’ve ever run myself is a jigsaw. That said, I find it THRILLING to design patterns that will be simple enough to really work for people like me with basic tools, while maintaining that dollhouse mini magic. My fabulous family experts (an architect and woodworker among them) gave me the background I needed to build this effectively and inexpensively, so read on for their little secrets I get to pass on to you!


To make your own scrap wood beach dollhouse you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • If you’d like to make your house with the materials we used to create an exact replica, you can download our Modern Dollhouse Printable Plans – complete with all measurements, diagrams from each side and a construction supply list
  • A few large pieces of scrap plywood
  • A handsaw (or circular saw if you have one). If you choose to purchase wood, stores will usually make all the larger cuts for you!
  • A drill or screwdriver
  • Flat head wood screws (ours were 1 1/4-inch long)
  • 3/4-inch, 1-inch, or similarly-sized spade bit (like these) if you want to make decorative holes in the roof and wall as I did)
  • Sandpaper in a few different weights
  • A wet cloth or tack cloth (like this) for sanding cleanup
  • Paint, stain or wood wax and or/polyurethane


  • 1/4-inch square wood dowels (like these – you can use code BIRCH5 for 5% off at Woodpecker Crafts!)
  • A small piece of 1/4-inch clear plastic or plexiglass (like this)
  • Wood Glue


  • 1/4-inch x 1 1/2-inch wood trim
  • 1/4-inch square wood dowels for risers (like these)
  • Wood Glue
  • Tin Foil or something similar to use as a liner if you’ll be planting real plants (as we did!)


If you want to make EXACTLY what we made, now is the time to download our Modern Dollhouse Printable Plans because you’ll want it to purchase supplies or take inventory and gather what you have. It gives the specifics for the wood materials we used, and includes diagrams of the house with measurements called out so you’ll now exactly where the pieces go and how they fit together. If you’d rather NOT use the template, you can use the mockup below, then follow along to plan your own version!

DIY Beach Dollhouse Instructions:

  1. Sketch out a rough plan

    If you’re going to use our template, your game plan is set and you can head right to step 2. If not, it’s helpful to make a quick drawing laying out the basic shape and elements you’d like to include. Here’s the “sketch” I put together before I started working on mine.
    My DIY beach dollhouse early plan sketches

  2. Gather materials

    Take inventory of what you have. I based the size of my dollhouse on scrap wood I had found in the garage. FYI it was NOT in great condition – it was a bit warped, had some nicks & knots and was in major need of a good rinse! Believe me, once you have sanded, painted & furnished it, no one will even notice it’s not perfect, so this is a fantastic way to use up less-than-perfect scraps. A layout of the basic construction elements we needed to create our DIY beach dollhouse
    If you’re going to shop for your supplies, be sure to make a list of what you think you’ll need before you go. Most lumberyards and box stores have a box of reduced price lumber and plywood, and I’ve found you can usually find some fantastic deals if you ask about their scrap selection.

  3. Cut all the wood building pieces of your beach dollhouse to size

    Now it’s time to start cutting everything to size. The rule of thumb when it comes to this step is measure twice, cut once! I don’t have a tables or circular saw, so let me share a super helpful hint I’ve learned: if you ask nicely, box stores and lumberyards will usually cut larger pieces of plywood to size for you (I’ve even taken my own wood from home!) for free! If not, you can use a handsaw to cut your pieces.

    Use a drill and spade bit to add decorative cutout elements to the roof and walls of your beach dollhouse

    It’s not necessary, but adding the decorative circle cut-outs in the wall and roof give it a fun mid-century modern vibe, help to keep the interior “room” light, and give kids some fun little peepholes for creative opportunity. If you’d like to add some, you’ll need a drill and a spade bit. I found it was helpful to lay out the circle pattern on the wood pieces before drilling. I did some measuring to make sure everything was even, then made small dots with a permanent marker to indicate the center of my circles. Clamp down your wood, then use the spade bit to drill all the way through all of your circles.

  4. Sand thoroughly with a variety of grits of sandpaper

    Once all of your pieces are cut and drilled, it’s time to sand like crazy! 😀 Start with rough sandpaper and work your way to fine. If you have a hand-sander, that will definitely speed up the process. If not, it’s helpful wrap your sandpaper around a small scrap of wood to create your own sanding block.

  5. Finish your wood with paint, stain, or wax

    The last thing you want to do before putting everything together is your painting & wood finishing. I saved this step for later and MAJORLY regretted it. As excited as you might be to start building, it is so much easier to paint & finish now. I used a non-toxic, eco-friendly white paint (like these) and then applied a clear, water-based, semi-gloss polyurethane for a bit of waterproofing. Let dry for 24-72 hours.

  6. Build!

    Woohoo! It’s build time! Grab a drill and some screws and start putting this baby together! I found it was helpful to pre-drill holes with a very small drill bit. I measured, marked where all of my holes were going on each piece of wood, drilled the small guide holes, then put it all together with some wood screws. If your download the full plans to make a replica of my house, all the guesswork of measurements is done for you, as I’ve included EVERY measurement I made to make this part as easy as possible.

    A view of our unfinished DIY beach dollhouse from the top, front and both sides.

    If you’re adding a “glass” sliding door like ours, you can use 4 pieces of square dowel to create a frame for your “door”. I used wood glue to glue two pieces of dowel to the floor and the underside of the roof – with a very small space in between to insert a piece of thin, clear plexiglass. I put 3 pieces of washi tape on the plastic to make it look more like a sliding door, then slid it right between the dowels.

And you’ve BUILT THE THING! Congratulations, you’re the proud new owner of your own drool-worthy beach dollhouse! We’re not quite done yet though…stop by our dollhouse details DIY post to see how we made our simple palm trees, furniture, and other finishing touches…!

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


Sign up for our 5-day "Adventures in Play" tour series - a high seas play journey delivered right to your inbox...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *