Make: A Modern DIY Beach Dollhouse from Scrap Wood

Have you noticed that DIY dollhouses are all the rage lately? Having tried our hand at an MCM-inspired shoebox dollhouse, I wanted to take it to the next level with some more permanent materials. The result was a modern DIY dollhouse fit for a *beachside* location and because I’m new to wood projects and have ZERO serious tools, it is about as easy as it gets for a handmade dream house. Seriously, my DIY’ers. I KNOW the joy (then immediate devastation) that comes with seeing a lovely dollhouse DIY that uses complicated supplies and has a zillion steps.

That’s why this mid-century-modern-inspired take doesn’t use any fancy materials or require anything more than drill know-how. It can be completely made (furniture and all!)  from scrap wood, pre-cut blocks & dowels, a little paint on paper, and some fast-growing wheatgrass if you want to go the extra mile!

A view of the front of our modern DIY dollhouse with simple DIY dollhouse furniture pieces on a rooftop patio and a mini planter full of wheatgrass

Okay, with the ease-of-use disclaimer out of the way, this will be a modern dollhouse DIY will be a post in three parts. Think of today as a quick  “tour of the grounds”! Head to Part 2: The Construction of our Beach Dollhouse for the process and plans to make your own beachfront dollhouse, then visit Part 3: The Beach Dollhouse Details for simple instructions on creating all the extras – furniture, paintings, palms, a flying seagull (!!!) & the planter of “ornamental grass”.

For an adorable play accessory, visit our latest STEAM-building project to see how we turned a plastic takeout food container and cardboard box into a super chic miniature swimming pool! Or create your own set of diverse DIY peg dolls plus scrap wood toy cars and trucks for small world play.


I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this yet, but I LOVE using real plants with kids’ projects whenever I can. From the rooftop gardens of our cardboard box city neighborhoods to our magical potted unicorn garden – there’s just no substitute for the real deal. Does it get messy? Maybe…probably. Here’s what I have to say about that: I have found that the (minor) annoyance of cleaning up after a tiny bit of dirt, water, or plant mess is SO worth the (major!) joy kids experience taking care of their own plant babies.

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!

You can easily substitute cardboard, paper, or faux plants for the wheatgrass I used to make our natural “ornamental grass” planter, but if you’re willing to give real plants a go, this truly couldn’t be easier. The wheatgrass takes about 4-5 days to grow from seed (that’s it!) and is a fantastic starter science experiment in addition to providing beautiful bright green foliage. Bonus: it grows like a weed, and can be trimmed every couple of days and used for juicing!


One of the things I love about this super simple beachy dollhouse style is that it allows for a TON of fill-in-the-blank (or maybe more aptly fill-in-the-walls) creativity on the part of your little designers. There are so many ways to incorporate art processes into the making of house accessories.

A closeup of the DIY dollhouse furniture we made from wooden blocks, with a stamped paper dollhouse rug and handmade mini modern art on the wall.

As an example, we made some miniature, minimal, modern collages to deck our walls. We also used paint + some simple printing processes on paper to create our floor coverings (more on that in Part 3!).  A good statement rug is hard to find, so being able to make your own in a few minutes…? Two thumbs WAY UP.


For a little modern DIY dollhouse decoration inspiration check out this IN-CREDIBLE mini mid-mod dollhouse a couple based on their childhood homes! I could pore over the layers and layers of handmade details they added for hours. Or visit this collection of drool-worthy MCM dollhouse details from House Beautiful.

A view of the top of our modern DIY dollhouse with a rooftop patio, mini DIY palm trees and planters, and simple DIY wooden dollhouse furniture.

The delight is in the details and simple style of this mid-century-inspired coastal crib. This was honestly a blast to make and is a great “starter” wood project for the whole family to plan out and work on together. Now mosey on over to Part 2 for the modern DIY dollhouse construction tutorial!

From just a few scraps of wood and simple supplies, you can make your own super-hip, mid-century-modern beachfront DIY up cycled dollhouse in an afternoon!

If this project has you clamoring for more small world play ideas, try a twist on house-building with this DIY soft city playset – an interactive handmade toy set that invites kids to get in on the creation process. Or for those of you who like to give your dollhouse a sense of environment, consider adding a cardboard secret garden, add a row of paint-scrape surfboards next to a recycled seaside beach hut. Dot your ocean view with scrap material sailboats or maybe a miniature play food truck has set up shop by the beach…!

Interested in trying more simple wood projects? Check out our DIY balance board, DIY play laptop/tablet, and our crazy versatile scrap wood and dowel rod Thingamaboard toy for creative play.

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.


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