Made from a painted cardboard box, this cute little cubby house can be made in any size to suit your favourite dolls and teddy bears. Although I’ve chosen to model this one on a Tudor half-timbered house, you can paint yours any colour you like – or just leave it unpainted, if you haven’t any acrylic paints at your disposal.
All the items you’ll need to complete this project can easily be sourced around the house, and therefore it’s an inexpensive project for anyone, regardless what kind of budget they’re working with. Children of all ages will enjoy making this little cubby – especially those who like playing with dolls, and making special things for them.
Time: 90 minutes
Age: 5-10's, over 10's
1 cardboard box
Acrylic paints in various colours
Pieces of thick scrap cardboard
Old paper bags
1 cardboard tube
1 pretty bead or button for a door handle
Some pretty paper or fabric to use as the cubby’s curtains
Flower and butterfly stickers (old floral gift-wrapping paper is just as good)
Paint brushes in various sizes
Masking tape (thick size)
Take a cardboard box and place it in such a way that the opening flaps are at the front. These will be cut to create a window and a door.
Cut the box, as per the photo below, to create the cottage’s doors and windows. If the children you’re working with are quite young, this part of the activity should be supervised by an adult, to avoid painful accidents with sharp scissors. To achieve the correct placement for the doors and windows, you might need to reattach strips of cardboard back into the desired position on the box with masking tape.
Paint the box with the acrylic paint. We chose to make ours white, for a more traditional finish, but use whatever colour you like. At this point, we also painted a cardboard tube (for a chimney), two small pieces of scrap cardboard cut in a size that will be suitable for window shutters, and about fifteen paddle-pop sticks in dark brown, which were later used to create the half-finished look on the cottage.
Glue the cardboard shutters onto the cottage, as well as a pretty craft jewel for a door knob.
When the paint is completely dry, the paddle-pop sticks can be glued onto the cottage to create a half-timbered look. Use craft glue, which will stick them on particularly firmly. If necessary, use the photos below for a guide.
Cut a piece of thick cardboard from another old box to a suitable size, and fold it in such a way that it will form a roof for your cottage. Attach this to the cottage wall with craft glue or masking tape.
When the roof has been securely attached to the cottage, you can begin with the thatch which will cover it. Scrunch up several old brown paper bags, and straighten them out. Then, cut them to a corresponding size to your cottage’s roof. Following the process shown in the illustration below, fringe these strips of brown paper and glue them onto the roof in layers, creating a rustic thatched appearance. To create a solid impression, be sure to cover the sides as well as the front of the roof.
Cut the cardboard tube in such a way that it will sit straight against the slant of the doll house’s roof, and securely attach it with masking tape.
Create a homey impression by cutting some curtains out of pretty paper or scrap fabric. I also used some lacy paper serviettes for an extra-special effect.
Using old gift wrap or even junk mail, cut out some pretty flowers, butterflies or anything else that you’d like to glue onto your doll’s cubby, to create a lovely garden. If you have stickers, these can also be used. Alternatively, you might prefer to paint them on.
Your doll’s cubby house is now complete. However, if you’d still like to add a bit of extra bling, you may also want to glue on some glitter, beads or craft gems. Invite your dolls and teddy bears to make themselves at home. For something a little different, your cubby could also be placed in a small tree or bush to create a doll’s tree house.