: DIY Calico Critters House

finished

For Christmas we bought our youngest girls Calico Critter families. Every time our kids seen them in the toy store they went crazy with delight, “they are just soooo cute!!” I agree, they have to be the sweetest toys on the market. My favorite is the Hedge Hog family.

My girls asked for the Chihuahua, Cotton Tail, and Koala families. When my 5 year old spied the baby koala in a sling on the mamma’s back, she fell in love. I have to admit I went doe-eyed when I seen it too…

baby in sling

We eventually bought them, along with a few sets of furniture. We did not buy a house though, because they are a bit pricey. I am sure they are great quality but for a large enough house, it would have been $200+.

I suggested to my husband we make one instead. So I got busy online looking for a building plan, and then my husband constructed it. The wood for our project cost us under $30. Can’t beat that.

He used 2×1” pine boards and plywood. Other than that you will need sandpaper, wood glue, clamps, screws, and a kreg jig if you have one. I finished shingling the roof with jumbo Popsicle sticks.The finishing and decorating was my undertaking. It was a lot of fun, but it did take longer than I had anticipated.

frame

A kregg jig makes for clean joinery

A kreg jig makes for clean joinery

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We got the plan from Ana White’s website. It is from her Dream Dollhouse plan. We reduced the measurements by half, because hers is Barbie-sized.

The pine was treated with polyurethane, and the interior was finished with foamboard, scrapbook paper, and printed card stock. The cute print-out hardwood floor, I found on Jennifer’s Printables.

The thing I love most about this house is the simple, open design. With 360 degree play-ability, two or three kids can play with this at the same time.

kids playing2

kids playing3

kids bedroom

If you think about making one for your critters and have any questions I will do my best to help you. This house is also the right size for LPS or small doll families, approximately 3-4 inches tall.

livingroom

livingroom2

what to wear

mirror

drawers

friends

As usual, I’m still not done. The kitchen and bath need to be furnished. Here is where the future shower stall will be…

shower to be continued

Tips:

-Use a Kreg Jig in the construction if at all possible. This ‘hides’ the screws making it more ‘pretty’ and safe.

-I suggest pine for the frame. It’s cheap, and it’s light. The finished dollhouse is a breeze to lift.

-Finish the interior walls and floors before fixing the walls in place.

-If building for a toddler, use a safer sealant. Natural shellac, tung oil, or bees wax are considered safe alternatives for children’s toys (warning: shellac stinks while it is curing).

-Make sure you use a small square and a mini level.

-Don’t use nails and use a minimal amount of screws. For safety, rely mostly on wood glue and clamps for construction.

-Sand, sand, and sand some more. You don’t want them to get a splinter while playing.

-Go slow. Don’t rush it or you will sacrifice the quality of the build and finishes.

-Don’t be too much of a perfectionist either! Your kid is not going to critique the heck out of it. No matter what, they will think you rock for making them a dollhouse.

It takes a weekend to build. Perhaps a day, if you are experienced working on such projects. The decorating could take an additional day or more, depending on how elaborate you want it.

My kids have been watching my progress the last few days and I have heard a lot of, “will it be done today?? tomorrow??

Three sets of big, excited eyes have been watching and waiting for me to deliver on my promise.

It was finally completed today! Well, sort of…I still need to finish the kitchen and bath,but it is finished enough to play with. I had the pleasure of setting it all up and surprising them after school. They played until dinner time and then on until bedtime.

Then it’s my turn!

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2 thoughts on “: DIY Calico Critters House

  1. Wow, absolutely amazing! First, they are the cutest little toys ever, love them. And your husband MADE that?! I am totally impressed and, maybe even a little jealous. Well done!

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