Friday, August 3, 2007

How to make doll house dining room furniture from recyclables

Here's how we made dining room furniture for the girls' dollhouse this morning.

Start with an empty paper towel tube. Take the largest doll (usually the "father" doll) and put him in a seated position.

Cut the paper towel tube to the desired height of the chair.

Using the doll's height as a guide, cut out a seat. Save the piece of cardboard that was cut away from the tube. We'll be using it later.

Test it with the doll. It should be stable. (We're aiming for toys, not artwork. We want them to be durable enough to last when the children play with them.)

Repeat until enough chairs are made.

Test the chairs with different sized dolls.

A half-gallon container makes a great template for a dining room table.

Rinse the container, so it is clean of any food residue.

Dishes can be made by punching circles from cardstock. (Or, could just draw circles and cut them out.)

We have a punch that makes silverware, too. We punched them from gray cardstock. (The punch was used to make the insert cards for Jonathan's bar mitzvah invitation a few years ago.)

Here is Emily, sorting the "silverware" and "plates". We used the plastic tray from a manicotti box to keep them separate.

For each chair, crumple a piece of paper. (The pink paper in this photo was a misprint of a
school fund raiser flier.)

Stuff the paper into the seat of the cardboard tube. This will make the chair much more sturdy.

Place a cotton ball on top of the crumpled paper. The cotton ball should be just above the height of the seat.

Remove the crumpled paper and cotton from the tube. Place a piece of duct tape over them, centering it on the cotton ball.

Place a second piece of duct tape, oriented 90 degrees away from the first, also centered on the cotton ball. Your seat is now upholstered in duct tape.

Later,we'll re-insert the seats in the cardboard tubes. This is the idea:

Paint the empty tube-seats. Let them dry.

Reinsert the duct-tape-upholstered seats in the dried, painted cardboard tubes.

From the cut-away piece of cardboard (that I mentioned earlier), trace the shape of the tube's circular opening. Cut this circle out.

Glue the cardboard circle to the bottom of the chair, Push tightly to secure.

Test it with the doll to make sure it is solid and sturdy.

The girls enjoyed making food from clay. Those yellow braids in the lower right hand corner are the challot Emily made. Gretta is making 'many many many cakes'.

Cover the half gallon container frame with Popsicle/craft sticks.
{OOOOPS! Missing the picture of the template from the oj container. I plan to update it late Saturday night EST. Sorry!}

Add trusses (triangular supports) to the bottom to make it very staple. Here is the table holding a brick (5lbs):

Snip sections of a drinking straw to make doll-sized drinking glasses. Single pony beads make great cups, too.

For a wine bottle, use a taller bead, with a tiny bead glued to it as a cork. A silver cylindrical
bead makes a great kiddush cup.

Emily's challot are under the play-dough challah cover she made. (The word "shabbat" was written in play-dough snakes.)

Bon Appetit!

28 comments, so far. Add yours now!

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Batya said...

This is all so brilliant! Great ideas.

Shavua Tov!

Juggling Frogs said...

Thanks, Batya! I'm glad you're home, safe and sound - and back on the computer! Shavua tov.

Anonymous said...

There is a book I saw about making minatures through the American Girl Doll Company. You should really consider publishing a Jewish version with some of these fantastic projects. They would make fantastic gifts.

Juggling Frogs said...

Sephardi Lady,

Thank you! I wonder if there would be a market for such a thing?

I know the girls and their friends enjoy making the projects and playing with the results.

I'm going to have to look for the American Doll miniatures book - it sounds like a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. How about a Jewish mag like "Family Fun" which would include ideas for Chagim and Shabbat, general crafts, recipes, games, family vacation tips for Orthodox families... I can see it now.
If you do it, please let me do the vacation stuff. I love that.

Anonymous said...

Wow that's really cool. I might have to try that with my daughter.


awesome site. Gives me renew'd hope & enthusiasim.Sick of bring-ing up sites that want only your money for lame idea's



Anonymous said...

I'm involved in the construction of a miniature theatre in relation to my university course and we were dumbfounded at how much the cost of 50 small dolls house chairs would be! Fortunately I've stmubled across this! Thanjyou very much! x

Juggling Frogs said...


I'm so glad it was helpful but WAIT!! If you are making a theater, try this technique using egg cartons - stabilized with paint stirrers or cheap rulers - instead. It will save you LOTS of time!

Best of luck! I'd love to see photos of your miniature theatre when you're done.

Anonymous said...

that is great but it is hard to make

Anonymous said...

That is a really good website I always struggle to make dollhouse furniture but this is one that has cracked it for me
thank you so much

Anonymous said...

weird but cool...

Holmes said...

Pretty cute dining room furniture set. I think I'll try that with my daughter. The images make great instructions we can follow. Thank you for sharing.

Richard Burn said...

Good Idea

For more detail Info Visit :Dining room furniture

Anonymous said...

Great Idea!

Can I alter the size of the chairs for a Barbie Doll or is it not strong enough?

Lawrenceville, GA

Juggling Frogs said...


I haven't tried it with 11" dolls yet. It might need something heavier for ballast in the bottom of the tube, or some widening of the base.

If you try it, please let us know if it works! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

That looks great! I love your ideas. It will be so good for my 2 daughters at home. I also shop for dollhouse and miniatures at a website They have a lot of good stuff for my collection and my daughters' dollhouses.

Anonymous said...

Hey, interesting post! bookmarked :)

oak furniture said...

Love the new chairs!!your so talented!looks great...hugs!!

Furniture Hire said...

So cute ... I want one!

Birmingham Bedroom furniture said...

Just brilliant...I think in market these things are rarely sold, but the projects like you have mentioned is really a very good stuff to buy..looks really useful as well..

Wooden Dolls House said...

This is fantastic, i am so impressed!I love how creative you have been but mostly love the use of recycled materials and the fact that you're daughter could be involved in the creating process. Our 4 year old daughter has a wooden dolls house with some basic wooden furniture and dolls. She just loves doing 'crafty stuff' with me and so a few weeks ago we made a trampoline and slide to add some extra play to the dolls house. The trampoline was just old material stretched over a recycled food container and held on with a rubber band, and slide just cardboard and paddle pop sticks as struts. I am going to make the table and low backed version of your chairs as an outdoor setting this week, thanks!

Bedroom furniture said...

I like your informative blog.
Thanks for sharing with us.

St. John's Furniture said...

This is a great project. Very well written with great pictures! Thanks for the ideas!

Anonymous said...

Hello this topic is very interesting. Keep it going man !

Anonymous said...

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dui Asheville attorneys said...

I am truly amazed! What a brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing :)

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