Making Dollhouse Toys out of Recycled Items

It is not always possible to find dollhouse toys to fit every purpose at the department store, or even at the specialty shops catering to miniaturists. Sometimes you can recycle the oddest items into exactly what you need for your dollhouse. Not only does using recylced materials for your dollhouse save you money, it's better for the environment. Let these tips fire your imagination, and help you turn old discards into just the thing to decorate that special dollhouse room.

Step 1: Make Dollhouse Furniture Accessories

Many small containers and lids are just the right scale to work as dollhouse furnishings, toys and accessories. Coffee creamer containers are a favorite example. They can be painted and used as flower planters, trash cans and buckets. Inverted, they make beautiful lampshades with an attached bulb harp fashioned from wire. Twist-off lids from cosmetic creams and lotions transform easily into footstools and ottomans for your dolls to sit down or put up their feet. Empty glass jars of scented cream with metallic lids become designer coffee tables.

Toothpaste caps make delightful flower pots. Paint them terracotta brown, glue in an inch of crumpled bag paper or brown tissue paper for potting soil, and insert a green-painted matchstick topped with two flower stickers.

Step 2: Convert Fabric Scraps into Luxury Linens and Carpets

Hemmed fabric scraps make elegant bedspreads, blankets, sheets, towels, mattresses and box springs.  A luxurious 6-inch by 4-inch piece of solid-colored velvet becomes an area rug. You can make other area rugs from the sleeves of small-scale plaid flannel shirts. Leftover bits of brocade or silk make distinguished draperies and formal tablecloths

Step 3: Choose Your Wall Art from Magazines

Look in travel or interior design magazines for art replicas that you can cut out, frame in gold or silver foil, and hang on your dollhouse walls. Create your own art from photos you have taken on your travels. A scene you photographed from a distance can become a wall mural in your dollhouse.

Step 4: Create Your Own Appliances

Check the pages of those mail-order catalogs for photos of refrigerators, microwave ovens, and other kitchen appliances at just the right size. Cut them out and glue them onto a solid wood block. Paint the rest of the block to match, and you will have a modern kitchen for a fraction of the cost of the plastic miniatures.  

Step 5: Make a Catalog Dollhouse

You can make your entire dollhouse from the catalog. Find a department store or specialty furnishings store catalog, choose 8 pages you want as your room backgrounds, and glue together the pages between your selections. Extend the pages at right angles to create 4 rooms that will stand up steadily. Furnish your modern dollhouse as you like, and fold it flat when playtime is over.

Step 6: Use Wood Scraps to Make Outdoor Furniture

Use up wood scraps and leftover wood stains and paints to make picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, benches, doghouses, decks, and other outdoor miniatures for your dollhouse. Recycle the miniature umbrella from your next fancy cocktail into a just-right outdoor patio umbrella.