Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trash to Treasure: Part 3-American Girl Doll Furniture

Well, this is Part 3 of the "Trash to Treasure" series. This one isn't quite as long (which should make the folks still reading the last blog reeeeeally happy!)

Remember these drawers?

As I carved my way through them (in this case literally) this project may have been my favorite. The poor middle child's doll has been suffering greatly from a lack of good mattress support. Lying in a makeshift cardboard box bed night after night can really wreak havoc on a gymnast-doll's lower back.

Also, all those tiny outfits were getting hideously wrinkled having to stay in their boxes. The travesty!

Solution? Small doll-sized furniture, of course. I thought of getting a set like the youngest got from Santa: generic doll bunk beds connected to a small armoire. The problem is:

1. The set cost about $60 on sale. 
2. It was pretty flimsy. I mean, it holds up to inanimate doll living, but it really isn't super-sturdy.

To buy the actual American Girl Doll furniture would be about $350 for an armoire and $100-$250 for a bed with bedding.



Looking at these drawers, I figured they would work for a lot less and be really sturdy.

First the armoire:

I took a plain large drawer. The drawers were already white so the priming was done. I sanded the drawer well, wiping it down afterwards with a tack cloth. I used a can of dark brown spray paint (which we had) and sprayed the whole thing until it was well covered. (I forgot to take pictures of the second and third paint steps but did on the bed further down).

Next I sanded the whole thing lightly again and wiped it down with a tack cloth (the tack cloth is a really weird, sticky piece of cheesecloth-but it works!)

I took a can of oops paint we had in the garage ($1.00 from Lowe's) and it was intended to be just the next undercoat. Once it dried, the middle child loved it so it became the topcoat. 

I used the sander and tried to picture where an old piece of furniture would have aged. I lightly sanded some spots and sanded deeper in others, revealing some brown paint, some white and all the way down to the original wood in a few spots. The middle child and youngest kiddos thought it was great.

"It looks like it is really old! That is so cool!"


I threw a coat of clear polyurethane on the whole thing and let it dry.

Next I measured the opening of the armoire and cut some floral fabric into two rectangles, each the width of the opening and almost as high. I hemmed three sides and folded the top over again one inch for a rod pocket. I cut two contrasting pieces of fabric three inches wide and as long as the armoire opening. I folded them wrong sides together, lengthwise and ironed them flat. I sewed one to each original piece of fabric as a hem. I ironed and topstitched the seams and slid the curtains onto a small tension rod. I put the rod at the top front of the armoire and, voila! Curtains.

I made some long fabric ties to match the curtain hems and screwed cup hooks into the sides of the armoire for tieback holders.

I put a second rod in the back, halfway down, for a clothing rod.

 The middle child was ecstatic-she ran and got clothes and even the accessories and filled up the armoire. McKenna was also very pleased.

Now if only she had a place to crash.

Aha! I got that!

The problem with the smaller drawers was the width. The design and length were great, the height was not a problem, but the width was way too wide. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to cut a chunk out of the middle of the drawer, glue it back together and move on.

Armed with my tools (I’m pretty sure Handy Manny could have done this so much faster with his tools) I pulled the drawer apart, cut the middle out of the front and back and the same amount off of the edge of the drawer bottom. I glued and clamped all the pieced back together. Noooot the best perfect fit. Pretty close though. I used wood filler, glue and sanded repeatedly. There are still visible lines in a few places, but I decided that if this were supposed to look antiqued, it would be okay.

Because the drawer front extends further than the back, I added two round wood balls as feet to the back (Pack of ten for $2.40). I did the same paint technique to the bed drawer as I did for the armoire. I’m pretty pleased with it.

For the bedding (not super detailed here but I can give you specifics if you want):

I bought a four-inch thick piece of foam at the Hobbiest of Lobbies on sale for $10.00. I measured and cut a piece with a bread knife for the mattress. I made a big fabric tube, put it around the foam and glued down the ends of the fabric.

I next cut strips of the matching curtain fabric and sewed alternating strips into a quilt. I ironed it all, layered it with batting and pink fabric and stitched them all together. I used bias binding around the edges and done!

I made two small pillows out of muslin and stuffing and made cases out of matching fabric.

Total cost for both pieces:
Green latex paint-$1.00 (already had)
Brown spray paint-$5.00 (already had)
Spray polyurethane-$3.50 (already had)
Wood feet-$2.40
Cup hooks-$2.50 (already had)
Tension rods-$3.50
$27.90 in new materials.

$39.90 if I had to buy everything.



Lauren said...

You are completely out of your mind - and I love every minute of it. It does make me feel wholly inadequate as a mother, but with three boys, I figure I can coast for a while at least. You are so creative and such a good mom. I would not be concerned with wrinkly doll clothes. Miss you.

Emily said...

You can coast forever with three boys!!!! Miss you too! I should post complementary photos of my trashed house I've been ignoring to make stuff-it would make you feel better. You really can't do everything-it's just more fun to make stuff than clean. :) hope to see you and those boys soon!

Night Garden Design said...

Nice idea, Emily!

More Hijinks...