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DIY Barbie House from a shelf

Confession time: I played Barbies until I was like 14.
So when my daughter started playing with them (she skipped the baby stage and headed straight for the barbie) I was so proud. I decided she needed a barbie house (I had a barbie MANSION homemade by mom and dad…i’ll have to get some pictures cause it was AWESOME!)
I found a barbie house at target. $70. I bought it. Started to assemble it and realized that the barbie’s wouldn’t even fit. So I packed it back up, took it back to Target and got my money back.
And since I was at Target….I might as well go shopping. I came across the shelves. On Sale. (I love sales) and I thought…a barbie would fit on this shelf. So I bought it.
and started decorating it.
Which brings us here:
Let’s start with the bedroom (bottom):
When my husband was in construction I snagged a bunch of extra carpet leftovers.  The armoire I got at the thrift store and recovered the doors. I *hot glued the mirrors on the wall and painted around them and painted the
headboard and added a sticker (B for Barbie)
The Bed: I covered a shoe box in fabric.
For the top I hot glued all the sides except one and then stuffed it with cotton batting then hot glued the last side down. I put the lid on and measured where to put the bed skirt (lace) and hot glued that around.  I use the bed to store extra pillows or extra barbie odds and ends (like all those little shoes!)
The side table (there’s also one in the kitchen) I bought a package of 1 inch by 3 inch wood tabs in the craft aisle at Walmart. Don’t know what there original purpose is for…just hot glued them together to make a little table, painted it and put on a tablecloth.
The rug is just a piece of fabric leftover from the couch.
I found some cloud scrapbook paper and made some faux windows using sticks and some fabric for curtains
The Living Room
I “wallpapered” it with 4 pages of 12 by 12 scrapbook paper. The TV center is another thrift store find. The rug is a burp cloth. The shelf is two of the side table pieces glued together.
The picture frames are sticks found in that same section at walmart (you got to love walmart) I actually posed all the barbies and took pictures of them to frame. (edited to add….i found THIS post that has a whole barbie wedding! these would be fun to print out and frame!
My daughter helped me make them…so they are a bit imperfect but I love that about them. We decorated them with glitter and flowers.
The throw pillows are actually all leftover fabric from the pillows on Jordan’s bed…we like things to match. The coffee table Jordan got from her grandma but the original one we made was using a little box (I used the ones my checks come in…it was perfect…and more storage! Jordan now uses it as a bed for her baby barbies)
The couch and chair is one of my favorite projects. I remembered seeing some way to make them out of a kleenex box, (from a FAMILY FUN magazine) so I dug through my filecabinet and found (thank goodness for my craft hoardness!) I did find it online Click here for couch and chair instructions
The potted plant is a little terra cotta pot, painted. I put in some foam…stuck in a stick and hot glued some leaves on. I added some spanish moss and all done.
Kitchen:(you still with me?)
All the furniture are thrift store finds…
Just a little spray paint touch up to make it match a little better.
I painted the back wall and added flower stickers.
The floor is just two pieces of tiles (you can get them at Home Depot for about a buck a piece) they actually have some that looks like hard wood floor in case you don’t want carpet. (jordan wanted the one with a big purple rose in the middle. cringe)
I painted a clock on a wood flower…but I thought it would be cute if you put a real watch face on the wall.
The windows:
I bought a piece of scrapbook paper that was blue with sparkles. I took the picture frame sticks made a window frame…added the paper behind and hot glued some curtains on the top. You could get a dowel and make some real working curtains…but we have a lot of little hands at our house. I just hot glued the windows and picture frames right to the wall.
phew. I’m done. I’m going to take a nap.
I found this great post over at slippery soup showing how to make some cute cute barbie stuff…
(bed frames!)
go HERE to see it all!
and this cute etsy shop sells fun barbie stuff:
and this fun video on making a washer and dryer from poptart boxes:

and this is one of the most fun and easy ways to make a doll bed…the pencil bedposts are just genius! and using tape..easy peasy!

and i’m totally loving this barbie house  –folds up into a box!

edited to add…..
i thought it would be fun to show you updated pictures of the barbie house. my daughter loves decorating it and redecorating so here is how it looks currently
and i just recently added THIS post
and we added some tape stripes
here at at agaagg..we love barbies…
so here’s some other barbie crap you might like as well…
like this easy peasy barbie tent
or you can purchase my pattern and make a barbie tent out of fabric

and if you have hoards of barbies..make  a personlized over the door organizer!

About Kimbo

Kimbo blogs at A girl and a glue gun--where she puts her hot glue gun to good use (as well as her vinyl cutter and sewing machine) She loves all crafts and is thrifty (the nice way to say she's cheap) So she is constantly trying to come up with fast and easy projects that won't break the bank! She lives in Idaho with her hot husband and 3 kiddos.


  1. Fun little house for Barbie…as a girl I loved making Barbie furniture and setting up houses in the 1960's…that was before they made Barbie doll furniture or anything like it. We also loved to float her down the ditch in hollowed out cumumber boats. It was a hoot! Just became a follower and found you on the Blog Hop party.

  2. Ash has been begging me for this ever since she played with Jordans. She tells anyone and everyone that she is getting a barbie house for her birthday! Guess I need to start! 🙂 Keep an eye out for DI finds for me-I never remember to go there! 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    this is awesome! I love everything about it and even though I don't have a daughter to play with it I still want to make one…so fun

  4. Kim @ seven thirty three says:

    Holy Barbie Batman! That is A.MAZ.ING! I too had a homemade Barbie house when I was young and I loved it! It had a real wood banister, and real glass windows and real wood doors with mini doorknobs. 😉 It is sitting in the top of my parents garage… I should really pull it out and get it cleaned up for my girls. But now I'm totally inspired and I want to go get shelves to start fresh!

    Thanks for linking up with Sugar & Spice!


  5. I love it. My girls saw it and they went wild I guess i will be making this tomorrow. Thanks for the idea.

  6. Looks great!! We did one similar to this for our girls as a Christmas gift. We tried to use only items we had on hand. We used an old book shelf and made everything the size for Polly Pockets (4" tall). The girls love it! Also we used salt dough to make some items like a toilet and bathtub.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So much more fun than buying one. Also the girls love it more because you took the time to do it for them and let them help. What a great mother!

  8. Oh this looks like SO much fun!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is so adorable. When I was young my cousins and I made everything for our Barbies. Now that I am all grown up and my daughter is into the Barbie thing I am lazy and have bought too much. This makes me so nostalgic for the good ol days – not to mention homesick for the D.I. (I live in Wisconsin now and Goodwill is just not the same).

  10. LOVE this! I linked it up on my blog!


  11. [email protected] says:

    ADORABLE!!!!!!! LUcky little girl!

  12. Anonymous says:

    i'm a crafting freak and my little sisters (i'm only 13) and i made one similar to that but our bed was old sponges mom had lying around….

  13. Anonymous says:

    Question: What is D.I?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let me say this to you now because your daughter may not think to tell you this until a few decades from now like I did a few years ago to my mom who made two dollhouses and a store when my Barbies ran out of space at the official Barbie mansion,YOU are an awesome mom!!!I can barely remember the store bought house but to this day I could tell you how speechless I was when I opened the little fridge she made and saw a little milk carton in the door's shelf.Knowing that my MOM could do things like that ,more intricate and beautiful than anything I could buy ,made me believe that I too would grow up to be amazing.

  15. This is soo totally awesome! I save my old kleenix boxes, (cause they're so pretty) and I was thinking I could make a doll couch out of one, for my cousin's 10th b-day. so I went here to check out things, and what do you know, I now have a new project on my hands! You were gifted with creativity, girl! 🙂

  16. WHAT A NEAT MOM YOU ARE! I have 4 daughters and 2 of them have doll houses from costco.(I save up all year to get them one from santa) My 5 year old saw your house and said"I want that one" "buy me that one"! Thanks for the ideas! nancy

  17. Great post! Love your Barbie house. I'm looking for ideas on how to decorate a shelf like yours for my daughter for Christmas and you've given me some things to think about. Thanks a bunch!

  18. awesome

  19. I was searching for a DIY Barbie doll house and came across your blog. Wow! That's an awesome job you've done! You've given me tonnes of ideas. Thank you so much!

  20. I also was wondering what D.I. is. A store? A website?

  21. The George's says:

    Kim, you just brought great memories. I too had a barbie mansion made out of 13 boxes, ranging from orange-tp boxes. An elevator made out of a shoebox. I love that you made this out of a shelf. My daughter is getting old enough for a house, so I may use some of your ideas. When I do, I will sent pix. Man, I wish I lived near a DI and you. You amaze me!

  22. [email protected] says:

    oh man this house is so awesome! Then when you said you posed the dolls to take pictures for the wall I just had to click and make it bigger, I laughed so hard, in fact I may or may not be laughing still as I type this and my husband is giving me the creepy eye for typing and laughing, but seriously it is so funny, and pure genius, I mean every family has pictures on the wall…

  23. jensenfam4 says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this amazing, detailed post! I used this idea and made one for my 6 year daughter. Thanks again!

  24. Brilliant. Thank you!

  25. I had to Google "D.I." because I didn't know what it was either, but based on another commenter's post referencing Goodwill I figured it was a thrift store. Anyway, I'm 27 and have a 5 year old sister who is just getting into Barbie. She would have an absolute FIT if she came over and I had something like this for us to play with. Thanks for the ideas!!

  26. I am a 36 year old mom and I STILL love to play Barbies! I also played Barbies till I was 14, under the guise of "setting them up for my little sister!" haha. Imagine my delight when I gave birth to a daughter 7 years ago! I love "setting up the barbies" for her too now! lol! I love this post and your craftyness!!

  27. Richard L.Perdue says:

    Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boringกK I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!
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  28. Cari and Cortnee @ Two Sasters says:

    WOW! This is amazing!! My daughter is 2 and I cannot wait for her to get into barbies as I loveedd them as a kid too!! I will definitely keep this idea in the back of my mind. I hate that the houses at the store are so small and so expensive!!

  29. BarbieFantasy says:

    What a great page! I'm 48 and play Barbies! It's always great to have new ideas on how to make things. I actually just started collecting; I think I've hit my second childhood! Anyway, I've linked your page to my Blog for others to follow as well. You're a great mom!

  30. Kaylee Whitworth says:

    <33 itt funn!!!!!

  31. You inspired me to create my own Barbie home. but what is D. I. Mean??

  32. The DI is just a thrift store here in the west!!!!

  33. I love it so much, it makes me want to play with it myself 🙂 I think I want to make one for my baby girl, can I link this to my blog?, I just started my own blog http://mcutedog.blogspot.com

  34. Thanks for sharing your great idea. I am using your exact house design and am having a ball making it for my daughters for Christmas. It's so much better than the store bought stuff!

  35. I not only liked this, I loved it from start to finish. I only wish my daughter was young again so I could do this too. You are amazing!

  36. carol cisneros says:

    what a cute idea!

  37. was searching for ideas for an Aerican Girl dollhouse and loved your ideas. making one for my 8 year old for Christmas. I’ll have to modify for the argent doll but awewsome ideas. will check back for inspiration.

  38. This is great! I actually have a bookshelf Barbie house my mother made me in 1990 or so. I have updated it a little and then started a second set of book shelvesto add more rooms but haven’t finished it yet.

    ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666/albums/72157615305074936 )

  39. It is looking so beautiful, you know what Now I am not in this age to play with all these things but I really wanted to do that , so I have 4 nieces , they are so pretty may God bless them, I’m thinking to decorate a barbie house for them , they will love it and I’;; be happy to see them happy, I have saved this page to check it later and decorate barbie house for my nieces by reading this tutorial , pictures are so beautiful and I loved it. Thank you xx Very nice article !!


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