This is my very first *big* furniture makeover, and I'm SO thrilled with how it turned out!! I can see why these kinds of projects can be addictive. It's so fun to see a piece of old, worn out furniture transformed into something new and beautiful!! My daughter has fallen in love with this dollhouse with a dress-up cabinet and we have so much fun playing together with it.
As with any furniture makeover, it's always fun to see the before & after shot. We found this old entertainment center next to a dumpster in surprisingly pretty good condition. The glass was missing from the left door, but that's really not a huge deal.
With a lot of people switching to larger flat screens, these types of entertainment centers are becoming a little useless. Because of that, you can most likely find one in a dumpster, on any yard sale site, or at a goodwill for cheap or even free!!
Every piece of furniture is unique, so take into consideration the type of wood, finish, and color/previous paint jobs into consideration before jumping into the project. Do a little research on the best ways to prep the piece, get the right paints, and what types of tools you'll need before starting to prevent any disasters.
First, remove all the doors and shelves. Sand the entire entertainment center, inside and out with a 400 grit sandpaper. You're just trying to rough up the surface to help the paint stick better. Then, wipe the entire piece down with a damp cloth to remove any loose dust.
If you have any holes or scratches, this would be the time to use wood putty to fill them in.
We painted with a primer paint combo using a 2 inch brush and a microfiber roller. The rollers give it a smoother paint finish, and the brush works great for covering the edges and corners. Since the primer and paint are combined, you only need to use one paint instead of two. Make sure to let the paint dry between coats. We ended up using about 3 coats so that it would be sure to stand up to my daughter and her dolls beating it up.
My daughter really wanted to be a part of this project, so we let her help do some of the painting! She loved that she was able to help and I love that it wasn't too hard to fix toddler painting skills after she was done.
Measure the opening of the TV area for height and width. To create the four rooms of the dollhouse, you'll need to cut two interlocking pieces of 16" wide 3/4" Melamine. Cut one piece to fit the height, and the other for the width. Mark the center of each board and cut an opening about 7/8" wide with a jigsaw to the middle of the board.
After both boards have been cut, they should look like the one above. Put the boards together to form a + and make sure the edges match. If not, you might need to cut one of the boards a little more to fit.
Place the board that fits the height of the TV area in first. Make sure it's centered, then put in the cross piece (see finished picture below to see how it should look). Once the pieces are in place, attach them to the top and sides with wood screws.
To finish the back of the dollhouse, we used wainscoting measured to fit the backside of the opening. The dress-up cabinet backing stayed in place, otherwise we would have used this for that, too. Attach the wainscoting to the back with 3/4" nails.
We gave the dollhouse some fancy flooring by gluing on some pieces of linoleum cut to fit each room. We started by using some spray adhesive, but the edges kept popping up so we needed to use some stronger glues to keep them in place. My best advice is to use stronger adhesives in the beginning, and place some heavy books or clamps holding the linoleum in place until the glue is dry.
Instead of putting glass back into the dress-up cabinet, we went with some Plexiglas instead since I knew my daughter would most likely slam it shut at least once. Plexiglas can be cut at most hardware stores for free, so measure the openings before you go! Place the Plexiglas in with mirror mounting hardware.
Reattach the cabinet doors and put the shelf back in the dress-up cabinet. Then, add some new knobs to the cabinet doors, and your new dollhouse is ready for fun!!
The dress-up clothes and every accessory she'll need are now organized, which makes it easy to find whatever she needs and makes clean-up even easier! There's even room for a box of doll clothes for when her dolls need to get in on the dress-up fun, too!
We found some bins on clearance that fit perfectly in the bottom cabinets for all her Barbie dolls and accessories. We're working on a bunch more furniture and seating arrangements for the Barbies, but for now, check out these simple tutorials for the Barbie bed and the Barbie couch & chair!