Another Upcycled Doll House for 18″ Dolls

We have featured a lot of American Girl sized doll houses that have been made from everyday furniture plus a little creativity. I have another one of those creative upcycles for you today from one of our readers, Cris.

From Cris:

I have been an avid reader of Doll Diaries for the past year as my two little girls have become big American Girl doll fans.  For Christmas, we surprised them with an American Girl dollhouse that we made from an entertainment center that I picked up at Goodwill.  We were able to do the whole project (painting and completely furnishing the whole dollhouse) for around $150 using Goodwill finds and repurposing many items.  I thought your readers might enjoy seeing the before and after.

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture
We started with an oak entertainment center that I found at the local Goodwill for $23.

  American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture

The bottom level has a kitchen and a living room/dining room.  All the floors in each room are covered in contact paper that resembles real flooring.  The kitchen is the Our Generation set from Target on sale for $50 was the most expensive item in the house.  The trashcan is from the Dollar Tree and was found with the office supplies.  The mini-shelf in the kitchen came from the thrift store, and I painted it pink.  

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture
I made the living room couch from a wooden shelf I found at Goodwill, some batting, and a pillowcase.  Altogether, I spent around $4 for the supplies.  The rug is a microfiber cloth from the Dollar Tree.  The fireplace is another thrift store find ($4). It was a hanging photo holder.  All I did was remove the glass and hanging picture holders and paint it white.  The lamp is an air freshener from the Dollar Tree.  The flatscreen TV is a frame I found at Goodwill for $0.50.  I added the picture from the American Girl catalog and buttons for the controls.  The table is another thrift store find.  It is a wooden stool that we  down a few inches to make it the right height, painted it white, and decoupaged flowers on the top.  The chair is another $1 thrift store find that we spray painted white.

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture
The second level holds the bathroom and McKenna’s bedroom.  The bathtub, sink and toilet, and the storage rack were all thrift store finds.  All told, I only paid $3 for all 3 items! 

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture

I let my friends know that I was making the dollhouse, and they kept their eyes out for me.  One of them found the toilet and sink combo and bought it for me.  The wall art is scrapbooking stickers and a small plaque I found at Goodwill ($4 total).  The towels are a microfiber cloth from the Dollar Tree ($1).  I just cut it in half to make two perfect, doll-sized towels.

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture
McKenna’s bed is the Ikea Duktig bed for $20.  I kept the bedding as is and decorated around it.  The wall art is a sticker set for scrapbooks ($3).  Her locker is another thrift store find for $1.  It had Disney fairies on it, but we spray painted it white and added her name in sticker letters.  The basket is from the Target dollar spot.  

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture
Upstairs we have another bedroom.  The bunk beds were my best bargain.  I found them for $22 on Amazon, but I had $20 in rewards points so I only paid $2!  The bedding is from two window shams I found at Goodwill for $6.  I don’t sew so I just cut them down and used no-sew fabric adhesive to put it together. 

The decorative pillows are actually kitchen sponges that I paid $2 for.  All told, I only paid $10 for the beds and bedding! 

The dresser is a jewelry box I found at the thrift store for $5.  It was already the perfect color.  The rug is a placemat that I found for $0.10 at a local discount store. 

The Christmas tree I already owned and decorated with ribbon.  The chair in the bedroom was actually a candle holder that looked like a chair.  We removed the glass votive holders and gave it a new seat from wood we had on hand.

American Girl doll house made from upcycled furniture
Finally, there was a CD/DVD storage on the side of the entertainment center.  We removed the hardware, and adding some rods and shelving to make a closet for their doll cloths.  
We painted the rooms using leftover paint that we already had on hand.  We also spent about $15 on some needed hardware and a back for the entertainment center.
My husband and I aren’t especially handy or crafty so I wanted to show that you can make a great dollhouse without being especially skilled.  We started planning this dollhouse back in September so we have had a few months to look for needed items.  We also had friends looking for items for us.  I went to the local thrift store a once or twice a week to look around. 

Thanks so much Cris for sending these in! Your doll house turned out amazing and your girls’ dolls will have so much fun for years to come!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment, liking us on Facebook, or subscribing to the RSS feed updates via email or a Feedreader. Thanks!


  1. sabrina says:

    Lastie fastie!

  2. bailey says:

    now its time for a trip to goodwill!!!!!!!!!! and to the basement ;~)

  3. bailey says:

    yeah samantha I would like to see char doll space

  4. bailey says:

    speaking of doll spaces char I will send the saige room photos asap. the subject will be:Super Saige doll space. will that work for you???

  5. Allie says:

    @Isabella how about chopsticks??? Cut them to the length you need! Or wooden dowels.

  6. Anwyn says:

    I really like this! It is super creative! Super cute

  7. Alicen says:

    I love your doll house. Your girls are so lucky to have you! Hmm… I will be looking out for stuff like this. 😀

  8. Char says:

    You may need to do the Oxy method. Look on YouTube at Stephenswodadancer’s channel for her video on how to remove stains on dolls

  9. Avery says:

    Char- Go to wikipedia and search American girl films theres something AWESOME at the bottom of the page:)

  10. Hadden says:

    On Wikipedia they mentioned Doll Diaries! DD is famous(not like it wasn’t before)!

  11. I have one of these entertainment centers and my mom said after a few weeks we can do this!! Im so excited my doll stuff gets out of my room finally!!

  12. Isabella says:

    @Allie I didn’t think of that, I will let you know how it goes!

  13. AGInParadise says:

    That is so so so awesome! I wish I could make something like that!

  14. Samantha says:

    Isabella, try experimenting with popsicle sticks or straws

  15. Ella says:

    I have just got #24 for christmas and i have absouletly no idea what to call her. could you please do me a favour and have a look at some pics of #24 and reply with one or two ideas for a name