Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Barbie house made from "Trash"

I had mentioned earlier that we recently made a Barbie house for Mara's birthday. We had so much fun working on it and she was thrilled to receive it AND it cost us nothing except buying a few glue sticks for the project. We were able to use what we had on hand to make it and most of that was stuff that other people would throw away or send to recycling.

I thought it would be fun to give you a little better tour and also explain a little what we used to make things. I am not planning on giving detailed instructions for making anything but if you would like instructions on anything that I mention feel free to leave a comment asking for them and I will do my best.

To begin with we took four boxes that the barbies were able to stand up in and we glued and taped them together. They didn't fit quite perfectly but we adjusted by sticking the flaps out on the two littler boxes and taping them open and then gluing in some extra cardboard reinforcements, so they all ended up being the same depth. We also worked with have one side a little taller than the other and having some extra space at the bottom which we decided to use to make a stairwell.

After that we cut larger pieces of cardboard to fit the side exactly and hot glued them on, then we folded a piece to make a peaked roof (leaving an attic to play in) and cut a piece to go underneath and on the back. This made the house much sturdier. If I were to do it again I would make the roof of two thicknesses of cardboard as well. I also reinforced corners by hot gluing a long strip of folder cardboard on.

After the basic house was done the fun could begin!

I wanted to make a kitchen so I cut off the end of a dry milk box for the correct height for a barbie counter. For a sink I decided to use a peanut butter jar lid so I cut a hole in the bottom of the box and glued the lid inside. I used a bending straw for the faucet and beads for handles. For the stove I used some aluminum from a disposable pan and glued it on and then used black Styrofoam meat trays to make burners. The cupboard below also has beads for handles.

I used part of another Dry milk box to make cupboards above. The red bag in the picture is part of an old onion sack full of "potatoes" (little acorns) .

We also needed dishes and such. We used juice can lids for pizza/ cookie sheets, sample spoons for stirring spoons, sample bowls for mixing bowls, bottle tops for eating bowls, an old spice container for a flour canister, little wooden bead things for mugs and a food coloring bottle for holding beverages.

In our kitchen/ living room we also put a fireplace which I made using cardboard, stones, sticks and lots of glue! :-) The windows are framed with Popsicle sticks and then we used scraps of cloth for curtains (with pony beads holding them up).

Also in our kitchen we needed a phone and calendar. The phone is made out of Styrofoam and the calendar was made by cutting out the little months that are shown on a big calendar and then the pictures that were shown in miniature on the back.

We also needed a table. To make one I took a small piece of board and attached four wooden clothespins. A piece of lace makes a nice table cloth.

For the living room we needed chairs. The picture at left shows what we used to make them: A salt container, upholstery fabric scraps, an old shoulder pad and some carpet padding scraps. I also used some pieces of rag for additional padding.

First we cut the salt box as shown at left. Then we placed in the shoulder pad as padding on the back and glued some fabric on the inside, folding it over to the back. Then I put the fabric around on the outside, gluing edges under so no raw edges were exposed (except for on the bottom of the chair). Then I stuffed a rag in the chair part and topped with the piece of carpet padding, put another small piece of fabric over it and glued it in place. The Barbies are much enjoying their new chairs. I learned how to make these chairs years ago from an older friend June Blanshan. She used to make these and other Barbie accessories for all her granddaughters.

We also had to do a lot of painting and wall papering and carpeting to make the house look good. Here the boys and Megan are hard at work on the roof.

For the inside I used some wallpaper border that I had been given in some rooms along with other plain colored paper. For rugs I used fabric and then in the bathroom I had fun painting the floor and then using modge podge to put little cut out flowers (from a catalog) all over.

The bathroom is probably my favorite room in the house. I had so much fun creating things for it. At left is a picture of some of the items I used: A gallon syrup container (That is the cheapest syrup that I have found at Walmart and the type that Ken and Aaron like to use while the rest of us enjoy the real stuff! ), egg carton white Styrofoam meat trays, a toilet paper tube, a salt container, shells, straws, beads, wire and fabric.

For the shower I cut the top off of the syrup bottle and part of the sides to make a tub and then water proof walls going up. I glued a wire around for the shower curtain rod and then made a shower curtain by putting holes in a piece of fabric with a paper punch. We were able to make wonderful towels and wash clothes from old sweat pants. A straw and button make the shower head.

Near the bathtub on the wall I hung a towel rack made from a key ring on a bead. I glued the bead to the wall and then you can hang a towel on the ring.

For the sink I painted the salt container white, glued a big shell on top for the sink with a tiny shell attached for the soap dish. (The soap Jonathan made out of hot glue drips). I cut an opening underneath so we could use it as a cupboard and then attached a curtain to cover it. We used part of an old toy for a towel hanger.

Above the sink in the bathroom I glued a piece of mirror decorated by beads and with a little bead "light fixture" sticking out on a wire above.

For the toilet I painted a canning lid box and a toilet paper tube white. I also glued to sections of an egg carton together and then cut a seat and lid out of thick white Styrofoam. The toilet paper is a thin strip of real toilet paper rolled on a toothpick and attached to some beads which were then glued to the wall.

For the bed I used: a very study shoe box, carpet padding, two black Styrofoam meat trays, A strip of white fabric (which I had cut off the bottom of a friends wedding dress when I was altering it for her), pink lace and blue fabric for sheets. I cut a headboard out of the Styrofoam, gluing both pieces together for strength. I glued a piece of carpet padding on for the mattress, glued the white fabric and lace around for a bed skirt and then glued the bottom sheet in place. I also cut out a top sheet.

In a house you also have to have other fun details like a tiny ball of baby yarn with knitting needles made out of beads and toothpicks, a tiny basket (from my collection) with some fabric for them to do some sewing.

Another fun detail which I didn't get a picture of was our mailbox made out of a floss container, painted black and then I wrote U.S. Mail on it with a gel pen. We hung it on the outside wall and then I "grew" rose vines all around it using paper ribbon for stems and leaves and little ribbon roses.

That is our fun project of the week. If you have any great ideas for additional things to add to the house let me know.

For other Thrifty Green Thursday ideas go to The Green Baby Guide.


Rebecca said...

That is an absolutely amazing use of all your trash/recyclables! I love so many of the components to the house, especially the shower and the mini-calendar! Maybe if I start collecting things now, I too could make a Barbie house in a couple years.

Thanks for joining us for another Thrifty Green Thursday!

Anonymous said...

oh my word Abbi! That is so incredible. Not just how real and detailed everything is, but the fact that it was all made out of trash!

My favorite was the fireplace and the yarn/sewing basket.

Great job!! I bet Mara loves it.

Anonymous said...

When I was a child I used to collect taco boxes, empty bottles of dishwashing soap, and old pickle jars desperately searching for a way to reuse them. Usually my efforts were complete flops (especially the nativity scene that I built out of soda bottles and scrap paper)--but this! It brings back my urge to hoard all sorts of weird stuff and make it into the perfect _________(fill in the blank. Your efforts are so much more attractive and fun than anything I ever created. Thanks so much for your innovative approach to reuse--and for joining us this Thrifty Green Thursday!

Christy said...

I remember having a "doll house" under my bed and making a few things from stuff around the house, but nothing even close to this. Very, very creative. My favorite...the shower.

Christy said...

I remember having a "doll house" under my bed and making a few things from stuff around the house, but nothing even close to this. Very, very creative. My favorite...the shower.

Christy said...

I remember having a "doll house" under my bed and making a few things from stuff around the house, but nothing even close to this. Very, very creative. My favorite...the shower.

Emily said...

wow. I remember playing with June's Barbie stuff :)

miranda said...

I can not believe what you guys did with all of those things. I think it turned out awesome. I bet she just loves it!

BlessedMama said...

That is amazing! What a great learning experience as well as memory.

Paul Barber said...

You are amazing!! I will have to agree that my favorite is the shower too! So cute!! That is a wonderful gift!!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely incredible! This is one of the most inventive, creative and beautiful things I've seen! I'm in awe...well done!

Abbi said...

Thank you all so much for your kind comments. We had so much fun making it. Once you get started you keep thinking of something else that you could make. I still have a bunch of ideas but unfortunatly I can't spend all my time making and decorating Barbie houses. :-)

Kathy said...

You are a genius! This is stunning!! Oh, I soo want to make some for my neices now!!!

Kathy said...

You are a genius! This is stunning!! Oh, I soo want to make some for my neices now!!!

Anonymous said...

How funny. Reminds me of when I was growing up. I never did get my Barbie house, but she had quite the mansion out of cardboard boxes. And she ran around in dryer sheet bath towels.

Anonymous said...

Could you post more ideas for barbie that are green and cost no money,because me and my mother are trying to find ways to make stuff for barbie without buying anything. We cant afford anything because my dad has to pay bills for the last trip to hospital. If you could Abbie please and thank you!!!

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