A Doll House for Grace

Grace (my 13 year old grand daughter) came to spend some time with me over the Christmas holiday.  I got her excited about doll houses and we decided that we would build her one out of foam-board.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be and if I tried it in wood, I would have messed up some good wood.  I am glad we used the foam board as I was not sure if she would be interested in this long term.  I did not want to commit to an expensive project. I am saving my Allison doll house for when my brother comes to visit so he can help me.

Supplies needed:

  • 6 foam-boards (20×30).  Note that I purchased mine from the Dollar Store for $1 each.  I found them in Michael’s right next door and had a chance to compare.  They were different brands but I could not tell any difference in quality.  Michael’s was selling theirs for $2.99
  • X-acto knife- be careful with this as they are VERY sharp and can easily cause major pain and/or damage.  A small poke can hurt like hell.  Ask me how I know…
  • Glue- I used wood glue because it was what I have on hand
  • Masking Tape- got mine from the dollar store
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins

Grace said she wanted it to be 3 floors and she did not want Barbie scale, she wanted 1:12 mini scale.  Since the boards are 20x 30″ that was perfect.  This turned out to be a good lesson in math.

I cut out the following:

  • 1 back (the whole board)
  • 2 sides 12″w x 30″ h
  • 4 floors 12″d x 20″ w
  • 2- roof sides 12″ x 14″
  • 1- roof back 8″x 20.5″


We  watched so many videos on YouTube and found several architectural  houses out there made from foam board.  For some reason this made me feel good, like I might be interesting my grand daughter into the architectural field.

Using a tip from the videos, we used straight pins to reinforce the structure as we were going along.  They used a thin tape of which I did not have so I first put it together using masking tape.  After I was done   I did not want to take it apart again to glue it together so I started putting glue in the bottom seam much like I would do caulk but that turned out to be quite messy.  Then I decided to tape all the seams like you do drywall when taping butted joints.   Now  after taping the seams up  when I put the glue in the seam there was very minimal mess.

Order of construction:

1- Laid the sides and back side by side.  Stood one side up and taped it.  then laid it down to do the other side. Notice that there is a little gap when you lay the piece back down


2- I taped on the bottom and then then second story’s floor.  Each of these pieces go inside the sides.  When putting in the second story’s floor I measured 10 ” from the bottom and marked it in the font and the back of the inside wall to ensure  the floors were even.


3- I had to add the pitch of the roof.  I marked the 8″ x20.5″  board in middle then drew lines to each corner and cut out the triangle


I taped in on the back then added the two roof pieces.


While I was working Grace decided she wanted some walls.  At first she just wanted a living room and bedroom but as the house started taking shape she started changing her plans.  According to her the bottom floor is going to be a living room and kitchen. middle floor is a bedroom and bathroom and the top floor and attic are undesignated at this time.  She is thinking of a game room with a Jacuzzi.  hmmmm


The walls did not extend all the way to the front but then I decided to  add another piece to the second story  wall and make a doorway in the process.  No door will fit this I am sure so it will just be a doorway but its always nice to have a door to the bathroom right? I just cut out another piece, dry fitted it and when I was satisfied it would fit I put glue on the top, bottom and side and slid it in place.   I felt like this added a little stability and Grace loved it.


I used some of the left over pieces to make the walls, then I taped and glued all the seams and left it to dry over night.  The only thing I did not glue was the roof because I wanted to turn it sideways to glue those seams, to make sure I did not make a mess with the glue.

The next day this structure was pretty strong and rigid.  I was surprised at the strength.   I laid the house on the side and applied the glue in one side seam.


I had to use a small stick to work it in the seam and then I used some tape to hold it tight.  Beauty of foam, no clamps needed.  I let that dry and did the same to the other side.  Now we are ready to add some wall paper and carpeting…

Note that I did not add any windows.  The reason for this is because I am not sure if I am going to add an outside reinforcement wall or not.  I am thinking on it while the glue dries.

Using the measurements I gave this would not have been a hard house to build out of wood.  It took me 5 hours to do but that was because I had to figure out some stuff along the way.

There is enough foam boards to make furniture but I have two extra boards just in case.

We went shopping for supplies yesterday.  Joann’s had fat quarters rolled up for $1 each, We went to Lowe’s and got counter top samples…free  and vinyl floor samples…free sticks from the dollar store various sizes, some carpet samples from Lowe’s for small carpets, a bag of cotton balls from the dollar store to stuff pillows, a strand of white Christmas tree lights from AC Moore (2.99), some wood furniture pieces- 2 chairs, a table and a vanity with a mirror for $1.00 each from AC Moore, a bag of assorted wood pieces from AC Moore and three scrapbook paper books from Ollies ($1.99 each) for wallpaper.  I don’t plan on going broke buying doll house stuff!!



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