Matchbox Chest of Drawers

We’re not pyromaniacs, really. But we do manage to go through matches at an alarming rate. And I always squirrel away the matchboxes–like clementine crates, I find them impossible to toss. So I guess that makes me a pyromaniac and a hoarder.

After I wrote about dollhouse love last month, I remembered making this matchbox chest of drawers as a kid. For those of you who share my affection for little things, this Lilliputian project is fun & quick. I used 4 matchboxes, a piece of polka-dot card stock, and those doodads (not brads–snaps?–but brads would do the trick). Here is a downloadable pdf with step-by-step instructions for making your own mini dresser.

I also admired this groovy homemade dollhouse in the April issue of Family Fun magazine (“House & Carton” by Amy Brown). This Family Fun link shows you how to make your own (from two cardboard boxes) complete with the fancy furnishings (all fashioned from egg cartons).

House & Carton

(Photo by Andrew Greto; ideas and craft stylings by Lynn Zimmerman. Reprinted with permission of Disney FamilyFun. Copyright April 2011.)

And while I’m on the topic of the miniature (I know, I know–again!) . . . I thought I’d mention the three-book series, Doll People, by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, with exceptional black-and-white illustrations by Brian Selznick (including a cut-away of an antique dollhouse).

Yes, the doll people are alive & there’s a creepy baby doll in one of the stories–but the books are gentle and true to a kid’s perspective. They are emphatically not Toy Story. Toy Story 3, with its hints of torture and apocalypse, left my 5-year-old weeping in the theater aisle. And me, too, for that matter. But Zeke & I just finished these books & we loved them.

Doll’s bed

My daughter got a new American Girl doll for Christmas, so a new bed was needed for the dormitory. A free weekend, a sturdy box, and some left over fabric, and Eve soon had a cozy bed of her own. We started with box from a new pair of boots, and added some foam-core board to the top to make it the right length. (Bonus: the bed opens up to store dolls’ shoes, socks, accessories, and a few musical instruments.)

My daughter chose the fabrics she wanted to use from my scrap box. To make the bed skirt, I attached three panels of red cotton/linen to a rectangle of muslin in a simple box shape. I made a mattress out of plain white cotton with cotton batting.  Same for the pillow, but I tore up the batting to make it more fluffy. Then, my daughter, who was given an embroidery kit from my granny, embroidered the pillow case–all by herself!

Finally, the quilt was really quick to make. My daughter wanted one fabric for the top, so I pieced together a few scraps to make a rectangle, and then used white for the backing. Rather than binding the quilt, I sewed regular seams and just turned it inside out. I also tried quilter’s knots to quilt the layers together, for the first time. All around, we’re pretty pleased with how this turned out–without spending a penny!

Have you made anything for American Girls? We’d love to hear about your excuses to play with your kids’ toys!