DiY American Girl Doll Bed {and Armoire}, Part 2

I’ve been avoiding this post for weeks now, partially because it was Christmas and things got crazy, but mostly because this “DiY tutorial” is going to be SO LAME that I’m afraid you’ll all start throwing things at me through the computer screen.

It’s not that it turned out poorly; the end result turned was just fine.  Better than fine, actually.  It is frankly darling and Princess is thrilled.  It was really just my documentation of the process that wasn’t good.  I had a complete and utter blogger fail.  I really should never have set myself up for a 2 part American Girl Doll Bed project.  Oh, the pressure!

My first mistake was leaving my camera at dance class on the day we decided to start painting.  I did try to take pictures with my old camera, but since that is the camera that I gave to Princess to play with, the second she spotted it on the counter she wanted to play with it and I had to quick delete all the evidence.

A few days later I got a few pictures of the first sanding and crack-filling process, but then Husband decided it would be better to take all the pieces over to our little (currently unrented) rental house and work on it there rather than have to haul everything back up to the attic every night.

Frankly, he should just write this post because he did all the work.

Would you guys give me a pass if I just said “hand over the boxes to your husband so that he can paint and sand and paint until the project is all done.”  In our house sanding and painting and crack-filling is a boy job.

No?  Well alrighty then.

Sadly we discovered too late that these little doll craft kits we bought at Michael’s are made from extremely cheap, poor quality wood.  If we were to do this project again we would’ve spent a little more money and purchased something handmade from Etsy, such as this armoire or this cute bed.  We have serious doubts that the armoire will even make it to next Christmas–the wood was already cracking in several places and the hinges are very flimsy.   The bed is better but still not the best quality.

That said, to finish them off Husband started by lightly sanding all the pieces with fine sandpaper and filling in the cracks with wood filler as necessary.  He then taped off the inside of the armoire and did a thin coat of spray paint on all the pieces.  He let it dry for 24 hours before sanding, filling, painting, and drying again.

He repeated this process once more, for a total of three coats of paint.  Then he carefully drilled holes and added silver knobs to the drawers and doors.  He left the inside unfinished.

I found the white wire hangers at AC Moore, but they are unfortunately just a little too small to hold the clothes well.  We found that paper clips work well to secure the garments in place.  Husband shaped a couple of slightly larger hangers out of an old wire hanger, but since we only had one wire hanger he could only make 2.  It’s a work in progress.

Luckily Princess doesn’t seem to mind.  She loves it and has played with it every day since Christmas.

(The instructions for the bedding can be found in Part One.)

*   *   *

  If you have girls, have they joined the American Girl doll craze?  How do you feel about it?

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{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Gail January 9,

    It really is adorable! Princess looks so happy. Great job!

    Reply
    • Ruth January 9,

      Thank you Gail! :-)

      Reply
  • Aimilee January 9,

    I love the aqua color. It is too bad that the wood was such bad quality. Thanks for the heads up! I will definitely check out Etsy when I am finally ready to get started!

    Reply
    • Ruth January 9,

      Thanks Aimilee! Good luck on your project!

      Reply
  • Rosie January 9,

    I have brought my little one the Ikea dolls bed, plain wood but well finished. Not sure if it will ever get painted but bedding in the planning as I type!

    Reply
    • Ruth January 9,

      I hope you post a picture when you’re done! I’d love to see how it turns out!

      Reply
  • Amy January 9,

    My daughter got her first American Girl doll for Christmas. I love reading about your take on AG stuff! She also got one official AG outfit (ballerina) and from her grandmother a matching doll/girl set of AG pajamas. But that will probably be the end of the “real” AG stuff around here – it is just so expensive. She is using my old 1970s doll bed and we have the doll clothes in a $1 plastic shoebox.

    Reply
    • Ruth January 9,

      It IS expensive! So crazy! So far everything my daughter has received–with the exception of one outfit my husband bought while they were in Chicago–has been gifts from my dad and SIL. My dad loves finding fake AG clothes on eBay and my daughter doesn’t ever seem to know the difference.

      Reply
  • Marisa January 9,

    Another alternative would be to look at Target. They have a doll similar to AG and lots of really cute accessories to go with them. My parents bought the large closet for my daughter for Christmas and it is really nice and large. It was less than $50 and on sale it was closer to $40. Anyway, my dad made a bunch of hangers for it, like your husband did, and they jazzed it up a little. My daughter loves it and has doesn’t care it isn’t from AG company.

    Reply
    • Ruth January 9,

      Target does have a ton of cute stuff! I didn’t see the closet but it seems like my store always gets cleared out really fast!

      Reply
  • Shaynna January 9,

    My daugher loves them. She has three and wanted a fourth. The first one she got was the look alike doll. She bought the second one. I think Santa brought her one. Anyway, I told her no more!!! Well, the 2013 doll’s name is Saige. My daughter’s name is Sage. Saige is a fourth grader; my daugher is a fourth grader. Both like horses. Both like art. Guess what? She got a fourth one. But she is DONE!!!!

    Reply
  • Hello from MN January 11,

    Ruth-
    My daughter is 5 and is a huge fan of American Girl dolls and everything else that goes along with it. Everything is SUPER cute, but the prices ar SOOO high.
    She started the Bitty Baby and since has added the twins and “Gymnastics girl”.
    Last year at Gymnastics she noticed that alot of the other girls had that doll, I guess you could say that’s how things got started. At first I really didn’t want to jump on the band wagon because I was worried it would become a keeping up the Jones things. But we’re making it work, she does get some stuff from the American Girl store(MOA) and some things from Target. I also do not let her bring it to show and tell. I know some of her friends want a doll, but they aren’t ready to start yet.

    Reply
  • Christie - Food Done Light January 13,

    This is a fantastic idea. What a great way to save money! Saw them on I Should be Mopping. Would love for you to share on Thursdays Treasures http://fooddonelight.com/thursdays-treasures-week-68/

    Reply
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  • Karry August 24,

    Hi, I want to make those for my niece who love these dolls where else can you get them. I looked at my local Michaels and they did not have them.

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