The amazing Jenny is back again today, and you'll love the amazing hair accessory storage she has to share today! Be sure to check out her amazing home and other projects in her previous posts here, and leave her some love in the comments!
(Thanks! Jenny here. If you'd care to see more of my projects, you can follow me over on Instagram here. And thanks so much for the warm welcome to the Remodelaholic family!)
My first three children are boys. My fourth? A girl. After years of living in a boy-centric universe, I find myself indulging in all things girly, including hair bows and accessories. The problem? Where to put them all. I want to see what I have at a glance and to store them all together in one place. My solution? A dollhouse hair accessory storage unit. A mouthful? Yes! A little over the top? Yes!
The beauty of this project, however, is that it can be as involved or as simple as you care to make it. Don't need/want a dollhouse exterior? Build just the box frame with the storage. Make it bigger. Make it smaller. Customize your build to accommodate your personal collection of ribbons and bows. This dollhouse is designed for both form and function. It is an accessory (it hangs on the back of the door to my little girl's room) and a storage unit, providing a much-needed way to organize everything from headbands to bobby pins.
A quick video tour:
To build the frame and most of the interior storage, I used scrap wood I already had on hand from other projects. I purchased the dollhouse windows, the door, the shingles, the chimney, the roof trim, and the clapboard siding sheets from an online dollhouse retailer (I'll warn you now—dollhouse parts don't come cheap!). Scroll down for a step-by-step guide on how to make one of your own.
How to Build a Dollhouse Hair Accessory Storage Box
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To build a similar house, this is what you will need (but remember, this project is completely customizable—make it your own to fit your storage needs):
Dollhouse Parts (Note: Dollhouse parts come in different scales. Everything I used was 1/12 or 1-inch scale. When purchasing parts, be certain you get the same scale for everything you buy or you'll find yourself with disproportionate pieces! We've included Amazon links to help you shop for similar pieces. And, these pieces are not necessary to get a dollhouse ‘look.' You could certainly make your own windows—there are tutorials available online—and improvise in other ways to give it a dollhouse look without the dollhouse price.)
- 9 windows (mine are 5.5″ H x 4.5″ W)
- 1 front door (mine is 7.5″ H x 4.625″ W)
- 1 chimney (mine is 4″ H with a 12/12 pitch designed to fit a 45-degree angle roof)
- 24 fishscale shingle roofing strips (my strips are each 1.5″ H x 12″ L)
- 1 Victorian picket roof ridge cap (that's the little piece of trim that runs across the top of the roof)
- 10 pieces of basswood lapsiding/clapboard exterior (each piece was 3.5″ H x 24″ L)
Exterior Box & Interior Storage:
- 2 pieces of 2′ x 4′ (1/4″ thick) smooth-finish plywood; you will use this for the back of your house and for the interior storage pieces
- 1 piece of 4′ x 8′ (1/2″ thick) smooth-finish plywood (you'll only use about half of this, but I've never seen it sold in a 4′ x 4′ sheet; I was able to use plywood scraps I had on hand from other projects); you will use this for the front, sides, roof, and base of your house
- 20′ of 3/4″ W (or 1/2″ W would work, too) trim wood of some kind (I really like the 1/4″ x 3/4″ white PVC screen moulding because you can buy an 8-foot piece of it for less than $3); you will use it for the ledge that will support the compartment box and also for trimming the interior windows and door
- 2 pieces of 3/8″ x 3/8″ x 36″ oak dowel; you will use this for the rod used to hang headbands
- 3 hinges with screws; you will use this to make the front of your house operate like a door, opening and closing
- 1 piece of 1″ x 2″ trim board (about 17 inches long); you will use this board to reinforce the upper half of your house frame; you'll also use it as the piece to drill your hanging apparatus into (from the back) when you're ready to hang the dollhouse
- screws for use with Kreg Jig; you'll join your house frame together with these
- adhesive (you want something that is not water based; I used Liquid Nails Clear Silicone Adhesive, but I would never use it again for a project like this because it takes hours to cure and the materials have the potential to slide all over the place while you're waiting/working)
- wood glue
- 1/2″ magnetic tape (I used two 17″ L strips; I found a roll of it at my local craft store)
- 2 (12-oz.) cans white primer spray paint
- 2 (12-oz.) cans white spray paint
- 1 (12-oz.) can black spray paint
- 30 (or more or less) of 1-3/4″ wooden axle pegs (I found these at my local craft store)
- #18 x 5/8″ wire nails (I used about 20 nails)
- glue sticks (for a hot glue gun)
- thread (for sewing together storage ribbon)
- 3 yards of 1-1/2″ W grosgrain ribbon (I used black)
- miter saw
- table saw
- coping saw
- Dremel multi-tool (can use coping saw in place of)
- power drill
- orbital sander (can use regular sandpaper in place of)
- Kreg jig
- sewing machine
- hot glue gun
- tape measure
The overall dimensions of the dollhouse are 30″ H x 6″ D x 18″ W.
- 1 Roof Piece: 1 piece of 1/2″ plywood cut to 9.25″ H x 18.25″ L; the top length of the roof should be cut at a 45-degree angle and the bottom length of the roof should be cut at a 45-degree angle; both cuts will angle inward (or downward towards the underside of the roof). Be sure your 9.25″ H measurement is on the top of the roof and not the underside of the roof (the height will be shorter on the underside because of the 45-degree angle cuts).
- 2 Side Pieces: 2 pieces of 1/2″ plywood cut to 30″ H x 6″ W. You will create the roof line by cutting a diagonal line from 30″ on one side down to 24″ on the opposite side.
- 1 Back Piece: 1 piece of 1/4″ plywood cut to 18″ W x 30.5″ H
- 1 Front Piece: (The measurements here will depend on what kind of hinges you use and where you place them. In theory, the front piece will be 24″ H x 18″ W, but the width may need to be trimmed down some depending on the hinges. Start by cutting 24″ H x 18″ W and then trim as needed when you're ready to install your hinges)
- 1 Base Piece: 1 piece of 1/2″ plywood cut to 6″ H x 17″ L
- 3 Bottom Pieces: (You'll use these to thread the ribbon through for hanging hair clips). Out of 1/4″ plywood, cut two 1.5″ W x 17″ L strips and one 3″ W x 17″ L strip.
- 3 Pieces for the Underside of Compartment Box: (You'll use these to thread the ribbon through for hanging hair clips. These pieces will attach to the underside of your compartments). Out of 1/4″ plywood, cut two 1.25″ W x 17″ L strips and one 3″ W x 17″ L strip.
- Compartments: I have a box with 6 compartments. You can make yours to your own liking. Mine is built out of 1/4″ plywood. The overall dimensions of the box are 2.25″ H x 17″ L x 5.5″ D. I used 2″ H strips to make the sides and the dividers for my compartments. I used one 5.5″ W x 17″ L piece for the bottom of the compartments.
- 2 Dowel Rods: I placed two dowel rods side-by-side to make a hanging rod for headbands that runs across the width of the dollhouse, attaching to opposite sides. If I were to do it again, I would also include rods that do not extend all the way from one side to the other, but that remain open on one end (much like the pegs, only longer) for additional hanging space.
STEP 1: PLAN & PREPARE
I started out by drawing up building plans for my dollhouse storage unit on graph paper. I searched online to find the dollhouse parts I wanted and factored in the dimensions of each into my overall plan. I considered the volume of hair accessories I had to store and how I would need to tier the storage to maximize space. I made a detailed list of everything I would need to complete the project.
I dug through my scrap wood piles to retrieve wood I could use for this project and made a trip to my local hardware and craft stores to buy anything I was missing. I purchased the dollhouse parts online from a dollhouse parts retailer.
Note: If I were to do it over again, I would have made a flat instead of an angled roof, so it would be easier to access the items on the pegs. I would also have lowered my magnet strips so that the headbands wouldn't hang in front of them. And, I would add two or three open-ended long dowels protruding from the sides for more hanging storage. I might also consider staggering the ribbon holders on the bottom so that the front ribbon was not directly in front of the back ribbon.STEP 2: CUT PIECES
I cut all the pieces I would need to size. I also cut-out the openings for the windows and doors. Trace your openings (remember: the dimensions of the actual opening that will fit down into the plywood may be different from the dimensions of the top of the window or door, which may include trim work that rests on or above the opening).Drill a hole in the corner of each opening. This will make it much easier to cut out.Use a jigsaw to cut your windows and door openings.STEP 3: PREP WORK FOR HINGES
This step will vary depending on what type of hinges you're using. I used a sharp-edged chisel and a mallet to chip out an opening for my hinges so that they would rest flush with the surface of the plywood when installed. I used 3 hinges, spacing them evenly along the front piece of my house, which acts as a door.STEP 4: BUILD THE COMPARTMENT BOX
The important thing to remember here is that your compartment box should be shallower in depth than the depth of your overall dollhouse. This is because the trim on the inside of your windows adds depth to your door piece, which will prevent the door from closing completely because the trim will bump in to the box if the box is flush with the sides of the house. I used 2″ strips of 1/4″ plywood to build my box. I notched the pieces where they come together to form the grid (i.e. the compartments) in the box. I glued the whole thing together and clamped it for several hours while the glue set.STEP 5: ADD THE EXTRA STUFF
I used a Kreg jig to drill holes at all the connection points, where the frame of the house comes together. I drilled six holes in the bottom of the base piece (three evenly spaced on each of the far sides). I drilled four holes in the support bar (the 1″ x 2″ piece of wood that acts as a reinforcement for the upper half of the house and that also provides a place to attach hanging apparatus if you want to hang your dollhouse on a wall or door when you're done). Again, I drilled four holes—two evenly spaced on each of the far sides. I also drilled two holes on the underside of the roof piece—one on each of the 2 sides (if I were to do it again, though, I would drill two holes on each of the 2 sides of the bottom of the roof).
Note: You will not yet put your dollhouse pieces together as seen in the picture below. The picture is there to illustrate the purpose of your Kreg jig holes.The back piece of my dollhouse has a few dozen pegs evenly spaced over the top 1/3 of it. When planning the placement of your pegs, keep in mind that when your dollhouse is assembled, the roof will slope down and if you start your pegs up too high (i.e. too close to the top of the back piece), the pegs will prevent the roof from meeting the sides of the house the way it's supposed to.
I used a scrap piece of peg board I had on hand to drill the holes for my pegs (which I use as hanging hooks in my dollhouse). If you don't have peg board to use as a template, you could easily use a ruler to mark where you wanted your holes to be. (Note: I did not use all the holes in the pegboard as a template—I used every other hole and every other row. I wanted my pegs a little more spaced out). I used a 13/64 bit to drill the holes for my pegs. You'll want to do a test run on a piece of scrap wood first. The idea is to use a bit size that is just a little smaller than the diameter of your peg. That way, the peg will fit snuggly in the hole. To attach the pegs, I put a dab of wood glue on the bottom and gently hammered them into the holes with a mallet. STEP 6: SAND PIECES AND PRIME WITH PAINT
Be sure to clean off any dust you generate with sanding before spray painting with primer!STEP 7: INSTALL THE DOLLHOUSE ELEMENTS
This is where you'll attach any dollhouse elements, if you're using them (except for the chimney and Victorian trim piece, which go on after you assemble the house). I attached my clapboard siding, my roof shingles, my windows, and my door. I waited to install the windows and door until after all the clapboard siding had been glued on.When attaching the strips of clapboard siding (which I cut to size), I found it helpful to tape the pieces together with masking tape, to place them over the window and door cut-outs, to trace from the back where the cut-outs were, to separate the taped pieces, and then use a coping saw to cut the necessary openings out of the siding. I also found it helpful to use masking tape to hold the shingles together as I placed them and spaced them on the roof. Then I glued them on the bottom and removed the masking tape on top.In the picture below, you can see where I notched out space for the hinges and how I applied the siding in narrow strips to the edge of my front dollhouse piece.
Note: If you're at all unsure about how your hinges will impact the width you'll need for the front piece of your doll house, than do NOT yet apply the clapboard siding to the edges of your house. You may need to make adjustments or trim down the width of your front piece. Wait until you're confident in your hinge placement before adding siding to the edges, so that you can make adjustments if needed.STEP 8: CUT & ATTACH TRIM FOR INSIDE OF WINDOW & DOOR OPENINGS
To trim the window & door openings on the inside of the dollhouse, I used 1/4″ x 3/4″ white PVC screen moulding (I can buy an 8-foot piece of it for less than $3 at my local hardware store). I cut the trim with mitered corners (like you would a picture frame) and attached it with adhesive around all the window and door openings.
Then, I drilled two holes in the top piece of trim on two windows opposite each other. Do NOT drill all the way through. Just deep enough to secure the dowel rods. I used a drill bit just a bit smaller than my dowel rods. My rods were placed close together to provide a wide enough surface area to hang headbands. But, alternatively, I could have placed them just a little wider apart and farther back and hung the headbands so they fell in between the rods and were thus kept in their place by butting up against one rod and hanging over the other one. That didn't make any sense, did it? Think about it for a minute—I think you'll figure out what I'm trying to say. Maybe?
Note: I placed a piece of masking tape on the end of my drill bit so I could readily see how far to drill (to the edge of the masking tape). You do NOT want to drill all the way through!Now that all of my dollhouse parts and trim work were attached, I caulked everything. Around the trim, around the windows and door, and at the seams on the roof and front and sides.
STEP 9: TIME TO SAND & PAINT
I sanded my pieces before priming them (in Step 6), but now I sanded again. Just the edges to smooth everything out, especially on the edges where my clapboard siding was. Then, I painted everything. Two coats with a couple hours worth of drying time between applications. STEP 10: ASSEMBLY
I assembled my frame by attaching the base to the sides and the roof to the sides and the support bar to the sides, using the Kreg jig holes I had drilled earlier and the specially-designed Kreg jig screws. Keep in mind that you want to attach your support bar in the top third of the house. It's there to stabilize the frame of the house, as well as to provide a great spot for attaching hanging hardware later on.
Note: Be sure your dowel rods are in place before attaching the sides of the dollhouse to your base. They'll be much harder to squeeze into place if you attempt to do it afterwards.I nailed the back pieces to the edges of the base and sides of the house using small wire nails. I placed one nail about every 6 inches. I also hammered a couple of nails through the back into the support bar (on the inside of the house).Attach your hinges to the front piece and side of your dollhouse, as well. And don't forget the chimney and Victorian trim piece (if you're using them).
STEP 11: INSTALL YOUR INTERIOR STORAGE
Your pegs are already installed (they're inserted into the back piece of the house that you've already attached). So are your dowel rods—already in place. Now it's time to add the magnetic strips, the compartment box, and the ribbons for hanging hair clips.
Install your ledge pieces on the back and sides of the dollhouse (these pieces will provide the support for your compartment box). I mitered my pieces where they meet at the corners. Be sure they're level.Determine how far apart you want your ribbons spaced and how long you want them to be. Keep in mind that they will wrap around a bottom piece and a top piece so you'll lose inches on final assembly.The picture below shows the process of trial and error as I gauged the length of my ribbons. I used a safety pin to hold everything in place until I could sew the ends together. Note how the ribbon will be wrapping around that bottom piece and that top piece—that's what holds it in place and provides the necessary spacing between the two sides of the looped ribbon.Sew the ends of the ribbon together, with about a 1.5″ overlap. Don't forget to back stitch—you want it to be secure.Loop the ribbon between the strips of 1/4″ plywood, with the widest wood strip in the middle (remember: the wood strips on the bottom of your compartment box will be smaller than the ones that go on the base of the dollhouse because the compartment box is shallower than the base). I used a hot glue gun to glue the ribbon in place and to attach the wood strips to the bottom of the compartment box.Insert the compartment box onto the ledges you've already installed to support it. The ribbon will hang loosely. You're about to secure the ribbons to the base of the dollhouse.Thread the loops of ribbon around your widest bottom wood strip, which should be the middle piece.Be certain the ribbon loops are where you want them and then nail the wood strips to the base of your dollhouse with the same wire nails you used to attach the back piece to the dollhouse.
Note: If I had it to do over again, I would stagger the front and back of my ribbon loops so that it's easier to see what's hanging on the back part of the loops. Lastly, attach your magnetic strips with adhesive wherever you'd like them to be. Mine are just above the compartment box, but I wish I'd installed them just a couple of inches lower.
STEP 12: HANG YOUR DOLLHOUSE ON A DOOR OR A WALL
This dollhouse storage unit is designed to hang on a door or a wall. I included a great support bar in my design that provides stability to the house frame, but also gives me somewhere to attach my hanging hardware. That bar you see on the back of the house (yes, I know I didn't bother to paint the back of my house—no one will see it, except all of you!) is secured with screws that I screwed in to the support bar on the inside of the house.Below is a picture of the hanging bar system I used to hang my house. I've used this brand hanging system for several different projects and have always been pleased with its performance.If you'll be attaching the unit to a hollow door, like I did, you'll need to use screws specially designed for the job. I like these.