Foamboard and Duct Tape Barbie Size Doll House

This is a simple portable dollhouse that is really designed for play, not display. It comes apart for easy storage. It’s the perfect size for one of those plastic tubs that fit under your bed and have a lid to keep the dust the out. This is a great winter or rainy day project.

It’s starts out with 2 sheets of foam board that are 20 by 30-inches.  I had never heard of foam board before . A  relative was talking about it and how it was sturdy and easy to cut with an X-acto knife. Then I was at Walmart looking for printer paper and saw the foam board there with the poster boards and thought “Well this is nifty stuff.” So I bought two pieces without much knowledge of how to use it.

Then I got home and remembered this doll house from the 70’s that was owned by The Sunshine Family Dolls. It was 4 rooms with a removable roof. It’s pictured here on an ebay listing.

Another lady who had a similar idea for a 1:12 scale doll house posted her pictures here.

This is how it’s done.

1. Buy 2 sheets of foamboard. 2o” by 30″ each. Measure halfway up the 30″ side. Draw a line bisecting it. Cut on that line giving you 2 pieces  that are 20″ by 15″ each. Do this for both sheets of foam board so you have 4 pieces that are all the same size. Below is a picture of one large foamboard that has been cut into 2 pieces. The doll is a Darice Craft doll, the same size as Barbie.

I couldn’t find our X-acto knife set so I used a bread knife with a serrated knife to saw my foam board in half. It worked very nicely.


2.  Lay two pieces next to each other, about 1/2-inch apart. Keeping the gap, lay a piece of duct tape over the boards. Add 2 more pieces of duct tape too, so there are 3 pieces making the “hinge”. Flip the thing over and make the other side of the duct tape hinge. After hinging the first two pieces, do the same thing to the next two.

Now you have 2 pieces of foamboard, hinged together with duct tape. They open and close sort of like a book.

3. Lay the hinged boards out flat. Measure halfway the hinge, or 7-1/2 inches. Cut the hinge up to this point. I used a large serrated edge bread knife and sawed back and forth to cut the tape. Scissors just wouldn’t work.


4.  Fit the two together by shoving one down over the other with the openings in the hinges meeting an slipping together.

5. Decorate with contact paper, fabric scraps etc. I’ll do that in the next installment. This is just the beginning, the building of the skeleton, so to speak. Each section of the “X” will be a different room. I want to make a kitchen, bedroom, living room and I’m not sure what to make the 3rd room, maybe a bathroom, maybe something else.

If you prefer soemthing more sophisticated that takes more time (and more cash) but is really cute looking then take a look at these pictures and patterns from Morrisey Dolls (scroll halfway down to see pics).

Foam board is definitely a fun thing to play with. I hope to play with it some more when I furnish the house. I’m not sure how clear I made this, so please ask questions as needed. I’ll be happy to answer.




Filed under Doll House, Dolls

8 responses to “Foamboard and Duct Tape Barbie Size Doll House

  1. Does anyone know if those trunks from Morrisey dolls come with everything you need? Or are they just directions?

    I used to play with steamer trunks for Ginnie dolls and the like, that were my mother’s, but I think the bigger version would be good for my daughter’s Faith and friends dolls. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee I can get the materials over here if it’s just directions…

  2. Oh my goodness!! How did I not come across you before now? My son (three years old, and a twin) was diagnosed with celiacs almost a year ago. It is sooooo expensive- as you know. I have yet to perfect my techniques. At first, I was making different meals…sometimes as many as three…every night. I paid $8 for 4 hamburger buns, that he did not even like! (they were gross)
    I am now going over your site with a fine tooth comb. You are my hero!
    My oldest son had ADHD, and some teachers suspect asbergers. (sorry about spelling) He is on daily meds, but I may try to swith his diet too. Thanks for everything!!

  3. Tonni

    I just wanted to let you know I made these for Christmas for my girls. They are far and away the FAVORITE presents! They have spent HOURS decorating, wallpapering, painting and playing with their houses. In fact, we are rapidly developing a foam board world. Now, we have malls going…with each room a different building (grocery store, post office, salon, clothing store, etc.) Thank you so much for this excellent, frugal and fantastic idea!

  4. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

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