Milestone Gifts

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Dolls House To Haunted House Transformation, Conversion

This is an indoor doll's house to haunted house conversion

dolls house conversion to fairy house

dolls house conversion to fairy house

A bargain find

converting a dolls house to fairy house garden
I was very fortunate that I was able to pick up this plastic Sylvanian Families mansion doll's house on Facebook Market place for £15. It was a local collection and perfect for what I had in mind for this project. I have never done a doll's house conversion or dollhouse make-over before and certainly nothing similar since I was a child. So with lots of ideas and ambitious ones at that I did set myself up a bit to fail. If I was doing this again (and I probably will) I'd do more research into fixing materials (glues etc) and techniques. Overall I am happy with the end result, as a first attempt I love it.

Not smooth sailing

I would be lying if I said this doll's house transformation and makeover was easy or worked out perfect on my first attempt, it didn't! I have never done a doll's house conversion before and I had no idea how to approach achieving the effect I wanted which was to cover the house with pebbles for an authentic rustic, weathered (distressed) look. I experimented with various glues and had to take it all off when different things I tried either didn't fix as well as I wanted or didn't look how I wanted. The finished look is not exactly what I was aiming for but for a first attempt, I am happy with it. I will detail how I created this look but as a none professional crafter, follow my lead with caution! Hopefully, I will have a better idea of what I am doing on my next doll's house do-over!

Getting Started

1. preparing the dollhouse surface

I removed the parts of the dolls house that I didn't want to include in my finished design. I then began by preparing the surface of the plastic dolls house. To 'grab' any glue or fixing material, the surface should be a bit rough. As a non-professional crafter I am not familiar with the correct terminology for this process, so bear with me on that! I used sandpaper to lightly 'rough' up the surfaces.

2. Pebble dashing the dolls house surface

dolls house conversion to fairy house

This part was tricky as I wasn't sure what to use to make my pebbles stick to the plastic. Initially, I used a wood glue, then I sprinkled on the pebbles ( I bought these very cheaply from a local garden center - aquarium gravel is a great size for this) pushing them into the glue to ensure they adhered well. I let that dry off a bit and then sprinkled some fine sand into the gaps to create an illusion of 'grout' or the substrate you usually find on a building that has been decorated with pebbles and stones. I was experimenting and 'winging it' at this stage. 

This worked quite well but took a couple of days to dry out. On an 'extension' I created (not included in these pictures as it went in the garden as a separate feature) I instead used concrete as the base for my pebbles. This created a natural effect straightway, was slightly crumbly but overall a good effect. It remains to be seen how long this will adhere to the plastic! You may want to do your own research on the best material to create a really great long-lasting grab. I will for my next project.

3. Moss covers a multitude of sins. 

dolls house conversion to fairy house

You can't see the moss I have used very well in these photos which is a shame as it creates a lovely authentic plant life feel to the doll's house conversion. You can buy ready prepared and dyed moss for this purpose. I myself went the longer route of buying regular moist moss, drying it out in the sun for several days and then coloring it myself. This was labor-intensive but I now have a binliner full of moss and it saved me a ton of money!  I placed the dried moss in the usual places you might find overgrown wall plants and leaves, ie around windows, up the side of the wall etc. I used PVA glue to secure it. This made it quite moist and took a couple of days to thoroughly dry out. A glue gun or other type of glue might be more effective.

4. Adding the flowers 

I used dried flowers that I already had to add color to the moss. I used Lavender seeds, Chamomile flowers and Marigold petals. I also had some Mugwort that I sprinkled around. I secured the moss using PVA glue. That took a couple of days to properly dry out after which time I added a little bit more and then sprinkled the dried flowers onto it. It dries clear. 

Trees, Climbing Vine and Swing

dolls house conversion to fairy house

5. Adding the Trees  

The trees that are on either side of the house walls are simply birch branches. 

The smaller trees in the garden area are painted pine cones. I used acrylic paint and just brushed over green and yellow colors.

6. The climbing flowery cheery blossom vine

I found this famulous leafy twine which I wrapped around some green garden wire to create the climbing vine. I also found some flowery lace ribbon which I cute up into small sections to add to the climbing vine. I did the same for the tree which holds the swing and for the swing ropes.
dolls house conversion to fairy house

7. Painting the doors and window frames

dolls house conversion to fairy house

I cheated with these. I used my permanent color markers to create the effect you can see. I made it more rustic and distressed with a sprinkle of sand, some gold glitter (it is supposed to be a fairy house) and generally made it look as aged as possible. 

8. Polymer Clay people and pets, pumpkins, bucket and broom

dolls house conversion to fairy house

I am not an expert when it comes to creating miniatures with Polymer clay but I will try anything. I created three cats modeled after my own fluffy mogs and two people peering out the window, They could represent me and my mum! I am the one being nosey and she is the one with watering can. I added a broom and bucket by the main door, a pile of pumpkins as it is nearly Halloween and little ghost on the upper level! My fairy on the swing is needle felt but I may create a polymer clay character to replace her. There is a turtle somewhere in the grass. That is a minature that I already had (readymade) that seems to be of scale, so I included it. Other than this, it is all handmade.

I hope you like my creation, please do share your thoughts and ideas for improvement in comments and any projects of your own where you have converted or upcycled an old doll's house.

Materials Used 

View my second dolls house transformation to haunted mansion HERE