Some of you have been reading on my Facebook page about me being preoccupied with a secret box project, it all started when the children were making Christmas lists and I was a little annoyed with the fact Jalen who is 9 was asking for everything under the sun, I told her you are so lucky to make a list back when I was a child I was happy with what ever I did receive and I never even made lists for Santa. After watching my daughter play with the little things she accumulates it really did make me proud on how she played, in her little fantasy world she stays for hours, speaking with her toys, role playing. It all reminded me of myself when I use to play with one of my dolls, mind you Jalen is not a Barbie girl, nor does she play with big dolls, she really likes those little tiny lala loopsy and little pets she s collected, I told her about how I build my doll a house out of card box and things I found around the house, She was very interested in the story and of course requested I build one for her little pets.
I asked my Husband to bring me some boxes from work that were sturdy and same size, he brought home gold for sure. 2 super sturdy medium boxes, Perfect! the project started.
If you were wondering how this all would work out in the end, please know so were everyone here including myself, because I had no clue on where to start. Back in 1980 I had no colorful paper, mod podge, hot glue, felt, trims ribbons etc, I only had scraps I found from the basement of our apartment complex, ( I don’t think my mom even knew I was going down there lol) but I tore left over wallpaper and carpeting to fit into my box and my box was only one box, one story type of house. so I thought and thought I put the boxes on top of each other and saw this would easy make 2 rooms but those tiny pets would be lost inside those boxes and it really didn’t look realistic. So thanksgiving I finally decided to make it 4 stories, easier said than done, I did not want to fit another box inside to make the box into 2 stories, the idea emerged that I should use the parts I cut off the top and bottoms and use them as additional stories. that alone took a couple days measuring and making sure the floor stayed sturdy, I used another small piece of cardboard underneath to make sure it didn’t slide or brake off. we podged the parts together( the 2 main boxes were also mod podged to stick and stay on top of one another), now we had 4 levels including a roof and front yard.
Now on to the fun parts, choosing the inside décor as well as deciding where the windows will go, do cut them out before you glue any papers onto your walls, mod podge hardens to a glossy overlay that hardens thicker and thicker as you put layers on, impossible to cut out any windows or openings later. so draw on your box and use an exacto knife to cut out windows as even as you can.
When Mod podging it is best to do layers, do not try to do everything at once since you are working with a paper/cardboard surface and a wet substance it would deform your project if you work too fast. What we did is put a very thin layer of mod podge all over the box before we started layering any paper to make the box smooth and sealed so to speak. I did not want the glue seeping into the cardboard I wanted it to remain in the places I put it.
Now mod podge your chosen papers on the inside, I did the walls first incase I dripped any glue to the floor it would not affect my flooring which of course had to be smooth and even. once you place your papers, smooth them with a rag or hand into place, wait about 15 to 20 minutes then apply a layer of mod podge over the paper to seal it. Yes we sealed the whole house in and out with paper and mod podge as a last layer, knowing Jalen she will be bathing her pets and doing things with water lol, plus it ensures your house is sturdy for those bouncy pets.
Don’t worry if your paper lifts up a bit when you are putting the top layer of modpodge over it, as it dries it will lay back down, but of course as it dries do use your hands or a clean rag to smooth it down periodically, along your edges etc.
Being thou we are working with boxes things did not cover easy inside, such as the corners or edges, I had to think of how to cover those parts. After going trough my supplies I found a cool boarder punch from Martha steward and that gave me the idea on doing lace boarders out of glitter paper. I had to make about 20 12 inch lace borders, and that as well took a bit time, but they worked Perfect! you could use ribbon instead or pre purchased lace.
After finishing the walls carefully making sure I do not glue my windows shut I moved on to the floorings, I used some felt on one floor, some leather on another, glitter and paper on another, it looks great already and at that point I could not wait to cover up the edges with my lace and ribbon I chose. If you use felt on floors you can not seal it with mod podge on top or it will look clumpy and messy so skip sealing those parts and only seal parts with paper.
The inside now has taken about 3 days, between drying cutting and fixing things around the house ( yes I still had to be mom), we were thinking hard on what kind of paper or substance we would use on the outside, so I packed Jalen and off to the craft store, I found this really cool pink wood replica paper, I instantly knew this would be the outside of the house, when we were there we gathered some miscellaneous items such as pompoms ( to be pillows), more ribbon ( to be a curtain) another jar of mod podge/glossy finish ( we are now on jar #2). In this project the most expensive item is the mod podge, you can always try and make your own using 1/2 Elmer’s glue and 1/2 water but it may not have a glossy finish, so that kind of mix may be good for gluing the paper but for the seal you probably will want to have a water resistant glossy finish mod podge. You can easy print scrapbooking papers right at home to save, use any left over trims, ribbons or papers as well.
I woke up on day 4 to tenants wanting to move in ( uggggghhh) it is hard to be a architect as these little pets are so impatient. lol
Today we had to tackle the stairs, originally I wanted to build a ladder but I could not find matches anywhere in town.( we are in a small small town lol)
My son who is the master of clay has told me he has left over clay, “Well get to work make me some stairs I told him”. But the master quickly turned into mush as he told me he had no clue what he was doing here, Oh boy! yes a boy he is and well we know boys know little about doll houses so we were on our own with a odd block of clay, Jalen was very excited to get to molding, me skeptical but determined I helped to mod stairs, well they were not perfect, ja know, lol it is our first clay master piece and clay is just Messy, sticky icky .. after I molded what resembles stairs I was told by the pro ( boy son master of clay) I have to let them dry for at least 48 hours. Shesh that’s long to wait.. but we put them aside and waited. I did notice my husband looking funny at them and some whispers have caught my ear, so I thought maybe my stairs are not that cool after all.. a little discouraged by the funny stares of the onlookers here I got an great idea. Felt over my stairs!
First I need to make one dreamy chair for the Lala Loopsy Cutie, for the bottom of this chair I used the spool that’s left over after you ve used the ribbon it held, I wrapped it in some soft tissue paper and tied with a thick ribbon to make a sturdy back. a very very thin layer of mod podge and the gerbera flower ( fake) cut off the stem and made sure I glued the 2 together. you can see some mod podge on my leafs still but rest assured once it dries it will be like it never happened. The chair came out perfect.
Once the stairs dried I put a thin layer of mod podge over them to seal them, and started measuring the felt, yes the on-lookers had started staring again as they really thought now shes ruined them for good lol. I thought you were going to paint them sais my clay master son, “well don’t you worry your little head about it I know what I am doing” I lied, he, convinced that clay and felt just doesn’t mix well backed off to watch the progress. So as I cut, glued (only the bottom part of the felt to bond with the clay) do not mod podge on top of the felt! they started to transform into magical cute stairs, I had to wait a little to make sure all felt is bonded well with the clay. I hated the edges right away, I thought if I only could have sprayed felt all over them lol that would have been better, the perfectionist that I am I could not let those edges go the way they were, maybe ribbon I thought, how can I hide these yucky edges? and my eye caught my YARN! I am sure everyone thought I am surely loosing it now when I started to pull it out and franticly cutting it, no I have not lost it ladies and gentleman I have found a solution, I spread a very thin layer of mod podge on my edges and placed my funky yarn along the stair edges, Whala Magic & perfect princess stairs!
The reason I used mod podge here and not glue because the whole stairs is visible at all times and I did not want gunks of glue sticking from under the yarn, mod podge after all dries clear and invisible!
All these tenants will need places to lay on, rest , sleep etc, I challenged Jalen a few days ago to find and bring any containers she thinks may be good for any type of furniture or boxes she could find to me. She found perfect little boxes ( left over medicine boxes, chopstick boxes, and a cute pink tin box from some tiny gift she s received). She began to build the beds, mod podged the bed of course with paper she has chosen and she used colorful push pins as legs, a little xoxo wooden plaque shes found in my stash box made a great headboard. She’s truly moms daughter as shes pulled that off in no time.
Last night I finished the little curtains out of really cute wide ribbon I found in the store earlier that week, and mod podged the outside wood paper on. We also took some left over felt and the same yarn we used on the stairs to make some cute carpets with some cute frills.
some lace boarder on the first floor completed with some cute flower brads and hanging flower charms. some fake fur inside the corners to make a cozy warm room. Impatient tenants keep persisting and now the new landlord sais that the project is complete, a little tear in my eye as a little girl inside has gotten awoke with this creation, I tell you I could work on this for 2 more weeks, so much still inside my head I would love to implement but when the customer sais you are done there is not much you can do as an architect, I am now fired and the project in the hands of a happy new owner who I btw have not seen in hours, the word on the street is that the new landlord is implementing a roof top restaurant and is wishing for a roof top pool as well…. Have a created a monster? lol
well as long as the monster is happy…
Take a peek at some close ups, our architects gallery.