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From Political Ad To Doll House- A Tutorial

AG Dollhouse That Fits Under a Bed

Would you like a doll house that you can store under your bed when you aren’t using it? Are you looking forward to the end of this presidential campaign? Well, this is your lucky day! I have a tutorial that will give you that dollhouse and also give you one more reason to look forward to the removal of political ads. This tutorial reuses campaign signs, keeping them out of the waste stream. Does this sound too good to be true? Keep reading doll friends!


You will need:

*Two foam core or corrugated plastic signs. Mine are 30 x 50 inches. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to these as boards in the tutorial.

*Glue and/or modpodge

*Wall paper samples, contact paper, scrapbook paper, paint or some combination of these items.

*A craft knife, box cutter or similar tool


Before you begin, read through the entire tutorial and look at the photos. Some of the directions are difficult to explain but simple to execute.  If you have questions, please ask!

Your boards have likely been outside and have collected some dirt and grime. The first thing you need to do is wash them. Dish soap and water works well. Then rinse and let them dry. (The method for washing will vary depending on the material your boards are made of. Corrugated plastic can be squirted down with a hose, foam core should not get too wet and will require more gentle handling.)

This is what we started with. Our foam core boards were originally advertisements, then yard sale signs and now a doll house. They’re thrice-upcycled!

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After you wash them, paint with a coat of primer. This will keep the advertisement (or in my case, the yard sale arrow) from showing through the wall treatments later. A small foam roller is ideal for this. Let dry and paint the other side.

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Tip: if you need to stop in the middle of painting, you can cut a small notch out of the top of a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Put your roller in the container, seal tightly with the lid and the paint will not dry out for several hours. I left mine overnight and it was fine the next day.

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After the paint dries on both sides, lay your boards on a flat surface and draw the lines for your notches. Your notches will be in the center of each board. One notch will be cut halfway down from the top, the other notch will be cut halfway up from the bottom. My boards are 30 inches tall, 50 inches wide and 3/8 inches thick. My notches are 15 inches tall, 25 inches from the edge and 3/8 inch wide.  Here is how to figure out the placement and size of your notches.

Measure the width of your board, divide by two and make a line down the center.

Next, measure the height of your board, divide by two and make a mark on the center line.

Draw the notch as wide as your board is thick and as tall as half of your board.


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Do the same thing on the second board and cut the notches.

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Be certain you place a cutting mat underneath so you don’t damage your floor. If you don’t have a cutting mat, take your boards into the garage or on a concrete surface outdoors to cut them.

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Fit the boards together, they should form an X shape and stand on their own. Adjust if necessary.

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This configuration makes four rooms. Number each wall so later they will fit together with the proper wall coverings. For instance the bedroom should have a number one in the upper, outside corner  of each wall, the kitchen is number two and so on. After you number them, take the two boards apart and begin decorating them.

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Begin painting or wallpapering each room. Make sure both of your number one walls are decorated to match. Both of the number two walls should be the same and so on. When you finish they will look something like these.

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I used self adhesive paper in the kitchen and library. The wallpaper in the bedroom was cut out of a wallpaper sample book and adhered using Modpodge, the wood trim is wood-grain contact paper. Use your imagination. This is the fun part!

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Let your walls dry before you try putting them back together. Be certain you are matching the walls up as you put the two boards together.

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Furnish your house and move the dolls in. Here is the bedroom


Living Room


Library, I mis-measured a bit here, my paneling doesn’t line up in the corner! Poor dolls. 😉


And Kitchen


When you finish playing, carefully pull the two boards apart and slide them into a closet or under your bed.


Please post photos if you make one, we’d love to see your designs. If you’d like to share this tutorial, please link back here.

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