American Girl Dollhouse for Small Spaces

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:29
Difficulty
Intermediate
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We love American Girl dollhouses but they can be SO big.  If you have a small space, here's an alternative - our compact American Girl dollhouse is about the size of a bookshelf (and you can use it as a bookshelf later!) but still fits all the furniture.  Works with any 18 doll including My Life and Our Generation dolls.

This is an easy to build beginner friendly woodworking plan, using off the shelf 1x12 boards, with full diagrams, shopping and cut list.

American Girl Dollhouse
American Girl Dollhouse
American Girl Dollhouse
American Girl Dollhouse

American Girl or 18 Dolls are big dolls, and the dollhouses can be HUGE - which is great if you have the space.

But in a small space or a tight bedroom, here's an option for an American Girl Dollhouse that takes up much less space.

My daughter was more into playing with the dolls, and taking the matching playsets out, than playing in the dollhouse.  The dollhouse was almost more for storage and display than play.  

So creating a shallow dollhouse not only takes up much less space, but it works better for the way our child uses it.

You can still fit some projects in the dollhouse -

This dollhouse is only about five feet four inches tall, and 32" wide.  

We LOVE that this dollhouse is built with 1x12 boards - so easy to build!!

Unlike a traditional style dollhouse where you set up rooms, this one isn't big enough to do that, as the rooms are only 11-1/4" deep.  

But I love how the furniture and dolls are on display.  I can just imagine the girls taking the furniture out, playing with it on the floor.  It makes a beautiful display, and the shelves are all at height that the girls could easily reach and play with.

This project is so simple to make - just a 1x12 bookshelf really - but the truss detail at the top really makes it cute.

Build the Furniture Too!

The furniture in this dollhouse is all DIY!

I added the plans here so you can make everything in the photos.

Dimensions
american girl dollhouse dimensions
Dimensions shown above

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 2 - 1x12 @ 6 feet long (for sides and roof)
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long (for floors or shelves)
  • About 30" of 1x2 boards for the truss detail
  • 1 4x8 sheet of 1/4" thick plywood, mdf, beadboard or other backing material
Common Materials
3/4 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch finish nails
Cut List
  • 2 - 1x12 @ 48" long, one end cut at 45 degrees off square, longest point measurement (cut from 6' long 1x12)
  • 2 - 1x12 @ 23-3/4" long, one end cut at 45 degrees, longest point measurement (use scrap from 48" long cut, you don't even need to cut it, it can be longer as this is the roof and will just increase overhang)
  • 3 - 1x12 @ 30-1/2" - cut all of these from the 8 foot 1x12 board
  • 1/4" plywood @ 32" x 64-5/16"

TRUSS DETAIL

  • 1 - 1x2 @ 11" - both ends cut at 45 degree BEVEL, long point to long point mesurement
  • 1 - 1x2 @ 4-3/4" - dogeared to a 45 degree point
  • 2 - 1x2 @ 3-1/8" - one end cut at 45 degrees, longest point measurement
Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
Circular Saw
Jigsaw
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Instructions

Step 1

Cut out windows from the side panels. Use a drill to start cuts and then cut from the drilled holes with a jigsaw. Sand the rough edges. I recommend drilling two pocket holes facing upward for attaching the roof in later steps, on either side of the small window, on the inside.

Step 2

Drill three 3/4" pocket holes on each of the shelves. Attach shelves to the sides with 1-1/4" pocket holes and wood glue. NOTE: If using pocket holes to attach roof (and you drilled pocket holes on sides as suggested in step 1) do not attach the third floor until after you complete step 3 or your drill will not be able to fit.

Step 3

Attach the roof to the sides. Use glue and 1-1/4" nails to attach roof at peak. The truss detail and back will further support this joint.

Step 4

Attach back with 3/4" brad nails or staples and glue to all fixed shelves, sides and roof.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
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Comments

jstagliareni

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 05:25

Ana, the kitchen appliances you have in the doll house look fantastic, have you added those plans to the website yet? I searched and couldn't find them. My daughter got Grace for Christmas and is already asking for a kitchen for her birthday so she and Grace can cook. Thank you

LindseyT

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 11:05

Thank you for these plans, Ana! I contemplated the larger house at Christmas but was a bit intimidated by the size. This smaller version is perfect! Planning on adding this to my weekend to do & gifting on valentines :)