American Girl Dollhouse – Fits 18" Dolls

Smaller Version of this Dollhouse

Want to build an American Girl Dollhouse, but in a smaller version?  We have created a new plan that is very similar, but only two stories.  I found my daughter couldn’t reach that third story, so the shorter version worked better for us.

american girl dollhouse plans

Does your child love American Girl or 18″ dolls?

American Girl dollhouses are outrageously expensive.  Have you considered a DIY dollhouse?

American Girl Dollhouse Features

  • Easy to build with about $150 in materials
  • All plywood construction – so will last much longer than an MDF or particle board dollhouse
  • Fun to customize and decorate
  • Can add casters so easy to move
  • Plans are easy to modify – so you can make it a two story dollhouse or change up the size
  • Lots of reader submitted photos and success stories

How to Build the Dollhouse

Here’s how we built our DIY dollhouse –

Rip Plywood for Sides and Shelves

We cut the plywood into strips 23-3/4″ wide by 8 feet long.  You’ll get four strips from the two sheets of plywood.  Have your home improvement store do this for you if you don’t have a table saw or a truck, just make sure the strips are exactly the same width.

Then cut the tops into the house shape for the two sides.  

Cut Doors and Windows Out

Then to cut the doors and windows out,

I drew the windows and doors out on each of the panels, and then drilled holes on each side, inside the lines,

Then it’s just a matter of connecting the dots,

With a jigsaw.

Cutting out the windows and doors was probably the most time consuming part of this whole project.

Assemble the Dollhouse

I used a Kreg Jig to assemble the pieces.  There’s not alot of joints, but because the pieces are so huge, it was a little cumbersome – but nothing I couldn’t manage on my own.  You don’t have to use a Kreg Jig – you can also use 2″ self tapping wood screws.

Window and Door Trim

The window and door trim makes a huge difference on the dollhouse.  Here’s how I built it –

I nailed together 1×2 “boxes” first with 1-1/4″ brad nails and glue.  

Then I just placed the trim in the openings and nailed to the plywood edges.

Our happy client made a few requests that aren’t in this plan – we did not add the bottom trim and used caster wheels instead.  And instead of the two rooms upstairs, we made one full room upstairs (but had to add a 1×2 at the top to support the 1/4″ plywood on the back.

How We Finished the Dollhouse

I also added veneer edge banding to all exposed plywood edges to finish them off.

For the floors inside the dollhouse, we wanted to keep the wood, so we used Rustoleum Wood Stain in Dark Walnut.

It’s a one step – just apply and wipe off.  Easy enough for my seven year old to help out!

We also applied RustOleum polyurethane over the stain to protect the floors (just like a real wood floor!!!).

Then we taped over the floors with painter’s tape (until we ran out and had to use duct tape) and newspaper,

A quick sanding, and she’s ready for primer!

Jacob sprayed the dollhouse with primer,

And then I painted carefully the blue exterior paint on the outsides.

We LOVED how it turned out!!!!

But we wanted the roof to stand out a little more,

So I picked up some RustOleum textured spray paint and sprayed the roof.  It loos like roofing!!!

Related: American Girl Dollhouse for Small Spaces

This dollhouse plan is VERY big.  If you need a smaller dollhouse, we have one other plan that would fit in almost any space.

The rooms are not full depth, but I found my daughter preferred to play on the floor with her dolls, and just used the dollhouse to store and display her American Girls and their accessories.

You can find the free plans for the smaller American Girl Dollhouse here.

American Girl Dollhouse Plans

The plans for this dollhouse follow.  You can easily customize to different size and of course, paint or stain any way you imagine.

Pin For Later! 

American Girl Dollhouse - Fits 18

Joy Holiday Sign – Christmas Wall Art

Here’s an amazing (and inexpensive) way to decorate for the Christmas – and you don’t have to be an artist to do it!

Let’s create a wall art out of scrap wood, paint a few letters on it, and add a store bought wreath!

This JOY sign is SO easy to make!

How Do I Build It?

Cut the boards with a circular saw, handsaw or jigsaw, or if you have it a chop/miter saw.

Lay the boards out on a flat surface.

Figure how long to cut the 1×2 back supports and cut them.


Then attach the sign boards to the 1x2s with your choice of fastener (or hot glue).

How to Get the Weathered Look? How to Stain?

Now it’s time to paint or stain the wood back.  My boards were weathered (pallet wood is good) so I applied nothing.  If you have new boards, here’s a few options:

  • Weathered Wood Accelerator by Varathane
  • Gray Stain 
  • Steel Wool and Vinegar Treatment
  • Leave it outside in the sun for a few months (maybe do that next summer)

Painting the JOY Letters

Place your store bought wreath in the center of the sign.  Now you can figure where the letters need to be.

I used a 1×2 to create my J and Y letters, leaving a 1x2s width around the outside, and then the letters themselves are 1×2 width wide.  The I just painted inside the letters with white paint.  

Great Kids Craft Project

Then I just added a nail and hung a wreath on the nail (wreath is from Home Depot). My little niece helped out and was quite proud of the finished project too.

Easy Way to Display a Wreath without Hangers

I love it, and hope you do too!

Perfect on Shelves or Ledges or Mantles!

We don’t have a mantle, but this floating white shelf we made a little while back is perfect.  

In a small space, wall decorating is your best option.  A few fun holiday pillow covers bounce the Holiday spirit around the room, and is just the right amount of Christmas decorating for our small space.

PS – Don’t forget to pin this wood Joy sign for next year!

Vintage Shelf with Hooks

This gorgeous little shelf has vintage vibes.  It’s very functional with a large top shelf and hooks.  Love it for stockings, towels, extra coats and more!

Banquette Bench with Flip Up Storage – Customizable Size and Shape

Flip up storage bench

DIY corner bench

Here’s How I Built this Bench

2x4 banquette bench

I built frames to fit the space using 2x4s, then elevated the frames with legs.

Banquette bench

I covered the frames with 1/4″ thick plywood.

Banquette bench top

Then I trimmed it with 1×3 boards and added a 3/4″ thick plywood top.

Watch the Quick Build Video

Can I Build Any Size?

Yes, this bench plan is designed to be custom fit to your space.  Your 2×4 frames will determine the size, and everything past that is just measuring and cutting to fit.

How Much Did it Cost to Build?

For this bench, about 8 foot x 10 foot, 2 feet deep (it’s huge!!!) I used about 10 2x4x8s, 1 sheet of 1/4″ plywood, 1 sheet of 3/4″ plywood, and about 10 1x3x8 boards.  I used a half a gallon of paint, screws, alot of nails and inexpensive hinges.  Overall cost was under $300.  Similar sized benches are upwards of $5000!

How Long Did it Take to Build?

Three days total, the first day was getting materials, prepping the space, and then I got the benches framed up.  The second day I pretty much finished building it.  The third day was finishing it.

Can I Build at an Angle for a Dining Nook?

Yes, you’ll still build the same way, just leave dead space in the angled areas.  It will be a little tricky on the trim out – this may require a compound miter saw.  

Can I Build a Straight Bench?

Yep, even easier.  Just build a single straight bench.  But maybe consider attaching to the wall behind to keep it in place.

Can I Keep My Baseboard Trim?

Yes, in this project, I kept the baseboard, and simply scribed the trim around it.  You can remove the baseboard too.

Free Plans to Build this Banquette Bench

Here’s the step by step plans, designed to be modified as a corner bench, nook bench, window seat bench – whatever you need!