Hello my crafty and creative friends!
I have something a little different to bring to you today! It is the story of a little house, a really little house, for dolls!
For all of my sons kindergarten school year I volunteered in his classroom. I would come in for a whole morning each week and be of any help that I could. While visiting this classroom I fell in love with the teachers doll house. It sat in the center of the room and acted as a wall of sorts between the circle time carpet area and the work tables for learning time.
Throughout the year I off and on heard bits and pieces about how this house had been a part of the teachers career. She seemed very attached to it but would often call it ‘sad’. I thought the house was quite lovely, but definitely needed some love.
At the end of the school year, while all the other parents were pondering what gift to give their childrens’ teachers, I decided that I would be able to bring some life to this pretty little house. So I offered to take it home with me for the summer. Once I got it home I ripped out all the carpets, wallpaper and linoleum. I re-glued what needed re-gluing, I sanded what needed sanding and I removed the roof flaps and staircase.
Then I vacuumed, washed and scraped it clean and smooth. I went over the whole house, filling holes and gauges, smoothing scrapes and nicks in the wood.
All I had left were the little houses beautiful bones. I then sat in a chair in my garage and stared at the little house, I pondered and dreamed and planned. For 3 days I tossed ideas around in my head about what I should do with the little house. Should I make it look like a modern home? Should I make it old fashioned? Should I dress it up for the teacher to love? OR should I give it life for a kindergarten classroom?
In the end, the kindergarten classroom idea flourished and I went for a walk through our local HomeDepot store. I was looking for things that had different textures, for color pallets that would appeal to both girls and boys and for flooring that would be modern, and textural. I also wanted each room to be different. I then went walking through the paint aisle to figure out what color we should paint the outside. Luckily I had brought my young daughter with me and she helped me choose between pink, blue and teal. When I got to the flooring aisle I told the support person about my project and she walked with me down the aisle handing me scraps of carpet that I could use for this project. I went home with my paint and donated carpet scraps and started working. I painted the entire house, inside and out with white primer that night. I was so excited!
A week later I began. Starting at the top on the inside and working my way down I slowly created one room at a time. It took me a couple of weeks to finish all the painting and gluing. I had to touch up the paint a few times because because all the edges and trims over lap each other. But slowly, slowly, this cute little house came to life for the children.
The first room is in the attic, I painted the walls a creamy color and then cut 3 strips of carpet to size to create the impression of a fancy wall to wall carpet.
The second room is also in the attic. I had one small piece of red hallways runner and thought it would make the perfect, thick, luxurious feel of a Persian wall to wall carpet. I painted these walls cream as well.
The next room is blue, not for boys, but because blue and bubbles seemed perfect for each other. I used a stencil for the bubbles, but the house paint was a different viscosity than the paints I normally use and my canvas was vertical so my round bubbles lacked perfection. But this room made me think of a few things. One, we don’t have to be perfect to be fabulous. Two, blue bubbles are beautiful! And three, circles are part of kindergarten learning.
The fourth room is all about being simple. I painted it with left over purple interior house paint and then covered it with star filled tissue paper as wall paper. This room was a little difficult to do though because I realized too late that the star paper was actually patterned and I had to kind of fake it around the window…oops.
Room number 5 is a tribute to my daughter and all little children who love bright colors and lots of flowers. I painted it buttercup yellow with left over interior house paint from my bathroom reno last year. Then I grabbed some floral tissue paper from the dollar store and ripped it all up. I then covered every inch of the room with flower paper and acrylic matte gel.
Room number 6 is a tribute to my son and all little children who love black, silver and geometric shapes. The tile is this fabulously gel textured, peel and stick, kitchen tile. It is shiny and smooth and fabulous, or at least I think so! The flooring for this room and the one before is a left over strip of linoleum from my bathroom reno last year.
The last thing I did was paint the roof. I found this fabulous charcoal colored chalkboard paint at the craft store and went to work painting the “shingles” of the house. I loved the look of it but realized, once it was out in the sun, that it would need at least 1-2 more layers of the paint to cover the white primer under neath.
Once I was finished I got very nervous. Would the teacher like it? Would the children like it? Would the carpet stay stuck down? Would it fit into the classroom?
So I showed it to my children and for the rest of summer they begged me to let them play with it. When the teacher came to pick it up, she was very happy and appreciative.
I really enjoyed this project and hope you did too! Breathing life into this little house for the children made me very happy.
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