If you’re thinking of making a big homemade gift for your child, such as a wooden dollhouse … I would urge you to go for it. It may seem daunting, but I can assure you that the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Last Christmas, my Dad and I made Baby E a homemade wooden kitchen. It was amazing, and she still plays with it almost every day. This year, I wanted to tackle another DIY gift: a dollhouse! With a lot of help from both my Dad and Mom, we did it.
Based on my experience, here are just a few of the reasons I think you should make a homemade wooden dollhouse for your child:
- Creating a big DIY gift gives you the opportunity to bond with you father. From the initial architect planning sessions, to working on revisions and discussing furniture additions … you will find yourself exchanging text messages, emails, and photo ideas. And let’s face it, for my father at least, he was likely feeling a little lost after the wooden kitchen project was completed last December. I am confident that your father, like mine did, will welcome this project with open arms.
- One of the reasons you might consider making a DIY gift is that the amount of money you would pay to purchase the gift at the store seems a little steep. I know this was something that I considered with the dollhouse. I’m here to assure you that if your projects are anything like ours, you will likely only spend about $50 (okay, max $100) more than if you had bought the “expensive” dollhouse from the toy store. But keep in mind benefit number one: you will not have the incredible opportunity for bonding if you purchase the store-bought version. Your father, the one ordering the special pulley and other parts for the dollhouse, will undoubtedly feel this way as well.
- The dollhouse family will live a life of luxury. I’m not sure about you, but I can’t recall ever seeing a dollhouse with an elevator. Or a helipad. Or a rooftop pool. Our homemade dollhouse has all of this! Now, all of this extravagance did initially come at the price of no dishwasher. When we realized the dollhouse family was spending hours hand washing dishes after every meal, and therefore not having the time to truly enjoy their rooftop pool and helipad, this oversight was quickly rectified. The new dishwasher was delivered this week. Another benefit is that should the dollhouse family ever require any renovations, we have a dollhouse contractor available at a moment’s notice. He’s free to assist them anytime – well, until work begins on 2017’s big project!
- You’ll get that true parenting experience of staying up until 1:30am on Christmas Eve, finishing your child’s gift. That feeling is hard to come by, and it truly is a rite of passage in the parenting world. Not only did I get to experience this feeling, but Baby E’s Nani did as well – truly a blessing. She and I were creating kitchen windows, washer and dryers, and other last minute additions to the dollhouse well past Baby E’s bedtime on December 24th.
- Your Dad will have the opportunity to use up all that extra wood that’s been cluttering up his workshop. The possibilities are endless (or from his perspective, perhaps never ending!). I ordered numerous pieces of furniture for our dollhouse, and my amazing contractor was able to create them all. He effortlessly created a homemade bed for the parents, dresser, stack-able washer and dryer, folding car ramp for the garage, and later the dishwasher!
- Not to be left out, your Mom will have the chance to make use of all of the crafting supplies she has collected over the years! My Mom helped me to create rugs for the parent’s room/children’s room/living room, a mirror, a screen to divide the basement laundry room and car garage, a TV, and decorations for the wooden washer, dryer and dishwasher. Imagine Nani’s joy when one of Baby E’s first acts after she opened the dollhouse was to move the table from the kids room to the basement for “Nani’s craft room”!
- As part of this project, you’ll also get the opportunity to test your photography skills. I really wanted to include a family photo for the living room wall, but did it ever prove challenging! Unfortunately no matter how hard you try (and snap your fingers!) it’s impossible to get the attention of all of the family members at once. All 5 of them look like they are staring off into the distance!
- The dollhouse will open up a whole new world of imaginative play. You will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of how your child sees (or envisions) the world, such as when she made the dollhouse Bubba spend all of his time cooking at the BBQ on the roof, or sent the Mama to have a nap while the little girl played with her Nani (Baby E certainly does cherish her alone time playing with Nani).
- You will have the truly wonderful feeling of seeing your child’s face light up when you reveal the gift on Christmas morning. Try to look past the tired faces and bloodshot eyes of your project helpers, and focus on the gleam in your child’s eyes. Baby E immediately tried out the elevator, and started gathering the dollhouse family members around the dining room table just like real life.
These are just a few of the many, many benefits to creating your own wooden dollhouse. It truly is a bonding project for the whole family, and together you are creating a unique toy that will be in the family for generations. Baby E loves the dollhouse, and it is something that we can all play together. That in itself is reward for all of the hours spent on its creation. The fact that she actually enjoys playing with it, after all of that work, is a huge relief to all of the members of the team!
Here is a gallery of our dollhouse rooms (try double-tapping on a photo to enlarge):
Note: most of the furniture is Djeco dollhouse furniture – all of the members of our family gave Baby E a furniture set for Christmas. Wooden supplemental furniture was created by (Dad’s!) hand to complete the rooms.