Upcycling An Old Dolls House

Dolls House
My actual dolls house, in the process of being built!

Just recently, I was having a conversation with my sister and we both agreed that some of the best presents we got when we were kids were things that had been bought secondhand and upcycled by our parents.

One of my favourites was a bike I got when I was around Burrito Baby’s age. My dad bought this bike month ahead of Christmas and spent weeks in the shed stripping off the old paint, re-spraying it with a cool flame design and sticking custom stickers all over it, so that by the time it was given to me for Christmas and it looked brand-new and actually way cooler than it had looked before he started upcycling it.

As you’ll know if you’ve read my blog, another toy from my past that is precious to me is the dolls house that was made by my Nan and Grandad, from scratch. I’ve talked about renovating this for many years and just recently I’ve had some new ideas of ways that I can update it and get it looking back to brand-new again. Here are a few of the ideas: despite having been up in the loft for many years now,

Update the Exterior

Despite having been up in the loft for many years now, The exterior of the dolls house is actually in pretty good condition. There are however a few areas where it could do with a little bit of renovation and while I don’t have the same level of skill as my Grandad, who made the brick effect on the outside of the house from actual brick dust, there are now brick patterned wallpaper for dolls houses on the market which will make a really good replacement for my grandads original method.

New Wallpaper

As you can tell from the brickdust anecdote, my Nan and grandad were all about authenticity when they made this dolls house, which means that the inside is decorated with real wallpaper. The house was made in the very late 80s which means the decor on the inside is very “of the time”. Something that I’ve been planning to do is grab some samples of some more modern wallpapers from a decorating store and use these to repaper the inside of the house to give it an updated look.

New Lights 

My grandad was an incredibly skilled person in so many ways and one of the things that he did in the original dolls house would put individual lights in each room that could be controlled with separate switches and were connected to a battery pack in the loft. Over the years some of these lights have stopped working and I don’t have the same skill as Grandad so fixing individual lights is a little bit beyond my capabilities. There are however individual battery powered LEDs that can be stuck in each room without needing to rewire the whole house and this is something that I would definitely consider doing.

Crafts · Kids

The Best Flower Crafts for Kids

Kids Flower CraftsArts and crafts are important for your child’s development. Not only can they get their creative juices flowing, and let their imagination run wild, but the holding of pens and paintbrushes can help improve their fine motor skills.

Plus, there is no better time to do some crafting, and as the weather begins to get warmer and the flowers begin to bloom, there is plenty to spark your child’s imagination.

From potting plants to sunflower competitions, if you’ve been spending more time outdoors as a family, why not use nature as your inspiration for your next crafting session with your kids.

Here are our top flower-themed activities for you and your little ones to get your hands on, and most importantly, have fun!

Flower hand painting

With bright shades and interesting petal shapes, flowers make the perfect, colourful spring time picture. Plus, when paint is involved, things can get messy and fun!

Tulips have a unique shape and come in a variety of colours, so why not make them the subject of your kids’ crafting session. Even better, you get to create the painting using your little one’s hands.

To make a tulip painting you will need:

  • Paper
  • Plate or paper plate
  • Colourful paint, including green
  • Paintbrush
  • Apron (if you think things will get messy)

First, encourage your child or guide them to paint a green stem on the paper, and then add some large green leaves. If you have a bunch of tulips to hand, it can help to mirror the shape. Next is the best bit – and made need some adult supervision if your child is younger.

Your child then places their hand on a plate of coloured paint, making sure that its completely covered. Then, press their hand firmly on the paper at the top of the stem. Keep the fingers together, and then slowly spread them out to create the tulip shape.

The picture is then complete! You can do this on a folded piece to make a greetings card, or cut out the hand-print flower and stick on the top of a lolly stick to make a pretty bookmark. You can also experiment with shapes and colour.

Try yellow as the main colour, and spread the hand out completely when pressing on the paper – you can then fill the middle with some black paint to create a beautiful sunflower picture. Again, if you’ve been growing sunflowers in your garden, you can take the activity outside and use them as inspiration.

Egg box flowers

The best crafts are made from the materials you can find around your house, reusing something that possibly could have been thrown away. For example, an old egg box is a great starting point to make a colourful and interesting, homemade bunch of flowers.

To make egg box flowers you will need:

  • Egg box
  • Scissors
  • Colourful paint
  • Green pipe cleaners or lolly sticks
  • Buttons (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)

Firstly, if you’re child is old enough, let them cut each section of the egg box individually, or you can step in to help. Then, you cover the whole section in colourful paint – whichever colour your little one chooses. If using them, stick a button in the middle of the box to create the centre of the flower. Or you can simply paint the centre with a contrasting colour.

Finally, stick the egg box flower to the top of a green painted lolly stick or pipe cleaner. If you wish, you can bunch up a few of them and tie together with a coloured ribbon, taking inspiration from the flowers you find outdoors. You can use them to decorate the kid’s own section of your garden.

Tissue paper blossoms

If paint isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other materials that can represent the colours and flowers that we see in nature. The texture of tissue paper can be used to create blossoms – the perfect activity for spring as we begin to see these bloom all around us!

To make a blossom picture, you will need:

  • Pink tissue paper
  • A piece of paper
  • Glue
  • Brown pen, crayon or pencil

The first step is the most fun for little ones, as you need to screw up all the tissue paper into little balls. Set aside whilst you encourage or help your child to draw a tree trunk and some branches on the piece of paper, with either a crayon, pen or pencil. Then, they can stick the tissue paper flower buds onto the branches they’ve drawn, until the paper is full and a beautiful blossom tree has been created.

You can use any shade of tissue paper you like to create the blossom picture, and with nature as your inspiration, the possibilities are endless!