It’s almost holiday time and I want to show you a really great DIY gift idea- a bookshelf dollhouse! In my son’s room we have a bunch of Dollhouse furniture items. I thought next up, I could use the Billy Bookcase to make it into a house shape. The roof section will be for miniatures and the rest will be for toy storage!
how to make a bookshelf dollhouse
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
- Billy Bookcase $39
- Running Trim for Roof Line $25
- Baseboard Trim for Base (5′) We spent $6 (would normally be $9)
- Wood Rope Trim for Facing (optional) $22
- 4′ Pine Board 1″x12″ (the actual size is ¾” x 11 ½”) for the roof $13
- Bead Board (for back of roof) $9
- Primer $16
- Paint- Corn Stalk $7
- Screws #8 x 1-1/2″ (for roof)
- Construction Adhesive
The inspiration for this project is a Pottery Barn Dollhouse Bookcase by Julia Berolzheimer. There’s also this dollhouse shelf option in white. I love how they combine function with beauty in a playful way.
step 1- assembly
Start by building the Billy bookcase. Follow the instructions provided by IKEA to assemble the Billy bookcase. We will be modifying it, so this will become an Ikea hack.
step 2- build the roof
Next, build the roof. This will create the house shape on the bookcase.
To build the roof, cut the 1×12″ pine board into two pieces- one measuring 24″ long and one at 23-1/4″ long. The board comes in a 11-1/2 width which is perfect for the roof. Note, we used a piece of 3/4″ plywood we had on hand for ours. Using the pine board is easier as only one cut needs to be made and the board is less expensive.
Take the 24″ long board and at the end push the 23-1/4″ board against it at a 90 degree angle. Use corner clamps to hold them together.
Drill 5 pilot holes in the end of the 24″ board where they meet.
Attach the two boards together with 1-1/2″ screws.
To secure the roof to the top, use a speed square to make sure it’s on the top at a 45 degree angle on both sides. Then, use 1-1/2″ screws at the inside corners of the bookcase to attach the roof onto the bookcase.
extend the shelves (optional)
For my project, I’ll be extending the shelves by 2″ to fit the bins I’ll store on them. Extending the shelves IS NOT a necessary step. Skip this unless, by chance, this will be helpful to you.
Cut 4 pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 30″ long by 2″ high.
Then, cut 2 pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 41-3/4″ long by 2″ high.
To attach the facing, drill pilot holes in the plywood.
Then, use #9 x 3-1/8″ screws to attaching the facing to the bookcase.
step 3- baseboard
And now, let’s finish the base by attaching a baseboard to the bookshelf dollhouse. Adding a baseboard to a Billy bookcase can give it a more custom and integrated look, enhancing its aesthetic appeal in your room.
Measure the length of the front and side of the Billy bookcase where you want to attach the baseboard. Our measurements are 32-9/16″ for the front and 13-1/2″ for the two sides.
Use a miter saw to cut the baseboard pieces according to your measurements. Make sure to cut them at 45-degree angles at the front corners for a clean finish. The back of the side pieces should be cut so they’re flat.
step 4- decorative trim
Since I extended my frame with screws, I want to cover those up with decorative Rope Trim. Even if the framed wasn’t extended, it looks nice to face the Billy Bookcase with trim. Cut the trim with a miter saw and then nail it into place.
To dress up the front of the roof and make it look more like the inspiration picture, let’s add running trim. It comes in 4′ length pieces which is perfect for this project. Use the miter saw and cut two pieces 24″ long on a 45 degree angle.
Then nail the trim onto the front of the roof.
step 5- bead board
The back of the roof is open, so I want a backing board to finish the roof off. For that, I’m using some bead board we have on hand. Cut the bead board with a circular saw or table saw to a triangle that is 33-1/2″ wide and 17-1/2″ tall
step 6-finish work
And now, it’s time finish up the bookshelf dollhouse! Since the frame is complete, use wood filler in all the nail holes and in the shelf holes. Because the shelves are trimmed in place, they no longer can be moved so the holes for the shelf brackets aren’t needed.
Once the wood filler is dry, sand it smooth.
Because I want to paint the laminate shelves, I make sure to sand the laminate finish to rough it up before painting.
Wipe the shelves clean with a damp rag.
I use a paint brush to apply my Primer. First I brush on a thin coat and then I let it dry for two hours.
Then, I apply a second coat of primer. To ensure maximum adhesion, I let that dry over night.
To finish up the shelves, I use two coats of paint in the soft yellow color Corn Stalk
step 7- shingles and chimney
Finally, the roof needs to be finished up to complete this project.
To add shingles to the roof, I first take a ruler and mark the roof every 1″ starting at the bottom and working my way up.
Then, I apply construction adhesive in a thin bead right below the pencil line.
One by one, I put on the shingles making sure to line the top of each one with the pencil line.
To trim the shingles, I just use an exact-o knife. I score the top and then snap them where needed.
Once the roof is fully shingled, add a chimney to the peak of the roof. I painted the bricks on mine white.
To attach it, use construction adhesive. There were some gaps along the peak so I used caulk to close those spaces. Last, I let the caulk dry so I can paint over it to ensure matches the white chimney.
And here is the finished bookshelf dollhouse! It might just be my cutest dollhouse project yet. I think it’s the roof!
I keep looking at the cute shelf in the corner- I LOVE it!
It’s so nice to have Don’s stuff he loves in such a pretty presentation. I really appreciate that the bins fit perfectly.
We were actually able to fit in 6 MORE bins. Which means that we can store the Lego better. My son plays with these daily and so I really am happy it’s even better now.
The top of the bookshelf is a little dollhouse situation. There’s a mini bed, chair, and fireplace. It’s so cute and right at eye level to play. All of the dollhouse furniture is from miniatures.com.
I love the combination of play, function with the storage, and beauty.
Yes, the dollhouse shape is more for me. But my son thinks it’s cute too. So I call that a win!
Here’s how much it cost to make the Bookshelf Dollhouse-
I had some supplies on hand. Here’s what I bought-
- Billy Bookcase $39
- Running Trim for Roof Line $25
- Baseboard Trim for Base (5′) We spent $6 (would normally be $9 for the 5′- we had some on hand)
- Wood Trim for Facing (optional) $22
- 4′ Pine Board 1″x12″ (the actual size is ¾” x 11 ½”) for the roof $13. We used plywood we had on hand
- Bead Board (for back of roof) $9. We had this in our garage as well.
- Primer $16 I had this in my stash.
- Paint- Corn Stalk $7
- Screws #8 x 1-1/2″ (for roof) $13
- Construction Adhesive $10
- Shingles $45
- Chimney $18
For this project, we spent $100 on supplies. If we needed to buy all the supplies, it would’ve cost $214. Which is much less than the $799
In conclusion, I’m really happy with how this turned out! It adds to our little village of houses in this room. The bookshelf dollhouse is seriously so cute- I love it! What do you think of it? Do you like the yellow color? Let me know what you think in the comments.
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