Dollhouse Bookshelves

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Project by McLeanVA posted 02-18-2009 07:05 PM 10122 views 12 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When asked what type of bookshelves my wife wanted for our daughter’s room, she pointed me to a dollhouse bookshelf from Pottery Barn Kids. Really fun concept of melding the playfulness of a doll house with the multi-tiered storage capability of a standard bookshelf. I took the overall dimensions from the catalog and used a scaled ruler to get the basic measurements from the photo and began cutting oak plywood (only because I had a sheet on hand). At first I was planning on staining it, so I edge-banded the raw front edges. As I began assembly, I decided I’m going to paint it white to match the bed I recently made her. Roof is a simple 30 degree angle. Door and windows are routed with 1/2 inch straight bit.

I’m excited to finish it and see how she utilizes it. I’m guessing the shelves will be cleared off daily to make room for dolls and I’ll be picking up books before bed. I’ll get some more pics up as I finish sanding and priming.

In retrospect, MDF would have been totally acceptable for materials, but at least it feels sturdy enough to withstand the abuse she’ll no doubt give it.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

13 comments so far

View firecaster's profile


573 posts in 3446 days

#1 posted 02-18-2009 07:43 PM

Great idea. She’ll love it.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#2 posted 02-18-2009 08:00 PM

Great project for a girls room!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Rotceh's profile


231 posts in 3475 days

#3 posted 02-18-2009 08:34 PM

great job, only need a lot of books,and toys. I think your daughter is lucky to have a father like you.

-- Work is my road to knowledge,Curiosity is my fellow traveler. El trabajo es mi camino al conocimiento, la curiosidad es mi compañero de viaje. Héctor

View LocalMac's profile


281 posts in 3433 days

#4 posted 02-18-2009 09:31 PM

I like the concept. It looks great so far, can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- Don't tell her I'm in the shop!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#5 posted 02-19-2009 02:42 AM

looks like a good project for a little girl’s room. If you need to divivde up the shelves a little smaller, you can always add furnature.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View rooster's profile


116 posts in 3965 days

#6 posted 02-19-2009 02:10 PM

Great Job! I am actually working on one of these too. My wife gave me the same specs as yours. Pottery Barn Kids could keep me busy for years.

View happy_budah's profile


137 posts in 3826 days

#7 posted 02-19-2009 05:10 PM

there mus tbe cooo going on i was asked to make one for a friend i was going to use poplar. Would oak ply wood be better/ more durrable?

-- the journy of a thousand miles begins with a single step " Lou-Tzu"

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3462 days

#8 posted 02-20-2009 03:54 PM

@happy_budah – I’m sure poplar will work fine so long as your joints are strong. I used my router to rabbet out 3/4” grooves on all of the joints to add extra support and glued them in place before hitting them with the brad nailer. Pottery Barn uses MDF for theirs, so I’m guessing anything will work. There aren’t too many unsupported lengths to worry about structurally. I have actually considered adding a base to the bottom and concealing a 2×4 in the middle of the bottom shelf to keep it from warping over time if there are a lot of heavy items stored there. I tend to over-engineer everything I build, as I’m not skilled enough at this point to make showpiece furniture. I figure if it can take a beating and last for years, my efforts are well worth it.

If you use poplar, please post some photos. I’d love to see how it turns out.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#9 posted 02-20-2009 04:20 PM

A great design. Nice job on the construction.

Keep us posted with construction blog postings.

You can search on the web for wallpaper for dollhouses and print off full sheets of paper for printing wallpaper on your printer. Also kitchen supplies and laundry.

It’s surprising to me that I hadn’t thought of that before. The web site that I found is in Peterborough Ontario. 12 miles from where I grew up as a kid.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3462 days

#10 posted 02-20-2009 05:50 PM

@Karson – Wallpaper printing is a great idea. I’ll check online to see what I can find. I had also considered a 1/4 MDF back with different fabrics glue on to create varying wallpaper for the rooms.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View tmiller's profile


103 posts in 3340 days

#11 posted 05-12-2009 08:32 PM

Awesome job! Those things are $400 on and theirs aren’t even rabbeted. I think you could make a living on those. Thanks for the post.


View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3604 days

#12 posted 05-12-2009 08:51 PM

cute design well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View BreadWinner's profile


16 posts in 2276 days

#13 posted 04-02-2018 02:30 PM

great job! looks store bought but I’m sure much cheaper than pottery barn lol

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