Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Doll Clothes Armior

This is Kit.

She's a $100 doll from American Girls.  She's recommended for ages 8 and up.

This is Tessa.

She's my very destructive 7 year old who loves the American Girl books and who is cute, sweet and charming enough to get whatever she wants - despite my better judgement.

Tessa's getting Kit for Christmas.
The doll and her accessories make up the vast majority of her gifts.
I've spent much of the 3 months praying that Tessa will take good care of her doll, as she has sworn to do (should she ever receive one.) Praying that she'll not take her scissors or her markers or God knows what else to her very expensive dolly.  Because if she does, I cannot be responsible for what I might do to her.

I've also spent a good portion of the last 3 months working on a sort of armior for Kit's clothes and shoes - hoping that having a pretty place to put things will inspire my girl to keep things neat. Though it never has before.
I feel like this project took forever - first in the conception, then in the execution, and finally in taking a decent photo of the thing to post here. Ironically, creating the thing took FAR less time than the other two steps did

I looked and looked at the thrift stores for a cabinet that would work.  I had measurements, of course, and an idea of how I wanted it to work, but no real inspiration, other than the idea in my head.
I finally ended up with this piece - an old bathroom wall cabinet, solid wood and very heavy.

I removed the doors, sanded her lightly and painted her white, using Rustoleum Primer and Paint, of course.
I flipped her upside down and added a dowel to use as a clothes hanger.

Then I cut a piece of MDF to the width and length I wanted it, and had hubby give the ends a 45 degree angle so I could but them up against each other.  They got a coat of white paint, too.

I painted the doors and the front of the cabinet with butterflies, flowers, polkadots and squiggly lines...
trying to make it whimsical and little-girly...

To be honest, I'm not sure I love how it turned out.  I have very little artistic talent, and though I wanted it to be some gorgeous custom painted creation (a'la Miss Mustard Seed) it's just...not.

At this point I gathered all my pieces together...

And assembled it.

But it still looked a little...flat.
So I decided feet would help.
I picked up some unfinished wood pieces from the craft store. I think they are supposed to be for candlesticks to sit in?
I painted them white.

Then screwed them onto the bottom of the cabinet.

I plan to attach this to the wall in her bedroom - low enough that she can access it, of course - possibly resting on the floor. We'll have to see how it looks best. I just don't want it tipping over constantly.

The space in the top fits the doll perfectly.  It's like a little bed. So, if my darling daughter wants me to, I will make a little pillow to pit in the space and Kit can sleep there.

(the doll in the picture is a Target brand American Girl knock-off that Tessa has had for a few years.  It's the same size as the real deal.)

So - here it is!

I'm fairly happy with it as a storage piece, though I think my decorative painting could be improved upon. I'm just not sure how to do that. Doesn't matter anyway - this is how it will be on Christmas morning!  I am DONE for now!

(P.S. I forgot to paint the inside of the doors! By the time I realized it there was no way I was removing them to paint again, so I covered the insert in contact paper and left the outside the original oak.)

Linking up to DIY Day at ASPTL!


Margaret said...

Wow!! What a stunning transformation! I hope you don't mind if I share a link to your project on my blog!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

This is so cool. I actually have Kit (and Samantha, Molly, Kirsten and Addy). I hope I have a girl someday who will love them as much as I did when I was a kid. I treasured them, and would have loved this armoire.

I'm sure your daughter will feel the same.

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

Oh my! That us such a great idea and so well done. Very cute! If my daughter were younger and still played with her American Girls doll I would be copying your project!! Your daughter will love it! Merry Christmas!

Chellie said...

DARLING! She'll LOVE IT, I'm sure!!

Lucrecia said...

I think its adorable and I know she will love it!

Anny said...

What a gorgeous surprise - I have a feeling she will treasure the chest for many more years than the doll :)

Rebecca said...

What a wonderful idea! My girls (8,6,& 5) received the Target dolls for Christmas last year. I want them to each have a cabinet to put all their stuff in. This would be perfect!

Jennifer Juniper said...

This was such a great idea, and the fact that you spent so much time and care decorating it will mean so much to her...someday. It might be overshadowed by the doll at first, but she will LOVE it!

Rene said...

Adorable! What a treasure for a little girl.

Bellen said...

The armoire is beautiful and so special. I'm e-mailing it to my son so he can make one for my Granddaughter's birthday in February.

Cha Cha said...


Robin said...

That cabinet is BEAUTIFUL! Your handpainting is wonderful. this is something your daughter will treasure as she gets older.
What a special gift!

bec4 said...

Adorable! I have a 7 year old Tessa too, who loves her "American Girl" (Madame Alexander) dolls and clothes and accessories. She has a birthday coming up, might need to make something like this.

Joy said...

Hello Miss Brilliant! I am beyond impressed.

Sam said...

so how did she love it?
i am sooooooo soooooooo inspired i cannot wait to try and recreate this for my little ones and their american girl dolls!

Heather said...

Holy Cow!

Chloe needs this. Or two of them. Two would be better, that way the build-a-bear c, uhhh, I mean stuff will have a proper storage place as well!

What a great Mommy you are!

(As it happens, I have a post about the AG birthday party I threw for my daughter a few years ago posted on my blog! Just put it up today! If you feel so inclined, feel free to stop on by. No pressure though! Like, at all.)

Hannah said...

You did a wonderful job! I really like the painting--you don't need to worry a bit about it! I like the idea of it being hung/attached to the wall. My seven-year-old daughter would love the little space where the dolly can rest. How did she like it?

Get Real Girl said...

All three of my girls got American Girl Dolls for Christmas. I love this idea. Now I just need to find three of these!

Cheryl said...

0000000-MMMMMMMM--GEEEEEEE! I am so going to be looking for one of those ugly cabinets to make one of these for my grandaughter. Your amazing!

Shari said...

I posted this on my blog about dolls and daughters. Here's the link:

Beach Mama said...

I have a white cabinet just waiting for a transformation! Thanks for the inspiration.

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for sharing your project...I just found out about it on Shari's blog. My girls will be getting dolls for Christmas...this could be the perfect gift to go with. A place for every girl's doll and dolly stuff leads to less arguing...in theory, at least! :)

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