The hype surrounding the Barbie movie may inspire you to create a Barbie Dream House for your child. (Or yourself, I understand that totally).
This hack involves transforming an IKEA BILLY bookcase into a convertible Barbie doll house. By adding some paint, carpet, and a few pieces of furniture, you can create a custom and very pink doll house that oozes signature Barbie style. It’s a sweet home that can be used for endless storytelling and role-play.
It’s a great way to repurpose old furniture and create a unique and personalized toy for your child. Incorporate as many play areas in this DIY dollhouse as you need and add another bookcase if you wish to further expand Barbie’s dream home. (Rooftop pool area with a slide?)
If you don’t have an old bookcase ready for upcycling, search Facebook Marketplace for a pre-loved one.
If you want to paint your dollhouse later on, it’s good to sand the different IKEA parts directly after unboxing.
Take exact measurements. My measurements are calculated for a house according to the size of a BARBIE doll, as laid out in the plan above. If you want to build a house for toys with a different size, you might have to adjust your measurements. This is my vision for Barbie’s dreamhouse. You can adapt it to suit your style and how your kids play.
If you keep the frame of the original bookcase untouched and build a roof on top instead, you can convert the dollhouse back into a bookcase when your child outgrows the Barbie phase.
A) vertical boards
Reposition the anchor holes (8 mm and 5 mm) in the side walls 20 centimeters further down (respectively 19,8cm if you prefer to have some scope for putting in the dividing wall later on). Also, mark the depth of the holes on your drill.
On one of your side walls mark a cut edge 13 centimeters further down, and when sawing keep the excess piece in order to construct the terrace of the house.
Mark windows in the side walls as well as maybe a door in the dividing wall (= extra shelf) where and however you like them.
Also, mark a cut edge on the backboard 20 centimeters further down.
Don’t forget to mark a new dent on the backboard for fixing to the wall.
If you want to put in the dividing wall on the second floor of Barbie’s house, it’s a good idea to move the new dent sideways.
B) Horizontal boards
As you move the original top board further down to contain the construction of the shelf, one of the two middle shelf boards is going to be your convertible roof. Mark its cut edge at 69 cm, if you opt for a 13 cm terrace.
STEP 2: DRILLING AND SAWING
Drill 2×4 new anchor holes (20cm respectively 19,8cm further down, 8mm and 5mm in diameter, mark the depth of the original holes on your drill).
Saw the 13cm cut edge on one of your side walls, save the excess piece.
Saw the 20cm cut edge and the new dent on your back wall.
Shorten your new roof to 69cm by using the saw.
Saw windows and doors wherever you like them.
And last but not least, use the excess piece of your back wall to construct two lining disks for your saloon hinges as you are going to fixate them against the manual later on.
STEP 3: BUILDING
Build the outer frame of the BILLY bookcase following the steps in the IKEA assembly manual.
STEP 4: MODIFYING
Take the 13cm excess piece of your shortened side wall and fix it in its corner as a floor plate for your new terrace. I used screws and glue, just to be sure.
By the way, hot glue and a cutter knife are your best friends against all kinds of unwanted holes or gaps!
STEP 5: MAKE IT COLORFUL
Paint your row house as well as the middle board and the extra shelf in the desired colors. Better buy too much than too little paint, as you might have to touch up some scratches later on. First, clean up the surfaces with a damp cloth and let them dry. Then start with a coat of Primer, followed by the top coat of your choice. Naturally, we chose pink.
Use self-adhesive foil to embellish the floor of your row house’s middle board. The foil also makes for easy clean-up.
After having painted and pasted everything, build the middle board into the vertical middle of the row house according to the IKEA Manual. Use the 8th respectively the 10th (counting from the bottom) predrilled attachment holes in the side walls.
Turn your extra shelf into a dividing wall by attaching it to your chosen framing horizontal boards. I predrilled holes and used screws to do so.
STEP 7: CARPETS
You can make beautiful carpets out of IKEA table runners (GULLIRIS and MÄRIT in my case). I used glue to keep the cut edges from fraying.
Use double-faced adhesive tape to attach your new carpets to your desired floors.
STEP 8: SALOON HINGES FOR A CONVERTIBLE ROOF
The last step is the trickiest one, as you have to mount the saloon hinges to your higher side wall and your new roof board. This step is not found in the IKEA manual.
In order to find the right angle best try out all constructing possibilities according to my pictures, then use the two lining disks you sawed out of the back wall’s excess piece to get the perfect fit for the saloon hinges.
When the roof is in place, it creates a triangle space large enough for a loft bed. For more access, flip the roof over and play.
We used the bottommost shelf as the living room with a sofa, coffee table, and other toy furniture pieces. The second level has a kitchen and dining table with seating. Next to it, we situated the bathroom room with a tub. The roof is Barbie’s room with an “outdoor terrace”. We’re still debating whether to add closets for Barbie’s clothes, which are way too many.
Your new doll house is complete. This only leads to the question: Do we make one for Ken?