I’ve seen some really great painted plastic dollhouses on the web lately, and I’d been itching to give it a try myself. It was perfect timing when I came across one already ‘in the family’. Follow along with me as I paint a plastic dollhouse!
The Set Up:
My significant other’s parents picked up this great Fisher Price dollhouse second hand for their granddaughter. She had already been playing with it for years before I entered the scene. The afternoon visit that both she, her dollhouse, and I were all present was in late September of 2019. I had my eye on it most of the afternoon. When she had stepped away from the house to go play with something else, I swooped in and started imagining all the ways to rearrange her furniture.
Later in the evening when it was clear she was done, I took a turn. Kids must have some sort of internal alarm bell for when their toys are being played with without them. That kid came running back and we had a disagreement about who could play with it. She happens to be an only child, so sharing isn’t her strong suit yet. Luckily, her mom is aware of this and made her let me take a turn. The whole time she sat there pouting and asking if my time was up yet, and telling me I was arranging it ‘wrong’!
Well, when I was about three quarters of the way done rearranging, she finally came around. She started watching and asking why I was putting things where I was. I explained and she liked a bunch of my ideas! The next time her grandparents brought it out, she used some of my room ideas instead of the way she had always arranged it for years. Validation!
After she and her parents left for the evening, hubby and I spoke with his dad about possibly adding some new floors to the house, or 3D printing new doors or maybe even painting it a bit to spiff it up further for her. Her grandmother was very uneasy about making any changes. She claimed her granddaughter doesn’t handle change well. I promised to do only a very subtle paint job – nothing serious, and if the kid hated it, I’d scrape all the paint off. I would not be deterred from my goal to paint a plastic dollhouse!
With the dollhouse in tow, we headed home. I worked on it for the next month or so. I painted trim and repaired furniture, added pieces she needed from my own collection, and we kicked around the idea of doors for a long time. The addition of extra floors was quickly scrapped, due to simply having the wrong material. Her granddad had cut some scrap wood to just the right size, but it was too thick to really be usable.
On to Painting:
Most of the internet projects I’ve seen lately where they paint a plastic dollhouse, they take the whole house apart and spray paint it. As I’d promised to not make big changes, I couldn’t do it. Instead I was left with only doing detail painting with a small brush. I used my standard paint pots containing regular wall paint. Because there was a chance I’d have to scrape all the paint off, I did NOT primer the house first as one should if they want their paint job to last.
Painting the Inside Windows:
I spent the most time on trim painting. Her dollhouse had lots of really intricate molded-in details, but as it was all cast in yellow plastic, most of it went unnoticed. The manufacture had originally molded about half of the windows white. I don’t know why they only did half, but likely cost was a factor. It seemed pretty arbitrary to me. I went ahead and painted all trim white. Exterior windows, interior windows, and door molding. I wanted to do the baseboards and crown molding too. Keeping her grandmother’s warning in mind, I only painted what I thought was the ‘bare minimum’. I would have LOVED to paint the quoining or the brick on the outside, but that would have been a BIG change.
Painting the Outside:
The bottoms of the bay windows were weirdly painted green, liked the bushes below them. Trying to make everything cohesive, I found purple paint that was very close to the purple of the doors. It was a bit darker, but contrast is interesting, right? I was trying to not spend any money on this project, and I wanted to test out painting a plastic dollhouse. I also painted the upstairs shutters purple and some of the trim work in the attic. The thing that took the longest to paint, but in my opinion makes the biggest impact, is the white fencing along the roof. That took forever. So many curved surfaces, and it was all so tiny. I have no idea how I don’t have a photo of that!
The last thing I did was print out some of my downloadable flooring PDFs. I used a white tile and a wood floor. I made double sided pages and laminated them. She could swap them around and have wood or tile on any of the floors. The kitchen and bathroom looked great with the tile floors. Since those rooms aren’t always in the same room in her house, I didn’t want to limit her options.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my project and would love to paint another plastic dollhouse in the future. Shortly after this project I picked up a small Littlest Pet Shop dollhouse playset and have made plans to turn it into the cutest little half scale shop. Stay tuned for that project!