Updated: Jun 21
I had decided a while back that I was going to make my Niece a dolls house type suitcase thing. I just wasn't sure how to attempt it or whether to make a doll or buy one. Then I came across Cloud Tree Crafts on Instagram and the decision became a lot easier. Karen creates the most beautiful handmade CE tested toys including a very cute bunny rabbit that I thought would be perfect. I also saw she did a wolf and pig and since my little man is obsessed with the three little pigs I got him those for Christmas too. The beauty of small business is that there are real human beings behind the computer and we arranged to do a swap for one of my advent boxes, everyone is a winner! I sent Karen the material I had from the Craft Cotton Company so the bunny could coordinate with her house. Check out my site for fabric inspiration, you can currently get three for two on these fat quarters, while stocks last.
I have written this suitcase dolls house tutorial to go a long with the bunny. This project involves some sewing, some decoupage and a few other crafty skills but you can be as creative as you like. Most of the bits used, I found in my craft room so it was a good excuse to raid my stash. I have dipped in and out of this project and haven't taken much attention to how much time it has taken but it hasn't been a quick one. As the suitcase you use may be different, I have only given rough guides for measurements. This was the largest in a set of three I got from The Works.
YOU WILL NEED (a very long list of things)
Suitcase storage box
Doll or toy of your choice
Rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler
Mod Podge glue
Double sided tape
Needle and Thread
Pencils (or an image for the window)
Scrapbook picture frame
I started by making the mattress for bunny to sleep on. I had some cushion foam left over from another project that was just big enough. You can get this from your local haberdashery. I placed the suitcase on the foam and drew around it with a washable fabric pen. I cut it so it was slightly smaller and fitted inside the suitcase. Make sure you test it for size before you cut any fabric.
I then placed the foam on the fabric I used for the mattress and drew around the foam adding a 1/2" seam allowance.
I repeated this but added an inch and a half (the width of the foam plus a seam allowance) to the straight edge.
You will need one strip which is the same width as your foam and 1.5" tall.
You will need another strip, the same width but that will fit all the way around the other three edges. For me that was around 70cm and I had to join it to make it long enough.
Pin your longest strip to the curved edges of the smallest main piece and sew it in place.
With your smaller strip, hem the short edges. Hem one long edge. Sew the Velcro to the wrong side of the strip.
Hem the straight edge of the larger piece. Sew the other half of your Velcro onto the right side of the fabric.
With right sides together, sew your smaller strip to the straight edge of the smaller piece you sewed first.
Now pin your larger piece to it, all the way around the edge and where it overlaps, pin it to the short edge, see the picture below. It will create a box shape.
Turn it to the right way, insert your foam and seal with the Velcro, Check that it fits!
Cut a piece of fabric 8.5" x 9". This is the back. For the front, piece two fabrics together to make it to the same size. Sew some giant ric rac over the join. I have lots of pretty ribbon and ric rac you can pick from here.
Pin the two pieces right sides together and sew, leaving an opening to turn it to the right way.
Cut a piece of thick wadding as the duvet, just smaller than the duvet so it fits snug inside. Insert it and sew the opening closed.
PILLOW AND CUSHION
For the pillow cut two pieces 4 x 5.5".
I found this amazing trim in my stash so I basted it to the edges of one piece. You could use lace or pom pom trim as an alternative or skip this and keep it simple.
Pin the two pieces right sides together, leave a small gap to turn it the right way round. Clip the bulk out of your corners as pictured.
Turn the cushion to the right way and stuff it with your toy stuffing. Sew the opening closed.
The little scatter cushion was really simple. It was two 2.5" square pieces sewed together with a cute ribbon shaped button I had in one of my jars.
Bunny is already looking at home.
WALLS, WINDOW AND CURTAINS
I love decoupage and I have a good selection of papers. If you haven't done it before, you should definitely give it a go after this project. It was a wonderful coincidence that I had this paper in my stash.
Cut a piece of paper the same size as the wall. Apply a layer of Mod Podge to the wall and stick your paper to it. If you don't have decoupage paper, I am sure regular paper and Pritt Stick will do the trick too.
Apply another thin layer of glue over the top of the paper. I have matte finish glue so it doesn't have a PVA shine when it dries.
I searched through all my sewing magazines for an image I could use as a window scene but all the adverts were too small. If I read any other magazines I am sure I could have found something but in the end I gave in and drew a very simple garden scene. It was 4 x 5". I cut some white card as a window frame and glued it on top.
The picture frame came in a scrapbook set I got a while back, I just painted it and added some pearls. I used a picture of my Niece when she was our flower girl in the summer along side my little dude as Page Boy and Nanny. I used double sided tape to stick the picture to the frame and the frame to the wall.
Cut squares for your curtains. You will need to hem all 4 edges so make sure they will be long enough after. This was about 6" square for me. Gather the top edge.
For the curtain pole cut a strip of card the length of the window. Use a piece of left over decoupage paper to cover it.
When it has dried poke some holes every half cm on both ends using a thick needle and some blue tac. This is how I attached the curtains so only make the holes where the curtains will be sewn to. Hand sew your curtains to the cardboard.
Use strong glue to stick the window and picture frame in place. Stick your curtain pole on top of your window.
I used some ribbon to tie the curtains.
The last step is to help your lid stay up. I used some ric rac and my glue gun and attached one end of the ribbon to the inside of the lid and the other to the inside of the box.
I also happened to have some vintage keys from another project and a wooden tag I decoupaged for craft fairs so I have used that as the key and key ring. Assemble all the elements and your dolls house is complete.
If you give this tutorial a go, I would love to hear from you. All the pictures I get sent get featured on my Your Gallery page to help inspire others. Make sure you sign up to my mailing list for more free tutorials, 10% off your first order and new fabric updates.