Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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How to Make a Doll’s House Crib by Valerie Towers

You will need: 

Top of Shampoo /Shower gel bottle shaped like a boat

Or cut the bottom off a Shampoo or other suitable sized plastic container.



4  Map pins, short ones are best.  (If you only have long ones you will need some electrical sheathing or 4 long beads to slip over the pins once they are in place)

Super Glue, I use UHU

Sharp Knife and a cutting Board, I use a cheap wooden board

2” Bandage


A cork or foam sheet.

Narrow double sided satin ribbon


Fine fabric for Bedding and Drapes.   You need a piece of fabric long enough to go around the crib one and a half times or twice round if it is very fine, and slightly deeper than the crib is high.   Hem one long end.  Trim with lace if you wish.

Broderie Anglais with slots for threading ribbon.  If you have narrow Broderie Anglais sew it to the main fabric either over the fabric and treat the two layers as one or on the top edge.  It is the ribbon which holds the drapes in place. 

Another piece of Fabric for the sheet and mattress, and a piece for a cover.


1)    Start by trimming off the closing part of the lid and the ledge that supports it.  


If you are using a Radox Shower Gel Lid cut most of the middle out: 



but if you are using the bottom of a container there is nothing to cut off so you have a head start!  If you want to shape the container pop a rubber band around it and when you are satisfied with the shape cut around with a sharp craft knife using the band as a guide.



Then draw around the bottom of your crib on to a piece of paper to make a pattern for the mattress.


2)   Push the map pins in at the four corners and stick in place with Superglue.



3)   Slide the plastic sheathing or long beads over the pins on the inside of the cot, having first popped a bit of glue on the point of the pin.  This is to stop you stabbing yourself!  This is why short pins are best!  You can use beads or any short legs ie.  wooden duffle coat toggles cut in half, instead of map pins.


4)  Cut slices of cork to fill the gap inside at the head and foot of the cot behind the pins and glue down, (or foam from a washing up wipe).  The cork needs to be as thick as the pins are long.


  Build up the slices of cork until you are nearly level with the top of the covered pins. 


5 )  Next cut a length of bandage to go around the crib with a bit over (See picture above, with map pins). Cover the outside of the crib with glue, a bit at a time, and stick the bandage on to the crib so that you have enough to tuck inside (and underneath as well if you prefer).   If you tuck it underneath you will have to trim it around the legs.  You will need to glue it down inside as well. Trim off any excess bandage.  Leave to dry  thoroughly.  I put the bandage on to “kill” the green colour of the lid.  If your crib base is an acceptable colour don’t bother with the bandage, and proceed to step 11.



I stuck  a piece of folded bandage at the head of the crib to raise up the baby’s head.



6)  Now you need a piece of thin fabric, cut to size so it will fit inside the crib to cover the cork etc and cover the outside as well.  Put some glue here and there around the inside and press the fabric down into place.  I use my retractable knife with the blade closed to press the fabric against the sides and back of the crib to help it stick, and stop it sticking to me! 




7)  When the inside is stuck, fold the fabric over the sides and stick to the outside bandage layer, pleating neatly where necessary.  Wait until it is dry.



8)   Fold the long piece of Fabric in half and with the wrong side facing you,  join the short edges of your drape with a narrow seam.  Turn to right side.

9)  Fold the tube of fabric in half so that the seam you have just sewn is at centre back and mark centre front with a pin.



10)  Starting at centre front thread the ribbon through the Brod.  When you get back to the front, drop the drape over the crib and pull the ribbon to fit and tie in a double knot and a bow.  There should be a slight frill around and above the top edge of the crib.  Adjust the gathers to suit.



11)  If you left off the bandage layer, do steps 8 and 9 and run a gathering thread around the top edge of the drape.  Pull up gathers to fit around crib and secure threads. 


12)  Coat the inside edge of the crib with glue and starting at centre back, stick the drape around the inside of the crib folding it over from the outside to the inside edge, adjusting the gathers as you go.  Peg all around with clothes pegs and leave to dry.  Sometimes the pegs stick too so use plastic ones if you have them.





13)  To neaten the inside edge use a piece of narrow Petersham ribbon, satin ribbon will do or tape  and stick it round the inside over the gathering, best to start and finish at the inside foot edge, then the join is less obvious.




Then gather a piece of lace to trim around the top edge of the crib and stitch to the under drape. 


14)  Cut a mattress from your template that you took at the beginning and either stuff it thinly or use a thin piece of foam cut to size, I used a foam wipe from the kitchen; a new one!!!



Some adjustment may be necessary as the bandage has added some bulk now and the template may need cutting down to a smaller size. It’s easier to cut the template down than fiddle about trying to get the fabric to the right size.


You need two pieces of fabric right sides together, stitched three quarters around leaving enough room to push the sponge in.  When you have stitched around on the wrong side, leaving  a  gap, clip a few little cuts around the outside edge of the curves to make it sit better.  Turn to the right side, put the foam in and sew up the gap.





15)  A small bow to decorate the foot of the crib and a blanket, piece of white flannel, or any cover that you wish to make to keep your baby warm, and Hey Presto!  you have made a crib!  A bit more difficult than last month’s project but immensely satisfying.



I found it easier to find a baby to fit the crib than finding a lid/container bottom to fit the baby but it’s possible!



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