DIY Dollhouse Bookcase

DIY Pottery Barn Kids Dollhouse Bookcase


Last week I shared our baby girl’s nursery and promised a tutorial for building a dollhouse bookcase.  When I was on bed rest and browsing Pinterest to plan a nursery, I found this adorable dollhouse bookcase (inspired by Pottery Barn’s version) that I quickly fell in love with.  Once we found out we were having a little girl, I begged Prince Charming to a DIY version of the Dollhouse Bookcase.  I found plans on Ana White, which we modified slightly.  In total, we spent around $150 on wood and other materials.  This is less than half of the Pottery Barn price!  We chose to buy real wood for the entire bookcase, but you could easily save much more by using MDF.

Want to make your own dollhouse bookcase?  This version is even better than the Pottery Barn version because it is made with REAL wood and all the edges are capped, giving it a more finished look.  We used a beadboard wainscoting for the back, which I prefer.

Okay, let’s get started…

First of all, download the plans for the Dollhouse Bookcase from

Next, you’ll need to gather your supplies.  In addition to all of the supplies on the shopping list for the plans, you’ll also need:




1.   Set out all of your lumber.




 2.  You may want to use a framing square to mark your board prior to cutting.




 3.  After cutting your lumber, use the plans to outline where to cut the windows. You will use a jigsaw for this.



4.  Match the boards together so that the windows are cut out evenly.




5.  While using the jigsaw, you may want to drill pilot holes for the sawblade to enter.




6.  This view shows you how the front baseboard should overlap the side baseboards.





 7.  You will use a miter saw, much like this DeWalt version, for the majority of your cuts on this project.



8.  Use a circular saw to cut out the wainscoting backboard. This will allow for a nice straight cut.




9.  After the wainscoting backboard has been cut, apply glue to the backside of each shelf.  Then use your nail gun to tack it together.




10.  Building the windows can be a bit more tricky. You will want to make sure that these windows fit just right.




11.  As you can see, two nails per side were used to fasten the windows. Once they were nailed together, install them using a nail gun


capping on shelves

**This is where our version deviates from Ana White’s plans.  To make it appear more finished, we capped all the edges with 1 x 2 moulding.  You’ll need to measure each edge to get it exact and then use your nail gun to attach the capping onto each edge.



12.  Once you’re done using your nail gun, you will want to go back and set the nails that did not sink below the surface of the wood. Once you’ve countersunk, then you are ready to fill the holes with wood filler.  I used regular Elmer’s Carpenter Wood Filler.




13.  Once you have sanded all of the areas that you filled with wood filler, you are ready to prime. Using a roller, prime all the surfaces with an oil-based primer, since you are priming bare wood.  You will definitely want to do this in an area that is well-ventilated, as oil-based primer puts off a strong odor.




 14.  Lightly sand all areas after the primer is dry.



15.  Use molding and trim caulking on all edges to provide a clean look.




 16.  Apply the first coat of paint. Let dry, sand and apply a second coat of paint.




 17.  Apply painters tape to the areas around the windows and doors.




 18.  Then you’ll be able to provide a different color on the windows and rooftop.




19.  Allow to dry and enjoy the finished product!  :)







I am in love.  I wish I had one of these.  :)












Horizontal bookcase



Be sure and check out the rest of our baby girl’s nursery!   



Shape Ornaments for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Shape Ornaments for Toddlers and Preschoolers


These Shape Ornaments were so simple to make and would be a great craft for toddlers and preschoolers learning to recognize shapes!  Little Brother enjoyed getting to decorate some ornaments for our tree while I was happy to sneak in a little learning.  :)

Here’s what you’ll need:  craft sticks, Elmer’s glue, paint (which we received compliments of, a paintbrush, ribbon, decorations, and a hot glue gun (or tacky glue).



1.  Glue your craft sticks in the shape you wish to make.  We made a triangle for a tree and a square for a present.




2.  Paint!









3.  We let the first coat dry and then painted a second coat.  Let dry completely.




4.  Start adding your embellishments.  We used leftover pom-poms from our pom-pom sorting activity.








 5.  Use your hot glue gun to add the ribbon to the back (and we added a bow on the front of our square “present”).












They look so cute on our Christmas tree!

DIY Sensory Table that looks like a Manger

Make your own sensory table that looks like a manger


This past summer our church adopted a new curriculum and completely (and permanently) transformed an entire wing of the church to look like Ancient Judea.  It is incredible.   Our small group was assigned the two and three-year old classroom with the theme “Away in a Manger”.  My very talented friend Kristen came up with the room design and the rest of us just pitched in here and there.

Our family signed up to provide the sensory table (which was supposed to look like a manger) along with a few other things.  We debated purchasing a pre-made table and then altering it to look like a manger, but ultimately decided to make our own using some weathered wood and two restaurant busing tubs.


  • 2 — 4 x 4 x 6 pieces of lumber
  • 2– 2 x 4′s
  • Miter Saw (for angled cutting)
  • Circular Saw (to cut out notches in 4 x 4′s)
  • Package of 2 1/2″ screws
  • Drill
  • 2 Plastic Heavy Duty Bus Boxes (we purchased ours at Sam’s Club near the restaurant supplies–they were $12 for a package of two)
  • Sandpaper (for sanding rough edges)






1.  Determine the desired height of your table.  Based on these measurements, cut the 4 x 4 posts using a miter saw at a 45-degree angle to create 4 angled pieces of equal length.







 2.  Determine the center of your “x” and set the depth on the circular saw to cut half the depth of the 4 x 4 post for each of your four pieces.  Once the cuts are made, take your hammer and tap the loose pieces out.




3.  After this is complete, you may need to sand or file to make a surface that can be interlocked with the identical piece.







IMG_2228 4.  Create a frame using the dimensions of your tub(s) and attach using screws and/or nails.  Once complete, screw the frame onto the interlocking “x” legs.












5.  To make the divider, measure the inside width of the tub and cut the board to fit.  This board will act merely as a spacer.  Below the board, screw a longer board to it, allowing an area to screw the board to the frame from the underside.






IMG_2233 6.  Insert your tubs and your manger sensory tub is ready!













Here is another area in the classroom (an obvious favorite).  :)




Of course, a barn wouldn’t be complete without wheelyCOWS (which Prince Lionheart graciously allowed us to purchase at cost).









Convert Your Train Table into a LEGO Table

Convert Your Train Table into a LEGO table


Little Brother has recently discovered a love for LEGOs, which has rubbed off on Big Brother as well.  For his birthday this week, we got Little Brother a large set of LEGOs (since the ones were mismatched pieces bought at a garage sale the summer before I started teaching to use for indoor recess).  As part of his gift, we also decided to convert the boy’s train table into a LEGO table.  They don’t play with the train table very much, but we weren’t ready to part with it entirely.  The best part about this upgrade is that the insert sits on top of the table, so it can be removed and used as a train table again whenever we want!

My parents gave the boys their train table for Christmas four years ago, so they don’t sell the exact table we have.  It is an Imaginarium Train Table (bought at Toys ‘R Us) and is very similar to this one.  We purchased a wooden board at a home improvement store and had them cut if for us, making this a relatively simple project.  If you’re looking for just a LEGO table, this won’t save you very much money.  But if you want to dual functionality of trains AND LEGOs, this upgrade is definitely worth it!  I think we spent about $70 total on this project.


Here’s what you’ll need:  a piece of MDF or other board cut to the specifications of your table (ours was 1/8″ wainscot marker board and measured 47 1/2″ x 31 1/2″),  Gray 15″ x 15″ LEGO building plates OR  10″ x 10″ LEGO building plates, a tarp, packing tape, and high-strength spray adhesive.  You’ll also want some LEGO pieces to help as you’re putting it together.



 1.  Remove all of the train tracks, buildings, bridges, etc. from your train table.  Store them in a plastic bucket and pull them out whenever your child tires of the LEGO table.  Measure your table and figure out how many LEGO building plates you will need.  We ended up using 7 total because we wanted to cover every inch of our train table.




2.  Purchase your board (most home improvement stores will cut it to your specifications for you, if you ask nicely).  :)




 3.  Place the board over the top of your train table.




4.  Lay out all of the building plates and start securing them together.




 DO NOT put the building plates flush up against each other!  Otherwise the LEGO pieces themselves will not attach at the joints.  Instead, you’ll want to use individual LEGO pieces to join 2 of the building plates together to see how they will accurately fit together.  As you can see in the picture above, there is a very small gap between the pieces.




5.  Cut the LEGO building plates, if necessary, to cover the entire surface of your LEGO table.  Believe it or not, regular scissors work just fine!




 Once again, piece the plates together by interlocking the LEGOs, especially on the corners.




6.  Use packing tape to secure the pieces together.









7.  Carefully flip the entire piece over (you’ll need two people for this step).




8.  Grab your adhesive spray.  We used 3M High-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive.




9.  Lay down a tarp or sheet and spray the entire backside of your LEGO board.









10.  Spray the entire surface of your MDF board as well.  Let the adhesive sit until it is tacky, according to the directions on the bottle.




11.  Very carefully lift the LEGO piece and place on top of your MDF board.  Use a rolling pin to press the board against the board and secure the adhesive.




12.  Let the table sit for a couple hours before attempting to use it.





Until now, I had no idea that LEGO Duplos will fit on top of the regular LEGO building plates!  Awesome!



This is my favorite feature…just clear off all the extra LEGOs into the drawer!



 Do you have a train table?  A LEGO table?

Alphabet Turkeys: Match Capital and Lowercase Letters

Alphabet Turkeys


Match capital and lowercase letters with these alphabet turkeys.  Use any word (like “Thanksgiving” or “Give Thanks”).  It is great reinforcement for matching capital and lowercase letters!  Or you can even help your child practice recognizing the capital and lowercase letters in his/her own name!


Name Turkeys


Here’s what you’ll need:  construction paper, a piece of cardstock (to make the template for the feathers), scissors, glue, and googly eyes (we received compliments of



 1.  Cut out your turkey body and use the cardstock template to make feathers in every color.





2.  Spell out “THANKSGIVING” with capital letters on each feather.





 3.  Spell out “thanksgiving” with lowercase letters on the body of the turkey (a semicircle cut from brown construction paper).









 4.  Have your child match the feathers with the capital letters to the lowercase letters on the body of the turkey.





 5.  Let your child decorate the turkey.  Ours has googly eyes, an upside-down beak, a smile, and some hair.  :)





 To create a turkey featuring your child’s name, follow the steps above.



































Check out more Thanksgiving ideas here and on our Thanksgiving Pinterest board!