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The Super Fantastic Playhouse!

After much talk and not a lot of posting on this (other then cryptic "other project" mentions) as I worked on the half scale cottage.....I now can introduce you to the......THE SUPER FANTASTIC PLAYHOUSE 

I am not about gender stereotyping in kids, far from it!  Miss Kitty plays with anything and everything.  However, I know this little man enjoys his action figures, so I went with a more dark, gloomy house/layer then a traditional dollhouse.  As it turns out, its scaled somewhere between 1:12 and 1:16 quite by accident (or subconsciously).

All posters, signs and painted signs are sourced via Google searches.  All were for personal use, not for profit in any way.  I needed some inspiration and a starting off point, especially as I made 2 projects at once for Christmas gifts.

I structured this very long post by section to make it easier to read.  The final section has pictures with measurements drawn on to them should you be interested in trying something similar.

General Construction Materials

  • Pine wood boards
  • Square trim
  • Dowel
  • Thin wood trim
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Construction Adhesive
  • LePaige No More Nails Glue
  • Beacon Quick Grip Glue
  • Lots of Screws!
  • Wood Filler
  • Sand Paper
  • Paintable Caulking
  • Carpet Tiles

For my large wood pieces to form the base and several walls, I purchased inexpensive unfinished pine boards at Ikea (intended for shelves) and pine shelf board at Home Depot.  Ikea was much cheaper then Home Depot for the wood, and the boards at Ikea had the knots removed and filled!

The wood dowel, small trim and long square strips (i.e. window trim, the stairs, etc) were purchased at arts and craft stores, such as Michael's and DeSerres.  Hobby and model making stores sell this smaller scale of wood too.

All glues and adhesives were purchased at Home Depot and Walmart.  Quick Grip glue is generally found in the craft sections of stores, such as Walmart and Michael's.  The wood filler was used to fill in the countersunk screws and then sanded flush.  The paintable (non-silicone) caulking was used to fill in gaps between walls, etc.  Filling in holes gives a nice clean finish!

ALL walls were secured together with a bead of construction adhesive and several screws per wall.  this step IS NOT excessive.  Though I don't advise lifting it by the structure and not the base, it is strong enough to hold up.  It will also hold up against kids leaning on it, slamming into in and hopefully tipping it over.  But the wide base should help keep it upright.

The underside of the base has several thin loom carpet tiles glued to it using construction adhesive.  The thin industrial carpet doesn't scrape the floor nor will it pick up every dust bunny on your floor!


The entire structure was base coated in Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.  Priming is a MUST especially with pine.  This seals the wood, allows for good top coat adhesion and improves overall durability.  I use this Zinsser primer on almost everything and it works miracles!

The initial coats of paint were variations of grey Behr interior paint in eggshell and flat finishes.  Some colours were leftover paint and some I found for next to nothing in the "mistakes" shelf at the paint store.  Also, consider using the sample size pots of paint if you need just a bit for this project!

You could stop right there.  It's painted.  But, if you want the old, worn, dilapidated look I went for, continue on!

I used cheap craft paint from my dollar store for most of the aging, DecoArt Black and DecoArt Brown.  I applied it with paper towels, waited for 45 seconds (give or take), then would wipe it off, leaving some behind.  Not liking it? wash it off quickly.  You can also dry brush on the paint or apply it as a wash with a damp paper towel.  Keep at it until you get the look you want.

For some of the fine details I used Testors model paint (oil based) or any paint intended for model making (boats, cars, etc.).  They have great colours like Rust, Flat Aluminum, Gloss Aluminum, Olive Drab, Steel Flat, etc. all great for adding age and real wear to areas such as pipes and fans.

The entire playhouse was sealed with 2 cans worth of FLAT clear coat spray paint from Rustoleum.  I like flat because it doesn't interfere with the worn out look of my paint.  Gloss or semi-gloss might look too fresh and clean.  Beware of your paint types!  Ensure it is a oil based clear coat especially if you have used oil based paints.


If I had to cost this entire project out it could come close to $400!  But I doubt you would ever need to spend that....that's only if you started with absolutely nothing in your house that you could use.  

Most of the big wood pieces I used was scrap that I had in my basement, some came from an old work bench I had dismantled.  I already had the paints and much of the small wood pieces from making miniatures.  But you can use any handy materials you like.....paint can turn trash into a masterpiece.  Crafting stores often have great coupons.  Many small hardware stores sell wood dowels, round and square, in various sizes.  Be creative and keep your eyes open!

For example:

  • The posts the building is elevated on - (3) $2 wood at Home Depot
  • Grass - 1 sheet astroturf from the dollar store $1
  • Fans - $1 and $2 computer CPU fans on Ebay from China
  • Carpet on bottom - (2) $1.50 carpet tiles from a discount store


The 8 elevating posts have 2 screws each on each end.  16 total from the building floor into each post and 16 total through the base into each post.  Plus construction adhesive on both ends of each post.  Excessive?  Well, not if you want to ensure its build like a rock!

The grass is regular astroturf that is painted with brown patches.  Glued down with construction adhesive too!


The fake boarded up window was a last minute add on!  But it looks great.  The boards are dollar store coffee stir sticks. I pre-painted them, then glued them,  followed by further aging with a brown wash.

Left Side

The lights are a great dollar store find! They are not lights at all, but rather these plastic things you attach to your car that make a sound to scare away deer.  They looked like lights to me AND I could screw them on for added durability.

Right Side

I decided to forgo hanging a rope because I feared it would not hold up over time.  Instead I went with the wood dowel as a pipe that people could scale to enter or exit.  I drilled a shallow hole into the roof and into the base where the dowel would be placed (this was the last step before I permanently adhered the legs to the wood base too!).  Only 1 screw went in via the base, but I glued the dowel into the holes on both sides.

Open Side

The large open side has 4 points of access for play figures; the ladder from the base, the ladder from the roof, the front window and the side window (with the pole to help).  The roof is not as deep as the floor.  This allows kids to play further into the structure without cutting light and space to get into the playhouse.


The roof features access via the built in ladder on the interior wall.  The "air conditioning" fan is a $2 computer fan from Ebay painted for realism.  The signs are from Google images.  The "beware" was written using a paint pen.


Posters are Googled images.  The pipes are round wood dowel cut, glued and screwed together at a 45 degree angle to simulate real pipes.  A screw was used as a "knob."  The wall fan is a $1 computer fan from Ebay that was painted.

The couch is constructed from 2 wood rectangles glued and screwed together in an "L" shape.  It is covered in black ultra suede and stuffed with pillow filler.  The fabric was sprayed with a stain resistant spray like 3M Scotchgard for durability.  It was glued into place.  The flower pot is from Michael's and glued and screwed into the wood square table (also glued to the floor) 


The boxes in the loft are non opening.  They were originally one long 3ft square wood dowel.  I just sliced it down into box sizes!  All the detail and hardware is just paint.


The computer screen is 1 large rectangle of craft wood.  I sanded it and primed it which is key because you are gluing images to it and a smooth surface ensures a clean end result.  I then used Google images to find computer screen images.  I took the 5 images and then butted them up against each other in Microsoft Word and played around with the size to get it to fit my wood piece.  I glued the single large image to the wood using Mod Podge and then sealed it with 2 coats of Mod Podge.  The same process goes for the control panel or keyboard.

The CPU is a square wood block painted black and features some of the same images from the screen and control panel, also applied the same way.  The wires extending from it were originally from the 2 CPU fans I used elsewhere.


Wonder what all you various dolls and figures would look like in this playhouse....well, here are Calico Critters (Sylvanian Family), Disney princesses and vintage Ghost Buster figures!


Click the image for a larger version to better see the measurements.

Interior View

Front View

Left Tall Side

Base Pillars

Short Right Side With Dowel