I know we have all seen it in magazines or on social media: the haunting of the dollhouse.
The easy concept of turning an old foofy pink and white plastic doll house into a gothic spooky Halloween season home decoration has been all over the crafty influencers’ feeds for at least a couple of years, and we secretly (or not so secretly) want to do this.
Dollhouses have been around for a long, long time, and according to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y., some of the first were developed in the 1500s for the very rich in Europe to display their miniature wares. These play sets have evolved over time so they are more accessible to more people.
I remember my own dad wanting to build a dollhouse for me, the recommended materials he used were the splinter-y thin pieces of wood. He also used leftover latex house paint to paint it, wired a couple of teeny little fluorescent lights into it and called it good. It was still pretty cool, but it was too big to keep in the room. I had to go out to the garage to play with it.
Today, the folded-up plastic cheap dollhouses are so much more convenient, particularly since so many of them have a carry handle like a little piece of home-shaped luggage.
My oldest had one of those, but now that she’s a 21-year-old horror movie fan, we’re making it spooky. Here’s how easy it is:
Drag out that old folded up dollhouse, or hit a second hand store. It does not have to be in the best shape or even have any furniture. Once it is painted up it will look like a whole new house.
Grab a can of flat black spray paint and take it outside.
The bare minimum version of this looks cool on its own. Open up the house and spray it completely black, inside and out, and let it dry. Bring it in and place flameless votives, light sticks or small strings of LED lights inside for a great showpiece.
If you want to add a little something, glue some spooky little cheap school carnival plastic rings, or insects to it before painting it. It might look a little trashy at first with the bright neon colors glued on a big white, pink, or blue house. Once you spray over the entire thing in plain black, it blends together and looks like old, Victorian era architect went the extra mile in making their home look creepy.
Other things you could add are little plastic skeletons in the windows to add to the silhouette, or a few small pumpkins placed on the roof or porch area. If you don’t paint over the pumpkins, that little touch of bright orange gives it a nice edge.
Some incredible crafters have taken this project to the next level, and repainted all the accessories that came with for a full-furnished gothic home. Maybe I’ll give that a try some time. For now, a simple, haunting of the dollhouse will do.
Upcycle and repurpose an old, forgotten toy. Paint it black, light it up, and enjoy the creepy and quite peaceful glow.