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Welcome, foolish mortals, to the tour of our Haunted Mansion dollhouse.
This project started because our three year old is obsessed with the Haunted Mansion and it's been his main focus for the whole time we've been stuck at home because of COVID-19. It started with ride-through videos on YouTube, progressed up to the Haunted Mansion picture book and Happy Hauntings Disney sing-alongs, and eventually turned into this fun Fisher Price dollhouse makeover.
We had a Fisher Price Loving Family Twin Time dollhouse that our son had lost interest in which seemed primed for a makeover. One of the platforms was cracked and it was missing a door, but otherwise the house and the furniture were all in good condition so after a little spray paint, we were able to create something pretty special.
The actual Haunted Mansion attractions aren't actually very spooky looking from the outside, but our house started with a big black spray paint makeover so the whole thing looks quite haunted.
/// Spray paint
/// Model paint
/// Glue, pipe cleaner, Sharpie (for Haunted Mansion clock)
/// Heavy weight printer paper (for wallpaper and other details)
/// Jewelry pendant trays (for photo frames in dining room)
/// Ghost figure
The project took a week to complete and my only big tips are as follows:
1 /// Work in a well-ventilated space. I had never used model paints before and seriously underestimated the fumes.
2 /// Keep perspective about the end goal. The Disney geek in me wanted to go full reproduction and make every room exactly like a different room in the attraction, but ultimately this was a dollhouse for a three year old and it needed to stand up to rough play. Keeping that perspective stopped me from stressing about whether it was "perfect" and made the process easier.
3 /// I achieved a lot of the staining on the kitchen and bathroom furniture by painting with the "dirty" thinner after I'd washed my brush in it a lot.
4 /// I made the wallpaper by importing images into Goodnotes on my iPad and cropping/pasting until I had a repeating pattern that was the right size. This is also how I made the portraits that sit inside the jewelry pendant trays.
5 /// The furniture was spray painted in one color and then lightly sprayed in a different chrome color accent. The plastic dolls were spray painted in beige and then lightly sprayed in bright white to give them a little depth. I did try to add glow-in-the-dark paint to them but it didn't really take.
More details from our Haunted Mansion doll house:
Since the dollhouse was completed, Felix has played with it almost every day. It sits in our front room with a basket of furniture and he moves the dolls around and has all sorts of adventures. We've added a few more accents, including some Halloween figures from Target and some 3D accents that a friend made just for the dollhouse, so he's got a lot to play with!
All in all, I loved this project and it made me want to pick up another secondhand Fisher Price dollhouse and do another makeover. What should the next focus be? The boy is also a pretty big fan of It's a Small World and the Pirates of the Caribbean...