DIY Barbie House. How to build a DIY Barbie house for your Barbies to play in. Add your own Barbie furniture and decor for the perfect gift. Includes three levels with four rooms, plus ideas for how to decorate the house with furniture.

For my daughter’s birthday, we built a DIY Barbie house. If you follow along with me on Instagram, you will have already seen some sneak peeks way back in January! Today I will walk you through how to build a Barbie house.

DIY Barbie House Bookshelf - plans on how to build your own Barbie house

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I was struggling to figure out what to get my daughter for her birthday. At the last minute, I decided it would be really cool to purchase a Barbie house for her. I looked online but they all came furnished. I didn’t want one with too much furniture because I had saved all my Barbie furniture from when I was little and wanted to use it in the house.

Buy a Bookshelf Pre-Made: So, my next solution was to convert a bookshelf into a Barbie house. We found the perfect bookshelf online – great price and the perfect size for the furniture. This is a GREAT option if you plan ahead or do not do much DIY building yourself!

We found it on Amazon, but it was going to take WAY too long to ship to us since this was so last minute. There was no way to get it in time for her birthday party. Luckily, I have a patient husband who usually goes along with my insane ideas, and I suggested to him that we could build one ourselves.

DIY Barbie House


I drew out a sketch based loosely on the dimensions of the bookshelf I found online and headed to Lowe’s. We used MDF to build the house. They come in 4 foot by 8-foot sheets for less than $35. I drew out how we could get the whole thing out of one sheet of MDF. We had one of the employees at Lowe’s do all the cuts for us.

Sketch for Barbie house wood cuts

Note: You can use these plans to construct your Barbie house, but instead of the shelves being 32″ x 12″, make them 32″ x 11.25″. 

We got home and we assembled the basic shape of the house/bookshelf. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the shelf depth. I didn’t take into account the fact that there was a piece of MDF on the backside, so each of the shelves was sticking out a bit.  Instead of being 12″ deep, the shelves should have been 11.25″ deep to account for the 3/4″ MDF in the back.

Building Barbie house

Mis-measured wood on Barbie house

As you know, we were on a time crunch and we didn’t have time to disassemble it or mess with the tools to cut the boards. I instead decided to trim out the edges and the top to make it all look cohesive. I actually like that I had to add the trim because the “house” looks more finished.

Trim Around Edges of House

Below are the inside and outside trim around the side edges of the house.

Detail of Barbie house trim

Outside Barbie house trim

Lastly, below is the top edge. I used an inexpensive piece of baseboard we had leftover from doing our kitchen.

Top and side trim of Barbie house DIY

Top trim of Barbie house

Paint the Barbie House

Then, it was time to paint. I decided to paint it white as a nice, blank slate for decorating. It took several coats. I used a small roller and an angled paintbrush to cover it all.

Painting the Barbie house

Painting Barbie house

Painted Barbie house

Decorate the Barbie House

Once the paint dried, I was able to start decorating. So far, Olivia only knew that Daddy was building Mommy a bookshelf. She had no idea it was her new Barbie house. I had to wait until the night before her party to do the finishing touches on the decorating so I could hide it from Olivia. The house had been sitting in the middle of our living room so far.

Barbie House Flooring

I used woodgrain contact paper for the “wood floors”. I used a few small carpet squares cut down to carpet the bedroom and living room. I also used shelf liner to look like tile in the bathroom.

DIY Barbie house flooring

Wall Coverings for Barbie House

I purchased scrapbook paper and vinyl from Jo Ann’s to decorate the walls with. I used vellum in the upstairs bedroom behind the bed. I used scrapbook paper in the upstairs bedroom and the living room. In the kitchen, I found a really fun sparkly pink vinyl to attach to the side wall.

Barbie House Roof Top

Barbie house roof top

Barbie House Bedroom

Barbie house bedroom and baby's room

Barbie House Bathroom and Bedroom

Barbie house bathroom and bedroom

Barbie House Living Room and Kitchen

Barbie house living room and kitchen

80’s Barbie Furniture

The roof has my old hot dog stand and some patio furniture.

Barbie house hot dog stand

Barbie house patio furniture

The next level down has a bed, armoire, and all the baby furniture.

Barbie house rose bedroom

Barbie house baby room

Below that is a bathroom and another bedroom. I had the shower, but I purchased the little toilet as part of a set.

Barbie house bathroom

Barbie house bedroom with canopy bed

The very bottom level is the living room and kitchen. The kitchen furniture is also new as part of the Barbie furniture set I bought.

Barbie house living room

Barbie house kitchen

I made some little picture frames using scrapbook frames and different scrapbook sticker quotes I found. I didn’t go overboard because at some point when Olivia gets a little older I would love for her to be able to add her own special touches to the house.

Barbie house DIY artwork

Barbie house DIY picture frame

She was so excited when she got to pull the sheet off and see the new house at her party! Even my son was excited to see it all finished.

Handmade Barbie house build

I am hoping this will be great for her to play with for years to come. I know I played with my Barbies long after most of my friends. And at some point, when she is no longer interested in Barbies, it will make a great bookshelf for her room. The only thing we may still do is add some feet to the bottom, so it doesn’t sit right on the floor.

DIY Barbie House build plans

Did you play with Barbies when you were little? I created a Barbie house in shelves in my closet when I was younger and that is actually what inspired this whole project!

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18 Comments on DIY Barbie House

  1. Laura this is AWESOME! I love that you built it all from scratch and added your own furniture to it. What a wonderful gift for your daughter. I’m in love with it – it makes me want to sit and play with Barbie’s again!

    We would love for you to link this up with us at Living Well Spending Less! You can link up any of your thrifty projects each Thursday – we would love to have you join us!

  2. This is just too cute. My daughter is starting to ask for barbies, and this is way cuter than the houses you buy at the store! Pinning this… I’m sure I’ll be building one some day!

  3. This is awesome! My little girl would love it. I’m OMGing the Hot Dog stand because I have the same one tucked away in the attic for when she gets a little older! And I used to have that tub with the working shower, but it was blue I think. Memories abound on all the vintage goodies :)

    • Thanks so much! (I tried to email you back but couldn’t find one for you.) It has been so much fun pulling out all my own stuff and adding some items I always wished I had. I always wanted the yellow A-frame house that they had when I was younger but created my own Barbie “house” on the built in shelves in my closet. That is partly what inspired this project! :)

  4. sooooooo cute! My Hubs made our daughters a barbie house, but it never got decorated, makes me want to do it now! Stopping by from Sugar Bee.

  5. Wow! Great work!

    I found your site looking for ideas because I’m planning to built a Barbie house for my daughter and giving it at Christmas. I still have a lot of my old Barbie furniture, but I didn’t manage to save the bath. Seeing how good yours looks really makes me wish I had kept mine away from my sister!

    • Thanks so much! We were actually just playing Barbies today. I am glad I kept everything, although I have to be diligent about my 3 year old being kind to my old stuff! Maybe you could find another one on eBay?

  6. I follow the Flylady for organizing, but came across your 31 days printables on another site. Found some forms more to my usage and combined them with my Flylady Control Manual. Love your blog as I read through it. The snowflake wreath is on my to do list today! i played with Barbies until I was 12 (I did have a lttle sister)! LOVE LOVE the Barbie house. If my granddaught plays with Barbies I will make one. Merry Christmas! LivIt! Sheree

    • I have used the Flylady system in the past. I have taken some of the principles from it and made it my own. That was the first place I heard about a control journal or home management binder and thought it was just genius! I have had one since a little after my son was born. Thanks about the Barbie house. One year later and she still plays with it almost daily! Have a great holiday, Sheree!

  7. I came across this while searching for ideas to make my daughter a dollhouse (I too have all my old stuff put away that I can’t wait to bring out for her). I was wondering what you used to adhere the scrapbook paper. I had “refurbished” another smaller doll house bought at a yard sale and used scrapbook paper but never got it to stay!!

    • Thanks for asking! I wanted to be able to remove the paper and change it out. Since I did all the decorating, I thought my daughter might want something different later one. We used these: Scotch(R) Removable Mounting Squares. They seem to be holding up fairly well. I had to use one in each corner and one down the middle of the sides of the paper if that makes sense. So about 8 squares per sheet.

  8. This is beautiful !!! You’re so creative I was wondering if you Would not mind giving me the measuments you used so I could try and make one as well. Thanks so much in advance!!!

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