Ok, so this project doesn't fall into my niche, but it was something I dreamed of for a long time and had a blast creating, so I hope you enjoy! If you're looking for a way to tap into your creepy Halloween side, here are 10 tips for transforming a traditional dollhouse into a mini horror scene you can display year after year!
1. Purchase a dollhouse-making kit online or from a hobby store. Though some kits claim you can just use Elmer's glue for the assembly, or even no glue at all, I highly recommend using a hot glue gun to seal up all the joints more securely.
2. Pay close attention to the directions as they relate to assembly order. It's much easier to paint all the small parts before attaching to the house, so make sure to have them painted and dried before you need them. And if you plan on breaking some of the pieces to give the house that "abandoned" look, I also recommend doing some of that before gluing things in place.
3. The dollhouse siding is very plain, so to get a more realistic look, clip popsicle sticks to size (make sure to get rid of any rounded edges) and hot glue them individually to the whole house. It doesn't need to be perfect - any inconsistencies will just add to the dilapidated look! For extra effect, use the clippers to break and splinter some of the edges.
4. To get the rotted, weathered look on the siding, mix standard black acrylic paint with water in a container to thin it out. You'll get a perfect grey that gives the look of old, neglected wood. Use the same process for the shingles, once they've all been glued in place, but this time, mix brown acrylic with water.
5. For the base, check out the fairy garden department of hobby stores and grab a piece of foam. The size is up to you, but the bigger the base, the more yard space you'll have to add spooky decor and accessories. Set your house on the base where you'd like it, but don't glue it down, so that you can easily break down and store it off-season. Pick up a bag of moss from the hobby store and hot glue it in clumps to the base all around the house. You can also use a little on the roof, if desired.
6. A tree or two is essential to the mood of the haunted scene. In this case, the trees were from actual branches of a dead tree. It was then wrapped in tin foil for texture, and mod-podged with tissue paper. Once dry, you can paint it black, and then stick the end directly into the foam base.
7. To bring the house to life, you'll need ghostly inhabitants. Pick up a pack of skeletons to place around the property. To make it extra gruesome, dig a "grave" out of the foam for one of them. It's as easy as using a spoon to scoop out and discard the foam, then paint the inside brown to look like earth.
8. The fence is made from the same dead tree. Use clippers to cut the pieces and stick them into the foam. For the gate, just hot glue the pieces together in the formation you want, and then stick the ends into the foam. You could hot glue the edges to the sticks on each side, or leave unattached so that you can open or close the gate for different effects.
9. If you find accessories you love, but don't love the colors they come in, just break out the black paint! Hobby stores have dollhouse sections with lots of untreated wood accessories. You can paint them, along with anything else (the birds that are hot-glued to these trees were originally white and painted black with acrylic paint).
10. Have fun with the details! To make the swing, punch holes in a discarded piece of wood from the dollhouse kit and pull twine through it for the rope. Shape some tombstones out of clay to place at the grave and grab some dollhouse-sized black roses to decorate it. Deck out your skeletons with hats or clothes, or just place them creepily in the window. Throw a pile of wood by the side of the house for a realistic feel. Hang lanterns by the front door. And finally, place some battery tea lights inside the house to help it glow in the dark. Display the house on its own, or deck out the whole room and throw your party in style!
With the haunted house as the centerpiece and some other creepy decorations, this room is ready to host the party of the year! Happy Halloween, friends!
About the author...
Hi, I'm Mandi! Artist, photographer, and compulsive organizer...