American Girl doll furniture can be quite expensive, running from double to triple digits. Rather than shelling out top dollar for doll furniture, make your own at a fraction of the cost, keeping the doll's 18-inch size in mind. Raid your stash of scrap wood, boxes and crafting supplies to whip up all sorts of furniture, and decorate it in your girl's favorite colors and fabrics.
Craft a cafe table, kitchen table or patio table using an empty coffee or peanut can as the table base. A coffee can -- or any can of similar size -- creates a tall table, suitable for a cafe setting with bar stools or a computer workstation designed for standing. Use a thrift-store cake pan or pie tin as the table top, or a cast metal trivet to create a patio table or outdoor cafe table. A scrap square or rectangular board forms a kitchen or dining table top; use four smaller cans, such as tomato-sauce cans, as legs for such a table. Secure the table top and base using hot glue, or use L brackets to adhere one to the other with screws. Spray paint the tables in a color that pairs well with your other American Girl belongings.
Simple Storage Trunks and Benches
Turn a short, narrow shoebox into a storage chest or bench for the dolls' bedroom or living room. For a simple storage chest, paint the box. Then give it a faux wood finish using acrylic craft paints, glaze and a wood-graining tool, or decoupage strips of brown craft paper over the box to look like boards, and paint on the faux grain. For a cushioned storage bench, select a box with removable top. Hot-glue a 1/2-inch-thick piece of foam over the top of the lid. Wrap the top in fabric, hot-gluing it to the underside of the lid. Wrap the main portion of the box in a decorative fabric; paint it a solid color or give it a faux wood treatment with paint and glaze.
Craft a platform bed from a small wooden storage crate approximately 20 inches long and less than 18 inches wide, flipping it bottom-side up. Cut a piece of upholstery foam to fit the top of the bed and wrap it in a neutral fabric, or use a patterned fabric to give the mattress a permanent fitted sheet. Hot-glue the fabric to the bottom of the mattress. If you can't find a suitable crate, use several same-sized shoe boxes pushed together to form the bed. Cut a headboard, if desired, from corrugated cardboard or foam-core board. Paint the entire bed, other than the mattress, to look like wood or metal, or to match the doll's other furniture. Craft bedding from scrap fabric, stitching hems around the edges for a finished look.
Turn wooden salad bowls or fruit bowls into funky chairs inspired by modern decor from decades past. Select a large wood or plastic salad or fruit bowl that holds a seated doll comfortably, and add a base made from an egg cup or votive holder on a pedestal stand, hot-gluing the materials together. Angle the bowl so it looks a bit like an egg chair, attaching the base along a side of the bowl, or the bottom of the chair. Use a damaged hardcover book, missing all of its pages, as a chair or folding chair by adding 1/2-inch-diameter dowels to the back cover, folding the front cover open to become the chair. Add strips of canvas to the sides to create a folding chair that only stays open with the doll in it, or add L brackets to the inside of the cover to hold it permanently open in chair position. Create cushions from scraps of shipping foam or upholstery foam covered in fabric. Turn smaller wooden bowls into barbecue grills by stacking spools for solid central bases, using wood glue to hold the items together. You can also use a wooden bowl as an old-fashioned sink, or use a soap dish as a sink with spools as the base.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.