Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wardrobe for American Girl Doll

The envy of little girls everywhere!

Custom Wardrobe for American Girl Doll or any large 18 inch doll who has lots of goodies. 

I saw the plan for this closet on the amazing website of Ana-White
Here is a link to her plan for Star Doll Closet

Here's how I made this for about 20 dollars:

I knew I wanted to build this wardrobe for some time now. Since the closet is built with 1x12's I was not interested in buying that type of lumber from Home Depot or the lumber store- too expensive. So... like I usually do once a week, I packed up my son and took a little trip over to the IKEA as-is section. I like to go on Tuesday's when kids eat free or on Thursday's when everything in the as-is section is another 50% off (!!). This particular day I checked the "Handyman's corner" and found two pieces of particle board about 8 feet long and 12 inches wide, this was to be used for the walls and top and bottom of the box. They were 5 dollars each! Then I found a small piece of particle board for the shelf for $1.00, plus a piece of thin backing for the wardrobe for $1.00. 

All I was missing was the front doors, trim, a dowel rod and hardware. Later, over the weekend I headed out to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. This place ROCKS! You should see me in there, I am like a kid in a candy store!!!  I bought two pieces of pine plank for .25 per foot. It cost me about $1.50 for both doors, then while digging through the lumber my trim top piece was .50 per foot, I paid about a dollar for that. I found hinges too there; They were dirt cheap! I already had the base moulding for the bottom, and the dowel was a that was free. 

I stopped by HD and bought a few cans of Pink spray paint. Total cost for project= Appx $20

Here are pics of the steps I took. 

Here is the particle board I cut up- remember $5 each?!!

After cutting my pieces, I put together the box with wood glue and counter sunk screws I used a 90 degree clamp to hold the squares in place. 

Then I cut the shelf to size and added that midway in the wardrobe. I knew I needed clearance for the Pottery Barn kids washing machine to fit underneath. Plus I wanted space for a few containers to hold accessories. I held this together with the antique vices my dad gave me. 

Then, I cut the backing for the wardrobe, I cut it down from a much larger piece, attached it with wood glue and small 1 inch finishing nails. I sanded the back nicely with my orbital sander to make the edges smooth. Sorry, don't have a pic of this. It would have looked a mess with all of the sawdust it created!

I added the footer next, This was a 3 inch piece of base moulding I had laying around after our house was built in 2006. So that's why I kept it for all of those years!

After that, it was time to work on the dowel rod to hold the hangers. Here I used a circle drill bit to create an indented hole on the sides of the wardrobe walls. I hollowed them out a little more with my dremmel tool. Then I cut the dowel piece to size, added some glue to the hole and attached the rod. I am not really a fan of closet rod brackets, I think it is just as easy carving out two holes, ok, well it's cheaper. 

Drilling holes for dowel hanger rod. 

Then I added the top trim. 

Filled in holes with wood filler and sanded. 

Then...dunt dunt dunnnn... it was time to work on the doors. I was freaking out because of all of the angles I needed to create at first, and I new they needed to be precise. After all, I did fail geometry in high school and had to take it twice. So instead of having/using a protractor, I had an idea to cut up little "sample template" pieces that were the correct angle. Then, I butted the wood doors up next to each other and started drawing the star using the template..  Turns out this was the most fun part of the whole project, go figure. 

Labeled each template with the angle number. 

Used my handy jigsaw to cut out star.

I filled in all holes with wood filler and sanded and sanded some more till smooth.

After all of the construction was about done, I took out all of the pieces to the driveway and spray painted them with primer.

Then spray pained it all pink. 

Then added the hinges and magnetic part for the doors to latch on the inside bottom of the cabinet. 

In the end, I sprayed spray poly-acrylic over the entire wardrobe to protect it.

Here is the finished project:

Jenny and her Wardrobe

Wardrobe with the doors closed

Me and my project. Hailey thought I needed a pic with my masterpiece. 
When my daughter saw this for the first time, she was sooooo excited! Even my son loved it and would not stay away from it causing my daughter to flip! 

I decided I'll make another one and paint it grey. I am calling it his "Hockey Locker". More on that later!

Hope you enjoyed this project, again a special thanks for the project plan and inspiration for this, Ana White.




  1. This is absolutely adorable! I know that Hailey must think her Mom rocks! You have discovered a wonderful talent and I think you should start your own business! Wonderful pieces of furniture! Congrats on finding your niche!!!!!!

  2. Fantastic!! You've got skills!

  3. Fantastic design, I was amazed with your working progress, I cant imagine how your daughter feel when she saw that adorable wardrobe.
    I can say to you, you've got it and keep it up your talent was pretty cool you make can business with that.

    custom wardrobes

  4. Kristen, this is awesome! I just made one for Kaitlin and the doors are forever my enemy. they are on..but no where near plan is to eventually redo the doors completely with regular hinges (I attempted the Euro-inset hinge like on Ana White's page). I love all the projects that you have made..a true inspiration!!!

    1. Ugh....doors- I know. They are the hardest getting them cut perfectly and the hinges are hard too. I have made two of these to date and the doors are the hardest part. Send me a pic Rachel! I'd love to see it!!!

  5. A drill press really helps with doing the european hinges. The key is making sure everything is square and have enough space for the doors to close, etc. Great work on this piece!

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