Anna is a crafter, sculptor, painter, miniaturist, props magician, soap maker, animator, production/ events, and interior designer.
How to Make a Mini Haunted House
Some would say that Christmas is the best time of the year, but for people like me who enjoy something a bit spookier, Halloween is more special! With that, I was inspired to create a haunted dollhouse. I've had some unexplainable experiences in my life as a child (and as an adult, I've lived in and experienced a few otherworldly occurrences in my own house), so I wanted to create my own mini version of a spooky manor.
Until today, dollhouses are still enjoyed by kids all over the world. Most dollhouses you find commercially are pink, cute, bright, and come in various styles and sizes. These are easy to acquire, like Barbie dollhouses or mansions. You can customize these houses to make them look creepy and dark just by repainting, adding wallpaper for the interior walls, and making miniature furniture and accessories. However, not all dollhouses are fun and cheery. Of course, the haunted dollhouse would appeal to a darker audience. This isn't new, but it has gained popularity lately with social media groups sharing their collections and creations. Some dollhouses are made or collected by a much older audience.
My vision for the haunted dollhouse was to make something not only creepy, but also somewhat grand, something my family can enjoy. It seems to have doubled as a cat house lately, but hey, that means everyone enjoys the house!
Making this kind of dollhouse will require either PVC boards (like what I had used) or cardboard. Everything used for this project was repurposed material, which came from an old project's leftovers.
- old/repurposed PVC board
- black, water-based paint
- popsicle sticks
- super glue
- plastic/transparent sheet for the windows
Step 1: Create the Main Structure
Here's how I made the building itself. It is made of three columns or buildings glued together—the body of the building is made of Sintra or PVC board glued together with super glue.
- I did not necessarily follow a pattern. I made 3 rectangular shapes and plotted where the doors and windows would be.
- One-inch PVC strips were cut to be used as siding. This was layered on the front and sides. It gave the building a bit of volume.
- The body was then painted with semi-gloss water-based paint. Three coats were needed to cover the surface completely.
- After the base coat, several grey shades were then painted in streaks on top of the paneling to create a worn-down feel.
Step 2: Create the Roof
- Each roof had 3 pieces of board and was attached in a slanted manner.
- Each roof was glued on top of each building.
- Once the roof was in place, 3/4 inch x 1-inch PVC chips were cut and placed unevenly on the sides of the roof, making sure that none of the chips lined up. By doing this, it created a bit more dimension.
- The roof tiles were painted grey; three coats were applied.
- Several shades of grey were painted to the tiles unevenly, emphasizing the tiles' bottoms.
- For the dormer window, cover the structure with the PVC board following the window's arch shape. Make sure that from the side, the window itself sits at a 90-degree angle. From there, cut the other end of the window /PVC following the angle of the roof.
- I also cut out a piece of tinted transparent plastic to mimic the window pane and glued it with super glue.
Step 3: Create the Balcony and Roof Railing
For the balcony, I made it the same width as the center building. Here is the illustration or guide for the design of the railing.
1/4" strips of PVC board were cut and formed into a V pattern. It is glued on a center horizontal strip to keep them all together, and popsicle sticks were used as the stouter posts.
Step 4: Create the Fence
- For the fence, 1/4" x 5-7 inch sticks/strips were cut and formed to create a V pattern.
- It was then glued to a center horizontal strip to keep the structure together.
- Make several of these fences and glue them together to form the length of the entire wall. Leave space for the gate. The gate is 1 foot wide, the same as the front door. I used some popsicle sticks for the thicker posts.
- I also carved out of the same material, and everything was painted black.
Step 5: Create the Bay Window
- The bay window is a separate structure that is glued at the front of the left building. Side paneling of the left building is glued with the shape of the bay window omitted.
- The roof of the bay window can be made with the same PVC strips, or in this case, I opted to use sandpaper.
- Attach the plant box in the front. Leave space for mini bushes.
- Paint the structure.
- Add acrylic or tinted plastic sheets to mimic window panes.
Step 6: Complete the Painting Process
For this house to look a bit more sinister and creepy, I used black, dark grey, and medium grey water-based paint. Not only is it non-toxic, but it also dries up very quickly, allowing for multiple coats in a short span of time.
- The base color of black was applied in 3 coats for the entire building.
- I dry-brushed the light grey to create a weathered look, brushing lightly and omitting some panels.
- The fence was painted a solid black.
- The roof was painted a medium grey, and dark grey stippling was done to give it a weathered look.
- The windows and doors were also painted a solid medium grey dry-brush with black and light grey.
Step 7: Add the Accessories
Windows, doors, and bay window:
- These are all separate parts that were cut to size, painted, and glued onto the main structure.
- I painted several dried twigs, glued them onto the lawn beside the fencing, and added several painted tombstones.
- I also cut out three dancing skeletons and attached them to the backside of the house. They cast shadows once the spotlight is turned on from the back and pointed upwards.
You Can Use This as Decoration or as a Cat House (If You Make Sure It's Safe)
This dollhouse has a double purpose. It serves not only as a Halloween decoration but also as a cat house. It was constructed with the cat's proportions in mind. They can go in and out of the main doorway and seem to like munching on the branches and the fencing.
Safety Note: It is essential that the paint used in this project be kid and cat friendly. There is just no guarantee that cats do not gnaw on the house's parts.
© 2020 Anna Javier