Sunday, September 30, 2018

How to DIY a Doll Playpen

Left, Ashley doll is baby sitting. Center, someone small peeks through the sides of our playpen.
Right, peek-a-boo is easy to play from inside a playpen.
       You don't have to create a doll play pen with an ordinary round shaped bottle. Try something unique by recycling an eight sided hydrogen peroxide bottle. Below are the following supplies you will need for this baby doll furniture.

Supply List:
  • recycled hydrogen peroxide bottle
  • sharp cutting tool like an X-ACTO knife
  • masking tape
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • a recycled soft mesh liner or bag (potato bag)
  • felt  or fleece and scrap fabric (your choice of color combinations)
  • waxed dental floss
  • white cotton
  • long, large sewing needle
  • cardboard 
  • metal or quilter's thimble made from leather
Step-by-Step Directions:
       First, cut out the doll playpen from your choice of recycled plastic bottle using an X-ACTO knife. If you are younger than 13 or 14 years of age, you will need to ask a responsible adult to do this first step in the craft process.
       As you can see from the photos below, I wrapped a piece of masking tape around my bottle to mark where I should make my cut using the text on the labels to measure a height appropriate for a playscale doll playpen. (approximately 3 inches)
       Cut away the side panels for the baby doll to see through, leaving the corner walls and floor intact. Reserve a top panel that encloses the entire surround of the playpen. (approximately 1/2 inch in width.

Above, you can see that I chose a bottle with an interesting shape. If you can not find a bottle like this one,
 do not worry. You can make a playpen out of any shaped bottle and it will look just as nice in
 your own dollhouse!
        I reinforced the corners of my bottle with extra cardboard strips and glued these in place. Then I cut the soft plastic mesh to fit the openings where the baby doll may peer through while he or she plays safely inside.
       Use the masking tape to cover all of the remaining brown plastic of the bottle. This step is necessary in order to ensure the fabrics will adhere to all sides during the upholstering of the playpen.
Every surface is eventually masked off so that the hot glue will adhere the fabrics to the plastic properly.
       I glued a hot pink felt layer beneath my kitty cat fabric to serve as a soft liner. Felt is frequently used in upholstered doll furnishings instead of foam or cotton batting. Whether you chose to use this substitute depends entirely on your own preference. I think felt lining makes upholstered surfaces look neat and trim.
The doll playpen has been lined with a matching hot pink felt. On the far right, you can see that I used
 a very long needle to turn under the edges of my decorative fabric with. I also recommend that you use a
thimble to protect your fingers while you work at upholstering doll furniture for the first time. If you feel
unable to work with a metal thimble, a quilter's thimble that is made from leather, may be easier
for you to wear.
       Next, you will need to cover the playpen with your decorative fabric. Turning under the edges as you proceed with a long needle and an invisible stitch. I used waxed dental floss for this process instead of ordinary cotton thread. The floss will hold my sewn surfaces firmly in place through much rough play over time.
      Cut your strips of fabric a bit larger than the felt liner in order to hide seams properly. Sew the thread from back to front and then back again through the soft mesh plastic.
       I left the felt showing on the lower parts of the inside of my playpen, knowing that most of this would be concealed by the thick mattress.
The doll playpen is almost finished.
       Last, you will need to measure the bottom of your doll's playpen and add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to two square pieces of fleece that you will cut out stuff for a pillow.
      Sew around the stacked fleece squares with a straight stitch; leave a 1 inch hole to turn your pillow right-sides-in and stuff it with a small amount of cotton. Close the opening with an invisible or whip stitch. 
       Hot glue the small mattress into the bottom of the doll playpen.

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