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Turn a shelf into a Doll Bed with Clothing Storage (for 18 inch dolls)


Do you remember how Christmas wasn’t that long ago?  Doesn’t it feel like it was months ago?  Wow. 


 Well, our 5 year old got a big girl doll from Santa.  (Nope, not an American Girl doll……..but a cheaper version.  Madame Alexander.)  Anyway, Santa brought some clothes and some hangers but his elves must have run out of wood because they didn’t bring her a bed or an armoire (or even a bag) to store her clothing.  Not a bit of worry here little elves, I completely understand you must have been busy. And my daughter didn’t wonder why there was nothing to hang her hangers on.  No biggee.  (And don’t worry, doll furniture wasn’t part of her list to Santa.  I didn’t ruin any dreams here.)


By the way, have you seen the price of doll furniture?  It’s robbery.  I couldn’t stomach the thought of buying an armoire with a few drawers for close to $80 and then a bed for another $40-$50.  Really?  But because I didn’t have time to make her anything before Christmas, her doll just hasn’t had anywhere to sleep or store her clothes (which is important to a 5 year old).  Until now. 


Because I bought this bare wooden shelf (for $5 at Hobby Lobby), added a dowel, painted it, and turned it into a bed/clothing storage for her doll Ella.  (Yeah, my daughter’s name is Elli and her doll’s name is Ella.  Go figure.)



And because it was originally a shelf, it hangs on the wall…….nice and out of the way. 

(It actually sits right above my daughter’s bed.  She loves having her close.)



Ella can sit from her little perch during the day while not being played with……..and then be layed down to sleep at night.



And with a few scraps from the stash, Ella has a little blanket and pillow to sleep with.  Lucky thing

Just don’t go asking for a mattress pad or anything……..because that’s where your luck runs out. ;) 

(The blanket is just a mini version of this one.)



After adding the hanger rod (the dowel), I added fabric covered buttons to each end, to keep any of the doll accessories from sliding off.  (And to help polish off each end of the dowel.)



Oh my word, I thought human baby hangers were cute……until I got baby doll hangers.

These things are itty-bitty mini.  And perfect.  (found hangers here.)



The outcome?  A dolly success. 

My little girl loves it and she already told me that Ella loves it too.  Oh good.



Now just think, you could hang one of these anywhere.  Above a bookshelf, by the toy bins, in a toy room, near the closet, anywhere.  And if you have a doll that lives in your house that comes with even 2 or 3 extra outfits, you totally understand the crazy mess of doll clothes strewn everywhere.  So make it fun and let your little girl keep her doll things all together and organized.  And off the stinkin’ floor.


Ready to make one?



Supplies Needed:

  • A wooden shelf that is big enough to fit your doll that also has two vertical supports underneath.
  • A wooden dowel, thick enough to hold your doll hangers.
  • Doll hangers (I found mine here. 10 for $5.95.)
  • Hot glue
  • Power Drill
  • Sand Paper
  • Paint
  • Fabric Button Cover Kit, 2 bigger than your dowel circumference are needed (just like these here)
  • a piece of scrap fabric to cover the button covers



First of all, there are probably many shelves that would work for this project.  I found this bare wooden shelf at Hobby Lobby.  They always have things on sale for 50% off.  If they don’t have what you want on sale, wait a week or two.  So this shelf was originally $10 but I got it on sale for $5.  It measures about 20 inches long and about 7 inches deep.  Perfect for the standard 18 inch dolls (American Girl Dolls and the knock offs).


First, I cut my dowel to be slightly shorter than the width of the shelf.


Then I used a large drill bit and drilled holes in the vertical supports underneath the shelf top.  Be sure that you drill them in a good spot so that your hanger can fit up and over the dowel.  And also that the hole isn’t too far back so that the hanger hits the wall and can’t hang straight.  (Hold your hanger up and measure before drilling.)


Then, with a smaller drill bit, Idrilled out little holes on both ends of the dowel for my button cover backs to fit into.


Then I slid the dowel through the holes in the shelf, used a bit of hot glue to secure the dowel in place (wood glue would work great too) and then sanded the entire shelf to smooth down the rough spots.  (If your shelf wasn’t a bare raw shelf to begin with, you won’t need to sand it.)  Then I pained the entire shelf white, with some leftover interior paint from this project. 


Then I let the shelf completely dry for a day.

(Spray paint would work too.  And would dry faster.)


Next, I covered 2 button covers with some fabric.  (Same as the ones used here.)


And then inserted the back nub (with a little hot glue) into the holes I made at each end of the dowel.



And then hung the whole shelf/bed on the wall.



And that’s it.


A quick and simple bed/clothing storage for my daughter’s 18 inch doll.


Yay for finally finishing something that was meant for Christmas.  Blame it on the elves. ;)




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This post is sponsored by:


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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