February 1, 2012

Kids will ALWAYS fight over the top bunk.

It was inevitable, really. After expending so much time, energy and packing tape on building a more-or-less ideal cardboard dollhouse, the next logical step was for me to dabble in cardboard doll furniture.

The decision to "branch out" was borne from a very unique dilemma, one shaped like a whole mass of irregular Tetris rejects.

Leftover pieces of illustration board from my dollbox attempts

Because packrats industrious crafters are usually loathe to ever throw anything away, I figured I needed to try my hand at furniture. It would certainly save me some more money compared to if I were to commit to investing in Sylvanian Families furniture pieces all the way. Plain old tables, chairs and beds were too boring, however, which I why I decided to attempt building my first mini cardboard bunk beds.


Of course, mini-scaled cardboard bunk beds were hard to come by. So, I had to improvise my own bunk bed design. I took a cue from the dimensions of the Sylvanian Families bunk bed as my starting point, and from there I pretty much jumped right in and hoped for the best.

I managed to improvise two subtly different construction methods, let's call them Bunk Bed A (pictured above) and Bunk Bed B. Below you will find something of a very rough construction guide to how the cardboard pieces fit together.

Bunk Bed A, construction guide

Bunk Bed B, construction guide

Basically Bunk Bed B is less exhausting to cut out, however Bunk Bed A saved me the trouble of having to glue or tape stuff into place. As is, neither design is probably going to last you very long, not unless you tried to strengthen them with papier-mâché or duct tape or something.

Bunk Bed A in progress

Bunk Bed B in progress

Since I used Sylvanian Families dimensions, the cardboard bunk beds should be roughly the same size as the originals. You can probably scale them up by adjusting the measurements to fit bigger dolls. Can't comment on whether illustration board would still be a strong-enough material though, your guess is as good as mine.


Making up the ladders wasn't quite as involved a process as building the bunk beds themselves. I imagine that people could easily eyeball their own ladder measurements and then just glue the rungs into place.


My original idea for the doll "mattresses" was to knit or crochet whatever leftover stash acrylic I had into a neat little rectangular sachet, and then stuff it with a bit of fiberfill. Then I remembered that I had tucked away a small supply of these things, basically the foam(?) netting used to keep apples, oranges, pears and other small fruits from getting bruised en route to groceries and markets.


And it was a good thing I did, because it probably would have been difficult for me to dip into my yarn and plush stuffing stash just to produce a couple of throwaway mini-mattresses. I may also attempt re-purposing them as pillows or comforters later.


Add generous a helping of colored paper, and there you have it! Bunk beds that will last for years! Doll years, that is.


I'm still debating "refurbishing" the beds into a more presentable color or leaving them as is for that scrappy, rustic look. The important thing, though, is that I've managed to save on new doll beds. Next, I'm thinking either a bookcase or yet another desk. Seems my girls are all go-getter workaholics, which is more than I can say for their owner.

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