As part of a monthly challenge with some friends, I stepped out of my crafting comfort zone and into the power tools / DIY zone, and I LOVED it! I used by 1 x 2 lumber and other supplies to build an American Girl Doll Bed for my daughter’s doll, Cailyn.
It was such a fun project that saved me a lot of money! (Beds on the American Girl website start at $85; this bed cost me under $20 to make!) Also, this is an awesome beginner woodworking / power tool project because I got really comfortable with my tools and cannot wait to build something else!
I’ll be giving you all the details on how I built this DIY 18 inch doll bed later in this post, but first, here’s a sneak peek of the fabulous projects my friends came up with (you’ll find direct links to all of the projects at the bottom of this post).
Before you go check out all of the amazing things you can build with 1 x 2 lumber, let me show you how to build an American Girl Doll Bed for any girl in your life!
Supplies Needed to Build an American Girl Doll Bed
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- 1 x 2 lumber (you’ll need 68″ minimum)
- 3/4″ thick plywood (approximately 21″ long x 10″ wide)
- 2 x wood balusters (52″ long)
- .5″ trim strip
- Circular Saw
- Impact Driver
- Wood screws (1 1/4″ long)
- Wood screws (1″ long)
- Wood glue
- 1.5″ Ball Knobs with Flat Bottoms
- Poster board
Instructions for Building an American Girl Doll Bed
For this doll bed DIY, I began by drawing a really rough sketch of my plan. Can you tell I’ve never done this before? (Note: don’t follow this plan. I changed some of it along the way.)
After that, here’s how this project went down. I started by cutting the little nubs off the end of the wood balusters.
Next, I cut the balusters so that they each measured 13″ long.
After that, I cut my 1 x 2 lumber into four pieces: two 21″ long pieces and two 9″ long pieces. (I don’t recommend using paint buckets as sawhorses, but it was freezing outside and our sawhorses don’t fit in our tiny work room!) At first I was really scared to use this saw, but it was actually SUPER easy. It has a laser on it, which made keeping a straight line simple, and it was so easy to use. Plus I felt like a total bada** working this thing like a boss.
Once all the wood was cut, I measured where I wanted to screw the pieces together.
I drilled pilot holes and then used my new impact driver to begin putting it all together! (Super relieved you can’t see my gray hairs in this extreme closeup.)
I started with a side railing of the bed, and once that was in, I screwed the end of the bed onto the baluster. Notice how I offset the placement of the screws so that the side rail screw is lower than the screw for the piece at the end of the bed. This was so that the screws wouldn’t hit each other in the baluster.
I repeated this process until the entire frame of the doll bed was complete.
Then, I cut thin trim strips to just slightly shorter than the length of the side rails of the bed (approximately 20.5″ long). These strips will be holding the bed’s base in place.
I fastened them to the inside side rails of the bed with the shorter screws, placing them about 1/4 of the way down the side rail.
Then, I measured the inside area of the bed so that I could cut the plywood base. This was important because it wasn’t exactly equal on both ends. I cut a piece of poster board into the less-than-perfect rectangle shape, and then traced that onto the piece of plywood. I cut that shape out and laid the plywood onto the attached trim strips with a thin layer of wood glue. It fit perfectly! (Sorry I forgot to photograph this step!)
Then I decided that the bed needed a headboard. (Well, truthfully, my daughter made this decision because she was worried her doll would fall out of bed. I’m glad she spoke up because the bed definitely needed a headboard.) So, I measured the space in between the balusters at the front of the bed and cut a piece of wood to that size (it was about 9 5/8″ wide). I screwed it in to the balusters.
Finally, I used wood glue to attach the 1.5″ ball knobs to the balusters. This was the finishing touch on my simple DIY American Girl Doll bed!
After I gave the bed a coat of white paint and sewed some simple bedding in fabric that my daughter chose (she has good taste!), I put it in her room and was so happy that she LOVED it!
I’m telling you that building this doll bed was the best way for me to get comfortable with some easy building projects.
Plus, my daughter’s excitement over having a “real” bed for her doll made this whole thing worthwhile.
Not gonna lie – I’m also really happy that I spent a fraction of what it would cost to buy a real American Girl doll bed!
If you have a little girl or know someone who does, make them a doll bed! If I could do this, so can you! And please “pin” this post to share the idea!
Now that you’ve seen how I used 1 x 2 lumber, check out these incredible projects from my friends! I have a feeling you’ll be rushing out to Home Depot after you see these!