I love Miss Priss loves to make new play scenes for her American Girl dolls. She has a Tri-Fold Project Board Display, the kind used for science fair projects, that we periodically change out for different doll activities. So far, we have made a Restaurant, a Dress Shop, an Art Gallery, and a Hair Salon with the project board. Last week, Miss Priss asked if we could convert the background scene to an office space.
You don’t have to ask me twice, so we loaded up and headed to Hobby Lobby where all of my great crafty projects start.
- We used a hot pink desk organizer and tipped it on its side. The openings that would have held pencils, paper clips, or Post-it notes became shelves across the front of the desk.
- We found 5″ sparkly candlesticks and glued them to the desk organizer. I used E6000 Glue, which is a heavy duty craft glue. I did measure the distance from the edges of the desk organizer and center the candlesticks on each side of the desk organizer box before gluing to make sure the candlestick legs were evenly spaced.
- In order for the scale to be about right, desks and tables should be roughly 9″ tall.
The Bulletin Board
- Purchase a pre-cut mat for a picture frame. The interior dimensions of my frame mat is 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. I used the thin corkboard on a roll with adhesive back that I had from making Doll Sandwiches. Cut a corkboard piece a little larger than the opening of your frame mat. Run a line of glue around the front edges of the corkboard and press it to the back of the frame mat. The corkboard sheet rolls up a little, so I placed books on top of the mat and cork on a flat, hard surface (like a kitchen counter) until the glue dried.
- Once the glue dried, we attached the framed bulletin board to the science fair backboard. I put the science fair backboard flat on my dining table and measured the placement of the bulletin board before gluing, so it would be straight and centered. You can remove the sticky back paper to attach the bulletin board to the project board or attach with craft glue or hot glue.
- Map pins work well for attaching notes. Your pins will go all the way through the cork and the backboard.
- Look for mini plant containers at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s Crafts, or gardening centers. We purchased a block of that green oasis material that florists use to make flower arrangements and some fake greenery.
- Cut a chunk of oasis to fit in the bottom of the container.
- Cut pieces of greenery and stab the ends into the oasis block.
- We went through the art supply section at Hobby Lobby and found a 6″ x 8″ watercolor paper notepad with the spiral binding on the top (portrait orientation).
- Using Sharpie markers and a ruler, Miss Priss and I drew a few different graphs.
- We set the notepad on a small tabletop art easel.
- Using my paper cutter, I cut notebook paper, printer paper, and colored cardstock into 2″ x 3″ pieces of paper.
- Using mini rubber stamps and ink pads, we stamped designs and monogram initials onto the top of the papers, so it looks like personalized stationery.
- I also found colored paper clips that are smaller than standard size, and we clipped assorted papers together.
- Hobby Lobby has plain craft boxes with lids in a variety of sizes. We bought 2 boxes that measured 2″ x 3″ x 1 1/2″ and separated the lid from the bottom. The bottom parts of the boxes fit in the desk like a drawer and hold some desk supplies. I used an X-acto knife to cut a small half circle out of one side of each lid and then sanded the rough parts down with a nail file. The lids look like in/out desktop file boxes. Miss Priss has papers in the file boxes.
- We used a sparkly candle votive for a trashcan. Miss Priss wadded up scraps of paper to make the trash can look full.
- We found small folders (about 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″) that have the string to tie the folder closed like an interoffice mail envelope in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.
- We pulled several of our items from the American Girl School crafting binge like the pencil and pencil cup to add to the office play scene as well.
Miss Priss likes the office so much, we needed a second science fair backboard, so this scene can stay up permanently, and our second backboard gets traded out for other scenes. We have also recently become the proud owners of an original Samantha Oversized Book of Cardboard Scenes and Settings. The American Girl village happening in our TV room is quite extensive. I may need an intervention.
Mr. Star Wars gave Miss Priss a new American Girl craft book for Christmas. We own practically all of them, so I was impressed he located one we did not already have. The Doll Art Studio Activity Kit gives all kinds of tips for designing an art gallery for your American Girl doll. Working on these projects requires all of my concentration, so we were not able to begin construction until the MLK holiday when I had a day off from teaching and minimal interruptions. Miss Priss and I took over the kitchen and dining room tables and dug in.
It would not be an official AG craft project if we did not make a trip to Hobby Lobby to get started. I had Miss Priss bring the kit’s idea book in the car with us and skim the pictures and explanations to make sure we would not miss anything critical. Miss Priss’ reading skills add tremendous value to project work– especially now that I have to wear the “over 40” glasses and need her to read all of the fine print on the material packages.
Paint Brushes and Artist Palette Materials
- duct tape (shiny silver and a few other colors)
- 3/16″ glue dots
- old paintbrushes
- brown cardboard
- acrylic paint (5-6 colors)
- The AG book came with a paper artist palette that I traced on brown cardboard. If you do not have a template for the artist palette, draw a kidney shape that is roughly 3″ x 2″. Using scissors, cut out the palette shape. Using an X-Acto knife, stab/cut a thumb hole. Carefully drop small blobs of acrylic paint evenly around the edge of the palette and let dry overnight.
- To make a paintbrush, cut a 1-inch piece of colored duct tape or a piece of tape that matches the length of your matchstick and carefully roll the piece of tape around the matchstick until you come to the end of the tape piece.
- The glue dots are stretchy, and you pull a glue dot around one end of the covered matchstick.
- Carefully cut the bristles from an old paintbrush and make a pile with the cut bristles. Roll the sticky end of the matchstick through the bristles. If you want thicker bristles on the paintbrush, add another glue dot around the first layer of bristles and roll through the cut bristles again.
- Cut a thin strip of silver duct tape less than 1/4″ wide and wrap the silver strip at the base of the bristles. Trim bristles to even up if needed.
Studio Table Materials
- 2 wooden A letters ~9″ tall
- wood plank for tabletop (mine is 1/4″ thick and is ~5″ x 12″)
- 5/16″ diameter wooden dowel
- acrylic paint (any color)
- paint brush
- hot glue gun
- Paint your table materials and let dry. If you like the natural wood color, you can skip the painting step.
- Measure the length of your tabletop against your wooden dowel and make sure the dowel is 2″ to 4″ shorter than the tabletop. I sawed ~2″ from the end of my dowel to make the dowel ~10″ in length.
- Hot glue the dowel into the nail hanging slots on the wooden letters, so the dowel connects the two letters. Put the tabletop on your working surface and hot glue the the top of the letter A’s to the tabletop.
- We also made a display table by painting a wooden plaque and resting it on a metal candle holder. The candle holder is only about 6″ in height.
Original Artwork Materials
- mini canvases (available at Hobby Lobby)
- variety of stickers
- colored Sharpie markers
- acrylic paint
- foam shapes
- Elmer’s glue
- mini easels (available at Hobby Lobby)
- The sky is the limit with the mini canvases. You can paint original artwork, draw with the Sharpie pens, paint backgrounds and put stickers on top, cut out pictures from magazines and create collages, glue foam shapes together for modern art… anything works.
- I also scoured around my house for little clay projects Miss Priss had made and any other mini craft projects and added those to the displays in the art gallery.
- We had a science fair backboard we used for the American Girl Dress Boutique. We took down a few of the decorations from the dress shop and put up the art work using Tacky.
- The AG doll book came with a few easels as well as the new ones I purchased. We used the easels to display the art on the tables. I also moved some clear acrylic boxes stuffed with colored tissue paper from the dress shop into the art gallery and set small clay projects on those (notice the tiny little otter in the background of the picture below).
- We dropped the paint brushes in a mini pail and a small glass jar for an authentic art studio look. We borrowed the colored pencils and cup from our AG School Supply stash and set up the artist table with an art canvas in progress, paint palette, brushes, pencils and a mini LED clip reading light I found at the checkout at Hobby Lobby.
The activity book has many other ideas and paper accessories. The small tags to label the art came from the book as well as the template to make the art smock Samantha is wearing. Miss Priss was tired of waiting to play with the art gallery, so I had to stop adding to it and let her actually play. *sigh*
Miss Priss ran out of sleeping space for her American Girls, so I offered to make some sleeping bags. Well, if you make an American Girl a sleeping bag, she will need a campfire to go with it. If you have a campfire, you will want to toast marshmallows. If you toast marshmallows, bugs might show up for a snack. If bugs show up, you will need a bug jar…
- cotton fabric
- coordinating fleece
- reversible ribbon
- sewing machine
- Cut one piece of 30″ x 21″ cotton and one piece of 30″ x 21″ fleece.
- Pin the two pieces of fabric together. The cotton should have the wrong side facing out.
- Sew the two pieces of fabric together about 3/8″ from the edge. Leave an opening along one long side.
- Turn the fabric right side out through the opening. Push the corners out with a finger, so they are square. Fold the fabric in half.
- Cut a piece of ribbon about 30″ and fold the ribbon in half. Insert the folded end of the ribbon into the fabric opening and secure the ribbon with a pin.
- Pin the fabric along the edge that has the ribbon and halfway up the open side.
- Sew the edge with the ribbon and the partial side together.
Campfire and Toasting Marshmallows
- Elmer’s glue
- potting soil
- small twigs
- tissue paper in fire colors cut into small squares (2″ x 2″?)
- white Crayola Model Magic sculpting clay
- Cover the surface of the CD with glue.
- Sprinkle potting soil on top and shake off the excess.
- Drizzle more Elmer’s glue around the edge of the CD. Add rocks around the edge. Rocks that are about the width of a quarter work well.
- Collect small twigs from your yard and break into small pieces (maybe 2″).
- Drizzle glue around the center hole of the CD and stack twigs. Drizzle a little more glue and add sticks until it looks like a campfire.
- Roll the squares of tissue paper into a flame shape and insert between the twigs. Drizzle glue here and there as needed. Let campfire dry overnight.
- Roll a pea sized piece of Model Magic between your fingers into a ball. Flatten the top and bottom, so it is cylinder shaped. Push onto a twig. Let dry overnight.
- Find a small twig and break it to the height of the jar (about 1″).
- Secure 3-4 mini pom poms to the twig with the glue dots. This is the caterpillar.
- Put the caterpillar on the twig in the jar and add a sequin leaf, small torn pieces of tissue paper, and maybe another small twig.
I know the scale is not perfect, but the bug jars are our favorite American Girl accessory right now. What is your favorite American Girl craft? Don’t forget to go back and look at the American Girl Cafe, American Girl Sweet Shop, or American Girl School before making a decision!