BEYOND: DIY Play Props for Real Adventures

Type “How to make Barbie Furniture” into YouTube and you will find that there are many, many tutorials for making sofas and beds. The problem with these projects is that a doll needs to go places. Your barbies don’t want to stay at home sleeping or sitting on the sofa watching TV.

There are also lots of tutorials for making clothes, hats, purses and even shoes. But why does a barbie need all those clothes if all she’s doing is sleeping and watching TV?

I spent some time on YouTube ferreting out tutorials for creating things that would REALLY open up a your Barbieland for cool adventures.

The first I found was this Bistro Set from Limbe Dolls.

If you made four or five sets of these, your dolls could have a restaurant!

Can you imagine the scenarios that could develop out of that?  Not only could the dolls go there to eat – they could meet up with friends, and make new friends. You could take things further by playing scenarios wherein your dolls are restaurant owners, wait staff and kitchen staff.

Next I found this tutorial for an Oscar Podium.

Pretending a doll just won an Oscar isn’t all that compelling to me – but what about a Nobel Prize?
Now we’re talking.

Or how about having Grace achieve the distinction of Valedictorian? Then she has to give a speech at her high school graduation ceremony.
I can definitely get into the idea of a podium for that scenario.

Podiums for speeches are just one of many props I can use to encourage Leah to become a supreme nerd.

In addition to podiums for ceremonies, we can make three of them and put together a Game Show set. Someday, when Leah is in Middle School she and her friends can use the Game Show Scenario to quiz each other for an upcoming Science Test. They combine studying with barbie play and everyone is happy. It’s a win-win for momma-daughter.

Finally, I found this My Froggy Stuff tutorial for a bathroom soap dispenser.

So your doll can take a bath? Boring…
But wait! You can make a ton of these pretty quickly, then modify the top to make a bunch of perfume bottles! Then, your barbies can open a a Body Shoppe type place. Maybe they will start out with a mall kiosk and grow their business by expanding into lotions and soaps. Maybe they discuss whether to take their shop in the direction of a High-End Chichi shop or alternatively, go toward a moderately-priced, earthy, Fair Trade type establishment?

Once you take your barbies out of the home and into the larger more exciting Barbieworld, the number of scenarios grows exponentially.

For my readers…what have you built that opened up scenario opportunities for your dolls? What tutorials have you seen online that might provide exciting play scenario opportunities for your barbies?

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Danielle says:

    You’re back! I was just thinking to myself yesterday that I miss reading your blog. You make an excellent point! I’ve been trying to build up my doll homes, getting more quality items, which looks great, but when it comes time to do a story, they just go back and forth to each other’s houses?

    I hope you know you are now personally responsible for me going nutso and having to go ahead and build that school I wanted, and restaurant, and boutique, and cafe and park and skatepark and airport and and and….

  2. Dani – Just don’t give your husband my husband’s phone number. If my hubs had backup I’d REALLY have to hear about it. Just kidding, my husband talks a bit of smack here and there but mostly leaves me alone about it.

    When I read your list my heart just leapt – ooooh barbie skatepark!! oh the possibilities!! You should really do a guest post on how you build things!! even if you do a guest post that points back to your blog for the more intricate step-by-step. Think about it!!!

  3. Lola says:

    You make a good point! A lot of barbie diy is focused on setting up a barbie household, but they’ve got to go out and DO things, too! Barbie needs to work if she’s going to pay the note on the dream car, dream boat, and dream plane!
    If you leave a note on My Froggy Stuff’s site and plant that idea in her head, I bet she’d come up with some great things. My kids are always wanting to set up a barbie school or a barbie movie theater, I’ll have to think on what they would need. We’ve done a barbie mall too, but that mostly consists of setting up tables of shoes/purses, and shelves of other stuff for babs to buy…again spending but not making money:D

    1. Lola – you always say something to get me laughing.

      You are spot on about paying notes!! BBBBarbie may have a Sugar Daddy, but my favorite girls are Independent Women (a la Destiny’s Child) and they actually enjoy paying their own bills 🙂

      I’ve emailed a bit with My Froggy Stuff about doing a guest post and she may still be considering it. I think she gets a ton of requests for items so she’s probably got quite the backlog.

      We have a lot of fun playing school. Tons of scenarios there, I think.

      I bought a pretty rare 90’s movie theater set on eBay. It’s unique, but if it were to do over I wouldn’t buy it again. We pull it out and I can’t think of any scenarios around it. The dolls walk in, buy snacks, sit down and ? what?

      I struggle with Fashion Mall stuff too so we try to put more of the focus on WORKING at the mall than shopping. So the main characters are figuring out where to display things etc. How to greet customers. How many items you can have in a dressing room.

      You can also do it more like a Paris Fashion house (Haute Couture). Leah and I agree on a dress in advance, pretending it doesn’t exist and they are going to design it together and the Fashion House is going to make is especially for the client. We play it where the client comes in and says she wants a custom designed gown. The designer has to ask questions and do sketches. Client comes back for fittings etc.

      With Malls you can also focus on trying to get a job – how to ask about job openings, fill out apps, interviews, offers, work schedules – etc.

      You’ve got my head going 90 MPH. I guess i need to write up some posts on these!!!

      1. Lola says:

        Today we started making ‘backdrops’–basically single walls that we can put out to set up their…well…set ups in front of. We made a school one–a blank wall with a popsicle stick window, a clock, a ‘smart board’, a blackboard, a bulletin board, and a flag. The 6 year old drew all the stuff herself so it’s obviously a kid’s work, but you could go all out and put up a real (small) dry erase board, a real piece of cork board, a real clock, etc and make it look pretty snazzy.

  4. Lola – you need to do a post on it and put up pics. Thats a great idea bc it is fast, easy, cheap, takes up very little space, etc. etc. I love that didea.

  5. Paulette Richards says:

    Thanks for mentioning the bistro set tutorial. Once you have a series of bistro sets you could make food for different types of restaurants. Look for tutorials on making play food from salt dough in 2012.

  6. Paulette –

    Thanks for letting me know you are going that direction. I worry that my tips are too expensive for most.

    Re-ment food is amazing, but expensive and doesn’t challenge young barbeges the way making their own food would. Polymer clay is challenging but expensive even when you are expert – twice as expensive when you are amateur.

    I hope you will post a recipe for the dough!!

    One thing I always wanted for my pizza parlor was pizza in various stages of preparation and consumption – that’s somethig you can’t get from Re-ment….cant wait for your recipe and tutorials. 🙂

  7. Ebony Nicole says:

    This post was so funny Kris because I was okay just doing photoshoot now I want to do stories and show my dolls in a different light! DAMN YOUTUBE!

    1. But you already do stories…right? are you saying now you feel compelled to take your stories out of the boring old house?

  8. I love it! may be i will open a doll spa :o) and i have been meaning to get to that post but i get so easily distracted :o) as soon as the holidays pass i will have more time… i hope :o)

    1. Hey Frog (!),
      You have SOOOO many young followers! I am excited to think you will turn them into budding entrepreneurs instead of budding bath takers!! Love your work, love the influence you have over so many independent young women.

  9. LOL! Well i hope they still take baths, otherwise it might hurt their business 🙂 just posted a pic of our little shop 🙂 on My Froggy Princess

    1. Ahhhhhhhh!!! It’s SO Perfect!! I love it. I am going to do a post on this. and talk about some stuff.

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