I’m excited to share this DIY American Girl doll bed I made with my daughter.
This bed is actually for a Wellie Wisher, Ashlyn. Wellie Wishers are the new 16″ dolls made by American Girls aimed at a slightly younger audience. You could definitely make the same thing for an 18″ American Girl.
A Long History with American Girls
My oldest daughters, ages 21 and 18, loved American Girls when they were young. Honestly, I loved them too! Going to the American Girl Store in Los Angeles and buying clothes and accessories was as much fun for me as it was for my daughters. After my girls outgrew their dolls, I packed them away. I couldn’t stand the thought of getting rid of them (remember Jessie’s song in Toy Story 2?). Carefully, I packed away all five of the dolls and all their clothes and accessories in hopes that I could someday again experience a girl’s joy while playing with Kit and company.
That day has finally come. My 6-year-old daughter, Lizzie, is finally old enough to appreciate the American Girls. Initially, she wasn’t too impressed with the American Girls and all their swag. Her friends would delight in playing with them, but I think Lizzie saw them as hand-me-downs from her sisters. Lizzie has recently become the proud first-time owner of two Wellie Wishers and an assortment of accessories. This has sparked her interest in playing with the American Girls.
An Expensive Habit
Anyone with young daughters knows American Girls and their accessories are not cheap. These dolls are beautiful and in my opinion worth the price. My oldest daughters had five dolls between them and dozens of outfits and small accessories. The clothes all held up well. We did have three AG beds, by far the most expensive accessories we owned. However, only one bed survived years of play. Two of the beds were irreparably broken through the course of normal play. To me, the AG beds are not worth the high price tag, as they simply are too delicate to stand up to normal day-to-day play.
My daughter and I saw a Youtube video of a doll bed made from a box. The best part of this project is all the items I used (with the exception of the trim I used for the bed skirt) were items I had left over from other projects. $3.49 is the only additional money I spent to make this bed. Love that!
American Girl Doll Box (or in this case a Wellie Wisher box)
Fat Quarters-I picked up Disney ones at Joann but you can get some on Amazon too
organza ruffle trim- 1.5 yards-purchased at Hobby Lobby for a total of $3.49
Fleece-15″ x 15″ square
Cricut Design Space
Assembling the Bed
Start by covering the box with some material. Basically, wrap the box with fabric and use hot glue as the tape. I forgot to take a picture of this step. You can see in this picture the box is covered in a lavender princess print.
Next cut the corrugated cardboard in the following dimensions:
3 pieces 7.5″ w x 2″ h, these will be the sides of the headboard
2 pieces 7.5″ w x 1.75″h, these will be the shelves on the headboard
1-8″ w x 7.5″ h-this is the headboard
4-1.5″ x 2″ triangle pieces for the shelf supports
8″ x 8″ square-for footboard (that piece isn’t pictured below)
Using Zim glue pen cover the pieces of cardboard with the cardstock of your choice. My daughter loves purple!
Finish the raw edges of the cardboard with washi tape. I used a thin solid purple for the shelf edges and a wider polka dot along the outer edge of the headboard. Attach the sides of the headboard to the headboard with hot glue then cover the seam with washi tape. Glue the triangular supports to the headboard and rest shelf on them. I had planned on using two shelves, but once I got one glued in, I could see there really wasn’t room for two.
We cut the heart and butterflies with some scraps of vinyl and the Cricut. Attach the headboard to the mattress foundation with hot glue then attach the footboard the same way. Then attach her trim to the bottom of the mattress foundation with hot glue. I used this to hide the ugly selvage border but it also adds a cute touch.
Sewing the Mattress Cover
Using fat quarters made this sewing project super simple. Lay the box on the foam and trace around it to get exact size for the mattress. Since it is 1/2″ foam, it’s easy to cut with scissors. My foam was 16.5″ long x 7″ wide for this Wellie Wisher box, if you are using an American Girl box it will be bigger. Add 1/2″ seam allowance to the sides and top and bottom of material for the mattress cover. Mine was 8″ wide by 17.5″ long cut two pieces to this size. Pin pieces right sides together and leave about 3″ open for turning the fabric and inserting foam mattress. Here is an excellent explanation of how to make the box edges for the mattress cover by Realcoake.com. After making box edges, turn the mattress cover right side out and insert foam mattress. Roll the mattress and press flat to squeeze it in through the opening. I topstitched the opening closed.
Making the Comforter and Pillow
The comforter is a 16″ square cut from a fat quarter and a 16″ square scrap of fleece. Pin the fat quarter right side down to the fleece. Leave 2″ opening for turning. Stitch together turn right side out and press. Top stitch all the way around to stabilize the cotton. Use the final fat quarter to make the pillow. Mine measured 5″ x 7″. Pin right sides of fabric together and leave 1.5″ opening for turning right. Stitch together and turn right side out. My daughter had fun stuffing the pillow with the polyester fiberfill. Overstuff it, as it will compress over time. You can hand stitch to opening closed. I couldn’t find a hand needle so, I just topstitched the opening closed.
Doesn’t Ashlyn look comfy in her new bed? Finally, a cost-effective American Girl doll bed.