Oh my, Janie and I are totally in love with this pumpkin doll house project, and the boys have been enjoying it too! I’m thinking of buying another pumpkin so that they can fill it with LEGO guys, but more on that in a minute…
You know those carve-able foam pumpkins that the craft stores carry this time of year? I had wondered how easy they were to carve, and what exactly was on the inside. Well as it turns out, they are very easy to carve, and they make an adorable doll house for Calico Critters or Playmobil people or any other small toy!
We added some simple accessories – a table and chairs made out of wood slices, little felt beds, and even tiny pictures to hang on the walls. It’s all so adorable and EASY to make! And it’s given Janie lots of fresh inspiration for pretend play with the Calico Critters.
(She actually calls them Dollco Critters! She called them that when she first got them for her 3rd birthday, and it stuck. She said so few things wrong that I didn’t correct her and now we all call them that. So I will try my hardest to call them Calico Critters for this post!)
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Here’s a closer view of the table and chairs. I’ll show you how to make them a little farther down.
To start, you’ll want to find a foam pumpkin or two. We bought ours at Hobby Lobby, but I saw the same ones at Lowe’s also. I found that a kitchen knife was the best option for carving. Our X-Acto knife was not sturdy enough to handle the job, and a utility knife was too clumsy. You can see the knife I used in the photo below. Carving the pumpkins is definitely an adult job!!
I drew lines on the pumpkins with a pencil before cutting.
Every single person in my family suggested making a door that opens and closes, but we never did figure out how. The curved shape of the pumpkin makes it a challenge. I ended up going with one large opening and then two windows.
I decided that the houses need tiny artwork for the walls. I made little frames with mini popsicle sticks and hot glue.
Gresham painted the frames brown and drew the tiny artwork. Janie requested a picture of “the Dad bunny, since he died.” She only owns a mother, daughter, and baby from the bunny family, so I guess that was her explanation of where the Dad went? Her dramatic and imaginative approach to life cracks us up!
Of course the little Calico Critters needed some forest themed accessories to go with their little houses. I bought a bag of wood slices at Hobby Lobby for $3.99. The wood slices needed some sanding, which Owen was happy to help with. Once they were smooth, I made a set of chairs out of small wood slices and craft sticks.
I cut the craft sticks with scissors and hot glued them to the backs of the chairs. The Calico Critters technically can balance on the wood slices, but adding the back to the chairs makes them less frustrating for preschoolers to use.
I painted the backs of the chairs brown.
The critters can sit in the chairs quite well, and they are super cute.
The table is one large wood slice with two smaller ones as a pedestal. The smaller wood slices were not cut exactly even, so I put more hot glue on one side that the other when I was gluing them together.
The boys said that the pot on top of the table is the Calico Critter’s Instant Pot. LOL!
One of Janie’s favorite things to play is putting everyone to bed, so of course we had to make beds to go with the pumpkin houses.
The pillows are just white felt folded over and glued. I put a tiny bit of stuffing between the felt.
I added some faux fall leaves and extra wood slices to the scene as well as a piece of felt to put some of the furniture on. Janie does this with her Calico Critters house as well – at her age (4), it can be hard to manage all the tiny parts, so she often sets up the furniture outside the house where she can get to it better.
These pumpkin houses have inspired all kinds of pretend play! Janie has served the critters many meals…
She also used all of the chairs and wood slices to make a “train” for the Calico Critters to ride on. After that, she lined up the chairs to make a classroom so that the critters could go to school.
What else can live in the pumpkin houses?
Try making a house for LEGO guys, Playmobil people, Fisher-Price Little People, so many possibilities!
Personally, the Calico Critters are my favorite and look so cute with the forest theme.
Pictured are the Fisher Cat Family, but they have been discontinued. The Sandy Cat Family is very similar. Also, I totally recommend this Calico Critters house if you are getting started with these toys because it comes with furniture and two bunnies. I bought it for Janie’s 3rd birthday, but did not give her the tiny accessories until she was 4.