So I have dived down the Rabbit Hole of making things for my Daughters American Girl Dolls, and lets be honest we pull out my old dolls to “play with” too.
I was looking on our local Craigslist for a couple American Girl things that I hadn’t been able to find on eBay, and since we live near a store (Chicago) I figured I may have luck on Craigslist. While we didn’t find anything to purchase I did stumble across a used American Girl Winter Chalet for a pretty reasonable price and had my son not been sick I may have purchased and left it at that. But being house bound, I started looking up details on the Chalet and realized it was kinda small, and while still utterly adorable, I decided to see if we could whip one up real quick with a cardboard box. Cue eye roll. That real quick project got away from me due to the fact that I am particular about details and how cute things look, not to mention being the proper scale. Luckily, I mean not really, my son was sick for two weeks on and off which meant lots of time at home and lots of free time so I worked away and ended up with our fun Winter Chalet and Hot Cocoa Stand.
Okay here are some details for you. While I didn’t take any process pictures, sorry about that, I can give you an overview of how I made the Chalet and if you have Instagram I have some story Highlights saved from during the process.
I used a cardboard box, just a random box we got in the mail, the box measures roughly 18″ x 18″ x 15″. I am pretty sure you can get Home depot shipping boxes in the store very similar to that size. So I cut one side off, and the top “roof” off, I added a peak at the back by just cutting some card board to fit the width and height of the peak I wanted and taped it to the existing box. I also cut a piece of white foam core board the size of the back wall including the peak, and glued it to the back wall as extra support and so there would be no seams. The roof is two pieces of foam core board I decoupaged with scrap book paper before hot gluing onto the roof. I cute the red roof beams from foam core and did two layers glued together so they are thicker, then they are just glued in place after being painted.
I cut sticks from a dead bush in our back yard and glued them on the front like log pillars. As you can see the one as popped off a bit on the right so i will reattach with a stronger glue. I did use Hot Glue for everything and while it has held up great thus far we will see how long it lasts.
I painted the outside with just a basic brown craft paint to keep it simple.
I cut windows out of one side of the Chalet with an exacto knife. The shutters are made from thick Popsicle sticks that I cut the rounded edges off, glue together, painted, and glued to the sides.
The walls are papered with a gingham scrap book paper and a wood plank scrapbook paper. Both papers were found at Hobby Lobby. I just cut to match seams as we went around.Then I cut a thin piece of the wood paper and glued it over the spot where the papers met as a “trim” piece. I used Modge Podge for all decoupage, a layer of it under the paper and after the paper dried a layer over the paper to seal it for longevity.
To make the Fireplace I needed something round to match the look of the one in the Real American Girl Winter Chalet. I finally settled on a protein powder container. I cut the bottom and the top off, and then had to cut it into maybe a third of a circle, I kind of measured it against the wall to figure out the exact size. It was all trial and error. I hadn’t attached the roof at this point so I had the angle at the top of the walls to measure against. Once I got the right size, I cut the half circle shape in the front for the opening. I glued the protein powder bottle to a 1/4-1/3 circle cardboard piece as its base. I added a duplicate partial circle piece on top of the protein bottle for the mantle. On top of the mantel I attached the top portion of a Pepsi 2 liter bottle, and then a paper towel roll over the Pepsi container spout as the chimney. I really wish I had a picture of this process for you. The best I can say is trail and error and don’t give up, and HOT GLUE can help anything. :) After it was all glued together I painted the top with a gold metallic craft paint I had, several coats right over the paper towel roll and the Pepsi container. I painted the interior of the fireplace black, and decoupaged the rock paper, from Joann Fabrics, over the bottom portion with Modge Podge. I had to clip the paper overlapping it on the curved sections. With the busy pattern of the rocks this isn’t to noticeable. But you could also paint it to look like rock. I added a trim piece on the mantel to match the trim on the walls and a little cardboard scrapbook NO. sticker. The wreath is a bottle brush wreath I had in my stash and I just used a dot of hot glue to attach it. I cut the logs from the same bush as the “log” pillars and added a tealight under them for the glow. The whole fireplace is detached so you can move it out to access the logs and tealight.
The Benches where probably the trickiest part. I used real wood, and mdf I had from my dollhouse. I cut the bases from 1″ ( actually .75″ thick) wood and just traced a similar style to the real Chalet bench. I drilled the holes for decoration, and attached it all with real wood glue and clamps. They measure roughly 4″ high x 6″ wide. I painted with red craft paint after they where assembled. If you wanted to make a bench but don’t have wood working tools I suggest pursuing your local craft store wood section and see what you can come up with.
The Antlers on the back wall were a quick make. I cut a base from brown cardboard and then antlers from red card stock. I just google antler images, printed one out, and cut that shaped from the card stock. I then glued the antlers on the base and hung it on the wall with dot of hot glue.
The little table was an addition not seen in the original Winter Chalet. I have had that birch wood disc from Micheal’s Craft Store in my stash for ages and cut it down from a circle into a little less than a half circle and attached it to 3 wooden spools I had that equaled about the height I wanted of 8″. The birch wood disc is still available at Micheal’s Craft Store, and they have cute wood candle sticks that would make great bases also. The Joy poster is cute from Scrapbook paper from Joann Fabrics and the items on the table are from American Girl.
Okay onto the Hot Cocoa Stand: I watched a YouTube Video by Eighteen Inches and did a lot of the same things she did in her How to Video for her American Girl Hot Coca Stand. I thought I would just share what I did differently here. But go watch her fun video tutorial.
The base of this Hot Cocoa stand is a brown paper mache’ box I found at Micheal’s Craft Store. I believe it is roughly 8″ Square and 4″ tall ( or in our case deep when used for the stand) with lid. I flipped the box on it’s side so the opening is in the back ( the above view is essentially the bottom of the box). I cut the lid in half slightly deeper than the box and placed it on the top with the lip overlapping the front of the box as sort of counter edge. I used the other half of the lid upside down glued on the inside for a shelf. I painted the inside, and the top red, and then decoupaged the wood scrapbook paper on the front and sides of the the box. I hot glued sticks from outside on the sides towards the back, they measure about 24″ tall. Enough for a doll to stand under any sort of sign or garland you attach to the top. I wrapped a mini faux evergreen garland and some mini lights around the top for a festive feel. I had both in my stash, but I am pretty sure you can find something similar in the miniature Christmas section or fairy section at Micheal’s, Joann’s, or Hobby Lobby.
You can see the inside, or backside, of the hot cocoa stand above where we stashed some extras. I laid scrapbook paper on the shelves to dress it up a little back here.
We had fun with the Food. Lots of yummy treats and Hot Cocoa Toppings were made.
We used a hole punch and punched circles out of all colors of craft foam for the little “sprinkles”. My kids made a lot of the sprinkles, it was an easy job they could help with. I made marshmallows with white clay by rolling snacks of clay roughly 1/8″ thick and then cutting the marshmallows of the snake and softening the edges by rolling each one in my fingers for a second. I made peppermints in a similar fashion to the marshmallows, but instead of just plain white I rolled several snakes of red and white together to get that peppermint look.
We also cut tiny little sticks of cinnamon from brown craft foam and put them in that clear box ( from the container store) on the bottom. For the whip cream I followed the tutorial on the Eighteen Inches video I linked above.
The Hot Cocoa dispenser was a bit tricky to figure out. I finally found a round clear container similar style to a paint can at the Container Store. the lid pops off so I cut a brown piece of craft foam with a wavy top and taped it into a circle that would fit the container perfectly. I liked this option over paint so we could change the drink offered. I glued a bead to the lid for a handle, and follower Eighteen Inches tutorial for the spot. Then we just taped the sign on to let our customers know what is offered. The little cups are from a vintage tea set my daughter has and the birch circle is from Micheal’s Craft Store.
Lastly we made cookies and brownies for treats, the brownies are in a little metal tub found in the Joann Fabrics fairy garden section. I followed eighteen Inches Tutorial again and they were so easy to make from clay, as long as you buy the correct clay. ;) I bought clay that doesnt harden first and made a bunch and then cooked them, only to have them melt and not harden. oiy! Oh and the little candy canes are also made from clay by just rolling a white and a red snake and them twisting together into one snake. I think cut 1.5″-2″ long sections and shaped into a cane before baking. My daughter brought me that red and white stripped fabric from my stash and asked me to cut little napkins which I think is a cute addition since we don’t have plates.
Here are a couple shots of the dolls so you can see scale.
The Sled in the last picture is from the Target dollar spot this year and is the perfect American Girl doll size, plus it’s a chalkboard.
The Snowmen in the last picture are a craft we made last year.
Okay I hope you have enjoyed reading a little bit about how I made our Winter Chalet and Hot Cocoa stand. It was such a fun project and can be made as simply or extravagant as you please. I would love to see if you make something similar to mine so please tag me or send me some pictures. As always please feel free to comment or email with any other questions too.
I will be having some food sets available on Instagram later this week so keep an eye out for those.
Thanks so much for stopping by!