Make a Rainbow Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse

How to Make a Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse

I’ve seen a lot of great DIY dollhouses around the web lately, and when a friend’s birthday came up, we decided to create our own version of a cardboard dollhouse as a gift.

This sweet rainbow house was created from a cardboard box, an Artterro “creativity kit,” and some rainbow Christmas lights.

Maia had so much fun creating it and so fell in love with the finished product that we are already planning another that she can keep.

Here’s how to make the dollhouse…

Materials to Make a Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse

Make a Rainbow Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse


  • Cardboard box
  • Decorative papers
  • Transparent contact paper (also called sticky back plastic)
  • Colored tissue paper or film
  • String of mini colored lights
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Glue stick
  • Tape


First I created the dollhouse shape out of the cardboard box by cutting off two of the flaps, taping them to the other two, then taping those into a gabled roof (make sense?).

Then I cut out a door and a couple of windows with an x-acto knife. Maia immediately requested a second door and another window, which I also added.


Then Maia decorated the dollhouse…

The materials Maia used to decorate the dollhouse are from an Artterro creativity kit and also an Artterro art journal kit (she pulled out the decorative papers).

Artterro sells eco art kits, is one of my blog sponsors, and sent us a couple of their products to try out.

Maia had a friend over when the package arrived and they both dived in immediately and made interesting collaged pieces inspired by the beautiful materials (printed papers, wool felt shapes, and beads) and the pictures on the instruction brochure. While the instructions and photos showed hand-sewn creations, the girls found it easier to use glue.

(By the way, I think these kits would be enjoyed by any age, not just kids!)

Decorating the Homemade Cardboard Dollhouse

After the initial art kit binge, there were still some of the beautiful papers left, so Maia used them to decorate the cardboard dollhouse.

Decorating the DIY Cardboard Dollhouse

She added designs with sharpies around the stained glass windows (which are simply the suncatchers she made the other day taped to the inside of the windows).

How to Make a Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse

We also got out the contact paper and colored tissue paper so she could add another stained glass window to the house.

(As you can see in the background, Daphne worked on her own paper and cardboard collage while Maia made the dollhouse.)

A Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse

Finally, we ran out to the store to pick out some colorful mini Christmas lights to light the house from the inside.


Both girls spent a looong time admiring the lighted “rainbow” house that evening. And the dollhouse was a hit with the birthday girl when Maia presented it the next day.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a village of these cardboard dollhouses, with a string of Christmas lights running through them?

Update :: We did make a village of lighted cardboard dollhouses!

More Art Kits for Kids by Artterro

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How to Make a Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse with Kids

Artterro’s Creativity Art Kit Giveaway



Readers who leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, December 14th at 11:49 pm EST will be entered to win an Artterro Creativity Kit and an Artterro Art Journal Kit (color of your choice). Winners will be chosen by random number generator and announced on Thursday morning. Giveaway closed.

The random number generator gave me #27, so Sarah M. wins the two Artterro art kits. Congrats, Sarah! I’ll send you an e-mail…

These look like so much fun! I know my kids would love to try these out! And what a beautiful doll house your daughter made-I’m sure the friend loved it.

Disclosure: The Artterro creativity kit and art journal kit were provided to us for free; all opinions expressed are my own.


Your girls did a great job on the dollhouse! I would love to win the kit so that my son and daughter could make one of their own.

Love the lighted idea and all the materials combined for the box dollhouse. My kids would love this project. So timely with all the Christmas boxes around.

Oh how I wish I lived close to my grandchildren in Palo Alto, rather than thousands of miles away in Tasmania. We could craft all the time!!!! Love your blog.

I love reading your blog. It keeps me inspired to pull out open ended art materials when I’ve found myself stuck in a rut.

Gorgeous – my daughters made a “snow” covered cardboard house last year on a snow day. Time for some rainbows to brighten up a cold and dreary winter!

[email protected] says:

Gorgeous! What a fun craft!

oh YES! my daughter would love this as she loves all things RAINBOW and is fascinated with fairies!! looks like a rainbow fairy house to me!! thanks for a chance.

We will do this over break with leftover christmas boxes. They love little villages and these will last longer than the gingerbread houses. Lights are a great idea. Art kits look super, thanks.

These look like so much fun! I know my kids would love to try these out! And what a beautiful doll house your daughter made-I’m sure the friend loved it.
Sarah M

Great idea. I’ll have to try it with all the cardboard boxes we have laying around:) And, thanks for the intro to Artterro. I love the bubble wand kit:)

[email protected] says:

Very cool we’ve made big catdboard houses but not little ones. The lights are the piece de resistance

My girls would so love doing this! I think we will do it in a few days when we have a day at home so they can make it then play with it all day.

wow, what fun! we just raided the recycling bin and made an awesome cash register out of some boxes the other day. we’ll have to try a house next!

That house is fantastic! My 7 year old son (with a little help from Dad) made a cardboard haunted house for halloween! He painted it brown and decorated it with bats and skeletons. This is a fantastic idea for a gift!

I love it! My daughter just got an undecorated wooden doll house for her birthday from her god parents. I think we may need to decorate it with my stash! But of course, we would love the arterra kit, too!
Love your blog- I use ideas from you all the time in my art therapy practice with children with disabilities.

I teach preschool, and for each child’s birthday, we make a homemade gift of something we think he/she would like. One child requested a dollhouse. This one is a great inspiration!

What an adorable dollhouse! I think we may have to create one of these while we are on Christmas break. Thanks for sharing the idea.

This is a great idea. My daughter just used a box to create a winter wonderland, this might be next on her agenda. I love the patterned fabrics. Just up my 9 yr olds alley!

As much as my children love playing with plain empty cardboard boxes, I can imagine they would go nuts decorating one of these! This project is going to the top of our “Activities to Do” List. Thanks for the inspiration!

I just saw these kits for the first time the other day and I love them! I also love the idea of the “rainbow house and can’t wait to make one of our own! What a fabulous idea! Thanks for the opportunity to win this wonderful kit and for all the inventive ideas that you give to us!

How wonderful! This is an adorable project to do with my daughter and nieces. I just LOVE your site, and refer to it every day. Thank you!

I love what your daughter did with this set. I, too, was looking at these kits the other day, thinking they might be nice gifts for friends and cousins. I love how open-ended they are, and I’m sure my very creative kids would be thrilled to try one out!

These kits look nice, they always have something in them that I would never think of like the felt shapes. I can see how any age could have fun with it.

I recently purchased a large cardboard house for my children to decorate for Christmas. I like the idea of adding other materials rather than the usual paint, markers and crayons.

LOVE the dollhouse-what a great project! I’ve never heard of Artterro Art Kits, so we’d love to try one out! Thanks for the chance to win.

Thank you so much for this great post, can’t wait to get started. Love projects like this that can be done over multiple days.

I think I must make this for my niece for christmas. the lights are a great idea – they immediately enliven the house, making it look cosy and inviting.

I like youe doll house,it’s very creative.
I want to win that so i give it to my grand daughter.

One more awesome craft to add to my list… this may have to be bumped to the top so my daughter’s cowgirls have a place to live when they’re not at the stable :-)

We’re definitely going to try this. And thanks for the chance to win of the kits. I just noticed these at our local art store. They look great!

This is such a great idea! We still have a cardboard box castle made two school holidays ago and it is still my son’s favourite toy! The idea of lighting up the stained-“glass” windows is so very simple – but so clever!!! thanks againm,Jean xxx

Aww, it came out so cute! I am going to have to make one for sure with Kaia, she will adore it. And that looks like a FABULOUS kit, I love how open ended it is!

What imagination to create the rainbow house! I’ve been looking at Artterro kits online and would love to win one for my 6 year old.

[email protected] says:

How Fun!! My toddler would love this! Hope I win :)

[email protected] says:

loooooooove it! Please enter me in your drawing. My girls are always creating little houses for their dolls, barbies, fairies in the garden etc etc. This is a great inspiration!

What a cute idea! We have tons of boxes around with holiday shipments coming in. Would be great to put them to creative use!

love this! of course with a little boy, it will more likely be a “fire house”. we live close to a fire station so any box quickly turns into the same. I love the tea light idea!

I saw the sidebar you posted for this vendor and ordered two other kits. After reading this entry, I wish I could have purchased this kit, too!!!!!

[email protected] says:

I think my child would really enjoy this project. Thanks!

This is lovely. I do so much with my son. It would be nice to create something this awesome with my daughter!

Thanks for all the holiday art ideas! We made salt dough ornaments today – so easy! Can’t wait to try this out with all the boxes from Christmas.

I love how the suncatcher looks in the dollhouse! We have lots of cardboard boxes in the garage–I keep saving them… would love to try this with my kids.

This is beautiful! So much better than the plastic doll houses that you buy at the store, and the Christmas lights are a nice touch! I may be making one myself before Christmas!

Love the doll house…so sweet. My 5 yr old DD is having a friend over to play today. Perhaps we’ll work on this…or color some snowflakes! Thanks for the generous giveaway!

Neat idea…could even do more holisay decorationa to make gingerbread house! Never have seen this art kit. I know it was sent to you but can it also be found in stores. Eould like it as we do an art activity every day!

I love it! What a fun idea. I wish my seven year old would get out of his seven year old funk. Before seven I couldn’t keep up with his crafting he was making so much of everything. Now I have to remind/nag him to make the three ornaments he wanted to make for a swap.

Love the dollhouse!
I made a cardboard oven for my daughter. It was a lot of fun.
Would love to win the art kit!
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
Holly in Kentucky

What an awesome idae! We would make a barn for my son’s tractors since he is not to into doll houses!!! Hope to have a chance to win!

We would love the kit, and we will be trying the cardboard dollhouse as soon as the Christmas rush is over!

My little one would love this! She is so into tiny things! Her little tiny things would fit nicely into a sweet cardboard house.

[email protected] says:

what a great birthday gift idea! we’ll have to try that soon.

Ok, I can not figure out how to comment on the post, so I’m replying to a comment, hope that’s ok. This is so cute. We have one decorated box, and one waiting…thanks for the new ideas!

[email protected] says:

okay where can I find contact paper? And is that exactly what it is called. I have been to my local grocery store, Target, and Michaels… nothing. I love all your ideas that you use with it.

this is so great! i love taking such a simple thing as a cardboard box and turning it into something amazing. i’m currently working (albeit very slowly) on making a boat out of an (extremely) over-sized box that i received from!

I love the idea of using the lights! I will have to try something like that- maybe after Christmas when I can pick up some light sets on clearance.

[email protected] says:

what a great idea!!!!

I have made many “doll” houses with clients in therapy sessions. I use wine or whiskey boxes and the partitions in the boxes are converted into floors, rooms, and hallways.
Each year I also make arts and craft gifts for Christmas with my grandchildren for their parents. I can see taking this wonderful idea and making a “Christmas House” with my granddaughter next year.

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