"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Old Doll Wardrobe Restoration

Still in restoration mode, it was time I did something with this old doll wardrobe that's been sitting here and staring at me.

This is what I came up with.

The first order of business was cleaning off at least 60 years' worth of dirt and grime, which included scraping off old stickers.  Little did I know, there were more stickers underneath.

This caused me to pause and rethink my steps.  Are these original lithos?  If so, I'd rather not cover them.  But, I noticed they were lop-sided, leaving me to believe they weren't originals, but just stickers a little girl once used to decorate this piece of furniture.

Now that the wood was clean and grime-free, I painted it a pretty spring green.  Originally, my idea was to paint it pink, but this shade of green was too scrumptious to pass up.  Because it was missing a knob, I bought new wooden ones for a complete set.

I noticed the wardrobe was missing a hanger for the doll clothes.  Not a problem. I just painted a wood dowel white and cut it down to size - it fits like a glove! 

The absolute hardest part was deciding how to decorate it.  I knew I wanted to keep this very simple and figured since it was a wardrobe for doll clothing, why not decorate with paper dolls? 

The wooden knobs were painted white and attached with a very strong cement glue.  Just for a splash more color, I painted the hardware white as well and added a lamb at the bottom.

Have you ever heard of Vivian Trillow Smith?  She was an amazing artist (during the 1940s I think), who created Hallmark cards featuring young girls and paper dolls.  I chose her dolls for their mixture of innocence and beauty.

I also chose dolls that would best accentuate the green paint.  What little girl doesn't love to paint and play with kittens?

As I've said all along, I love an aged look, but draw the line at dirty!   I'll even go so far as to clean a vintage piece, only to turn around and make it "look" weathered by antiquing it.  It can look dirty, but if it comes from me, it's got to be clean!

Why not give it a try?  Take the beauty of something old and freshen it up with something new? The combination of old and new never fails.


  1. It's just lovely. The paperdolls are the perfect touch for this sweet transformation.

  2. You do the cutest things!!! This is so sweet with the paper dolls!!! love it....

  3. This is adorable! You did such a sweet job. Love the lime green and paper dolls.

  4. I have one of these I think mine is from the early to mid 1950s.
    Saving this fora summer time project. The former owner lined mine in contact paper. I have to figure how to get this off without damaging my wardrobe. Plan on placing a mirror in mine and, maybe some pretty paper too.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Yours turned out beautiful.