Barbie DIY: Making a Cafe out of a Shoebox (Portable, Fold-Up Diorama)

Hello lovelies! Today I wanted to share with you a craft I’ve been working on. But first, some backstory!

As some of you might know, I’m living with my parents at the moment, which means I have quite a lot of space for my doll collection. I tried to move out last year but nobody would accept my application (I probably applied for about 20 apartments!). I ended up giving up because I got a scholarship to study overseas (which has now been cancelled, for obvious reasons).

Since I won’t be going overseas anytime soon, I’m trying to move out again! So far I’ve applied for 5 apartments. It’s been really difficult because a lot of real estate agents are cautious of young people. Often there are 20 other people applying at the same time! And they’re all proper adults with full-time jobs and such, whereas I’m only a university student with two measly part-time jobs.

Anyway! My dilemma is that firstly, when I move out, I won’t have very much space! The places I’m looking at are really small (not enough room for a wardrobe or desk!), so I’ll probably need to keep all my clothes and everything underneath my bed.

Secondly, I’ll be living with several roommates, so I can’t exactly have my Barbie collection in an obvious place! It’s not that I feel bad about collecting Barbie (after all, Jacqueline Wilson has a whole room of dolls!), it’s just that it’s a bit unusual! Most people don’t understand unless they’re a collector themselves.

So this means that I will need some way to take Barbie photos secretly. I came across this excellent video from Froggy, who shows how to make a dollhouse out of a shoe box:

I liked this video in particular because a shoebox can easily be packed up and put away! So if my roommate was to see it, they would just think it’s a regular shoebox, which would really save me from an awkward conversation!

I decided to try and make my own! I wanted to make a cafe, instead of a house, because that way it can be used for many different storylines.

These are the materials I started with – a shoebox, some scrapbook paper, some plain white paper and a printed image of some bricks (I didn’t end up using the bricks). I also printed a menu design from Adobe Spark.

I unfolded the box and stuck down the scrapbook paper. If you’re going to do this, make sure that you leave gaps where the folds are – otherwise the paper will crease when you open and close the box.

I also cut a skylight in the roof and made a window using black cardboard. I wanted to put some plastic on the other side of the window but I didn’t have any, so it’s just a hole.

This is what it looked like when the box was folded back up.

I glued the floor and ceiling back together. I also added some more scrapbook paper for the flooring, and these thin lines around the walls for decoration. I feel that it helps to “connect” the two papers in a way that looks more natural.

Here’s another angle.

For decoration, I added in some stickers, these are from Etsy, and some fairy lights from Target. I framed the stickers using white paper to make them stand out more.

I also made a little “counter” using an empty box (it was already blue), and stuck some scrapbook paper on top. I added a sticker on the counter as well.

Time for some furniture! The table and chair are from the Barbie Dining Room playset. The cash register is from the Happy Family Shop. The plant is from The Reject Shop. The chips and the phone are from two different living room playlets.

The doll is Neko from the Barbie Style Glam Night collection. I made the top myself using an old bikini (What can I say? It’s a nice stretchy material!) The pants and the trainers are Fashion Fever (I think!)  Oh! And the mug is from the Barbie 2009 Day to Night doll.

The idea of the shoebox playset is that even though it’s quite small, you can zoom in and it can become a portable diorama. Like this! This is my favourite photo.

Neko sits down to enjoy her coffee.

Serving a customer at the counter.

On a completely different note, I ordered a new Fashion Fever doll from eBay! I was really lucky to get such a good price, considering most Fashion Fever dolls usually pretty expensive. 

I don’t understand why sellers put the prices up so ridiculously high! Is there anybody who is actually willing to spend over $100 on a Fashion Fever doll? Like obviously I can understand paying that much if it’s a Collector doll, or a rare doll from the 80s, but for a 2000s-era playline doll? WHO IS BUYING THESE?

Oh! One more thing. I was reading through my old posts today and I thought “wow, I sound kind of annoying. I sure did complain a lot!” Haha. So sorry to everyone who had to read all my complaining! I think it’s interesting how I’ve had this blog since I was, what, 15? And now I’m 21! So I really have grown up on this site. I’m really proud of myself for sticking to it!

Have a lovely week everyone! When my new doll arrives I will definitely make another post showing you all! I’m so excited!


6 thoughts on “Barbie DIY: Making a Cafe out of a Shoebox (Portable, Fold-Up Diorama)

  1. It’s sad that you feel as if you have to hide your hobby from your future roommates, but I do understand. I tell people all the time now and while some clearly think it’s very odd, others think it sounds great. Good luck in finding a new place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully later on I will tell them! We don’t know each other that well, I don’t want to scare them off haha. I have waayy had too many bad experiences with telling people and them freaking out 😅 So now I don’t say anything. But you’re right! If they’re decent people they shouldn’t care.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re the same age as my youngest daughter, who also lives at home with us. Sadly for me, she’s not a doll collector. A good bit of her room is dedicated to the living space for her two rabbits.

    I don’t know if people are actually buying dolls at those outrageous prices (I see that here in the US too.) Sometimes when I go to eBay pages to see what has actually sold, none of that expensive stuff has. I think sometimes people are just holding out for that price, because they know that the item is rare.

    I like what you did with your cafe. All of your dolls are going to want to get coffee now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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