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Mom Starts Upcycling Thrifted Plastic Dollhouses Into Spooky Mansions, And She’s Absolutely Nailing It

When Barbie came out in the 1950s, her original look didn’t have a smidgen of pink in it. Over the years, however, toy manufacturers developed a tendency to paint everything doll-related pink. Now, Mattel (the company that owns Barbie) even has a copyrighted color called Barbie Pink.

But one crafty woman has just shown that dolls don’t need to bathe in pink all the time. They, or rather their surroundings, look good in other colors, too.

Mom and wife Samantha Browning has been watching TikToks in her free time and saw a woman on there who had spray-painted a wooden dollhouse black. Samantha thought that was an awesome idea, so during one of her many thrift shop trips, she picked up a dollhouse for $8, got some matte black spray paint and acrylic paint, and went to work.

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Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

“The next two dollhouses were a bit more money,” Samantha told Bored Panda. “I found them on the Facebook Marketplace for $25 but thought they were worth the money because the designs were really beautiful. The last one I found was only $1 and I haven’t started on it yet but I think once I do it will be one of the best. It has a very modern look to it so I can expand a bit more with the details.”

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Samantha said she works on these houses anywhere from 5 hours to over 10 hours depending on the details. “The first one was 5 hours because I didn’t plan on doing much more than the spray paint and a few details but the dollhouses have so many of their own designs molded into them that you can really spend any amount of time changing them to fit the theme you’re going for. The more houses I get, the more I try to change those items to make the piece completely different and grow from where I started.”

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

With Halloween just around the corner, these little goth mansions definitely could darken up the place a bit. However, Samantha is still trying to master her craft and isn’t selling her creations just yet.

She said her family celebrates Halloween like everyone else, decorating, indulging in pumpkin-flavored food and beverages, and going Trick or Treating. “This year, with the pandemic and Halloween being ‘canceled,’ I may try to make one of those banister pipes to slide candy down for families that still want to participate in a safe way,” Samantha explained. “I have one of the dollhouses displayed on an interior porch, but the night of, I will probably bring the two spookiest houses outside with battery operated candles.”

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

Image credits: Samantha Browning

The mom never expected the houses to become so popular. “I’m an artist but I’ve never done much more than draw or paint on a canvas in what little free time I have with kids and everyone in my life has always been very supportive of my art, but when you look around at all the beautiful and incredible things other people are making, you look at your own art as inferior or underwhelming and that can crush your drive to keep creating.”

Samantha hopes everyone who is struggling with their own creativity will find the time when they can and do something random once in a while. “This whole dollhouse thing was completely different from anything I’d done and if you told me even 6 months ago it would go viral, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Image credits: ileaween

Image credits: tinyturtleshells

Here’s what people have been saying about Samantha’s dollhouses


What do you think?

Written by Lucy P. Warren

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