"Easter Eggs" for a dollhouse
February 18, 2019 6:57 AM   Subscribe

I am making a dollhouse for my future grandkids. I'd like to include some elements of surprise, whimsy & silliness. Ideas?
posted by i_mean_come_on_now to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
A secret door behind a bookcase seems ideal, or you could go all out and make the entire thing a puzzle, a la this NYC apartment.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:11 AM on February 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

Things hidden behind paintings, or incorporated into the paintings. Maybe family stories painted small?
posted by five_cents at 7:18 AM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

I hate to say this but my kids and every kid I know would be delighted to find poop in the doll toilet.

(Metafilter: poop in the doll toilet)
posted by The Toad at 7:29 AM on February 18, 2019 [25 favorites]

Mechanical things are fun - a dumbwaiter, for example. A spiral ramp, or very broad staircase banister, so the dolls can slide down. Hinges of all kinds. Built-in secret storage spaces.
posted by trig at 7:29 AM on February 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ours kid's has a teensy cephalopod in the crib.

When I was a kid, I figured out that some of the shingles on our wooden dollhouse's roof could be gently wiggled free and then reinserted elsewhere. It was just so utterly satisfying; I don't even know what to tell you. Something about working on the actual house, not just fiddling with the dress-up elements of it, I guess. Similarly, some of the doors and window frames popped off and could be swapped around, and I'm sure that's what most people would consider a bug, but to me as a kid it was a glorious feature completely lacking in the plastic Fisher-Price offerings at daycare.
posted by teremala at 7:45 AM on February 18, 2019 [10 favorites]

A wee vegetable garden that they can pluck the veggies out of (and put back in), like tiny carrots.

If you have a chimney in your plans, I'd want a Santa to be able to go down it. And a Christmas tree with tiny decorations. Stockings with their names on it. (If that's an appropriate holiday for your family...) I'd love to see a whole side package of holiday stuff across the board - jack o'lanterns that light up... Tiny valentines to slide through the mail slot...

My childhood dollhouse had a ghost in the attic. It was just a tissue, but depending on how your grandkids are, a skeleton in an attic closet would be classier than mine.
posted by librarianamy at 7:55 AM on February 18, 2019 [11 favorites]

Not an easter egg in the sense that it is hidden, but: My dad built me a dollhouse when I was a kid, and it had not only electrical lights hanging from the ceilings in all the rooms, but also sockets to plug in little floor lamps in some of the rooms. The whole circuit was powered by a 4.5V battery. I thought it was the best thing ever!

Also, it had wallpaper and carpeting that were leftovers from the house we were living in, and when I got new wallpaper in my room, he re-decorated one of the rooms in the dollhouse with the same wallpaper.
posted by amf at 8:01 AM on February 18, 2019 [14 favorites]

A family of tiny mice or raccoons that also live in the house.
Agree that mechanical things are fun. Teeny lights that work would be amazing, or a television/computer with images that can be scrolled through.
posted by Rora at 8:02 AM on February 18, 2019 [7 favorites]

One of the dollhouses I was fascinated with as a child had a (battery powered) working electrical system. Small low-voltage wires, with working light fixtures (chandeliers, sconces) and wall switches. I think I was more fascinated with that than the actual house.
posted by msbutah at 8:02 AM on February 18, 2019

Just thought of one! Posting so I don't forget
- tiny books or records sleeves with funny titles

(these suggestions are all SO GREAT!!)
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 8:20 AM on February 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

You might get some ideas from Colleen Moore's fairy castle (probably my favorite thing at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago when I was a child).
posted by FencingGal at 8:25 AM on February 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you could put a flat screen TV up -- that was really just smart phone brace, that would be fun. They could play their favorite sesame street show for their doll friends.

Not silly but I would use old clothes that were yours or their parents for the blankets for the bed.

Squirrel in the chimney, mouse in the cupboards, alligator in the toilet?

Teeny, tiny hide a key fake rock?

A safe behind a picture would sure be fun.

Hang the silliest pictures you can find of their parents in the living room? Ooh, make little frames they THEY can make tiny works of art and hang them (maybe with tiny bits of velcro?).

I'd make an awesome secret reading nook/hideaway in their doll house bedroom. If there is any outdoor component to it, like front walk, it would be fun to have that as chalkboard paint to they can draw on it.

There is glow in the dark paint, that with those little fake laser flashlights you can write on. The writing shows for a few seconds.

Outside a bedroom window a little basket on a pulley system? Can raise and lower a pet kitty or secret notes, etc.

An alterable front yard sign? "Peppa pig for President" or whatever cause they feel like that week?
posted by beccaj at 8:39 AM on February 18, 2019 [10 favorites]

secret messages hidden under furniture/ ceilings etc.
posted by mrmarley at 9:29 AM on February 18, 2019

A tiny diary from the little boy/girl who lives there that can be read with a magnifying glass
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:48 AM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

A fridge light that goes on and off when you open the door
posted by advicepig at 9:50 AM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Jenny Lawson's Haunted Dollhouse is something I love going back to look at again and again. Could it have a haunted attic?
posted by peagood at 10:21 AM on February 18, 2019

Dollhouse inside the dollhouse.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:40 AM on February 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

posted by katypickle at 12:10 PM on February 18, 2019

Bats in the attic. Either paper cutouts or stuffed toys.
An aquarium would be cool.
Are we talking miniture doll house or walk in play house? Somehow incorporating a slide would be great, you know, like this, but maybe a little less elaborate.
Having an animal sanctuary would be awesome. You could have new animals being adopted in and out. They could name the animals and rescue kittens out of a tree.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:53 PM on February 18, 2019

I saw a video of a dollhouse once that involved an actual swimming pool, with actual water.
posted by divabat at 1:21 PM on February 18, 2019

One of the dollhouses I was fascinated with as a child had a (battery powered) working electrical system. Small low-voltage wires, with working light fixtures (chandeliers, sconces) and wall switches. I think I was more fascinated with that than the actual house.

If you want to get fancy then one of my students built a doll's house to use in school outreach and which includes a PV panel to power light sin the house. I may be able to get a spec for it.
posted by biffa at 2:19 PM on February 18, 2019

Pictures of them shrunk down into "portraits" and hung on the walls? A little monster under a bed?
posted by nkknkk at 4:40 PM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Big enough to fit cats (or other small pets) a la the Sesame Street segment one, two, two little cats? I just noticed that the dollhouse from that clip also has the tiny electric lights!
posted by abeja bicicleta at 6:02 PM on February 18, 2019

My father built a dollhouse for all of the families. My kids LOVED that he put pictures on the wall going up the stairs of him as a little boy and me as a wee one. He also got samples of my children's wallpaper or paint and made rooms that matched each child.
posted by AugustWest at 9:40 PM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

A floorboard that lifts up with a bundle of cash and love letters (between favourite dolls) hidden under it!

Skylights in the darker rooms

A walk in closet for organizing doll clothes

A little pet bed for a little dog or cat

A little mouse hole that the cat can sit and watch

A raccoon in the chimney

A bird house outside or a nest in the tree

A working weather vane on the roof
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:16 AM on February 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Something like this in the bed.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2019

You should have one relatively large portrait with eyes that move. You could have the eyes attached to a mechanical lever that goes through the back of the wall and is camouflaged on the exterior to look like a pipe or bird feeder or something.
posted by donut_princess at 4:52 PM on February 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Paintings of ancestors that are really you and funny historical characters.
My aunt made a dollhouse and furniture for her granddaughter, and needlepointed rugs. You could put Braille, Morse code or Elvish secrets in rugs and books. Needlepointing a dollhouse rug doesn't take a long time. The bottoms of rugs, furniture, mattresses, are all good places to hide secrets. Or Dad jokes. Changing out the jokes would be really fun.
posted by theora55 at 7:37 AM on February 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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