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DIY: How to Make Your Own American Girl Bakery Cafe


american-girl-DIY-cafe

My daughters have been into American Girl dolls for at least four years now, and while there are definitely times I roll my eyes at the over-the-top nature of some of the accessories and furniture that AG sells, overall I'm a big fan. Not only do the dolls and accessories encourage creative and imaginative play, but the AG books and movies have positive messages, and teach history as well. And let's face it...the miniature doll stuff is just really darn cute.

While we have a decent amount of official American Girl merchandise at our house, we also have lots of things from less expensive brands (such as Target's "Our Generation"), as well as things that weren't intended for an 18" doll at all, but just happen to be the right size (like the tiny bottles of tabasco sauce we scored during a hotel brunch). With a little creativity, you can find or make all kinds of fun things for your dolls that cost a fraction of what things cost at the AG store.

Which leads me to this fun little project...

Make Your Own American Girl Bakery

We just so happen to live about 10 minutes away from an American Girl store, which means a lot of "browsing" inevitably happens whenever we find ourselves at the mall. My daughter received the Grace doll for a gift last year, and she's been oohing and aahing over all of Grace's accessories, notably her French Bakery, which retailed for $500 before it was discontinued.

I kindly explained to her that there was absolutely no way she would be getting that bakery, to which she replied that if Santa brought it, it would be free. I then made up something super profound about how Santa couldn't bring that to her because it would be too fragile to transport on his sleigh. (This Santa thing gets a whole lot trickier as the kids get older.)

Anyway, as I'd stood there looking at the bakery, the small crafty voice that occasionally pops into my head spoke up: I bet you could make a version of that.

I knew we already had a doll table and chairs, as well as some doll baked goods from Target. The only issue was finding the space to create the bakery itself. At first I thought of using a large box, but then as I was working on cleaning out some cabinets in our house, the idea dawned on me...what if we transformed this hardly-used cabinet into an American Girl bakery?

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It was the perfect size, AND it would mean that the bakery and all of the things in it would be contained behind a closed door instead of taking up valuable floor space in our house. Win!

The girls were super excited about this idea, and so we headed out to check out Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Jo-Ann for inspiration. A few hours and $40 later, we'd turned this:

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into this:

A DIY version of Grace's American Girl Bakery made from an empty cabinet. www.goodinthesimple.comDSC_0275 DSC_0274 DSC_0262 DSC_0260

Isn't it cute? I totally want to hang out in there.

I won't bore you with every single detail of what we bought/used (although if there's anything specific you want to know, just ask in the comments and I'll happily answer), but here are some of the details:

Table & chairs: We bought these years ago from Pottery Barn kids, and they still sell a similar version. (You can also probably find a cheaper version elsewhere.)

Carpet: dish towel

Bakery display case: We used a clear acrylic jewelry box, which we already owned. Here is a similar version.Framed art: We found these mini green locker frames at Hobby Lobby for $1.99. We just cut out a photo of a pastry from a magazine to put inside. Michaels also had a huge display of mini frames.

DSC_0269photo_2"To go" bags: We picked these up at Hobby Lobby, along with the cupcake stickers to decorate them with. They're super cute, and they also helped to disguise the non-functional fireplace knob that's sticking out of the cabinet.

Menu: This chalkboard came from Hobby Lobby. I used a pink chalkboard pen to write the menu items on it. I also saw a ton of small chalkboards for sale at Michaels after we'd already bought this one.

DSC_0268photoCafe sign: We made this from a small wood plank and letters, all of which we got at Hobby Lobby.

DSC_0271Lights: This is my favorite part of the cafe! We found these mini lights at Jo-Ann Fabrics. They run on batteries so you don't need to rely on an outlet.

You don't need to be an American Girl fan to do this type of project. The possibilities are endless! You could create a room for any type of doll, an action figure/ninja hangout, or any other sort of space depending on the size of your cabinets and the interests of your kids.

If you're not sure what to put in it, just wander through the aisles of any craft store and you'll discover all sorts of things you'd never even considered.

Now excuse me, but I'm off to play...I mean, watch my kids play. :)

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Friday 21st of August 2015

Alyssa,

what a great idea! I love that you would do this for your girls. When I was 6, my parents got me a Holly Hobby house for Christmas equipped with a kitchen and coal fired oven with a loaf pan AND a loaf of bread in it. Needless to say I adored it which is maybe why this city girl is in love with baking and the country life. So kudos to you as a cool mommy! xoxo

Liz

Friday 21st of August 2015

This is SO adorable!! I wish I had had this to play with back when I was younger.. I loved my American Girl dolls but never bought any of their accessories because they were so crazy expensive!!

Denay DeGuzman

Friday 21st of August 2015

This is such a terrific idea. I think your daughters also learned a fantastic lesson from you along the way: They have the power to make their dreams come true! It just takes thought, creativity, and demonstrated action. And the satisfaction it brings from doing something themselves: Priceless.

Alyssa

Friday 21st of August 2015

Thank you so much, Denay! I didn't even think about that aspect of DIY, but it's very true.

Kayla

Thursday 20th of August 2015

One very creative idea here Mom!

Alyssa

Thursday 20th of August 2015

Thanks, Kayla!

Chrissa - Physical Kitchness

Thursday 20th of August 2015

OH MY GOSH! This is adorable! you are such a good mommy! Now I just need to have a girl so I can copy this someday :)

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