Martina’s Childhood Favorite Toys: Handmade Barbie Furniture

It would be hard for me to chose what my true favorite toy was but I certainly loved playing house. Thousands of hours were clocked playing with my Fisher Price Little People, you know the small, choking-hazard ones from the 80s? I had the tudor house, the SUV and camper, the hospital, the tractor, the school bus and of course lots of Little People. My mom still has these but she insists they stay at her house. She did, however, hand over the boxes labeled in colorful markers and glitter “Martina’s Stuff” containing all the handmade plastic canvas Barbie furniture gifted to me by my Granny.

I had forget just how many pieces there were in this set. Granny must have spent many hours making all of this for me. I feel very blessed that I had it. I didn’t get interested in Barbies until late elementary school days. My best friend Michele and I would set up huge Barbie cities in my basement and spent hours playing.

The two [barely] surviving Barbies have seen better days. Naked, chopped off hair, and both missing a hand due to a tragic dog attack. I think I’ll be on the lookout for some decent clothed Barbies at yard sales this summer.

Let’s go on a little tour of the Barbie house. Note, anywhere you see drawers or cabinet doors they’re functional! Here’s Barbie’s bedroom with a bed, rug, dresser with mirror, vanity chair and table, and a room divider screen:

The kitchen with area rug, china cabinet, corner hutch, stove and table with gingham tablecloth:

I love the blue vintage style stove with heart details:

The formal dining table with white lace tablecloth and 4 chairs:

The living room with area rug, fireplace, love seat with pillow, arm chair with matching footstool, coffee table, end table and floor lamp.

There is also an entertainment center for the TV, stereo and speakers:

I wonder if our kids will recognize this brown box with a picture on it as a TV:

Like Jason’s Definitely Dinosaurs, I’m really glad my mom saved this furniture for me, that it’s still in great shape, and that it’s pretty indestructible for our kids to play with. Too bad Granny hadn’t used her own house for inspiration and made this furniture mid-century!

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16 Responses to Martina’s Childhood Favorite Toys: Handmade Barbie Furniture

  1. Michelle says:

    Awesome Barbie furniture! I am amazed at how creative people can be. One of my aunts made me several “Gone With the Wind” style crochet ball gowns for my Barbies. I loved them and imagined extravagant balls my Barbies were attending. I have two of my mom’s Barbies and her wardrobe for their clothes. I hope to have a girl someday to share these with.

    I enjoyed your post and the pictures.

  2. Sue says:

    I just found you this morning! I was looking for inexpensive Barbie furniture with no success. A Barbie bed was somewhere around $25. Ouch!!! I had never thought of making it, and especially like this. This furniture is SO pretty. So, off I went to a thrift store, bought all the canvass I will need, including the yard and, even though I know I won’t do your grandmother’s justice, I’m going to give it a whirl. Thanks so much for sharing this!!! My wallet also thanks you, lol!!

    • mahlbrandt says:

      Sue, that’s wonderful! Let me know how it works out. I’m assuming my grandma used some kind of pattern but I’m sure you could get creative with it. Don’t be afraid to use a little hot glue, too, especially on the undersides. I’d love to see pictures of what you come up with.

  3. Sue says:

    Hi again, Martina. I have started tackling the Barbie bed, and it looks like part of the right side is coming off. Can you tell me if the sides are done in two parts? Needless to say, I couldn’t find patterns for the furniture. No, not true.

    I found patterns for some types of Barbie furniture on Ebay, but by the time I would have paid for shipping and, of course duty to Canada, I wasn’t willing to pay for it, so I keep looking at yours and am trying to make it from site, with no pattern to go by. I’m just unsure of the sides. If you could send a comment my way, I would REALLY appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

  4. Sue says:

    Hi again, Martina. Let me rephrase what I said about it looking like part of the right side of the Barbie bed is coming off. I meant on the one you have pictured, not on mine. I haven’t gotten that far yet. I have all the sides attached, but have not started the needleword (is that a word?!) on the sides yet. I thought before I did, I would ask if the sides were in two parts, or something.

  5. Adila Tahsin Sara says:

    His.I’m from Bangladesh ,a small country in southeast asia,u might’ve heard about it.
    I was amazed to see these toys. My grandma used the same materials to make me and my cousins toys when I was really young. I’m 14 now.In Bangladesh, our toys and games are very different from urs. So my gandma made toys they play with here. Barbie is the doll only seen in town areas here and we really don’t have all the barbie furnitures available in shops. My father bought my barbie from Seattle about two years back and I was thinking how to recycle things in my house to create a dollhouse. I was wondering what I could use to create nice furnitures without using wood of cardboard,but it never crossed my mind that the answer was right in front of me!!!! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Crystal says:

    Hi, love the photos! My grandma helped me make furniture for my barbies when I was little though none of the stuff survived a move (they were boxed up and mice ate them) but I do still have all the pattern books and am now making furniture for my girls. :) Thanks for sharing

  7. JonAnn says:

    Hi there, I was just looking for patterns to make the furnature as I have the exact same set as you. My grandmother made it for me when I was young but it has gone through a few childrren and when i pulled it out today for my 2 daughters i realized I am missing some peices and a few things need to be repaired. I am in NB canada and was wondering if anyone knows of somewhere to get supplies and possibly a pattern book???

  8. Leanna Lehmann says:

    I made this same furniture plus some other sets for several nieces and cousins over the years. Still have the patterns. You must have played so carefully to make them last in such nice shape.

  9. Jo says:

    About the bed and how it’s bowed out on the side. It looks like it’s only been stretched because it’s been played with so often. To fix it cosmetically without restitching it, take a few stick pins and tack it into place. Leave them there for a few hours. Carefully remove the stick pins and it should appear to be repaired. Your grandma made you an often gift!

  10. Jo says:

    That should say “awesome”, not “often”… Sorry!

    • Miki Andrillon says:

      Hi Linda I see your a pattern collector would you be willing to share copies of your patterns? I’m pretty new to plastic canvas & pinterest. I do hve book with Rv, kitchen, bathroom, & accessories that I’d share copies of. Was just asking. Thank you in advance. 😊

  11. Janett says:

    I had this exact set (minus a couple pieces like fire place) in the same colors and everything! Oh gosh these where sooo much fun when I was little. “Mrs. Clause” stitched it in pieces while I played and assembled it all Christmas Eve so “Santa” could deliver it. I was so excited. Then my parents constructed a house our of cardboard boxes and contact paper and carpet samples. Love it all. Thanks for reminding me of the memory!

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