I have to admit, I understand the obsession. I mean, look how cute they are! What I'm not as crazy about are the price tags on these things. The characters themselves are at least $5 each, and then there are accessories and furniture, etc. The Calico Critters townhouse retails for $130!! Not. Happening.
So I got creative! I found this mini cube shelf on Amazon for just $12 (score!), and the 6"x6" cubes make perfect little rooms for those teensy critters! I used 12"x12" scrapbook paper (cut to size) tacked onto the back of each "room" to create a third wall and to personalize the house to match the girls' bedroom. I especially love the silver and white heart "wallpaper" in Miss Bunny's room!
The furniture and decorations are a mix of purchased and homemade items. I made the tee-pee for the playroom using a super skinny wooden dowel and fabric scraps. My sewing machine was broken as I was putting this together, so I had to make do with a hot glue gun. It still turned out fab, and it's held up well to hours of play with little hands!
The kitchen set was an official Calico Critters brand set, but the colors were an ugly yellow-ish brown and forest green (ew), so I painted them! Here's a link to the set on Amazon so you can see what they looked like before. The metal chairs in the dining room and the fireplace and mirror in the living room were purchased at Michaels in the dollhouse miniatures section.
I made the braided pink rug using pink cotton fabric braided and hot glued to a felt base. The other three rugs were simple fabric scraps.
The sofa in the living room was somewhere between a win and a fail, but it does the trick. I made the form out of cardboard, then covered it in quilt batting and fabric and attached everything using hot glue. I didn't put much time into thinking through the design beforehand, so some seams are visible and the shape is a bit more modern than I wanted. I still like it better than the Calico Critter brand sofas, though, so I'll say it's a win!
Since I'm sharing this Calico Critter house today, I also wanted to share some other hacks I've discovered while building my girls' critter collection. Last Christmas while looking for second hand characters on Ebay, I discovered that there is a way to purchase Calico Critters characters, furniture and accessories for much cheaper than they're offered at retail stores here in the U.S. Simply search "Sylvanian Families" on Amazon or Ebay, and it'll show you a wealth of items that are exactly the same as what you'd purchase in the store, for a fraction of the price! The Sylvanian Families brand is the original Japanese brand that makes Calico Critters; the Calico Critters brand is all of the same stuff, just re-branded to sell in the U.S. Ebay even has critters available to buy in bulk for around $1 each, if you're okay with non-retail packaging. Such a deal!
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think in the comments, and as always, happy creating!!