Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homemade Cigar Box Doll Furniture

I was thinking that February, besides being the obvious month to showcase vintage valentines, is also a good time to highlight toys made with love, or toys that are now charmingly bedraggled by too much love from their young owners. So, if you're tired of the valentines, here's a change, although I guess it still is rather girly and schmaltzy. 

Anyway, here we have a fantastic set of lovingly homemade doll furniture. The bed, cradle, table, and small china head doll have been together since the set was assembled in 1914. I've added the larger china doll, because the little dolly clearly needed a mommy, and also the table accessories. For scale, the bed is 11 and a half inches long, and the littlest doll is just 6 and a half inches tall.

The furniture was made from cigar boxes, which I find just fascinating. Can you imagine a father today saying, "hey Susie, want me to make you some Barbie furniture from my Marlboro cartons?" Seriously though, I love finding repurposed items like this. It's as if it's been recycled twice: first by the parent who turned a discarded box into a beloved toy, and next by me, who bought it and kept it out of a landfill. (Go green!) Anyway, in the next photo you can see the cigar box markings clearly stamped into the underside of the little table.

The furniture also features handpainted faux wood grain, and the slats on the bed are actually numbered to show which order they go in (since, being handmade, the measurements are not quite standard).

And the neatest thing, which I've found on almost all the homemade doll furniture I've seen, is that the name of the little girl the set was made for is pencilled on the underside of the cradle, along with the date ("Marela, 1914"). I'm not sure why this was done so extensively, but toy collectors are certainly grateful for it now!


  1. The faux finish on the bed is lovely. And how interesting that the name is on most handmade doll furniture.

  2. Kids had far fewer toys in those days--and look how beautifully they took care of them! I love the little dollie and I am very glad you gave her a mommy to look after her.

    Cho Chiyo

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