Engaging in doll play : making a simple cart

Now my girls are getting older, the way that they play with their dolls is changing too. The role play games have become more involved and complex – and they love to factor in additional elements.

One way I am embracing this change is to encourage them to make things for their dolls. Indeed making things for my toys is where I started my own journey as a dollmaker, similar to many of my fellow British Toymakers Guild members.

Making together in my dollmaker’s workshop.

This simple doll cart can be something you can make for the younger child or something which you can involve them in to different levels as they become more capable. It uses materials you have around the home – the only slightly more specialist thing is a glue gun, and can be made using the gift box your doll arrived in.

How to make a simple doll’s cart

What you need:
– Box lid or base –
(I used a Bamboo/Martha doll box)
– 2 bamboo skewers –
– 1 straw –
(we had a plastic one hanging around but a paper one would work too)
– 30” length of ribbon or string –
– Thick cardboard –
– Aluminium foil –

Equipment:
– Cutting mat and scalpel –
– Pencil and black marker pen –
– Ruler –
– Glue gun –
– Scissors –
– Something for making small holes –
(I used an awl)

The wheels can be any design you like.

• First of all make four wheels. I drew around a tin can lid, cut them out and decorated them with my black marker pen.
• Use an awl to punch a hole in the middle.
Your little helpers could assist with decorating the wheels – how about spirals or each one a different design?

We used a plastic straw but a paper one would be fine too.

• Take your straw and cut two equal lengths – for my box they were 3.5” long.
• Mark lines on the box so you know where you want to glue them – these mark the middle of your wheels so make sure they aren’t too close so your wheels don’t touch.
• Use a glue gun to firmly stick the straws to your box base.

• Next take your two skewers and cut them to equal lengths. Mine were 6” long. They need to be longer that the width of your box to allow for the wheels to be joined on. I used a scalpel to score around the outside then snapped them.
• Fit the skewers inside the straws – they need to move freely. I had to round mine off using the scalpel.
• Now we need to make four washers – these will stop the wheels rubbing on the box and not turning round properly. Cut four pieces of cardboard approximately 2” square and use your awl to make the hole in the middle.

Lining the wheels up correctly is important.

• Now it’s time to assemble the wheels. Using your glue gun stick the washers in place – ensuring that they are set off a little from the edge of the box so the axle can turn freely.
• Then slide the wheels on and glue gun into place. The glue will act as a spacer between the washer and the wheel.
• To finish the wheels wrap the foil around the ends of the skewers to form hub caps.

Add a ribbon so you can pull your cart around behind you.

• Finally add the ribbon to the front of your cart. Cut two slits and thread the ribbon through. Glue gun the ends together.
• At the other end make a loop handle by folding the ribbon back 5” and glue in place.

They look like they are enjoying the garden!

Find some dolls and off you go! Your little ones could add their own design flourishes to their cart using paper tape, crayons, paint or paper. Please send me photos of your carts – tag me on Instagram @polly_had_a_dolly.

Check out the rest of my blog for more great doll play ideas!

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