DIY Lea’s Rainforest House

Posted on Feb 4 2016 – 1:51am
by Rudy

DIY Lea’s Rainforest House

The DIY Rainforest Dollhouse is finally done! Whew! Seriously, whew. I will be honest, this is the second one we made because the first wasn’t a good enough match.  As with all of our American Girl replicas, we like to keep them as close to the original as possible. We love seeing your tweaks, but we want to provide clean plans that give you the same measurements as American Girl. There was one thing I really didn’t like in the AG hut, and that was the window. So that was one thing we did nix. We weren’t a fan of it, but if you really want a window scene, I suggest using a picture frame and just hang it in to place. Also, you might notice one thing missing. The table and chair. Not to fear, that’s is coming soon.  Please read the entire post, watch the video and feel free to ask questions if I forgot to mention something!


A lot of people have asked about the birds from the AG Hut and Fruit Stand.  There are some awesome birds that are a close match on Amazon. They don’t have the clutched claw, so they can’t stand on the bamboo, but they are still very close.




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Lea’s Hut Floor Printables x 6 if using standard 8.5″x11″ paper

Shower Wall Bottom

Shower Wall Top

Cut List:


  • 1 – 1/2’’ MDF @ 22 1/2’’ x 17’’ – Rainforest House Floor – Follow Diagram for Floor Holes
  • 2 – 1/2’’ MDF @ 25 1/2’’ x 8 ‘’ – Rainforest House Side Walls
  • 1 – 1/2’’ MDF @ 25 1/2’’ x 22 1/2’’ – Rainforest House Back Wall – Follow Diagram for Back Wall Holes
  • 2 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 2 1/2’’ x 1 3/4’’ – Front Leg Supports
  • 4 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 3 3/4’’ x 1 1/2’’ – Back Legs – I put 2 together to get the correct dimensions.
  • 2 – 1’’ Dowels @ 29 3/4’’ – Front Legs
  • 1 – 3/4’’ Dowel @ 19 3/4’’ – Upper Middle Support
  • 2 – 3/4’’ Dowels @ 15 1/2’’ – Upper Side Supports
  • 1 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 1’’ x 3/4’’ – Upper Back Roof Support Holder – Follow Diagram for more detail
  • 1 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 3 3/8’’ – Upper Front Roof Support
  • 1 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 2 3/4’’ – Upper Back Roof Support
  • 1 – 3/4’’ Dowel @ 16 5/8’’ – Top Roof Support
  • 4 – 1/4’’ MDF @ 6 3/4’’ x 3/4’’ – Bed Supports
  • 2 – 1/4’’ MDF @ 6 1/8’’ x 1 3/4’’ – Rainforest Wall Shelves – Follow Diagram for exact measurements
  • 2 – 1/2’’ MDF @ 4’’ x 1/2’’ – Rainforest Wall Shelf Support
  • 4 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 3 5/8’’ – Top and Bottom of Railing
  • 4 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 7 3/4’’ – Middle Railing


  • 1 – 1/4’’ MDF @ 20 5/8’’ x 6 3/8’’ – Mattress Support
  • 5 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 21 3/8’’ – Side Bed Support & Large Bed Rail Supports
  • 5 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 1’’ – Small Bed Rail Support – See Diagram for more detail
  • 2 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 6 3/8’’ – Top & Bottom Bed Rails

Folding Roof:

  • 1 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 21’’ x 2’’ – Center Roof Beam – each side needs to be cut 16° off square
  • 2 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 21’’ x 3/4’’ – Sides of Center Roof Beam
  • 2 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 19 7/16’’ x 3/4’’ – Middle Roof Arm Support
  • 2 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 18 7/8’’ x 3/4’’ – Outer Roof Arm Support
  • 2 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 13 1/2’’ – Front Roof Angled Dowels
  • 4 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 13 3/8’’ – Back Roof Dowels

Outdoor Shower:

  • 1 – 1/4’’ MDF @ 14 3/4’’ x 7’’

Curtain Rods:

  • 2 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 1’’ – Dowel goes into Front leg 1/2’’
  • 2 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 9’’

Shopping List:

  • 1 – 1/4’’ MDF @ 2’ x 2’
  • 1 – 1/2’’ MDF @ 4’ x 8’
  • 1 – 3/4’’ MDF @ 2’ x 2’
  • 1 – 1’’ Dowel @ 5’
  • 1 – 3/4” Dowel @ 6′
  • 6 – 3/8’’ Dowel @ 4′
  • 2 – Piano Hinges

Step 1:

Attach the rainforest walls to the rainforest floor.

Step 2:

Attach the front leg supports. At this point there is not a hole yet.

Step 3:

Drill the hole through the floor and front leg supports. The 7/8” is from the left side of the house.

Step 4:

Drill the holes in the top back wall.

Step 5:

Add the back legs.

Step 6:

First drill the small holes for the front rails. Then add the front legs (dowels) and nail them into place through the supports.

Step 7:

Add the upper middle support (dowel) and upper side supports. Be sure to nail and glue the upper side supports into place through the top of the back wall and top of the side wall.

DIY Rainforest Dollhouse Step 7

Step 8:

This is the Upper Back Roof Support Holder:) I used a 3/8” drill bit for the hole.

Step 9:

Attach the front and back roof support and then the top roof support. See diagram below.

Step 10:

Attach the bed supports.

Step 11:

Follow the diagram below to create the “leaf” shelf.

Step 12:

Add the shelf support to the leaf shelf.

Step 13:

Attach the shelves to the inside wall of the rainforest house.

Step 14:

Piece the railing together and then attach it into place. Glue and pin it.

Step 15:

Add the dowels to the mattress support. (bed)

Step 16:

Take the large bed rail support and nail into the small bed rail supports.

Step 17:

Flip the bed rail supports over and nail the large bed rail support into the side of the bed frame you made in step 15.

Step 18:

Add the top of the bed rail support. See diagram for reference.

Step 19:

Start by cutting each side of the center roof beam at 16 degrees off square. Next, dado the center of the roof beam as shown below. It needs to fit on to the roof support. Lastly, attach the hinges as shown below.

Step 20:

Drill the holes 1/4″ deep as shown in the diagram below. The first hole is at a slight angle and the last two are straight.

Step 21 A:

Repeat step 20 for the middle roof arm supports and the outer roof arm supports, only drill all the way through instead of just 1/4″ deep.

Step 21 B:

Insert your dowels into place, glue and pin.

Curtain Rods:


Attach the shower board to the outside of the house. Before I put it on I painted the edges a teal to match the tile printable. I didn’t want to have to tape around it. Once on, I used mod podge to attach the printable. Brush on a thin layer, place on printable, then smooth. You will not get any wrinkles or bubbles! I didn’t do a top coat of mod podge, but you can if you want a glossy finish.

The shower head is a coat hook that I found at Home Depot for $5.98. I turned it upside down. The handle is a drawer pulled I picked out at Home Depot, I can’t remember the price. Maybe $2. I like this option because it is a great solid piece that will not be broken. I did have to cut the screws down. If you can’t cut screws, use shorter ones.



This was found at Hobby Lobby regular price $4.99, on sale for $2.49. I added the ribbon with hot glue. This one is so much sturdier than the AG basket! Theirs is squishy and might just fall apart soon.


For the roof I used burlap, folded over so it wasn’t too thin, and stapled it into the roof beams. I trimmed any excess off and then cut slits all the way around to make it look like the AG roof.

Bamboo Poles:

To make the knots in the poles I used hot glue. Just squirted a ring around the dowels. The paint color I used is a perfect match to AG. It is BEHR Ultra Glazed Pears. I took in the loft bed to make sure it matched perfectly!


I printed out six sheets of the floor printables. I started from the back left, did the back row, and then did the front. The poles were already in place, so I used an X-Acto knife to help cut around them. Again, brush thin even layers of Mod Podge on and only do one sheet at a time.


Outer Wall:

I just used scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. I think I only used 8 sheets, but get 10 just to be safe. Same trick as before with the Mod Podge. Or, you can always just paint it.


Enjoy this project. If you get stuck, come ask questions. When you make your own, feel free to come back and add your own tips to help others out! If you have little helpers around, let them help! It probably slowed me down a few times to let my crew help out, but they enjoyed it so much. And now it’s done!

DIY Lea’s Rainforest House was last modified: March 21st, 2017 by Rudy

85 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Beth
    November 27, 2016 at 8:16 pm –

    Do you have any tips on finding the accessories? Specifically the salmon, bowl of rice, tongs, etc. thanks

  2. Ken
    November 19, 2016 at 11:16 am –

    Can you tell me what size nails you used from the nail gun and can you also tell me what size bit you used for the 1 in. dowels for the frame.


  3. Natalie
    October 19, 2016 at 6:14 am –


    I had a question about the size (length) of piano hinge you used.

    Also, what size spade bit did you use for the dowels?



  4. Natalie
    October 17, 2016 at 8:38 pm –


    You’ve done such a wonderful job on the house. Thanks for posting!

    I have a question…

    What size (length) piano hinge did you use?

    Also, what size spade bit did you use for your dowels? Would appreciate any guidance!


  5. Vicki
    July 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm –

    Thanks so much for answering my question about the measurements of the doll house. It is so nice of you to answer questions and post all of the patterns.

    Thanks for all your hard work!


    • Rudy
      July 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm –

      Thank you and you’re welcome!

  6. Vicki
    July 14, 2016 at 11:30 am –

    Just wanted to thank you for all the great info. Very nice job!!

    I have one question the AG version shows the measurements to be 33X33X22 in your specs it shows the back wall 25 1/2 X22 1/2

    And the floor 22 1/2 X 17 did you make yours smaller or the measurements on the AG version incorrect. Appreciate your help getting ready to make this.

    Thanks for being so generous with your time and hard work.


    • Rudy
      July 14, 2016 at 6:52 pm –

      Our measurements are the exact same as AG. AG includes the overhang of the roof, not the actual size of the walls and floor.

  7. Merideth Hill
    July 2, 2016 at 11:45 am –

    Can you tell me where the instructions are for the Oven grill for her hut?! I cant find it but maybe im not looking in the right place.

  8. Julie
    June 24, 2016 at 1:08 pm –

    Can you do some easier Lea crafts? I can’t get all the supplies for the Lea projects you have and I can’t figure them out (which is my fault not yours) so that would help soo much! Thanks

    • Rudy
      June 24, 2016 at 3:21 pm –

      YES! We have some really easy ones coming soon! And several!

  9. Avarie
    May 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm –

    How much did it cost total?

  10. Ellen
    March 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm –

    Thank you so much for sharing this pattern and all of your ideas and hard work! I am in the process of making the rainforest house for my granddaughter and I think I am more excited then she is!!! Do you know if there is a printable available for the reversible picture in the window?

    Thanks again.


  11. ginnie22
    March 12, 2016 at 4:08 pm –

    This is so awesome! ? My daughter and I finally finished our rainforest house too! I linked back to you, and posted about it on my blog here:

    • Rudy
      March 13, 2016 at 11:28 am –

      It looks great!

  12. Amanda
    March 9, 2016 at 9:09 am –

    First of all, thank you for your genius, hard work, and kind heart. For you to share all of these plans and crafts free of charge is just beyond amazing. I have a question….in step 6, when you are drilling a hold in the 1 inch dowel for the front railing to go into, did your drill all the way through or just enough to slide the front railing in some to make it more sturdy? And did you do 2 holes (one for the top and one for the bottom of the railing) or just 1 for the bottom? This is my first time ever attempting to build something like this but it is going well thanks to your plans! I have to say, my husband found it amusing when I started buying power tools (he didn’t have all the drill parts I needed) but as the project goes on he is admitting he is impressed….thanks again!

    • Rudy
      March 9, 2016 at 11:01 am –

      I love to hear that you are doing this project! You always learn more as you go. For step 6, I only drilled about half way for the railing to go into. I did drill two holes. One for the top and the bottom of railing. That way the railing is sturdy.

  13. Dawn Delaruelle
    February 19, 2016 at 6:33 am –

    It is next on our list!

  14. Sabrina Renshaw
    February 15, 2016 at 6:56 am –

    Love your DIY builds! You may have already answered this, but will you be making plans for this out of the foam board?

    My girls and I just finished with the Fruit Stand this weekend using the foam board plans. They were great and the girls LOVE their new toy!!

    They have already asked about making the Hut. Looking forward to those plans.


    • Rudy
      February 15, 2016 at 9:28 am –

      When i did these plans I made it to where you can use foam board too. You might have to do a kittle tweaks, but hot glue will hold foam board together well!

  15. Layla
    February 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm –

    Definitely wanna start this project this weekend!!!

  16. Layla
    February 11, 2016 at 5:48 pm –

    Maybe u could craft a parrot like the macaw in Lea’s collection!! (Possibly out of clay?)

  17. Layla
    February 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm –

    Hi Rudy I wanted to ask if u could try to craft the Lea Clark computer tablet. That would be SOOO cool!!!!! I have really wanted one!!!!

  18. Lan Young
    February 11, 2016 at 11:24 am –

    I forgot to say, I still have extra MDF just enough for the grill, so that cost should cover both the house and the grill. I may need to spend another $20 for the grill though, but that is about it. Hope that helps.

  19. Lan Young
    February 11, 2016 at 11:22 am –

    Hi Char,

    It costs me roughly around $100 to do this, excluding my time.

    • Rudy
      February 11, 2016 at 5:38 pm –

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Theresa
      March 3, 2016 at 10:55 am –

      This includes paint as well? What do you suggest for the campfire feel?

  20. Char
    February 10, 2016 at 11:39 am –

    What is this costing everyone to make and how long does it take to make? I love to make things myself but I’m not sure if it will be cost effective if it costs too much for supplies and 10+ hours of my time. Please help. ?

  21. buzzy
    February 10, 2016 at 11:11 am –


  22. buzzy
    February 10, 2016 at 11:11 am –

    can you make this outta foam board? that is all i have :0 ?

  23. Lisa
    February 6, 2016 at 7:11 pm –

    What were the tools that were used to build this? I’m not very handy with power tools but I would like to give this a try.

  24. Lan Young
    February 6, 2016 at 5:09 pm –

    Hi Rudy, I am doing this. Going along well. I have a question on step 3. From what side is the 7/8″ measurement? The front of the house or the side of the house? Thank you

    • Rudy
      February 8, 2016 at 6:53 am –

      The 7/8″ measurement is from the side of the house.

  25. Gina Griffin
    February 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm –

    Rudy, so pretty, great job could you provide us with the measurements of the window? Thank you

  26. ann
    February 6, 2016 at 10:29 am –

    can you make a copy of the window pitcer a the sticker for the fruit stand doors you are the best thanks ann

  27. Emily
    February 6, 2016 at 9:59 am –

    You are amazing! Everything you make inspired by american girl looks almostexactly the same!

    • Rudy
      February 6, 2016 at 10:13 am –

      Thank you so much! #justcraftit

  28. Terry Wymer
    February 6, 2016 at 8:53 am –

    I am going to try this but i have a few issues (mine not with anything you did) like drilling holes in dowels and the middle roof stabilizer. There is no way i could make the cut for the dowel to sit in. But knowing my limits i am still going to try to make with (actually 2 of them) for a couple little girls i know.

    • Rudy
      February 6, 2016 at 10:00 am –

      Dadoing is actually very easy. I would look up YouTube videos on it. If you are building everything else, you can dado!

      • Laurette
        February 21, 2016 at 5:49 pm –

        Hi Rudy, I have watched some videos on how to dado. But I don’t have the tools for it so I’m going to try to skip that part. My original thought about the roof was to use bamboo or reed placemats. I figured I could just staple it to the middle dowel support. Not sure how it wil go but it’s the best I can think of.

  29. Angelina
    February 5, 2016 at 9:36 pm –


  30. Lan Young
    February 5, 2016 at 11:51 am –

    Also, did you pain the inside wall of the house? Did you put all the pieces together before painting? Like the roof, the legs and everything? Thank you.

    • Rudy
      February 6, 2016 at 7:51 am –

      If you see in one of my pictures, everything was built before I painted or added any scrapbook paper. I did paint the side of the house and the bamboo poles FIRST before I added the floor and the outside paper. This way I wouldn’t get paint on any paper.

  31. Lan Young
    February 5, 2016 at 11:33 am –

    Hi Rudy, when you used the word “attach” in step 9, 10 or 13 etc,did you refer to nail, screw or glue ? Thank you

    • Rudy
      February 6, 2016 at 7:55 am –

      Because I used MDF, wood glue and a Pinner is the best option. A nail gun would also work, but you need to be very careful and accurate when using it. There are special MDF screws you get, but honestly, the wood glue and pins do the trick.

    • Rudy
      February 6, 2016 at 7:56 am –

      The only screws I used in this project were for the shower and the shower knob.

  32. Jeannefeo
    February 5, 2016 at 7:41 am –

    OMG U ARE A MOM that Is fearless of any chalange! Wow what an incredible job!

    My husband is gooing to block this site from my I-pad lol…. WEEKEND PROJECT!

    Thank you so so much!

  33. Kaitlyn Harms
    February 5, 2016 at 6:10 am –

    I LOVE it! But who won the other Lea Clark!? Thanks

  34. Latonya
    February 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm –

    Great job!!! I like yours better than AG version!!!!!

  35. All For AG
    February 4, 2016 at 7:35 pm –

    Thanks sooooooo much for posting this video! Now I don’t have to buy the American Girl one! (that’s a HUGE relief) Would it be OK to substitute the wood floor and walls for foam board? Thanks again!

  36. Kaitlyn Harms
    February 4, 2016 at 5:58 pm –

    They look very almost the same! You did an AMAZING job! ? ? ?

  37. Rebecca
    February 4, 2016 at 3:56 pm –

    So cute <3 it thanks for making it ?

  38. Flo
    February 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm –

    Very interesting! Thanks for getting back to me, I appreciate the info.

  39. Donna Smith Ott
    February 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm –

    Love it, love it, love it!!!

  40. Jacsan
    February 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm –

    This is great, Rudy!!! I already made mine, but I am using your floor printable since I was using a piece of fabric I found. You did it again, and make it possible that many little AG fans (and not so little lol) can have these lovely pieces to add to their collection.

  41. Karen
    February 4, 2016 at 1:53 pm –

    Wow! You have done an incredible job! I’m going to build this for my daughter’s birthday, so thank you so much for these plans. The oven is fantastic too!

  42. Becky Redford
    February 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm –

    i really want ton make this it is so cute

  43. Julia.H
    February 4, 2016 at 1:07 pm –

    This is sooo cute i don’t usually make wood crafts but i will definitely make this!

  44. Damy
    February 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm –

    How much did this cost you?

    • Damy
      February 4, 2016 at 12:37 pm –

      Also, if we are going to make this, do we only purchase the things from the shopping list or not

      • Rudy
        February 4, 2016 at 5:42 pm –

        The shopping list gives you everything you need to buy that is part of the house. It’s nice to have it all on hand once you start building. It doesn’t include things like, nails, pins, wood glue, etc. Just the materials that are part of the house. Also, if you read further into the post I talk about other supplies that are add-ons once the house is built. Like the shower, the knob, the curtains, roof, etc.

  45. Rebecca R
    February 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm –

    Any chance you can give us suggestions on the roof if we are not building ours with wood? Is cutting pieces of foam board going to work in place of the wood? I have used brads in place of screws for securing hinges on foam board in the past so I know that part can work. But not sure I can form the foam like that. Maybe layering foam board would work. Any ideas would help. Thanks!

    • Rudy
      February 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm –

      Foam board will absolutely work. Now, it’s best to have the correct foam board tools. However, if you are really good and careful with an Facto knife it can still be done. I highly recommend FoamWerks as they have tools that can really make working with foam board easy.

  46. Arianna
    February 4, 2016 at 11:27 am –

    that-is-so-awesome-i-wish-i-could-make-it but i don’t have any room to put it. ?

  47. Lan Young
    February 4, 2016 at 9:36 am –

    OMG I am stalking your website for this project and finally. During my stalking, I have made few other projects (bandages, chair etc) and finally. My daughter will be so excited because she as well has been waiting for the Rain Forest House.

  48. Pam
    February 4, 2016 at 8:20 am –

    Hubby is going to do this while he’s off work but I am not seeing the roof plans?? Am I missing a link?

    • Rudy
      February 4, 2016 at 11:27 am –

      I put to be continued. I had to take a break. I am finishing it up now so it will be complete by the end of the day.

  49. AGlover123
    February 4, 2016 at 8:02 am –

    Thank you so much! ?

  50. Linda B. in OK
    February 4, 2016 at 7:39 am –

    Thank you so much! I am in the middle of building mine and

    this will be so helpful !

  51. Olivia Wilson
    February 4, 2016 at 7:38 am –

    I didn’t even know that the AG Hut’s Roof opened up, so yours was a fun surprise!!! I love how you made it so that the roof doesn’t fall off!

  52. Olivia Wilson
    February 4, 2016 at 7:35 am –

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!! Rudy you are amazing!!!!! I feel like I need to make this!!!!

  53. Rebecca R
    February 4, 2016 at 7:27 am –

    You did an amazing job. You are very nice to make these instructions for everyone.

  54. Jeannefeo
    February 4, 2016 at 6:25 am –

    Oh my Godness! You are a woman without limits and challenges!

    Holly smokes weekend protect! Wow thank u thank u!

    • Rudy
      February 4, 2016 at 6:49 am –

      You’re welcome!

  55. Jessica B.
    February 4, 2016 at 6:11 am –


  56. Susan
    February 4, 2016 at 5:53 am –

    Rudy, you are amazing! This is just wonderful! Question ( and you may get to it in your next part…) how do you attach your printable flooring and do you put it down before installing front posts and railing? Thanks so much!

    • Rudy
      February 4, 2016 at 6:52 am –

      I am getting to that in the continued part, which will be up just later today. But, on the first house I put the flooring down first. That’s fine. But on this second house that I ended up sticking with, I put the flooring down after the structure was completely built. I just used an X-acto knife to help me around the poles and railing.

  57. Smiley Ninja
    February 4, 2016 at 4:59 am –

    Love it! Wish there was the same bedding and the window. Great job (Something I could never do)

    • Rudy
      February 4, 2016 at 6:52 am –

      Yeah, you can add the window no problem. We just don’t like the window. ?

  58. Julia M. H.
    February 4, 2016 at 4:55 am –

    WOW, OH WOW!!! That is amazing Rudy!!!! Will you make one with foam board?? Can’t wait for the table and chairs!!!

  59. freya
    February 4, 2016 at 4:47 am –

    That was awesome!

  60. Flo
    February 4, 2016 at 4:19 am –

    Fantastic! I do have a question-which one is heavier, yours or the AG version? I am curious because I had an idea for a project from MDF but then realized just how heavy it was going to be when I was finished, so I’m rethinking parts of it. I love that you fixed the roof issue on this, sometimes I wonder about the people who design some of these toys, I remember being frustrated as a kid when things came apart during play.

    • Rudy
      February 4, 2016 at 6:54 am –

      That’s a great question! I wish I could weigh them to tell you exactly, but ours is LIGHTER than the AG one! Yup! Lighter. Even with all their plastic pieces, theirs still has more weight to it.

  61. Sara
    February 4, 2016 at 4:10 am –