A long time ago (as in 3 years) I found this cute pin for a DIY Dress Up Closet for little girls. I pinned it for future reference, although at that point J was definitely not into dressing up. Not even a little bit. I figured I’d keep it just in case, and it’s a good thing. The entire 2 weeks she was off from school for winter break she didn’t put on “real” clothes one time. Only dress-up dresses and PJs. Nothing else.
I think she started getting into it around age 2 1/2-3. Although for the longest time she just wanted to wear her old Halloween costumes, which I found absolutely adorable. She had cute original ones–a pig, a skunk and an elephant. It was especially adorable because it wasn’t just her dressing up…all of her favorite stuffed animals needed to as well. And then we would play Halloween. In August.
And then she requested to be Cinderella for Halloween the year she was 3 and it all started to go down hill. At least it was a slow decline, I suppose. She liked to combine outfits and be Firefighter Cinderella or Witch Cinderella.
And then Grandma got her some of those plastic dress-up shoes for Christmas. She slipped those high heels on and immediately started running all over the house in them. Absolutely no problems at all walking in them. And then I knew for sure we were going to be in trouble.
I decided a dress-up closet would be useful to store her birthday tutus, her couple of pairs of dress-up shoes, her Cinderella dress, her Halloween costumes from the last 3 years and her firefighter getup. Although I really love Growing a Jeweled Rose’s changing-table-turned-dress-up-closet, we just weren’t ready to get rid of our changing table yet. So I searched around and decided that a simple wardrobe would do perfectly, something like this.
I hit Value Village (Canadian thrift store…hands down best thing about being stationed there!) and found an old bookshelf/cabinet thing. Since we made this project about a year and a half ago, long before starting a blog entered my mind, I once again have zero before pictures. Or pictures of the process. Although at least with this one it’s completely self-explanatory. We actually did very little to change it so it should be pretty easy to tell what it looked like before.
I pulled all of the shelves out and got rid of them. The “closet” was just white laminate so I wanted to do something to make it look nicer without spending hours on it. I found this really cute yellow one and loved the looks of it. Obviously I wasn’t going to redo it or use wallpaper or anything crazy like that. Instead I simply bought a sample of bright yellow paint from Lowes (I LOVE how they offer those samples. It’s so much better than buying an entire pint of paint that I will never use all of). I painted the entire inside yellow and then drew large circles on each side and painted them. Hubby bought a dowel rod from Lowes and screwed it inside. I added some Dollar Tree hooks onto each side to hang stuff on, and voila, c’est fini!
As with all of my DIY projects there are a few things I don’t like about it.
1. I just painted right over the laminate, which isn’t holding up too well. The outside is just fine, but the inside is chipping where the hangers and shoes are scraping. Since her closet is bursting full you can’t really see it, but it does bother me.
2. Hubby hung the dowel rod about half an inch too high. I have to angle the hanger in just right in order to get it to fit (hence why the paint is scraping off even faster than it should at the top). And since I have a difficult time hanging the clothes up, it’s impossible for J to do it. Now let’s be honest–even if she could manage to hang her clothes up they’d still probably be strewn all about her room, but at least I can tell myself they’re never actually in the closet because she can’t hang them up herself.
3. I wish it had a drawer or shelves or something on the bottom like a lot of the DIY dress up closets you see on Pinterest. Her dresses are so long that on the rare occasion when they’re actually hung up, you can’t see any of the shoes on the bottom. Which means that J throws them all out and leaves them all over her floor until she finds the particular pair she’s looking for. I was thinking about putting them in bins underneath there, but really that doesn’t solve the problem much. However, looking at a lot of these dress-up closest I don’t understand how the child is able to reach their clothes! I might have to hang up her stuff constantly but at least she can get it down by herself! Definitely don’t want to fix one problem and end up with an even bigger one…
This one has definitely done its job for the first two years. But now her hobby is a full-blown obsession. We own Merida, Belle, Cinderella (#2…she outgrew the first one), Snow White, Aurora, a Snow White cape, Rapunzel and the generic princess dress from Melissa & Doug. Plus a bunch of random dress/baton leotards I picked up at a yard sale for a buck each. She’s begging for an Anna, Elsa and Ariel dress too.
The minute she gets home from school and finishes lunch she changes into a princess dress and remains that way until it’s time for dinner. Then she’ll take it off just long enough to eat, then right back into until bath time. On the days when we have errands to run or somewhere to go, 9 times out of 10 I’ll let her wear her princess dress out. I figure it makes her happy, so why not? Now if she’s still begging to wear her Belle dress grocery shopping when she’s 15 we’ll have a conversation then 😉
On top of the dozen or so dresses she owns, she has a ton of tiaras, wands, shoes, dress-up accessories, tutus and fairy wings. She recently got her ears pierced so at least I was able to throw all of her clip-on earrings away.
So something a bit more organized might be in order in the near future. I’m very casually looking out for another dresser or bookshelf or something that I can redo. I don’t want to spend more than $10 since we have a perfectly fine one that’s doing its job well enough. And I have a feeling that the bigger it is, the bigger the dress-up collection will be…