DIY Doll Clothes Closet / Armoire

If you would have told me five or ten years ago that I would one day dedicate my free time to building a doll clothes armoire for my kid, I would have laughed at you. Or mocked you. Probably both.

But here I am, with not one, but two kids, building furniture for my first-born’s American Girl doll (“Sage”) in my [limited] spare time.

This DIY armoire actually kicks off a new series that Steph and I will do for the next 12 or so weeks – DIY Christmas/Holiday Gifts. We’ll be showing you some of our handmade gift ideas that we’ll be making for our nearest and dearest.

There’s no shortage of good reasons to make your own Christmas gifts. If money’s short, it’s a way to save during an otherwise very expensive time of year. If money’s no object, the fact that you took the time to make something shows your giftee that you really love them. Either way, it’s a win!

My daughter had been asking for a closet for Saige for some time. It sounded like an easy enough project to take on. Step one was making sure that I could buy doll clothes sized hangers for Sage’s wardrobe. Duh. Of course you can. Anything you can think of that might be needed/wanted for an American Girl doll already exists (including armoires, if you want to skip this whole tutorial and just order one!!).  I bought my hangers on Amazon – 12 for $6, not bad.

Once I had the hangers, I measured them to see how deep the armoire would need to be to accommodate the hangers. They were right around 7 inches so I went with a 1×8 board for the armoire frame.


1 6-ft 1×8 board
1 9 ft .75″ craft board or trim (optional – can purchase in pieces, see cuts below)
1 4 ft .5″ craft board or trim (optional, see below)
1 2ft x 2ft 1/4 inch mdf plywood (for doors)
1 2ft x 2ft 1/4 inch plywood (for back)
4 small hinges (with screws)
2 small cabinet knobs
12″ piece of dowel rod (I used 3/4″)
wood glue
paint of your choice


Mark two 18″ cut points on your 6 foot board. Also mark two 15″ cut points. I used a compound miter saw to make these cuts – they could also be done with a table saw, jig saw, or regular miter saw (carefully).

Drill a hold into the top of each 18″ piece of 1×8. measure down about 2.5 inches from the top of the board, and center the drill bit. These will be the holes you’ll use to insert the dowel rod, so make sure your drill bit matches your dowel size.

Next, attach your 1×8 pieces to make a frame for the armoire. As you can see, for my design, I had some overhang with my top and bottom pieces. I measured about half an inch in and then positioned the side pieces accordingly. I used wood glue and angle clamps (love these angle clamps … one of my favorite tool purchases!).


Please excuse the disaster that is my workshop.

While the glue sets, cut the back and the doors for your armoire. The back should measure roughly 14.5″ x 18.5″. The doors each measure 7″ x 18.5″.

Optional step. I wanted to trim out my doors, to dress up the armoire a little bit. This is where the craft wood came in. I trimmed out each door with the .75″ strips of craft wood (4- 18.5″ pieces, 4 – 7″ pieces).  Miter the edges and glue the trim on. Then I made the cross in each door using the 1/2″ craft wood.

Once the glue is set on the armoire frame, insert your dowel rod through the pre drilled holes. Then glue on the back of the unit.

Paint doors desired color while glue sets. (I painted the inner part of the door a silver color to mimic mirror, and then the door frame purple – my daughter’s favorite color du jour).

Once that glue has dried, mark the location of your screws needed to secure hinges. Drill holes, and attach doors with hinges. (Note: this step is a bit tricky and may take some tweaking. Door 1 went on smoothly for me, but my measurement was off for door 2 and I had to re-drill my hinge holes).

Paint the rest of the unit (inside and outside) your color of choice.

Attach knobs to each door.

Do any necessary paint touch-ups, stock it with hangers and wrap it up for that special little girl on your list!