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"Things my little sisters have made for their Barbies."
July 21, 2013 6:52 AM   Subscribe

"They pay a lot of attention to detail." A DIY miniature world made out of household scraps.
posted by applemeat (68 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
That is seriously nicer than places I have payed money to live in
posted by thelonius at 6:58 AM on July 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


Incredible! The amount of detail, and the sheer volume of materials they made is mind-blowing. Books with pages! Hair products!
posted by xingcat at 7:12 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is incredible. Thanks for this!
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:16 AM on July 21, 2013


This is utterly adorable. Maybe Martha Stewart got her start this way.
posted by killy willy at 7:17 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is amazing.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:18 AM on July 21, 2013


This is great! Although it was nothing like this, I remember having so much fun designing and sewing clothes for my Barbies from all the little scraps of fabric left over from my mom's projects. Way more interesting than what was on the shelf at the time.
posted by bizzyb at 7:19 AM on July 21, 2013


I'll bet Barbie hates all this homemade shit.
posted by orme at 7:29 AM on July 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


I too was a Barbie clothes and furniture designer and manufacturer. I remember making a pink tile floor for my Barbie kitchen out of a number of discarded tiny tiles and a 12" x 12" sheet of heavy duty cardboard, as well as kitchen stools that were toilet paper tubes cut in two with circles of pink paper (to match the floor) taped over the top. My sister made beds out of scraps of wood and I sewed and knitted blankets and pillows for the beds. But I never did anything at this level! Wish I'd thought of constructing an entire Barbie house.
posted by orange swan at 7:31 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is Barbie going to keep her realistic figure eating pop tarts and cupcakes and pizza and mayonnaise all day?
posted by ootsocsid at 7:46 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


We used Special K cereal to stand in for pancakes.

I made books for my Barbies too, but much better books (one of my Barbies' books, I shit you not, was Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 AM on July 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


I love that Edward Cullen is lounging around with a copy of Twilight. Simply amazing stuff.
posted by tickingclock at 7:49 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll bet Barbie hates all this homemade shit.

She seems like the kind of person who would.
posted by DU at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2013


This person has seen salsa before, right?
posted by DU at 7:52 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


this was an awesome cereal all around as a kid, with special double usage for barbies
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:54 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Haha, wow! It reminds me of Feminist Frequency's bit about the "lego for girls" line where none of the ads mentioned the process of actually building things, because I guess girls don't like creatively constructing environments, they just like playing with the finished products?

Pretty amazing. I loved the refridgerator full of food.
posted by kavasa at 7:54 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look for the bottle of bleach.
posted by hal9k at 7:57 AM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


also, the wax from the mini laughing cow cheeses made great candle sticks, with some tissue for a wick.

i'd love to see what these girls do when they grow up, i hope they their ingenuity and creativity only grows.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:57 AM on July 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


The stuff is so detailed and cute. Every time barbie herself makes an appearance though, she looks super duper creepy. Its like dead bodies lying around.
posted by chasles at 8:00 AM on July 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


Do you have any more info or context for these photos?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:00 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


This person has seen salsa before, right?

You know that chunky salsa exists, right?

And you also know that this person is a child who's making toys for herself, right?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2013 [31 favorites]


These girls are totally mini-Marthas. I think it's funny that they have multiple iPhones and iPads lying about, my Barbies didn't even have a computer. The first-aid kit in the glovebox of the car also made me smile -- good priorities! My Barbies died multiple fiery deaths because the helicopter paramedics never got there in time.... if only they had a first-aid kit.
posted by Fig at 8:08 AM on July 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


Okay, I can't find the bleach bottle. Where is it?
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:12 AM on July 21, 2013


Oh my word that is AMAZING. I love that for me it wasn't until the end, when they got to the music book and I saw the handwriting, that I really got that these are kids with kid writing doing this. I mean I knew they were kids but whoa, they're clearly still developing their fine motor skills and yet look what they DID.

Also, I think my favorite part of this is not just the painstaking care with which these girls have made their Barbie world, it's the painstaking care with which their brother has documented it; being aware and in awe of their hard work and attention to detail is, to me, an act of profound love and his desire to share with the world this awesome thing his sisters did I think is really beautiful.

NB the reason I have assumed that the poster is a brother is that the name of the poster is "Hayden" and the best answer on this Yahoo! Answers question says that Hayden is a boy's name so obviously it must be the case.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:35 AM on July 21, 2013 [22 favorites]


Makes me wish I'd had a hot glue gun available back when I was building my own Barbie houses.... had to make do with Elmer's glue and tape, instead.

Also, mini-flashlights make great dolls' lamps.
posted by easily confused at 8:46 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I took a taco for lunch to work in the morning in my bag, it would not make it past 10am.
posted by knile at 9:01 AM on July 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I love this. My sister and I used to do this kind of stuff for our doll houses. Pez for soap, totally.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


The photos are taken by an older sibling. It says right on the page that they're pictures of stuff made by the uploader's little sisters.

I also loved the 1st aid kit for the car. My dad would approve!
posted by kavasa at 9:10 AM on July 21, 2013


Okay, I can't find the bleach bottle. Where is it?

Sorry Elly. That was a reference to CSI Minature Killer storyline.
posted by hal9k at 9:25 AM on July 21, 2013


Cute! I love this stuff! I used to make stuff for my Barbies but not anything to this level of detail. I made a "grand chair" one time out of a blue plastic lid to a can of Sure deodorant for the base and the back diagonal half of a Timex watch case for the seat portion. That was as good as I got. Wish I'd had more inspiration, like these photos!
posted by PuppyCat at 9:52 AM on July 21, 2013


I like the cut of these girls' jib! And pooh-pooh! Pooh-pooh, I say, to anyone who thinks that dolls encourage passive, non-creative play.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:14 AM on July 21, 2013


HA! None of that stuff looks functional! FAIL!
posted by sexyrobot at 10:30 AM on July 21, 2013


This blows the socks of anything made by Blue Peter ever.
posted by Helga-woo at 10:35 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love this idea of kids making their own toys.
posted by Hicksu at 10:37 AM on July 21, 2013


I need to bookmark this for next time I hear/read someone hating on Barbies. I think it's wildly underestimated how creative children can be with them.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 10:39 AM on July 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


The handiwork is lovely and creative, and yes Mrs. Pterodactyl is right, the adoration makes it that much more beautiful.
posted by oflinkey at 10:40 AM on July 21, 2013


I kept expecting the last photo to be of an angry 11-year old, arms akimbo and saying "Get out of here! Make your own upvotes!"

But yes, amazing detail and craft. The kids are clearly enjoying themselves. Cool!
posted by jiawen at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those are some clever little girls! I'm an old man who's never played Barbies, and the photos still were fun to see. Also, nice job of documentation by the brother - it's good that he's recognizing and paying positive attention to his sisters' creative efforts.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2013


These girls have a future in special effects.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:21 AM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a Perky Pat layout.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:23 AM on July 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


People who make stuff out of other stuff are the best.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:28 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is wonderful! I can just imagine the hours and hours of creativity and companionship between the sisters.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:31 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to make my Barbies (mostly non-official Barbies) homes out of cardboard boxes and furnish them, but nothing so elaborate. Nifty!
posted by deborah at 12:38 PM on July 21, 2013


We never built our Barbies shit, we just took off their clothes and made them have pretend sex. This is awesome.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:40 PM on July 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Posted this on my FB and my sister-in-law posted a picture of a couch with rolled arms and a curved back that her daughter made out of cardboard and scraps.

I was never that devoted to detail, but then most of my Barbies spent their time getting kidnapped by and escaping from evil wizards, so furniture wasn't really important.
posted by emjaybee at 12:51 PM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


These girls are totally mini-Marthas.

It's so weird, because I did stuff like this too - I spent far more time and energy building stuff for Barbie than I did actually playing with Barbie - but no one ever said hey, you could grow up to make cool miniatures for movies like Star Wars!

Maybe these girls are totally mini-Adam Savages. If someone lets them know that's a thing that's possible.
posted by rtha at 1:07 PM on July 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


I used to do stuff like this as a kid, and I wish wish wish I had some pictures of it.

These girls have a future in special effects.

heh - that's just what I do for a living!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:33 PM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was amazed at how creative and cool this was by the third or fourth picture. And then it went on and on and on... and on... I'm awestruck not only by the imagination, resourcefulness and attention to detail, but by the sheer volume of really cool stuff they made!

I went back through to see if I could pick out my favorite thing, but it's all so wonderful that my favorite is whatever I'm looking at in the moment..
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:39 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I designed, constructed, and altered clothes and costumes for my Barbie (well, mostly Barbie knockoff) dolls, including gender-switching. I wrote, directed, and produced shows for them, and designed and built the sets. And although none of those things turned out to be my primary day jobs, I have grown up to do all of them for humans, and occasionally get paid for it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2013


I'll bet Barbie hates all this homemade shit.

Barbie doesn't hate anything. (Well, except for math, because math is hard. Barbie and I are in total agreement on that one.)

Seriously, Barbie is just a relentlessly, even irritatingly positive character. She'd love this stuff!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:45 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, how I love this. My brother and I made a lot of little items for our dolls, but nothing so extensive, detailed, skilful, and fantastic as all this. I love these kids.

The last time I was at the NC State Fair, I took a look at the children's hobby contest entires. And I noticed there were a fair number of entries that were fully-rendered itty-bitty worlds like these girls have made. And often out of similar materials. I wish I had known kids like this when I was a kid.
posted by Coatlicue at 3:28 PM on July 21, 2013


Do you have any more info or context for these photos?

My little sisters make extremely detailed items for their Barbies.

It's reddit.

submitted 3 days ago by crackwhore1

Like I said ....
posted by dhartung at 4:22 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


These girls are totally mini-Marthas.

Wow! I didn't do this for my Barbies, but I made tiny, very detailed items for my dollhouse out of little bits and pieces of things. This was motivated by a few books I found from the public library (which would have been in the mid to late-70's. So probably a book like this or this.) and a 1974 visit to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry where I saw Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle.

I saved those items and my furniture. My 7 year old daughter was just playing with them yesterday.

Note to self: Need to get a hot glue gun.

For those wondering what girls like me did when they grew up...I'm definitely a maker and a builder. I like power tools, but I don't really sew (unless I need to) or decorate anything. I'm definitely not Martha. I did pursue wood shop, metal shop, drafting and tech. But I'm mostly a researcher and teacher now.
posted by jeanmari at 4:41 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aaaaa! So cool. My best friend and I mostly mutilated, folded, and spindled our Barbies. But we each got a dollhouse for our 10th birthdays and they became a small, long-lasting obsession. My own dollhouse imploded during a move about 5 years ago, but I just mailed a huge box of furnishings and odds-and-ends to a friend's kids. (Their playroom has an enormous, and ever-growing, dollhouse-and-dollhouse-farm.)

The best part is there are four of them, two boys, and the boys are probably MORE obsessed with the dollhouse than either of the girls. They are gonna be psyched when they get the detachable bunk beds and the porcelain bathtub with actual spinny faucet knobs.
posted by like_a_friend at 5:09 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really loved this and have been back to look at it more. My little sister and I made stuff for our dolls too.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:24 PM on July 21, 2013


I love the fried eggs.

And the fact that the refrigerator opens and is full of cut out food from magazines. And that the Twilight book opens and has actual cut out words from the book in it. It's such a contrast to the sort of dolls' furniture you buy that usually looks great superficially but is just a non-functional facade. You can tell that they made this stuff to actually play with and so it needs to be "right" in all possible angles and uses.
posted by lollusc at 6:13 PM on July 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I read Reddit comments so you didn't have to: the photographer is 17, and his little sisters are 11 and 12.

(If you look closely, one of the "Gymnastics tryouts" posters has a note at the bottom reading "♥ Reddit".)
posted by gingerest at 6:31 PM on July 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


DID NOT THINK WOULD LIKE BUT DID AAA+++ WOULD VIEW AGAIN
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:54 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love this!

my mom bought me a Barbies Dream House so I wasn't forced to create little worlds like this. thanks for stifling my creativity, MOM.
posted by kerning at 11:17 PM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Love this, reminds me of how I used to use a Kleenex box for my Barbie's bed. This was an asian household in the 80s so of course it had a lacey, frilly tissue box cover, which was *perfect* for Barbie.
posted by like_neon at 3:12 AM on July 22, 2013


This is just so creative and cool. I wish my Barbies had had cool stuff like this; instead they were mostly naked and bald from 'haircuts'.

Also: Kill Bella
posted by Gordafarin at 4:09 AM on July 22, 2013


Yes, these are great! I loved building complex houses for my Barbies out of books, although like emjaybee, they were mostly too busy escaping from evil wizards to care much about furniture, although water balloons in cigar boxes make great waterbeds. Hey, it was the 70s. I also had a dollhouse, which was too small for Barbies and met an untimely fate. It turns out that if you use prescription bottles (which by the way are very very hard to cut open and get the bottoms off) as hurricane lanterns over birthday candles to light the place up and then forget and go downstairs for a snack, the bottles will melt and your dollhouse will catch fire. On the bright side the half melted prescription bottles were really cool and made much better hanging mobiles (see 70s, above) and the semi burned out dollhouse also was vastly more exciting than it was before the fire. And yes, okay, Mom, to this day I'm still ridiculously obsessively careful with candles.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:59 AM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, the main thing that drew my friends to play at my house, instead of their houses, which usually had more toys, was that my mother allowed us a pretty much unending supply of that cheap yellow typewriter draft paper and markers and glue and tape and stuff.

One year, my friend Lori and I created a carnival using paper and empty cereal boxes and string and whatnot. My favorite bit was the swing ride that really turned, but we also had a roller coaster and a carousel and little stands for games.

It wasn't as awesome as the things in these pictures, but we had a pretty great time building that stuff.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:07 AM on July 22, 2013


It turns out that if you use prescription bottles (which by the way are very very hard to cut open and get the bottoms off) as hurricane lanterns over birthday candles to light the place up and then forget and go downstairs for a snack, the bottles will melt and your dollhouse will catch fire.

I used to glue sawed-off birthday candles onto pennies or jam them into the holes of large metal beads foe candlesticks.

That is, until I discovered cutting one bulb with two wires still attached off a string of Christmas lights, and running the wires down behind a table into the terminals of a nine-volt battery beneath.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:11 AM on July 22, 2013


Now I'm curious about the child-rearing these kids experienced. Was their e-media passive watching/playing restricted? Or were they just naturally drawn to the physical world? Was mom extra-crafty?

I'm so very impressed.
posted by RedEmma at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2013


I used to do the same thing w/ my mom's unused wallpaper scraps, make "records" out of advertising papers, made dresses out of toilet paper.
posted by stormpooper at 9:21 AM on July 22, 2013


made dresses out of toilet paper.

OMG yes, the toilet paper wedding dresses. And modeling clay shoes and bathing suits.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:36 AM on July 22, 2013


Now I'm curious about the child-rearing these kids experienced. Was their e-media passive watching/playing restricted? Or were they just naturally drawn to the physical world? Was mom extra-crafty?

I also made things for my Barbies too - based on my own experience, I'd wager that it's more a case of "they wanted their Barbie World to have a thing that either Mattel didn't make or that Mom couldn't afford, so they punted". I doubt this whole worldbuilding was an all-at-once planned thing - more likely, it was gradually and organically built on the fly as they played -

"Okay, let's play that Kevin has a new job somewhere."

"Ooh, awesome! Okay, so he needs a briefcase - ooh, and stuff to go in the briefcase. LIke - okay, he needs an iPhone, a notebook, a pen, something for lunch..."

"Hey, this thing here would kinda look like an iPhone if I did [foo] to it..."

"And I can fold this scrap of paper and make a notebook....what about the lunch?"

"Well, my Dad goes to Taco-Bell for lunch every day - maybe a taco?"

"Yeah, I think I got some yellow construction paper..."

"Ooh, yeah, and I got some plastic grass stuff leftover from easter - maybe use that for the lettuce?"

"Oh, perfect!"

And from then on, their Barbie world now includes a notebook, an iPhone, and a taco, which all get saved and re-used in other scenarios.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:57 AM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's how it starts, but I suspect that at some point, making stuff for the Barbie house became an end in and of itself.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:21 AM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


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