Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to Repaint Barbie Furniture The Basics

Tired of all the pink plastic mass produced furniture for fashion dolls? Like the details of a piece but dislike the color?  Don't discard it, transform it!

It is quite easy to update a piece of Barbie furniture to suit your needs.  Now I am not saying that my way is the only way, but I have been repainting Barbie furniture for 10 years and this is the process that I have found works best for me.  In the above scene I customized the red sofa quite simply with two colors & some embellishment. 

I started with the purple chaise from the My Scene Chelsea Getting Ready Playset:

Then I gathered my supplies:
  • Drop cloth or cardboard box for painting 
  • Spray Paint for plastic
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  •  Plastic furniture to be painted

Step 1: Separate your furniture into pieces if it is applicable. Many sofas, tables, beds are made with pieces that can be removed such as the legs or seats of chairs. It's easiest to paint the individual parts-especially if you are trying to paint them different colors.  In the example above I removed the legs so I could paint them silver.

Step 2: Clean your furniture. If you are not buying the item new give it a good scrub with some hot soapy water & let it dry thoroughly.

Step 3: Wipe everything down with rubbing alcohol. This removes any soap residue and ensures a good adhesion with the paint. Let it dry .

Step 4: Prep your paint area with drop cloth or cardboard to catch the overspray. I like to use an empty cardboard box.

Step 5: Paint! Make sure you follow the directions on the can. Keep the can far enough away that you avoid drips. Light coats work best!

Step 6: Multiple coats. For best results let each coat dry at least 20 minutes before the next coat. Don't add coats after 24 hours. I have found that the paint will bubble if you do. It should be fully painted within a few hours of when you start.

Step 7: Let paint cure for 7 days before handling too much. I have found that this is key to prevent paint scratches or chipping off. I know it's hard to WAIT!!

Step 8: Enjoy the fruits of your labor!!

I generally do steps 1-3 a day or two ahead of time. That way I can make sure everything is dry & ready to go.  Tip: Do NOT spray paint outdoors on a windy day. Not that I have ignored my own advice or anything. **Ahem.  All I will say about that is wet paint attracts every particle in the air. But I digress.

You can achieve some really terrific results using just two colors of paint.

That's it!! Super simple. Time consuming.  Exhilarating. Empowering!

Now, I'd love to see what pieces you transform!!! 

Thanks for stopping by and as always,

Happy Crafting!


  1. Great tips! And I love the new colors of the sofa and coffee table:@)

  2. Hi Stephiejo, great tutorial, I love how your pink furniture looks now! Thanks for sharing this, it's very useful!

  3. I have been waiting for you to post more ever since I discovered your site. Thank you. I'm waiting for the weather to get warm so I can paint again. Thank you for the tips, especially about the bubbling.

  4. Very informative! I have a few things that need painting. I wish I had known about the box the box the last time I painted.

  5. Hello from Spain: your tips are very useful. I from a year ago I start to paint all the furniture of my dolls. Prefer more realistic colors. Your work is always very inspiring to me. Keep in touch

  6. Hi, Tam from Planet of the Dolls here. I have nominated yours, as one of the blogs that I enjoy, for The Great Doll Blog Award. Just nominate 5 others, notify them, include 5 questions of your own making, and answer the following 5 questions, (and have fun!) 1. What is your favourite doll in your collection and why?

    2. Do you still have any of your childhood dolls?

    3.Have you ever considered, or even attempted to design your own doll?

    4. Do you do most of your doll shopping in person or by mail?

    5. Do you attend doll shows? Are there even any in your area?


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