Welcome to our post featuring the Plastic Canvas Barbie doll camper that I made for my rather large collection of 4-inch Disney fairy dolls.
My fairies have been living on a shelf above my bed. However, after making the plastic canvas travel case for Cinderella, I decided they needed better lodging. I didn’t necessarily want another travel case though. No, I needed something bigger for my tiny fairy friends! When I saw this book on Amazon my first thought was, “Aha! A fairy mobile!”.
It took about three months to complete this project, but it was well worth it in the end. The camper is pretty big. Its dimensions are 31-inches long by 15-inches wide and about 15-inches tall.
The pattern I used is called the Fashion Doll Dream Home and is published by The Needlecraft Shop. You can get the pattern in a book form (like I have) or as a paper leaflet. If you opt for the leaflet make sure to get both the Dream Camper and Camper Accessories otherwise you won’t have the patterns for the kitchen, bench seats, etc…
As you can see, I have changed the camper’s outer colors from blue, pink, white, and silver, to green, yellow, orange, and gold. I wanted this camper to look more “retro” than “Barbie”.
The biggest tip I have for anyone working on this project concerns building the chassis. This part was tricky, and it was all due to the silly yardsticks which the pattern instructs you to use when building the camper’s base. The instructions have you glue four yardsticks together into a rectangular base and, at least for me, those yardsticks did not want to stay together! I tried every adhesive available before giving up and using Gorilla tape. Completely wrapping the yardsticks with Gorilla tape was the only way I succeeded at keeping the chassis together.
Victory at last!
The wheels are attached to dowels so the camper can actually roll. They are made using plastic canvas discs. Building the wheels was fairly easy. After stitching the wheels, you attach the wheels to the dowels by pushing an upholstery tack through the center of the wheel and into the dowel, essentially “nailing” the wheel to the dowel. I added a dot of super glue to each dowel before pushing in the tack for extra security.
However, during the nailing/gluing process, one of the wheels went wonky so my camper isn’t able to roll very well. This was an error on my part though and I can tell that, had it not been for the crooked wheel, the camper would roll nicely.
The roof can be taken off and the large, left side window detaches for easy accessibility. All of the doors have plastic canvas hinges and can be opened and closed. Velcro is used to hold the doors shut and keep the large window in place.
The trunk opens and offers more storage for all your doll paraphernalia. The pattern calls for four 18-mm acrylic beads for tails lights, which I wasn’t able to find at my craft shop. Instead, I ended up substituting the acrylic stones for these rectangular, pink gems.
I think pink taillights are perfect for any fairy mobile!
When it came to the inside portion of the camper, I deviated from the pattern in a major way. The original Dream Camper pattern instructs you to use 18 sheets of colored (blue and white) plastic canvas sheets. These sheets make up the inside walls and are left unworked. I wanted my walls to be worked so (along with changing the blue plastic canvas to light green) I stitched all the wall pieces using mint green colored yarn.
The camper has a small bathroom for the dolls (or fairies) to do their business or take a shower:
I stitched the walls with and gray yarn to get a “tiled” effect. The floor is stitched with white and black yarn. You are supposed to use clear, plastic tubing for the shower hose; however, I didn’t have any clear tubing handy. Instead, I used silver cord that I found in the needlework section of Hobby Lobby.
The shower curtain is sewn from leftover fabric scraps:
The Dream Camper instructions have you glue the walls, dash and console, cabinets, and all the appliances to the walls of the camper. This didn’t sound sturdy enough for (especially after my experience with the yardsticks!) so I ended up stitching everything in place. The dash, cabinets, seats, appliances, basically anything I didn’t want to move is sewn to the camper with coordinating colored yarn.
Here is a close up of the oven and refrigerator:
Again, all the doors work, and there are shelves in both the oven and refrigerator for holding doll food.
This is the sink area:
Yes, I know my curtain isn’t straight!
Like the shower curtain, I used scrap fabric and lace to make curtains for each window.
Stitched to the back camper wall is a long cabinet where Tink keeps her “lost things”:
Beneath the cabinet is a bench seat:
It provides the perfect place for a doll to kick back and read a good book!
Here is a look at the dash and console area:
Again, everything here is stitched into place.
I added little blue ribbons to the front seats for seat belts:
I could see where the front might be a tight fit for some dolls—particularly those without articulated legs.
Apparently, this is how my fairies intend to drive around…Tink operating the pedals while Peri mans the wheel!
Hmmm., not sure how I feel about this!
Lady Tremaine has agreed to model for us so you can see how the camper looks compared to a Barbie sized doll:
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again for more doll fun!