Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dresser Turned Mario Playhouse

Okay, so I've been working on a project for a few days now and I'm finally finished.  I wanted to reveal it here but I wasn't quite sure how to even title this post.  I wouldn't exactly call it a DIY because to be honest, not many people are going to want to do this.  I couldn't exactly call it a furniture "make-over" either because it's not something I would want to display for everyone to see.

But even with the fact that this isn't exactly going to be a popular tutorial or being something that people are going to look at it and say "Oh, I need to do this ASAP" I still have to share it.  Because if you're a child of the 80's and grew up in the most amazing decade of all time, you will appreciate this.

If you were part of a Nintendo loving family as I was growing up, this will be something that you will appreciate.  Let me start by saying WHY I would even bother doing something like this...

My kids are video game nerds, not going to lie.  They love everything and anything Mario Bros.  So much so that we began buying Mario Bros. plush toys about a year or two ago.  It started with a simple Mario, Yoshi, and Luigi.  They played with them everyday.

Suddenly I found myself becoming obsessed with who I could buy next.  (They make EVERYONE you could think of, by the way. )  They now have a tote full of Mario plush toys and are gaining a million more this Christmas.

 As they get older, the toys are becoming less and less for Christmas.  It's more electronics, games, clothes, and other fun stuff.  But these little Mario toys are the only things that I'm willing to completely go overboard on because it's the only things through the years that they have consistently played with.  And by consistently, I mean DAILY.

Now, to be honest, they aren't exactly cheap.  They can run anywhere from $4-$25 each, depending on where or who you buy from. ( I usually buy them off Ebay).

But the price isn't an issue to me because I feel like they're toys and it's better that they play with them instead of sitting in front of a television playing video games all day.

They use their imaginations and they play together for hours.  Sometimes I peek in their rooms and watch them because the way they play is hilarious!  Try it next time your kids are playing. It's quite amusing.

As much as they play with them, I knew I wanted to buy something special for them so that they could have some type of "house" or playset to play with them in.  So I searched.

I searched Google, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and everywhere else I could think of.  I would have went all over God's creation searching for a "house" and would have driven anywhere to buy it.  But I had no such luck.  There wasn't ANYTHING, ANYWHERE.  Now I was stuck.

Okay, well if I can't buy one...I'll make one. So again, I searched.  First stop when you're looking for a tutorial?  Yup. You guessed it. Pinterest.  Well, NOTHING.  They had some great ideas for bedroom make-overs, bookshelves, and DIY Piranha Plant glasses (I mean, really?)  but no playhouse.

Now I was REALLY stuck.

So I talked to the husband.  Mr. Handyman said "We'll just build one from wood".  Let me just say, I don't like that sentence.

It's a lot easier to say that than to actually do it.  Even so, we brainstormed and we drew out what we wanted.  We priced it online.  $29 for a piece of wood and we would need two?  Negative, Mr. Husband.

If I was going to make this, I wasn't going to spend a fortune.

 I went into the garage knowing I had to have something I could make this out of.  And there it was.  On the back wall, with lights and stars glowing all around it.  (okay, slight overreaction).  I had a dresser that we stored my paint supplies in that used to be my son's nursery dresser.  It was perfect!

So I knew that's what I was going to use.

I know what you're probably thinking?  Why go through all this trouble?  Why can't they just play with them on the floor like NORMAL kids?  And they do, and they can.

 But because they spend so much time playing, I wanted to do something a little special for them.  I just don't understand why something like this isn't already made!

Minnie Mouse has houses, salons, and Dr. offices.  The ninja turtles have their lair.  And batman has caves and all sorts of playsets!  Why isn't Mario shown any love?

Well, mama mia, I think I've rambled on long enough now so we can get into how I actually went about creating this.  If you want to see how we created this playhouse, press select, start.  Okay, okay...I'll stop with the Nintendo references.  So, LETS-A-GO.  Sorry, I'll stop now I promise.

I didn't take a before picture of the dresser because I was in such a rush to start it that by the time I realized I wanted to blog about this, the drawers were already out.

So I found picture online that is very similar to what the dresser looked like before (with the exception that the color is a little darker).

Here's sort of what it looked like before:

We took out all the drawers and removed all the hardware.

My husband measured and cut some pieces of plywood to make the "levels".

Then he cut pieces of pressure treated 1x2 pieces of wood to hold the platforms for the "playhouse".  He screwed them into the side of the dresser to hold up the pieces of wood, using 3/4 inch wood screws.  

Then, he drilled 4 inch holes, using a jigsaw, into each piece of wood to fit the pipes that we would make later on.  I won't get ahead of myself...so that will come later.

After the shelves were put in and the holes were drilled, it was time to paint.  I had a light blue paint that I was given a while back and I thought it would be perfect for this.

I gave the dresser (inside and out) two coats of paint and let it dry.

For the shelves, I painted them a metallic brown color.

Now it was time to work on the "pipes".  I knew I wanted a pipe to go from the top level to the middle and then another pipe to go from the middle level to the bottom. So we went to Home Depot and found 4 inch PVC Pipe that was the perfect size.  I came across these PVC reducers that when put into the pipe, it looked EXACTLY like a Mario pipe.  So we bought them, brought them home, measured them to size, and my husband sawed them down.

I picked up some green paint while I was there that was the perfect match.

I gave the pipes two thin coats of paint. This picture shows the first coat so you can see some letters through the paint, but once it had two coats, it was perfectly covered.

Now the hard part was here.  I had to hand paint the background onto the dresser.  Now please believe me when I say that I am in no way an artist.  I can't paint and I can't draw.  The most drawing I ever do is some doodles on my grocery list, so I knew this would be a challenge.  And it was.  I googled some "scenes" from Mario and chose different elements from each to make the scenes.  I hand drew everything with a pencil first, and painted everything in with some acrylic paint.  Did it come out perfect?  Absolutely not.

After everything was painted and done, we placed the pipes in and they were perfect!

All finished!

Does it look like a child painted it? Of course it does!  But that's what you get when you have someone who has no artistic skills paint the background.  But my kids aren't judging  They don't care it's not perfect.  They love it and that's all that mattered to me.

Now they all have a place to live!  ( Obviously all of them aren't pictured) See?  That wasn't so hard, was it?

Could possibly be the worst looking Mario star I've ever seen, but my hand isn't steady enough! Give me a break, will ya?  ;)  I think my mushroom makes up for it!

It really didn't take much time to make our envision into a reality.  The hand painting took about 4 hours, but the rest of the work took about 3 hours all together.  So in one day, it was finished.  The kids play with this everyday and they're thrilled to have a place where all their "people" can play.

Now if I can only find a place to put this thing, we'll be in good shape.

And that's it!  Finished.  Done.  Game over.  (Sorry, I couldn't help myself).


  1. Totally doing this! thanks so much for sharing. I'v been searching for a while on pinterest to find a Mario bros playhouse to no avail, until now! I grew up in the 80's and have a little 4.5 year old who is in LOVE with Mario (theme of his room). This is on our to-do list!!

    1. I looked for a while too and couldn't find anything. That's why I decided to make my own :) I'm so glad it gave you some inspiration. I'd love to see the final result when you're finished!

  2. This is so awesome! My twins are turning 8 and I'm making them one for their birthday! They're going to love it! Thank you so much for posting this!

  3. Good job 👏👏👏 ❤ I'm saving your pictures to the future make it too... ☺

  4. This is incredible. You did an amazing job! My husband and I are creating this for my son for Christmas. And, by the way, you are a talented artist. I adore this so much, and my son will play with it every single day just as your do. Thank you for taking the time to share this. It was very gracious of you.
    -Nicole Giglio