Artist Samantha Browning Transforms ‘Thrifted’ Dollhouses Into Spooky Mansions
Dollhouses are enchanting. They were more than just a house to keep our beloved dolls in. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you ever fantasized about shrinking and living in one at some point! Sadly, many of these toy houses end up being stored away in the attic to gather dust or donated to thrift shops when its owner has outgrown it. But you know what they say! One man’s trash is another man’s, well, woman’s in Samantha Browning’s case, treasure.
Samantha Browning may have dropped out of art school, but that didn’t mean her artistic talent was gone. The funeral attendant went viral a few weeks before Halloween 2020 after the internet saw her transform brightly colored, predominantly pink toy houses into seemingly aristocratic mini mansions with black spray paint. Browning’s original Facebook post showcasing her repainted toy houses accumulated over 15K reactions, 26K comments and was shared over 106K times!
She thrifted these overly pink dollhouses
The thrifty artist also managed to score a bright yellow house for $1
And turned them all into elegant mansions fit for the creepiest of doll socialites
According to Browning, the idea of upcycling old toy houses struck her after she watched a woman spray paint a wooden dollhouse black on popular entertainment app, TikTok. Shortly after being inspired, Browning went on a little thrifting excursion. Her first find cost her $8 then she proceeded to buy some matte black spray paint and acrylic paint. After that, she went home and proceeded to transform the preppy house into a spooky and sophisticated miniature mansion. But she didn’t stop there. After her first house was complete, Browning immediately managed to find two more toy houses to ‘renovate’.
“The next two dollhouses were a bit more money. I found them on Facebook Marketplace for $25 but thought they were worth the money because the designs were really beautiful. The last one I found was only $1. It has a modern to it so I can expand a bit more with the details.”
She turned the summery yellow house into a gothic manor
Her pet cat seemed to very interested in his human’s project
Browning’s upcycled houses require a lot of time and attention to detail
Giving these toy homes a new lease of life may seem like a simple task. However, Browning soon discovered that she’d have to invest some time and effort to achieve the look she’s going for. In fact, she found herself spending more time on her upcycling project than she initially expected. According to Browning, she can spend 5 to 10 hours working on a toy house. In an interview she shared:
“The first one was 5 hours because I didn’t plan on doing much more than the spray paint and a few details but the doll houses have so many of their own designs molded into them that you can really spend any amount of time changing them to fit the theme you’re going for. The more houses I get, the more I try to change those items to make the piece completely different and grow from where I started.”
After the black spray paint dries, Browning then paints some colorful details to accentuate the features of the house. The matte black house, for example, has golden details and even some vibrant flowering plants and a tree painted on. These elements certainly help give the blacked out house a more realistic look. Browning then staged several glamorous decorations and creepy characters around the toy house.
Her ‘renovations’ feature exquisite details
Browning’s awesome upcycling project is visual confirmation of how a new coat of paint and creative vision can transform any seemingly ordinary thing. But while the internet has fallen in love with her project, Browning has made it clear that she won’t be selling any of them any time soon. The repainted houses continue to be a part of Browning’s personal collection. But if you happen to own a toy house and want to make it relevant again, why not follow Browning’s footsteps and do a little DIY over the weekend?