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Clothing & Accessories

Today’s contributor is Jill from Snugglebug University. All posts written by Jill for Make It and Love It can be found HERE.

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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University. I’m really excited about today’s project–it’s one I did with my kids! We made doll cots for my kids’ 18 inch dolls and a tent for them to put them in! I’m going to show you how to make the doll cots below, and you can hop on over to my blog to see how to make the tent.

This doll cot project requires some pretty basic wood and sewing skills, making it a really great project to do with your kids (probably ages 7+, as my 5 year old didn’t quite have the attention span to help through all the steps).

Why doll cots? Well, my kids begged me to make them doll beds for their American Girl dolls. The problem with dolls which are 18 inches is that their stuff is pretty darn huge too! Since we have a pretty small house, I found the idea of big doll beds to be just too well, BIG!

Since my girls often play that their dolls are camping and they love the sleeping bag that I made their dolls for Christmas, I thought doll cots could be so much better than beds. Cots don’t take up a ton of space, and I could make them so they could fold up. Cots are the perfect portable doll beds, right!?!

While I think that these cots make a super project to do with your kids, I think it could be so awesome to put together a “camping kit” for your child’s doll for Christmas. You could make a sleeping bag, cot, and tent…and maybe even a bag to store it all in. It would be such an awesome (and relatively inexpensive) gift for your child!

And look! Remember how I said I wanted the cots to fold up for easy storage? Yep they do!

The cots look so cute set up in the tent we made too! I’m showing how the tent came together on my blog today.

While today’s tutorial is for cots for 18 inch dolls, it is easy to adapt this tutorial for a stuffed animal, or other sized doll. You’ll just need to change the dimensions a bit!

Are you ready to make your own doll beds?

What you’ll need to make one cot:

  • Four ball dowel caps 1-1/4″ diameter with a 1/2″ hole (You can find them on Amazon)
  • Two 21 inch long dowels, 1/2″ in diameter
  • Four 10 inch pieces of a 1 x 2 inch board (The actual dimensions are .75in x1.5 inch)
  • 2 hex bolts (5/16 x 2 inches) with a corresponding hex nuts and flat washers
  • Electric drill with 1/2 inch and 5/16th inch drill bits
  • Miter saw (if you don’t have a miter saw, a miter box will also work)
  • Wood glue (optional). You don’t have to use glue to attach the end caps to the dowels. If you omit the glue, the fabric piece will be removable in case you want to change it)
  • fabric piece about 9 x21 inches. Fabric should be of a heavier weight–home decor fabric works well.


The total cost for one cot ended up being about $10 (excluding the price of fabric, since I have a pretty large fabric stash).

Ok, let’s start the tutorial!

To begin, cut the dowels and and the 1 x2 board pieces to the sizes described above.

Next, drill 1/2 inch hole centered 1 inch down from the top of each 1×2 board pieces.

Then cut each of the bottoms of the side boards at a 45 degree angle. I used my miter saw here, but you could also use a Miter box and a hand saw.

Then cut a cut a hole in the center of each of the 1 x 2 board. The hole should be centered along the board vertically and horizontally.

Now you can assemble the cot by placing the bolts in the center of two side pieces. Each side of the cot will be pretty wobbly, as it is the fabric that will hold the cot tight.

Now, place the dowels through each end and add the end caps. The wood part of the cot is basically finished at this point. Soon you’ll need to take one side off to slip on the fabric piece, but first we need to measure the cot while the frame is all put together.

Next, making sure that the legs sit flat on the ground, measure the distance between each dowels from the outside edges of each dowel. For my cot, this was about 6 inches.

Then I cut out a piece of fabric that was 9 x21 inches. To reduce fraying I used pinking sheers to cut out the fabric. I adjusted the width to be 6 inches (the distance you measured) by 18 inches long. Adjust the size by simply folding over the edges.

Sew the vertical sides first. Sew a 1 inch passageway for the dowel to go through.

Then sew between the two passageways, along the top. Do not sew through the passageway or you won’t be able to push the dowel through.

Now that your fabric piece is done, remove one of the end pieces of the cot and slip on each side of the fabric piece at once.

Then add the end piece and slip the dowel caps on each end. If you’d like the dowel caps to be attached more securely you can use wood glue.

My girls begged me not to attach them so that they could change the fabric of their cot. I made two fabric pieces for each cot, because apparently my kids think that the cots should change fabrics as often as the dolls change clothes.

Your cot is finished!

I hope you enjoyed this project and will have fun making it with your kids! If you are looking for another wood-working project for an 18 inch doll, you might also like this bakery stand that we made this summer!

Wishing you all a wonderful end to the summer…I can’t believe my kids go back to school in just a few weeks!


blog contributor Jill

You can follow Jill on her blog (, on instagram, on pinterest, and on facebook.


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For even more cute DIY ideas made just for dolls, check out these tutorials:

Sew a Sleeping Bag for an 18 Inch Doll

Sew a Sleeping Bag for an 18 Inch Doll

Doll Ring Sling Carrier Tutorial

Doll Ring Sling Carrier Tutorial

Matching ‘Dolly & Me’ Skirts

Matching ‘Dolly & Me’ Skirts


The post Doll Cot Tutorial appeared first on Make It and Love It.

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