thrift diving
DIY, Holidays

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™ Holiday Makeover: Thrift Diving Edition

Serena Appiah of the blog Thrift Diving is taking us on her journey of creating a completely “flipped” Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™. With the objective of adding in some holiday cheer, it’s amazing what a little flannel can do to pull everything together!

There’s always a good reason for crafting. When you’re crafting for charity, though, there is no better reason! Last spring, I participated in the “Crafting for Charity” Little Tikes playhouse makeover challenge where myself and two other bloggers battled head-to head for the $750 prize to donate to our favorite charity. With the help of a couple containers of river rocks, some construction adhesive, and several thousand voters, my cobblestone playhouse soared into first place! I was so excited to get to donate the $750 prize to Helping Hands, a homeless shelter for families here in Maryland!

This time it’s “Crafting for Charity 2.0: Holiday Style.” This round, another three bloggers, including myself, reached down into the depths of their creativity to decorate another Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™, only this time, it’s holiday-themed! I struggled a little bit with finding which direction I wanted to go, but something about warm and cozy flannel kept calling me!


Little Tikes playhouses are blank canvases for parents to transform into any magical playhouse! That’s what so fun about these makeovers because you can do nearly anything to them, including adding fabric, lights, or even stones for a fun cobblestone playhouse! This time around, with the holidays, I wanted something that would make you feel warm and cozy when you looked at it or played in it.

little tikes cape cottage playhouse


Nothing says “warm and cozy” like red and black flannel! Lined with flannel, black, white, and gray accents (and a cute gold glitter tree ornament glued to the front), this playhouse makes me wish my kids were small enough to enjoy it! Doesn’t it look fabulous?! I love, love, love how it turned out!

little tikes cape cottage playhouse decorated with flannel fabric, a wreath, and black roof

To create this look, it was critical to make a pattern of the front using thick paper. I traced out the shape that would accept the fabric and carefully cut it out. 

I left a ½” seam allowance on the paper in case I needed to trim things down to make adjustments. I only had a bit of the cozy flannel so I knew there was no room for errors!

Next, I needed to decide what color to paint the exposed portions of the playhouse. I didn’t want to do a lot of white, but with red and black flannel, it seemed like just the right choice to highlight the flannel. So, I spray painted all of the brick areas a nice, bright white.

I will admit that I didn’t use a separate primer on the plastic because the amount of primer needed would have been a lot of added cost. However, if you’re making over a Little Tikes playhouse, be sure to add that important step to your transformation, which will help the paint stick better.

spray painting a kids cottage white

I wanted to pull in some dark gray accents to the home because the red and black flannel had some lighter areas where the red and black almost “blend” together. The gray would help accentuate that part of the fabric.

spray painting little tikes cottage grey

 The shutters were originally brown out of the box. I mistakenly thought I wanted green, but later, I realized that red would be better. More vibrant!

For the doors, I went with black, too. I worried it would be too much black but I needed to balance out the colors I was using and black was the only thing that would have worked for the door.

spray painting doors black for kids playhouse

When using fabrics, you’ll need to buy more whenever you’re using fabric with patterns, so that you can match pattern repeats. But in my case, the craft store only had 1.5 yards of fabric, and I needed probably 2.5 yards, so I worked with what I had.

flannel fabric

Using the pattern I created with the paper, I laid it down on the flannel and began to cut it out. Once cut out, I fit the flannel onto the playhouse to make sure it fit properly, and trimmed away excess fabric for a clean fit. Then I used spray adhesive on the plastic and smoothed the fabric onto the playhouse. I even added some remote-control lights to the underside of the plastic roof with tape to give the playhouse some added holiday appeal!

One of the final touches I decided to add was spray painting the inside of the playhouse white to freshen it up. While painting the outside, some of the overspray had gotten inside and made it look a bit messy, so painting the inside helped pull everything together and made it look sharp!

little tikes playhouse christmas makeover

When the house was done, it looked amazing! I added a few other features, like the gold glitter ornament, and I also glued a little piece of rustic wood to the underside of the window to act as a ledge to hold a small battery-operated candle. All-in-all, I think the playhouse ended up feeling warm, cozy, and extra seasonal and I’m so excited to finally show you this fun project I took on with!

Now, after doing this project, I am definitely ready for the holidays! Aren’t you?!

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Serena Appiah is the owner, publisher, and carpenter-in-training behind Thrift Diving, a blog and YouTube channel that inspires home enthusiasts to decorate, improve, and maintain their home with paint, power tools, and thrift stores. As a mom of three boys, ages 12, 9, and 7, Serena has outfitted her home with many thrift store treasures--not only because it's economical and fun, but because raising three boys means things will get dirty (or broken!) Follow Serena on YouTube for DIY tips, tools, and projects.

426 Replies to Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse™ Holiday Makeover: Thrift Diving Edition

  1. Love all of these! Such talent! My favorite is the Buffalo Check, one of my favorite holiday prints.

  2. I vote for little house “A” made by Thrift Diving. The buffalo check looks striking and the deer is a great accent! Everything is so coordinated for winter!

  3. I am voting for A – I really love the idea of making it look like a little cabin in the woods. The string of lights is adorable and the red and black fabric is soooooo cute!

  4. The Thrift Diving transformation is so inspiring and put me in the holiday spirit. The plaid is perfect so A has my vote!

  5. Voting for C. I love that she made it so that she can easily transform it for other seasons so easily .Changing out a few accessories can make it decorated for all seasons. It’ll keep her girls from loosing interest! Love it!

  6. I’m voting for “A” – Thrift Diving.

    This makeover is festive, warm and inviting. It gives me the feeling of cherished family gatherings (Home)… Not gum drop fairies!! But, reading “Twas the night before Christmas”, sipping hot chocolate, roasting marshmallows – beside the fireplace & hearing the crackling sounds of the wood. Takes me back to “Home”. Excellent designing.

  7. I am voting A for Thrift Diving. I am always amazed at your redo’s and creations. Thanks for your continued inspirations.

  8. I am voting for cottage A by ThriftDiving because I like the overall look and because I can’t vote for all of them. All of them are so crafty- talented.

  9. I’m voting for A by Thrift Diving. It looks so cozy that I want an adult size. I’m sure there would be hot cocoa and gingerbread inside. Love the fabric.

  10. A**** Thrift Diving is my choice and with the addition of the Buffalo Plaid it is certainly on trend!! Its my favorite. They all did lots of hard work for great causes. Congrats to all of the participants.

  11. I’m voting for A. Love the buffalo check, so festive! Plus, we Marylanders need to stick together! Way to go Thrift Diving!

  12. I see nowhere to enter this contest! Is this where you vote??? I’d vote for C but they are all beautiful!!
    Lynne Lewis

  13. They’re all adorable. My vote is for A today. Great job and keep up the inspirations! Happy holidays all?

  14. They all did such amazing jobs!! If I had to choose, I’d go with “C”. It’s just more my style. Beautiful!!

  15. A – Thrift Diving Play House. Love how this turned out and it’s a very original design . I absolutely love anything quirky or different that no one else has. Excellent job Serena, I would give you more votes if I could.

  16. I Love all your design ideas Serena! The gold deer head is a nice homage to all us Midwest girls. I love the plaid, the colors, everything about it says “Holidays” My vote is for A! Good luck!

  17. Hi I’m voting for THRIFT DIVING?????? I love everything about it and how created you are for every project you do, how you put your mind and soul in everything you do your amazing. ????

  18. Hi I’m voting for THRIFT DIVING???????I love everything you did and like always everything you do is amazing I love how you put all your mind and soul in every project you do.

  19. Elaine from Ohio:

    I vote for A, Thrift Diving. Love the red and black Buffalo print! Nice work Serena.

  20. Also vote for Thrift Diving,A,sweet design,clean lines,festive colors,Serena knocked it out of the park

  21. Thrift Diving’s Play House is very clever. It’s warm looking with the plaid blanket covering, and the little deer head is a whimsical surprise.

  22. Love her remake. Stands out and is beautifully done. Takes care that all details are smooth and works together. All her products are done great!!

  23. My vote goes for “A” Thrift Driving. Serena you really nailed (glued) this one!!!! Beautifull

  24. I just love the transformation that Thrift Diving was able to achieve using an old Little Tikes Playhouse. The attention to detail is incredible. I also love her nod to the o so popular buffalo plaid, it is such an on trend color choice. I would definitely like to cast my vote for Thrift Diving.

  25. I’m voting for Thrift Diving. I adore the check!! Makes me wish my kid was younger again so I could do this to the playhouse.

  26. I’m voting for Thirft Diving! I just LOVE the buffalo check print and the farmhouse feel of this cute playhouse!!!

  27. Love that Red and Black cozy cottage done by thrift diving. Thank you for such a beautiful transformation.

  28. I am voting for “Thrift Diving” for this Christmas Cottage!!! It is Absolutely Stunning!!! She is just so Talented and so Sweet.A Joy to watch and learn from.

  29. What is the season with out some buffalo check to give you the warm and cozy feel of Christmas is here. My vote is for Thriftdiving.

    You go Ms. Sarena another winner.

  30. I’m voting for “A” Thrift Driving. I really like the Buffalo Plaid on this. It looks inviting like I want to go play in it. Lol

  31. A gets my vote love the fabric and the ingenuity it takes to make that cute house.
    Love thrift diving and Sarena

  32. I Absolutely love them all! Each contestant used so much creativity and just to see each outcome was SO INSPIRING! I’M READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS NOW. HOWEVER, I VOTE FOR A, THRIFT DIVER!!!
    It’s so rewarding to create something so fabulous and so cozy, while inviting! It’s appropriate for small children and a little older! The classic buffalo checkerboard sold it for me with glitter ornament with the touch of rustic wood! AWESOME!

  33. I vote for Thrift Diving’s Buffalo Plaid, it’s shouts winter and holidays. Balsam trees, snow and cozy, your house makes me think of it all!
    Friendly Bear

  34. I am voting for the Thrift Diving entry, a real beauty. Please note that my first reply did not include which entry I referred to as a beauty!

  35. I vote for A by Thrift Diving. The Buffalo Plaid rocks!
    I tried to vote 2 days ago and it didn’t work. Serena’s work is amazing, I’d love to have her as my neighbor. 🙂

  36. Vote-A, Thrift Diving’s Buffalo Plaid. The plaid is all about the coziness of winter, love it!
    Friendly Bear

  37. Wow so nice you are always creative as usual, l like your idea in design, thank you for sending me to take my opinion

  38. My vote goes to Serena with her Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse. She is inspirational that if you can see the concept..just get it done.

  39. Love Love Love Thrift Diving’s Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse Holiday Makeover and wish I could win it for my granddaughter – it’s AWESOME!!!

  40. My wife told me to look at the web site, and being the dutiful husband I did. Of the three houses the first one, “A” house, gets my vote. Extremely well done.

  41. voting for THRIFT DIVING ….she does a great and cute job…

  42. I vote for “A” , Thrift Diving. So festive❣️ All the little ones in my family would have a blast with this one❣️

  43. I am sending my support to my girl over at THRIFT DIVING! I am voting for A! Serena you did a wonderful job on the Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse. You stepped outside of your comfort zone and went with something bold and exciting! It is not your ordinary house.

  44. Voting for A..looked at all of them first and to me A was the most homey and warm and welcoming. Growing up in Alaska I would have loved to have had a cottage just like this.

  45. Voting for this one but this website design is horrendous! I had to scroll for over 2 minutes to reach the bottom to be able to vote! I do not use this website for anything else other than voting for my favorite youtbers during these contests.

  46. I’m voting for Serena @Thrift Diving!
    Her creative ways make me want to want to go out & buy A Huge Tool Chest of My Very Own!
    There many creative individuals all over the Internet that I subscribe to, but I must say, I just love Serena, even during her highs & low’s when things get a bit difficult… She takes a few hours or perhaps even a day and low & behold, Serena always look at those hard to do projects as stepping stones, i.e. (to do better, & work out those difficult projects with determination & ease, therefore getting the desired results).

  47. My vote goes to Serena Appiah/Thrift Diving!
    I just love her channel! There are many, many DIYer’s online that I’m subscribed to but there’s only Serena who graciously invites you into her family’s home to show her viewer’s that they too can accomplish whatever they have their minds set on accomplishing!
    There have been a few times when Serena would want to give up, yet she can back even stronger! WayTo Go Serena, Keep Going, Cuz We’re Watching! Love You Always BrandyMonica

  48. Ms. Sarena what an awesome job you did. As always love your approach to all your DIYsylu give us the do’s even when you dont,you let us know there is a short cut but give us the accurate way, lol. There was no short cuts on this one though. AWESOME WORK. Got my vote?

  49. Every thing Thrift Diving creates is beautiful. So few props, such meticulous work, such an inviting outcome, all are so typical of her work. I just love love love A.

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