January 12, 2014

Dog sled for American Girl Doll

See my other free dog sledding tutorials

What you need

  • 2 wooden rulers or similar (1" x 1/8" x 36")
  • 2 pieces of Balsa wood 1/16" x 4" x 36" (you can find it in most hobby stores)
  • 1x square wooden dowel (1/2") 
  • 18 gauge 3/4" nails
  • #18 x 5/8" wire brads (nails)
  • wood glue or super glue
  • black yarn to wrap handle bar (optional)
  • Jumbo craft sticks for splinting 
  • small binder clips (to help temporarily hold pieces in place)
  • rotary cutter or sharp knife (the rotary cutter worked awesome on the Balsa wood)
  • Exacto knife
  • metal ruler (36" long) to cut the balsa wood strips (optional)
  • pot with boiling water for making wood bendable (only use with adult supervision !)
    Instead soaking in warm water will also work

How to make the sled

Most of my glueing was done with super glue (adults only) to speed things up.
I used wood glue for the runners.

1. Cut the following pieces from the square dowel 2x  7 3/8"  one side cut at 55°  (Part A)
    2x    3 1/2   one side cut at 55°   (Part B)
    4x    6 3/4" (Part C)

2. Take the rulers and cut 5x  11 1/4" pieces  (Part D)

3. Take both part A and one part C, glue and nail (3/4" nails) part C across parts A.
    Top of part C is 2" from bottom.
    Sloping side on parts A is facing towards part C. 
    This is now called part AC

4. Take both part B and one part C, glue and nail (3/4" nails)pa rt C across parts A.
    Top of part C is 2" from bottom.
    Sloping side on parts B is facing towards part C. 
    This is now called part BC

5. Attach part C to the backside of  part AC 1" from top.

6. Take ruler pieces (part D) and sand writing off

7.  Take all 5 D pieces and align them evenly so they form a rectangle 5 5/8" wide
    Adjust gaps accordingly.
    Take part C and lay across 1/2" in from end, centering it. Glue and nail it with wire brads. 

 8. Attach BC leaving 3 1/2" between C in the front and BC.
    Attach AC leaving 1/2" at the end.

 9. Take Balsa wood and cut 2 strips 1/2" x 36".
    Use a metal ruler and a rotary cutter for easiest and straightest cutting.
    Cut both strips in half in order to have 4x  1/2" x 18" strips (parts D).
    Take one strip and glue to AC.
    Take 2 craft sticks and paper binders and surround part D to make sure it's straight.
    Then glue part D to part BC.
    Nail D to AC and BC.
    Then push D down to form a bend and glue and nail to part C at front end

   Repeat for other side.

10. Take one of the remaining part D and glue on top of attached part D,
      creating a double layer of part D.
      Repeat for other side.

11. Take Balsa wood and cut 2 strips 3/4" x 36" (parts E).
      Take pot with water and bring to a boil. Hold center of part E over steam and slowly bend.
      You can also soak the wood in warm water instead of using steam.
      Attach temporarily to front of sled with clasps.
      Repeat for second part E.
      Temporarily attach second part on top of first part to double up.
      Let dry.

12. Take Balsa wood and cut 3 strips 1/2" x 36.
      Take 2 strips and heat in steam or soak in hot water and bend 2x narrow 90 corners 6 3/4" apart.
      Take the other strip and cut a 6 1/2" piece.
      Glue this  6 1/2" piece between the bend pieces in the middle part.
      Glue the side pieces together.
      This will form the handle bar.

13. Take Balsa wood and cut 4 strips 1" x 36". Cut all strips in half to make them 18" long.

14. Take 4 strips from step 13 and glue the first 13" together like a sandwich to form the runners
      Leave the last 5" unglued, those will be used for the front curve-up.
      Repeat for the other 4 strips.
      Let glue dry.

15. With an exacto knife, cut on the front part C the front corners off up to 3/4" in.
      This is where the bend up runners will be glued to.
      Sorry no picture. Below is a later picture that shows the red line where the corner was cut off
      and the runner was later attached.

16. Take the bumper strips from step 11 off and lay them aside.
      Take one of the runners and center sled on top and lineup so that 6 3/4" stick out the back.
      Make sure the glued together part is on the back and the unglued part is in the front.
      Glue and nail in place with 3/4" nails

16. Bend the first strip up and glue to cut-off corner cut in step 15.
      I used superglue for this.

17. Glue and bend the other 3 strips for the runners up and then nail in place with 5/8" wire brads.
      Repeat for other runner.

18. Use exacto knife and cut flush with front of part C

 19. Take handlebar and put in position on sled.
       Handlebars stick out about 3/4" past parts A
       Mark where to cut flush with front of part B and cut with exacto knife.
       Glue onto part A and B on both sides

20. Take one part E from step 11 and wrap it around the front part of the sled.
      Mark where to cut flush with back of part A and cut with exacto knife.
      Glue onto intersection with handlebar and onto part A and front part C.     
      Nail in place onto A and C with 5/8" brad nails.
     Take second strip E and cut to size. Glue onto first strip.

21. Optional, wrap top of handlebar with black yarn.

You are done !!!

See my other free dog sledding tutorials


  1. That is awesome

  2. Where do you purchase your supplies?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I get them from different places. Fabrics mostly from JoAnn Fabrics, craft items from JoAnn Fabrics, Michaels, HobbyLobby, Ben Franklins, HomeDepot and Walmart.

  3. Thank you for this tutorial. I cannot find any wooden dowels. Where could I buy those? Could I use something else for the runners? Thanks!

  4. Thank you. Her mom knows where to find them :0)

  5. Thank you so much for designing and sharing this!!!