Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Slam the Door!

The humble beginnings of a door.

(Don't you love my workshop - the front porch!)

When my brother and his family came to visit, my girls very generously offered the use of their room to Uncle Chris and Aunt Dorothy. The problem? The previous week their door was broken. For those of you who don't know, we are renovating a house. An old Victorian farmhouse with a lot of potential, but LOTS of ugly layers covering that potential. Their door was one of those ugly things. For some reason, all the original doors in the upstairs had been replaced by the cheapest of hollow core doors from the 70's. Previous to us living here, the house had been divided into an upstairs and downstairs apartment. They were the typical tenants, so the door was barely hanging on when we moved in. So, if you see bits of ugliness, or even REALLY ugly backgrounds, please know that I don't think that it looks nice and that it will hopefully change sooner rather than later. Enough about that and onto the door. . .

So, we needed a door for the girls' room. Well, the doorway is fairly narrow and very short for a door, and since I hadn't found one to work in the spot and time had run out, I decided just to make one.

This is the first side before paint. I wish I had thought to take more pictures of the process, but I kind of forgot until the middle of the project. Sorry! This blogging thing is still really new to me, so I am not in the habit of taking pictures of everything yet.

This is what I did. I began with a piece of 3/4" plywood. I traced the remains of the hollow core door onto the plywood and cut that out. Next, I took 1 x 3 boards and cut two of them the height of the door. Then I took 1 x 6 boards and cut three of those the width of the door minus the width of the two 1 x 3 boards. In case you ever decide to make a door yourself, or pretty much do any carpentry work, be aware that a 1 x 3 board is not actually 1" by 3". It is something more like 3/4" by 2 1/4". I used liquid nails and screws to attach these boards. Then I cut pieces of beadboard paneling to fit in the resulting rectangles. If you notice, the middle 1 x 6 board is not placed in the middle of the door vertically, but I just put it where I though it looked best. After attaching the beadboard with liquid nails, I then cut a very small molding piece to edge out around the beadboard. I used my husband's miter saw, which made it super easy. Yes, I said that my husband lets me use his tools - how cool is he?

Here is a picture of the door on its side. I used some wood putty to fill in around the knot holes. Well, originally, my plan had been to make both sides of the door identical, but at this point, as often happens with projects, I realized that I needed to improvise. The reason was that the thickness of the door couldn't support another set of 3/4" board on the other side. So, I had an idea. We had been wanting a long mirror for the girls, and I had thought of hanging it on the back side of their door. So, why not make it a permanent part of the door?

I quickly drove to Family Dollar. We live in a really rural little town, so we have the choice of the Family Dollar in the next town to the east, the Dollar General in the next town to the west, or a hardware store a bit further away. So, I bought one of these cheap mirrors, which are really skinny by the way.

So I took off the plastic frame thingy and the cardboard backing. Then I used liquid nails to apply the mirror to the door. Have you figured out yet that I have a thing for liquid nails? If you want to build anything, you really should get some.

So, I used some of this really wide molding left over from a previous project. This molding is intended to be the baseboard molding you use with beadboard paneling, so it has a little space notched out that was perfect for allowing the molding to overlap the edges of the mirror a bit.

And I ate dinner on top of the door while I was working on it.

This is what it looked like after I attached the molding with screws and - guess what? - liquid nails. It may seem that I am being paid to advertise here, but I really just like the stuff that much. If you look closely, you can see I puttied over the screws. I also had to putty a LOT on the plywood on this side. It wasn't a very good grade of plywood, so there were lots of pits that all needed putty in order to look nice after being painted. This is the last picture I have of this side. I primed and painted it all white. You can't tell it so well in the picture, but there is more space at the top of the mirror than the bottom. I have bought a wood applique to put over the mirror, and once I have final pictures of the door in its place, you can see that.

Well here is the beadboard side, all primed and painted. This is the door just leaning against the wall before I took it upstairs. You can see where the wallpaper is starting to come off the walls, but that is another project!

We got the door on hinges and hanging up, but I have yet to choose a knob for the door. I thought about a glass knob, or maybe some other type of vintage door knob. Anyway, once I choose that and put it on the door, I will show you an update. I am really proud that I made a door - it had never even occurred to me before how to go about making one. Now that I know how simple it is (at least my homemade version), you can bet you will be seeing more of them!


  1. You MADE a door! How awesome are you??
    It looks great~I think it looks very professional, actually.

    Well done!

  2. I've seen this door in action, and I've got to say (and I'm biased) that it's the best home built door I've ever seen! - very practical, very tidy, and very useful - this is one door that will be left long after the walls have fallen (or been torn) down!

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you do make it out west to see beautiful Oregon sometime! I'd love to see Pennsylvania!

  4. Oooh....I love it! I love the pictures and play by play of how you did it. You and I are two peas in a pod. I am so excited to "meet" you! Lisa~

  5. One Handy Lady, thats what you are....
    Would never have thought to make a door!
    And I love the mirror, too.
    Thanks for following me..I'm following back. Got to see how this house unfolds..