The Art of Darkness

Install a Fairy Door

December 5th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Fairy DoorOver on DesignSponge, blogger Kate Benbow relates a conversation with her small son about the source of mysterious noises in their house: Instead of mice, her son was convinced it was the Tooth Fairy.

Later that week, I found two inexpensive dollhouse doors and did a spot of secret crafting. Harry came down to breakfast the other morning and was astonished to discover the actual front door used by the tooth fairy, Santa‚Äôs elves and…well, who knows who else lives behind the door? We know for sure that someone lives there because they get mail and milk deliveries and are fond of leaving their boots outside the door when it rains.

She includes a simple tutorial for making doors of one’s own, plus suggestions for miniature accessories like mail and tiny flowerpots.

The “Santa’s elves” bit made me realize that with the holidays approaching this is a perfect time to surprise a child with the installation of a temporary “elf door” to let Santa’s helpers come and go as they please. Last weekend such an elf door appeared in Shadowboy’s bedroom. It was easy: Dollhouse accessories are widely available; I ordered the door, doorknob, knocker, and welcome mat online, and used some leftover housepaint to paint the door white. I had intended to further embellish the door with acrylic paint: Maybe candy-stripe it or hand-paint some holly or paint the inset panels red and green. After several false starts I realized I suck at painting and went back to white. These are Minimalist Elves.

Once the paint was dry, I used superglue to attach the doorknob and knocker. I put double-stick tape on the back of the frame (be sure to use tape rather than the thicker mounting foam, since the latter will leave a slight gap) and stuck it to the wall after Shadowboy went to sleep. The stepladder was a last-minute addition: Since there’s baseboard on all of the walls* I had intended to stick the door to the side of a bookcase–the tape is furniture-safe–but decided that it looked odd. I finally stuck it above the baseboard and filched a ladder from a set of Shadowboy’s Lincoln Logs. (Incidentally, the doorknob came with a ridiculously teensy little key; it’s hidden under the mat.) A bit closer to Christmas I may add a wreath to simulate elfin activity.

This kind of door could also be a longer-term decorative element, and could even be accessorized differently as the seasons change. And, of course, children aren’t the only ones who might enjoy a fairy door; I’m tempted to install one in my office to let the computer bugs come and go.


*It probably says something about my usual level of gung-hoedness, project-wise, that when my husband found me building the door he asked warily if I was planning to cut a piece out of the baseboard to let it sit flush with the wall. I honestly have no idea what he’d have done if I’d said yes.

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