December 16, 2013

DIY Nutcracker Door

Happy Monday!

This week's Dare to DIY project theme is Deck the Halls so I'm sharing my DIY nutcracker door tutorial with you!

You may remember him stealing the show at our holiday home tour :)

Making him was fairly simple. I used the following supplies:

Supplies shown:
  • 6, 4" wood circle plaques from Hobby Lobby (these ones)
  • 3, 12" pieces cut from a leftover piece of 1/2" x 3" (it's actually 2.5") x 36" craft wood from Lowe's
    • Note: 6 pieces are shown but I only used 3. I don't know what I was thinking when we cut 6 haha I think I thought that I needed one piece for each circle when I only needed 1 piece per 2 circles.

Supplies not shown:
  • Black mat board
  • Command strips
  • Packaging tape
  • Painter's tape
  • Wood screws (we used 1" ones)
  • Various tools (drill, drill bit, countersink bit, etc.)

The wood circle plaques were 79¢ each at Hobby Lobby and were the perfect size (4") for the 2.5" leftover piece of craft wood we used. I also liked their beveled edge because I felt like it made the buckles look a little fancier :)

I wanted each nutcracker belt buckle to be 15 1/2" wide so it would fit nicely in the panel of our door. Make sure to adjust your measurements based on the width of your door's panels!

I lined up the 12" piece of craft wood on the back of each wood circle and adjusted everything until it was 15 1/2" from the edge of one wood circle to the other:

The placement ended up being 3/4" from the top and bottom of the wood circle and 1 3/4" from the sides:

We attached the craft wood piece to the wood circle by drilling two pilot holes through the back of the craft wood piece and just barely into the back of the wood circle making sure we didn't drill through the front of the wood circle:

Note: don't do this on your countertops! We were rushing when we were assembling the buckles. Nothing happened to our countertops because we were very careful but I'd hate for you to drill too far through the wood and end up drilling into your countertops!

Be safe, not stupid like we were!

Anyway, after the pilot holes were drilled, we went back and drilled into them with a countersink bit so the top part of the screw would sit nice and flush with the top of the craft wood piece. We screwed everything together with 1" wood screws.

Remember how I measured and marked the placement of the craft wood pieces a few steps above? That only worked on one buckle. I tried the same process on another buckle (buckle A seen above) but the wooden circles didn't line up exactly with buckle B's circles. I'm a perfectionist so this bothered me a lot.

The reason was that a few of the craft wood pieces weren't exactly 12" so when I marked the original measurements on the second buckle (buckle A), the wood circle pieces didn't quite line up with buckle B. I ended up redoing buckle A and the third buckle (buckle C) using the method shown below.

I made sure buckle A and buckle C's circle placements were identical to one another by flipping each buckle's circle pieces over onto buckle B (the correct buckle) so I could line up the circle's edges. I then repeated the pilot hole/countersink hole/screw process until the remaining 2 buckles were assembled.

See the napkin above? I used it to protect our granite so the screws on the back of the craft piece wouldn't scratch it. Again, be smart and don't do this on your countertops! :)

After the buckles were assembled, I moved on to creating the belt buckle piece.

I wanted the top part of the belt buckle to come up to the bottom of our door's inner top panel. I wanted the bottom part of the belt buckle to end at the top part of our door's inner bottom panel. If that's confusing to you, check out the first photo above to see what I'm talking about.

This measurement on my door happened to be 9 1/2" so I cut a 9 1/2" square out of a piece of mat board:

I measured 2" in from each side and drew a straight line. I found the middle of my inner square and measured another 2" to create the part of the buckle that hooks into the belt. I made mine a little more than 3" wide but feel free to make yours shorter or longer!

I cut the section with the diagonal lines out. I ended up cutting too far on the buckle that hooks into the belt side so I had to remeasure it on the other side which is why you see some diagonal marks in the piece below:

I cut a long rectangular piece from the mat board for the nutcracker's belt. I wanted the belt to run the length of the panels of our door so I made my belt 23" wide x 6" high (the height of the space between our door's panels). Your dimensions will probably differ from mine depending on your door and where you place your belt.

I sanded everything down (wooden buckles and mat board belt + belt buckle) and then I spray painted the belt black and the wooden buckles + the mat board belt buckle yellow-gold.

After everything was dry, I measured out where the belt buckle needed to be on the belt and made some marks. Once it was aligned properly, I used packaging tape to attach the belt to the belt buckle from behind.

I added a ton of painter's tape to the back of the belt and the buckle so I could attach it to our door without damaging the paint. Command strips would've worked too but I only had 6 on hand and I needed them for the wooden buckles.

I added two Command strips to the back of each wooden buckle like so:

You can't really see it above but I placed a piece of packaging tape over the screws prior to adding the Command strips so they wouldn't scratch the paint off our door in case the wind made them wiggle at all.

I lined the edges of the belt buckle up with the edges of our door's panels and stuck it in place:

After I figured out where I wanted the buckles to be placed on our door, I followed the directions on the Command strips package to actually attach the buckles to our door.

Once the nutcracker's buckles and belt were in place, I draped a faux sheepskin over the top of our door to give the nutcracker a beard:

The sheepskin is really thick so I only had it draped over our door for the photos because I had to pull really hard to close our door and I was worried that its thickness would damage the seal around our door somehow if we left it up there. I would have cut it down to fit better but I typically have it draped over a chair so I didn't want to do anything that would ruin it.

If you don't have a faux sheepskin, you could buy some faux fur fabric and cut an organic shape out of it to make a beard!

One last thing: we have an 8' tall door so if you'd like to recreate this look on your door, make sure to adjust your measurements accordingly! :)

Newly Woodwards is hosting this week's party so make sure you stop by her blog and link up your project!

I'm sharing this project at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Newly Woodwards, Maybe Matilda, Primitive & Proper, and Decor and the Dog!

I'm also sharing it at Inspired By Charm's Colorful Christmas Party!

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  1. This is amazing Caitlin. I love what you did here. This is so awesome. Love your nutcracker door :)

  2. Such a fun and graphic idea. You are becoming quite the door decor specialist ;)

  3. All I can say is wow! :) Wishing I wasn't in an apartment so I could do this too!

  4. Such a clever idea. Love it!

  5. you certainly have a way with embellishing doors :) it!

  6. so cute. i love the idea of the faux sheepskin to act as the beard!

  7. Oooh this is super cute!! Fun idea :) I love your house, btw. Beautiful!!!

  8. This is SOOOOOOOOOOO cute. I love it! It's a great alternative to a wreath. So much fun!

  9. This is truly the most creative thing I've seen this holiday season. I think I already told you that but I think I should tell you again. I love it. Such a clever idea and brilliant execution. So well-done.

    I wondered what you used and hte wood was a great idea.

    Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to DIY! You rock.

  10. That's so cute!! What a fun idea for the front door!


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