December 06, 2011

Oh Christmas Door

Alternate Title: Another Year, Another Weird Idea from the Monroe's

Remember last year's Christmas "tree" from THIS post? Yeah, a tripod and some lights was just enough to wet my appetite for something more creative in our apartment at the holidays.

Again, we have many reasons to not have a tree:
Real: Expensive, Anny is allergic to pretty much any cut conifers, too.
Fake: It's fake, and takes up a lot of storage.

This year we were inspired by a Home Depot commercial, of all things. (HERE, if you have not seen it.) I had thought all year about just cutting a piece of plywood into the shape of a tree. I kept putting it off because I could not figure out a few aspects, and I'm glad that I did. We ended up thinking outside of the box once we saw that commercial, and really like what we ended up with.

We started by going to the local ReStore, the retail outlet for Habitat for Humanity. We ended up getting a folding closet door for $10 and a partially used gallon of paint for $5, which just happened to be the perfect green for Christmas! (By partially used I mean that there was maybe 1/2 cup missing out of the gallon of paint - it is incredibly full, even after finishing our project.)

Without further delay, here is what we did:

Started by taking out the slats from the closet door. Since we are in an apartment and I don't want to risk the white carpet becoming stained, I did this in the basement near our neighbors storage area:

With Abby's help, of course, I cleaned the door on both sides from top to bottom. She insisted on her spray bottle, her own washcloth and the most helpful thing for the really dirty part, the scrubber from Ikea.

Abby helped me paint, too. The proof is in the hair, right before Abby's second bath and hair washing of the day last week:

I finished up painting the rest of the door one night after she went to bed, which made it both easier and a bit less messy. I also put on the first coat of paint on the slats. Since we knew we would not be using all of them back on the door, I only painted about half. Good thing, since I broke four in the putting-back-on process (after breaking four or five during break-down) and we still have extras to spare.

I drilled pilot holes in the one of the not-painted slats to use to keep everything in order. We decided on four holes across to allow space for little ones to fit side by side, or to spread them out across the whole slat.

With the piloted hole, it made it easy for Abby to help in that part, too!

Here is the freshly painted door, before the slats:

Here it is with the slats. I was goofing off when I put the red bag on the light. (Which is to say that I like it and Anny did not, so it becomes my goofing off!) We put one into every fourth hole - made for even spacing to accommodate all sizes of ornaments:

Once we added the lights (string of 70 LED's - low power use, too!) around the edge and hung our ornaments along the slats just as we had planned! We sectioned things off, sort of. Presidential Ornaments on the top left, memory-based stuff on the top right and less-easily-broken ones on the bottom.

Like I said, we're all really happy with the door! Storage will be a snap, too. Someone at work suggested that we could leave it up year round and just hang pictures or such. We are not sure about that, but it is on the table now!


  1. Nice work!

    Meanwhile, we've begun discussions of where to put additional Christmas trees. We could use one whole tree just full of the White House ornaments! Another tree for kid-made stuff, a third for the ornaments we pick up as souvenirs while traveling . . .

  2. You need to submit this to Lifehacker or Apartment Therapy! So cool!

  3. i love it! great idea could totally decorate it for every holiday. growing up, my mother decorated for everything. valentines, easter, the 4th, halloween, thanksgiving and christmas....and anything in between. or it could be a good place for abby's art work.