The Magical Garden Door

4 Materials
1 Day
In our front/side yard, we have a huge tree stump from a tree long gone. It supports its own little ecosystem now, which no doubt includes fairies, gnomes, trolls and goblins. So we gave them a magic door... and managed to do it with things I had on hand. In the end, it cost me exactly $1.
Here is the tree stump. Or at least what of it I could fit in the picture. It is about 20 feet high and the base is about 8ft around. It really does have its own ecosystem including plants that have grown on it over the years, as well as mushroom shelves, the occasional family of squirrels and a cardinals nest. From the moment my mother in law saw it, she said it needed a fairy door. But with such a big trunk, I figured we could build a magic door for all sorts of fantasy creatures to use!
I chose the best spot for the door and had my daughters clear away the random branches that were growing in the area. This spot faced the front so you could see it from the street, and it is tucked behind where I usually have the birdbath. Plus, it had several mushroom shelves to add to the whimsy. I traced a rough outline of the area and then went digging in the spare wood pile.
I decided to build it out of some old wood flooring I picked up on the side of the road. It was just beat up enough to look old and weathered. Then I put Super Hubby on the task of gluing and cutting to make it the size/shape I determined would fit the best.
Time to assemble the door! We glued the tongue and groove pieces together and secured them with a cross bar for the door. The other cross bar would go on last after I added the knob.
Originally, I was going to paint the door the same purple as the door on my house. But when it came time to paint, I couldn't find that particular can. But I did find this can of $5 oops paint we had laying around. I decided I could work with that.
Then came all the little parts to give my door whimsy!
The upper corner is the basket I bought at a thrift store for $1 (my only cost)... I snapped it in half so I could use the basket part as a window box, and use the handle part elsewhere on the door.
The silver square is what would become my window. Originally I was going to use a mirror as the window, but I couldn't find one the right size and didn't want to spend a ton of money. So I found some leftover aluminum spray paint in the garage and a scrap piece of wood cut to size. We cut some trim pieces to make the window panes and Voila! My faux window.
We painted everything yellow, because the my house is yellow with purple trim, so we wanted the door to be purple with yellow trim...
Lastly I cut hinge shapes from a piece of scrap luan and painted them with a mix of gold and nickle paint to give them a weathered but metallic look. Their shapes aren't exactly the same, and they are a little wonky, but I am all about the imperfections that make a project unique.
After everything was painted, I used Valspar Antiquing Glaze I had leftover from another project to darken the shade of purple and age the entire project. I wanted it to look like it had been in the garden forever. I aged the hinges, window frame and flower box with the glaze as well.
And here is our magical little door all put together! I found the knob in a drawer when I was looking for SOMETHING to use as a handle. I don't even remember why I bought that knob. But it fit perfectly. I used the handle part of the wire basket as decoration around the knob. I put some basket liner into the window flower box, and some inexpensive fake flowers I had laying around. To top off the door and make it seem more part of the tree, I took some bendy twigs from the kindling pile and staple gunned them to the door to make a little "roof". I covered the glaring silver staples that weren't hidden with some of the glaze. They are virtually invisible now.
Here you can see a little better scale of the size of the door vs. the tree stump. While digging in the garage for "stuff" to use, I found a curtain tie back to use as a hook to hang a small garden lantern I had lying around. I think that they complete the magical little picture perfectly!

Suggested materials:

  • Scrap wood   (Garage)
  • Leftover Paint/Spray Paint   (Garage)
  • Knob   (My "stuff" drawer)
See all materials

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  3 questions
  • Jade Jade on Aug 23, 2016
    The door is adorable!!!! What is the finished size?

  • Rockie Rockie on Aug 23, 2016
    Like Kathy above, I want to see a picture of your yellow and purple house. Please post ?! Also, your tree "stump" is really big. What are the approximate dimensions of the door you made?

  • Gail Ritz Gail Ritz on Aug 23, 2016
    I was wondering if you attached the door to the stump in some way? Such a cute idea. Wish I had a stump.


Join the conversation

2 of 95 comments