It turns out that Hobby Lobby's miniature dollhouse collection was the perfect solution. I've been watching for those items to go on sale and when they did, I went over and picked up what I needed. Using my 40% off coupon, I was able to get the door for $6.59, plus the doorknob and key for $3.49 (30% off) and some mini Christmas light bulbs for $1.39 (30% off), which brought my total to $12.26 with tax. I already have acrylic paint and brushes to paint the door and instead of using miniature fencing, I decided to cut some out of vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo, which I could then stick to the wall and remove at the end of the season. So by doing this myself, I was able to save myself more than half of what it would have cost to buy it from Jane.com.
*Note: I did look on Amazon for the supplies to make this, but it was less expensive to buy it at Hobby Lobby. But definitely feel free to shop around a bit. You might find a better deal or decide you want a different kind of door or doorknob set. The great thing about this craft is that you can totally personalize it!
I've been thinking about what kind of activity I could do with my kids to incorporate this little elf door into our traditions. Ultimately, I kept it simple and told my kids that there is a magical elf door that leads directly to the North Pole. Elves can come through it and check to make sure the kids are being good and then report to Santa. You could be more elaborate if you want and do Elf on the Shelf type things but I don't want to stress myself out by committing to do that every night.
So here's what you'll need to make your own Elf Door:
- miniature door
- miniature doorknob
- miniature fence (vinyl or wood)
- miniature Christmas light bulbs
- acrylic paint (in desired colors)
- paint brushes
- thin jewelry wire (silver or gold)
Then I glued the doorknob on using some Tacky Glue and let it dry.
Meanwhile, I opened up my Silhouette Studio software and grabbed a picket fence silhouette from Google. I was able to get the silhouette by using the 'Trace' function, then I saved the image in my library to use later on. To determine the size of the fence, I measured the height of the door (about 7.5") and then used a ruler to visualize the height of the fence. Then I resized it in the Silhouette Studio and cut it out on my white vinyl.
To make the strand of lights, I removed the gold wires that were strung through the lights. Then I cut a length of wire about 24" long. I strung the first light on and then twisted it at the top a couple times so it wouldn't slide around. I threaded the next light on and spaced it about 1"-1.5" from the first light and repeated the twist at the top. I continued around until I reached the end of the wire, leaving about 1" at the end.
I decided to put the door in our kitchen/dining area because we spend a lot of time there. I wanted it to be visible to the kids so they would remember that the "elf" is going to check on them. I placed the door above the baseboards and stuck it to the wall using tape I had rolled up and put on the back, making it easily removable at the end of the season. Then I put about 3" of vinyl fence on either side of the door. Finally, I strung the lights around the door, draping them across the top and bending the wire and securing the ends under the top part of the vinyl fence.
As I was setting it up, I explained to my daughter about the elf and the magic door. I tried to keep it simple so I could remember what I told her. If I make a mistake, I'm sure she'll correct me. *wink* When my son woke up from his nap, he noticed it and went right over to investigate. He's not quite old enough to understand "elves" and "magic" but he thought it was fun anyway. Hopefully he won't mess with it too much. If you have younger kids, you can always move the door up higher above a table or counter so it's out of reach of little hands.
I had so much fun putting this little elf door together! I hope this will be a fun tradition we can enjoy for years to come.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?