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When a Door Closes

People always say that when a door closes, somewhere a window will open, right?

I'm not sure if this is exactly what they had in mind, but that's water under the bridge in my opinion. This is a little story about how I turned four Ikea wardrobe doors into a giant window-like art display--all for around $50!

It all started when I stumbled across this Craigslist posting for two pairs of bright-yellow wardrobe doors for $20 each.  Perhaps I'm a strange gal, but when I saw them I didn't see doors...I saw picture frames...and I couldn't resist taking them home.

I've had these lovelies for a few months now, but many things were put on hold while I worked on my mom's sewing room makeover.  So, needless to say...I was VERY happy when I finally pulled them out of the boxes last weekend to tackle this project!

From the day I brought these doors home, I knew that I wanted to turn them into a large gallery display of framed photos; however, the 12"x10" window panes were not ideal for artwork.  

At first, I thought about displaying full images so that only the yellow frame would separate them...but I thought that would be too much.

Next, I thought about creating one large image that was divided evenly between the panes...but large-scale printing is really expensive, and I really wasn't feeling inspired to paint anything.

Then, during a recent trip to a thrift store called Qcumberz, I happened upon a series of Horizon books that was filled with great prints of various pieces of artwork.  Each book was only $3, and since I've got several art-related projects in mind I bought a few books and tore out the pages with the prints I was interested in.

If you didn't notice, each door panel has 6 glass panes...and since I had decided that a full-covered look would be too much, that left me with no choice but to make my own mats.  Yep...24 of them, to be exact!

To do this, I actually broke the rule that says, "measure twice, cut once" and changed it to my own version that goes more like this:

Measure once, cut 72 times!

First, I cut a piece of paper to the overall size I would need.  But since the dimensions were larger than average paper, I used an artist's sketch pad.  You can find them in various sizes in the art section of the craft store, but the pad I used was 12"x15" in size.

Once the overall size was cut, I folded the paper in half vertically...

...then, I traced the size that I wanted the artwork to be...

...then, cut the tracing slightly smaller than the template I drew so that the artwork itself would be a bit larger...

Once I got to that point, I had a template for the size of the mat's window that I folded in half and eye-balled it into position at the center of the other page I had folded in half.

After marking where the window would be, I used my paper-cutter to trim out the window itself...

...and this gave me a template I could use to measure each of the other 72 sheets that I cut for the mats!  Thank goodness I thought of this before took out my ruler to measure each one, ha!

Using the sketch-paper (which was pretty thin), I cut 24 pieces that did not have a window cut-out, and 24 pieces that did.  I used the pieces without a window cut-out as the back for each piece of artwork & mat.  The pieces with the cut-out were used as a liner between the actual mat and the art itself--that way the edges of the clipped art prints would not show through the mat itself.

For the actual mat, I used watercolor paper...which is a bit thicker, and also has a nice looking texture to it (which makes it look more like a store-bought mat).  It was difficult to photograph, but here is a close-up of the watercolor paper texture...

You probably guessed that the remaining 24 pieces I cut were for the mats themselves...

The thicker paper left the cut edges a bit rough, but a quick file with an emery board (or as we ladies like to call it...the nail-file), the edges were smoothed up and looking nice!

72 pieces for 24 window panes!  Here's how it all stacked up...

Once the artwork was added, I simply taped each mat into place.  Not the most creative solution, I know...but it seemed to work alright!

Since I spent my entire weekend creating all of the artwork, I thought it was only fair that Mark do the heavy lifting to hang the pieces on the wall.

And since he had today off, look at the surprise I came home to when I got off of work...

Once again, I'm apologetic that I didn't even take the time to straighten up before taking photos that went up on the blog!  (But hey, I warned you about Hurricane Kelli, remember?)  I've just had this project on my mind for so long, that I couldn't wait to share it with you now that it's finally up on the wall!  I promise to clean up and take some nicer looking photos in the near future (which in Kelli-lingo means around December, ha!)

So here's what I'm thinking...

I'm toying with the idea of flanking a wall sconce on each side of the piece to anchor it a bit more visually.  Or, I've also tossed around the idea of installing one of those picture ledges from Ikea down at the bottom so that I can place a few simple accessory items below it.  What do you think?

It's definitely the main attraction of the room right now, but I know it will look more balanced once I get all of the other accessories into place.  Just imagine a printed curtain panel with touches of yellow, some recovered pillows, and a painted coffee table...all against my royal-blue chevron rug!  I'm excited just thinking about it!

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Reader Comments (4)

Wow - just beautiful! What a great project, and a lot of work, even though you didn't paint. How did you get rid of the holes? You sure have a lot of patience, cutting out 72 times! My vote is for wall sconces or something vertical on either side of the "doors" to counterbalance their strong horizontal lines. If you do sconces, it may be difficult to find something in a large enough scale to balance? Not sure, but I think vertical is the way to go.

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Thanks Jan!

I agree about the sconces. It would probably be difficult to find a pair that is the right height to make it look right. I'll probably wait until I at least get the curtains up before I decide, that way I'll have have a better feel for what scale I'll need.

The holes are actually on the back side, up against the wall. We actually used the holes to hang the doors up on the wall.

Thanks for checking in!

Xo, Kelli

October 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

This turned out so well! I would love to have you come share some of your great ideas at the link party on ‘Or so she says…' There’s one going on right now (and every Saturday – Tuesday). We’ve also got a fun “Favorite Things” giveaway going on right now. Hope to see you there! www.oneshetwoshe.com

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMariel

I'm so glad to see the doors I sold you now have a place other than the back of my closet!! Great work!!

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

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