...because home doesn't happen overnight.

We were in dire need of a place to hang school papers/pending bills/kids’ artwork, jot down grocery items and daily reminders. I decided the back of our apartment front door would work well.  It’s in a convenient location where we’ll see important items on the way out in the mornings.  It’s metal, so papers and artwork can be hung with magnets.  It doesn’t take up any precious wall space in our small apartment.  Most importantly, it can be painted and easily primed back over when it comes time to move in a few short months.

Last week, our front door became our message center for less than $20.  All it took was a can of chalkboard paint, a few handmade magnets and a store bought magnetic notepad basket.

First, I taped off the door into 3 sections.

My goal was to make the flat facade look like it had more character {since metal apartment doors lack that sort of thing}…without actually adding molding or trim.

Everett pretend painted with a dry roller before I opened the can of black chalkboard paint.

Then I went to work with my foam roller.  It took 2 full coats of chalkboard paint…

…and another touch up coat in select spots.

I skipped priming the door prior to painting because the door was painted out in matte paint to begin with.  If the door had been slick or shiny, I would have added primer first to give the paint something to stick to.

As for the peep hole, I stuck a wad of rolled up toilet paper into the hole before painting then removed it with tweezers once the door was dry.

I hot glued a few magnets that I bought at JoAnn’s {for less than $4} to the back of two wooden toy blocks.  Don’t tell Layne and Everett I sacrificed two of their blocks for the message door!

One magnet holds Layne’s school calendar/papers and the other magnet holds Everett’s preschool calendar/papers.

I bought this magnetic wire basket at Target for less than $4 too.  It came with a little notepad and pen.  I tossed a few sticks of chalk into the basket as well.

It didn’t take Everett long to add his own artwork to the door.  Layne was at school or I assume he would have gotten in on the chalk action too.

Four days later, our message door is coming in pretty handy.  We’ve added a few grocery items, more kid artwork and a pending bill to the little metal basket.

Feel free to laugh at Everett’s very first preschool craft.  I did.  “I like balls.”  I laughed until I cried. Then laughed some more. Then couldn’t breathe properly.  I’m that mature.  “I like sports” just wouldn’t have had the same effect.

Sorry, E, that one’s making it to your high school graduation party.

It feels great to have an outta-the-way space dedicated to important notes, daily reminders and funny kid crafts.  It feels even better to know that when we move out in a short while, all I have to do is remove the magnets, wipe the door down and prime. Easy.

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

27 Comments

05.September.2011

I think the manner in which you taped the door is clever! It does give it character. Way to go in utilizing the space that you have. Oh, and I think Everett’s artwork is fab. I mean…who doesn’t like balls lol.

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05.September.2011

That is such a great idea! And I really love the magnetic basket. Was it in the dollar{ish} section at Target?

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replied on September 6th, 2011

Natalie – The magnetic wire basket was in the organization/office supply section…with all the Real SImple stuff.

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05.September.2011

I’d ask the apt. people if you even need to paint over it before leaving as it is an improvement to the boring plain door, and subsequent renter’s may enjoy a useful chalkboard door as well. If they say please paint then paint it, if not, you’ve saved even more time! I once painted an apartment living room and when I went to ask for the correct paint color to paint it back to before we moved out the management asked that I just leave it as it was. They said it was a nice neutral color that made the apartment look better! Saved me time, effort, and a little paint. :)

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05.September.2011

HAHA! I like balls… that totally literally made me laugh out loud ;) Too stinkin funny! I am glad to hear you are settling into your appt living for a bit and trying to make it nice and homey. Hopefully you and your family had a nice 3 day weekend!

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I love that you painted out the three panels instead of covering the whole door. Nice touch!

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05.September.2011

That is hilarious! I was dying laughing! I love your message door! :)

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05.September.2011

That is so funny! Reminds me of a card my sister made for my mom that read, “Mom, you are the angle of the sun.” We laugh about it all the time! I can’t wait to start receiving this priceless artwork from my kids! Love the door as well!

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05.September.2011

Spanish on Fridays? Yay! :-)

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replied on September 6th, 2011

Mrs. Dickson – I thought you’d like that!

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05.September.2011

Love the message center! Clever way to utilize space that wouldn’t serve any other purpose! Thanks for sharing:)

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06.September.2011

Great idea!! We love our chalkboard paint around here too!! {just wish it had some magnetic abilities} Hope your family had a wonderful weekend!!!

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06.September.2011

Too funny. Placement is everything. It wouldn’t be nearly as funny if the teacher helper wrote “balls” on the dudes arm or something. Lol

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06.September.2011

Ohhhh my goodness, it’s 4am here and I’m on my phone while nursing a baby and now my hubby’s up too cause I was laughing so darn hard!!! ‘I like balls’!!!! That’s great! And the message center is awesome! I like it!

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06.September.2011

I love chalkboard paint it is wonderful and so fun. I also discovered chalkboard contact paper. Same idea but you do not have to deal with a paint brush. I found some on Amazon.

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Works stinks today… but Everett’s “I like balls” just about made me fall out of my chair laughing! It was just what I needed!

My college apartment door was a (magnetic) metal fire door that just so happened to be painted with a high gloss white paint. The paint was glossy enough that I could use dry erase markers on it. I don’t think I would have gotten through college without having that to keep everything straight! I also ended up with some great messages from friends after a night of college-y fun.

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06.September.2011

that is such a good idea! we don’t have a solid door like that otherwise I would be doing this..I’m still brainstorming other ideas to put a chalkboard/message board. That will picture will be hilarious for his graduation day…it is too funny!

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I laughed too at the “I like balls”! So funny!

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06.September.2011

I like balls! That is perfect! I must have some of those wire baskets.

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06.September.2011

The placement of “balls” is perfect. His preschool teacher had to be having a little chuckle over that one.

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06.September.2011

Found your blog recently and enjoy checking in to see your latest projects. Love your little guy’s art project – so hilarious! I have a little stash of my kids’ artwork that I take out once in a while to get a good laugh. They just started up school again today so hoping they provide me with some new material soon :) Love the message door!

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07.September.2011

I have to share. When my daughter was in 1st grade they were doing poetry and she came home with this poem about her teacher. One of the lines was “Mrs Hallstrom likes the penus”. (She meant peanuts – She was a Charlie Brown fan). I LOVE KIDS! lol.

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replied on September 7th, 2011

Shana – Seriously?! That’s hilarious!! I definitely get a good chuckle every day – thanks to my kids.

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07.September.2011

Awesome idea! I really love it. I’m itching to use some chalkboard paint now :) How many magnets did you get at Jo-Ann for around $4? I’ve been looking for some of those, but I need a bunch – like 30+

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replied on September 7th, 2011

Melanie – I think the magnets were a pack of 8-10. And they’re really good ones…very strong.

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09.September.2011

I absolutely love your door!

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19.September.2011

Oh my gosh…I just laughed til I cried before I even read your comments about “I like balls”. Hilarious!
(New fan here…love your site!)

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