Saturday, February 28, 2009

Platform 9 3/4 - The Brick Wall

I knew I had to do something special for the outside of our house and thought it would be cool to have our door actually be platform 9 3/4. Initially I'd planned on buying brick wallpaper but found it didn't come wide enough and it was somewhat expensive. Then I thought I'd make it myself on paper but I started to realize it was going to be a lot of work. I thought if I was going to go to all that trouble I should make it reuseable. Especially since there was a chance I would want it for party for my son, Adrian. I was also excited about the idea that the kids could actually run through it like they do in the movie so I had the idea to paint onto fabric. I headed to my favorite place, the Goodwill on Dearborn, to see if I could find a cheap sheet. I was surprised to discover that people's old icky sheets actually fetched a bit of money but in my search for just the right colored sheet I came across a brown linen curtain. It happened to be the perfect size and color and it cost me $3.99. Actually less than some of the sheets. No cutting or hemming required. I was very thrilled! The Goodwill comes through again!

I picked up a big sponge from the Color Store on Madison and cut it to be the size of the brick that I wanted with my electric knife.

Thankfully I happened to have some brick colored house paint that was perfect.

I started out sponging the bricks starting at the top in the center. I had to focus carefully to make sure my "grout" size remained consistent or my pattern would have shifted and become crooked. I found the technic that worked best was to paint the paint onto the sponge with a brush so it was even and not too thick.

It is supremely important to use a drop cloth underneath as the house paint did seep through and would have destroyed my slate patio. I put newspaper around the sides so when I sponged the brick it would keep it from getting on the dropcloth.

After the house paint dried I went over it with a darker brown in places to give it an aged appearance and break up the uniformity. I used a brush and a paper towel to rub it into the cracks and off the top. I happen to have painted some in my life so I felt somewhat confident I could do it. But this step could have easily ruined the wall and it took a lot of time. If you try this, I warn, be careful during this step.

It took the better part of a day to do this project. Allowing time for making lunch, putting toddlers down to nap etc.

Once it was done I sewed the tab tops to the back of the panel by hand so that the "wall" would go all the way to the top of the door and provide a secure way to hang it as I knew kids would be running through it. I used a 1" tension rod that I purchased from the bath department at Lowes to hang it. It was very secure and did not fall down despite all the activity.

I love to take pictures. One of my signatures is that that I always take individual pictures of each kid at our birthday parties. Part of the reason I did all this work was that I knew it would make a really cool backdrop for my pictures. It also set the tone for the party as the kids entered into "Hogwarts".


  1. This idea is pure genius! I love hove the kids get to pass from the regular world to the "magical" one to start the party with a very simple yet perfectly amazing brick wall curtain. Wow!