Introduction: Nook of Justice

I'll start by saying that this Instructable took a huge left turn early on.  I was originally going to show you how to seal and cover that unused basement window your wife has been nagging you about.  But this morning I made a grizzly discovery that shifted my focus.

As I was leaving the house to go toward the garage I immediately stepped in something squishy on the back steps.  When I looked down I saw garbage strewn about the patio and two shredded plastic bags.  My stomach sank.  This couldn't be happening.  As I continued to survey the area I discovered it...the calling card.  The Claw had struck my back yard.  As you know, The Claw is an evil...nay, evil is not a strong enough word...a WICKED mutant racoon creature that pillages trash and recycling bins in search of food to fuel his empire.  I could not believe that he was in our neighborhood, especially after my recent introduction of three Superhero Gnomes:

But alas, The Claw is incredibly powerful and my miniature heros are no match.  I decided I needed to summon more heroes & form a Legion of Extraordinary Gnomes (L.E.G.S.). I needed to build the L.E.G.S. headquarters in my own backyard.

This Instructable will give you the skills to build your own superhero gnome hideout.  In my case, I am building The Nook of Justice in an unused basement window.  However, you can use these basic steps to build a secret gnome bunker any way you like: in a tree stump, a pile of rocks, or near a pond.

Step 1: Supplies

The Nook of Justice is simply a wood façade and door with a bunch of little details to make it cool.  To create the Nook of Justice you will need:
  • Lumber: you can use fence pickets that are pressure treated.  They are 6" long, 5.5 inches wide and about half inch thick. And they're cheap about $1 each.
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Square
  • Nails (whatever you have laying around)
  • Deck screws (to mount the finished nook)
  • Some assorted knobs and little junk.  I keep miscellaneous bits and pieces that I have left over from other projects in small boxes.  You never know when you'll need this stuff.  Search your junk drawer to see what you have available. Otherwise, take a knob off your bathroom vanity.
  • You might need Sculpey if you decide to get fancy.
    • If you're a fancy pants you'll probably need...
      • construction adhesive.
      • acrylic paints and brushes
      • clear enamel spray paint

Step 2: Measurements

You'll need to figure out how big the entrance to the nook needs to be.  You don't want the gnomes having to duck every time they go in and out of the headquarters.  So measure your gnome.  This will give you an idea of how tall and wide the door needs to be. [my gnomes are 13 inches high so I made the door about 14 inches tall and 9 inches wide]

You also need to measure the area that the nook is going to be installed in.  That way you'll know how big to make the façade.  [the window that I am covering is 18.5 inches tall and 44 inches wide.]

Step 3: Cutting the Facade

First thing you need to is create the façade.  Cut as many boards as you need to get the correct height.  If you need a partial board to meet the height requirement then you might be able to use the scrap ends of the other boards. 

Once you have all of the boards cut, lay them out on a flat surface by butting the long edges against each other.  Using some scraps of leftover wood, lay out some braces to keep all of the boards together.  Be sure to leave the door area alone; don't put any support braces there.  Nail the braces in place.

Step 4: Door and Assembly

Measure and draw the door on the back of the façade. Cut it out using a jigsaw. Gnome doors can be rounded or squared's up to you. Door shaped piece that you cut out are scrap. But if you are making a rounded door then you should keep the pieces so you can use them for a pattern for the real door. Leave the façade face down.

The door boards will be vertical, not horizontal. So you need to transfer the door shape to another board (you might have some left over) in the vertical orientation. Once the door is cut out, put it in place on the façade (at this point the façade should still be laying face down.

Brace the door in place using some additional scarp wood as braces. Once everything is braced well, none of the boards should move or shift when you flip the façade over (so that it is face up).

Step 5: Details

The key to a great super gnome headquarters is the details.  Gather all of the knobs and do-dads that you collected and start attaching them to the door and facade.  In the specific case of the Nook of Justice, there are two eternal beacon torches that summon the L.E.G.S.  For the flames, make two cone shapes out of Sculpey and give each one a twist.  Then insert the torch into the Sculpey flame.  Bake the entire torch assembly in a pre-heated 275 F oven for about 20-25 min.

Once the Sculpey is cooled, paint the flames with a swirl of gold, yellow, and red acrylic paint.  Give it a few coats of clear spray paint once the paint is dry. Using a dab of construction adhesive, mount the flames on the torches.

Drill pilot holes for the knobs and toches and mount them in place using the bolts [um, you do have the bolts for the knobs right?]

For the door hinges, hammer out two sheets of copper and take them in place using some small brads.

Step 6: Installation

Once the facade is assembled, use decks screws to mount it in place.

Step 7: Summoning the Legion

The two torches will act as a beacon to summon all of the gnome superheroes in the galaxy.  It might take a few weeks for them all to arrive and get organized but you should notice some new heroes right away.  If you end up with a good team you should not have any more problems in your yard.

There is one thing that I did not mention in the previous steps.  The super gnome headquarters will need to have modern plumbing.  Whenever you get a bunch of gnomes in one place it can start to really get gross.  So make sure there is a tiny toilet and sinks in the headquarters.  Otherwise it's going to stink, especially in summer.