Introduction: Witches Cottage Facade
This was a fairly simple build and a relatively inexpensive way to transform your garage into a witches cottage, zombie layer, castle or a theme of your choice.
First let me state I'm by no means a professional and even though things didn't always line up perfectly it looked great in the end and it certainly was a neighborhood hit. Much of the materials used were recycled from a home renovation project and pallets given away for free. The only wood I paid for was the 2x2 furring strips and the 4x8 siding. Everything else I scrounged up on FB marketplace for free.
I also set out to create this façade in a way that it could easily be taken down and stored for the next holiday. The siding, pallets and railing all connect with no permanent bolts, screws or nails so I can simply lift the railings up and out. Tilt the pallets up and detach the z-clips from the siding and then unhook the latches from the siding and header board in the garage. At that point I can move the siding out of the way and store it. It worked remarkably well and probably only took me 15 minutes to disassemble the whole structure. It took far longer to remove the cobwebs and decorations!
Four 4x8' Natural/Rough Sawn Syp Plywood Lap Siding (0.3437-in x 48-in x 96-in)
Ten 2x2" furring strips
#9 x 2-1/2-in Yellow Polymer-Countersinking Interior/Exterior Wood Screws (100-Count)
Signature Series Pre-Tinted Autumn Brown Solid Exterior Stain and Sealer (Gallon)
#6 x 1/4 -in Bugle Coarse Thread Drywall Screws (1-lb)
11-in Steel-Painted Gate Pull & 1-3/50-in Black Gate Kit
Bulldog Hardware 2 in. Gate Hook and Eye, Zinc Plated x 6
Bulldog Hardware 2-1/2 in. Staple Safety Hasp x 4
Step 1: Trim Plywood to Size.
I measured the garage opening and using a circular saw cut off the excess from the top of my plywood siding. Keep in mind that the siding is designed to overlap and you'll want to account for this in your measurements.
Since I also used pallets for a porch(next step) I used the pallets to brace my siding to stand up and with the garage weather stripping on the inside keeping the siding from falling backwards.
Step 2: Layout Porch and Attach (optional)
Lay out your pallets for your porch if you want a porch that is. This step is definitely optional.
Using pallets for my witches front porch allowed me to give the cottage some additional charm and something to mount the plywood to. Because I wanted to be able to remove the panels at will or if my HOA came screaming I decided to use Z-clips to secure the siding to the pallets. This allowed me to prop up my siding using the pallets and envision my window and door layout.
This step is fairly simple since my garage is exactly 4 pallets wide. I laid them out and attached the z-clips to the pallets and the siding.
Step 3: Determine Your Window and Door Size.
I considered painting a door on or even using additional scrap wood to give the appearance of an actual door but then I thought about the flexibility a working door would give me for getting my barrels in and out as well as any other tools or garage items.
Because I was building the cottage as a way to use digital decorations and project into the window I went with a fairly large window. Initially I cut the opening leaving strips for support but ended up cutting them out later.
The door needed to be wide enough for me to get my barrels in and out so I measured those and my actual front door and went with a standard width and circular top. I used chalk to trace the outline which wasn't great because it was difficult to remove and showed up after the staining. Hindsight I should have drawn my outline on the back and then cut but I was trying to visualize from the front. I actually cut all of this out with a circular saw because that's what I had at the time and I wasn't too concerned with it looking too nice. I wanted it to look like an old cottage in the woods style so I was good with rough cuts.
The door itself is made using the cutout from the siding and boards from a pallet I broke up to get the Z shape.
Step 4: Assembling, Bracing and Connections
First I reinforced all the siding with 2x4's and 2x3's I had picked up for free from someone doing a home renovation project. I would recommend using two 2x4's on each 4x8 siding panel; one for each side to stiffen the siding and it made it much easier to line up for assembly. I used 2-1/2 in. Staple Safety Hasp to secure the siding panels together from the back. This allowed me to quickly take them down if needed and kept them in line with each other. I used one for each connection .In one instance I had to cutout some of the wood to prevent scraping of my garage door; Pretty sure I caused this with bad cuts/measurements but I'm a rookie.
Horizontal stiffness I used 2x3's or 2x4's depending on what I had from the scrap wood I gathered. 2x3's would probably have been fine but 2x4's were nice to have. I used 2x2 furring strips on the top to connect the 2 inch gate hook and eye hardware to the header board of my garage. This prevented the panels from possible falling forward and again made it easy to remove when needed.
I also used the gate hook and eyes to connect my sections of railing together so I didn't have to screw, nail or bolt them.
I found the door to be particularly heavy after I reinforced it with the boards for stiffness and it caused that panel to lean forward quite a bit when the door was open. I ended up just adding a 2x4 and made a slot with some 2x2's.
For the door itself I used gate hardware to achieve the look I wanted. You could use any number of hinges.
Step 5: Railings (optional Depending on Porch)
For the railings I wanted them to be quick to remove and so I used the pallet slots and pieces of 2 x 2 furring strips to create slots for the 2 x 2 furring strips to slid into(see closeup). The railings are made entirely of 2x2 furring stips and 2 x 4's for the railing tops. secured them with 2 1/2" countersinking exterior wood screws.
Step 6: Stain It the Color of Your Choice
I used Pre-Tinted Autumn Brown Solid Exterior Stain and Sealer which went on really easy and covered well. You may want to stain everything before assembly to give it the best coverage and protection.
Participated in the
2 years ago
This is great and I love that the door is usable :)
Reply 2 years ago
Thank you! It was a fun project.