Intro: Hobbit / Gnome Hole Door
After cutting down two dead trees in my front yard, I left some stump above ground for putting flower pots on. It was looking plain and needed something more, and my wife hit upon the idea of a Hobbit or Gnome door on one of them.
Sounded like a good idea but had no idea where to start, so after looking at pictures online of other's doors, I understood the key elements - weathered wood door panels, iron hinges, rough woody door frame, and maybe a window to peek through.
The following is how I came about putting mine together:
Step 1: Supplies and Prep
I was looking for gnome scale items in a human sized home improvement store. I'm sure there are specialty places that have doll house parts and pieces, but for my first attempt I was going to wing it on the cheap.
I found a thin 5' piece of composite deck material in the cut-off bin for $3, then went to hardware and found the smallest gate-type hinges I could. I figured some hammertone paint would give them an appropriate finish. Next up was something that looked old-timey for hinge bolts - some antique brass thumbtacks fill the bill just fine.
I had plenty of twigs and wood scraps from a recently trimmed tree, and picked up a bottle of Gorilla Glue to put it all together.
First thing I did was soak the twigs so they would be more pliable to bending and forming around the "door" to create the door jamb. Gorilla Glue uses moisture to activate and create a bond, so soaking serves that purpose as well.
Next was to paint the hinges so they could be drying while I started gluing the on the door. I think the dark hammertone looks like old iron and it fits the look of the project.
Step 2: Assembly of Door Jamb
I cut some of the twigs the approximate length of the door height, and wet one edge of the door before running a thin bead of glue. Gorilla Glue expands a bit so use sparingly or it will balloon out and need to be cleaned up. I laid the twig on it and clamped each end, then added a little bend and clamped the middle.
Once the hinges were dry, I placed them and glued them in place on the opposite side (the tacks are mostly decorative - I don't trust them to hold in the weather over the long term). The first piece was dry by now so I glued the top twig on at this time as well.
As things were drying I took a very thin twig and wrapped it into a circle and glued the ends. It will become a window/peephole in the door in the door. I also glued two more at 90 degrees to make a crossbar for the window.
After the hinges set up, I glued the next twig on top of them.
Step 3: Final Details
At this stage I just kind of set it by the tree and see what it needs to look more natural. I added some loose fibrous bark across the top and used a little twig cut-off for a door handle.
I figured the gnomes would want a window to peek through so I took the window frame I made, added a little black paint, then glued the frame over the black circle I painted.
To add it to the tree trunk, I traced the outline onto the stump and took a grinder to hollow out a spot for it to recess into so it looks like it belongs there.
Step 4: Prepping the Tree and Hanging the Door
I traced out the shape of the door in the location to be on the trunk, and got out the grinder. The blades and pads I had just weren't up to the task, so hammer and chisel were broken out instead. More arduous but more controllable too. Trial fit, chisel - repeat. Once it got pretty recessed and "natural" looking I got out more glue and slathered it good before placing it for the final time.
I took the wood chips and piled them on either side to create a little path. These are the initial tenants, and as more join the neighborhood I'm sure they will bring little accoutrements with them to spruce things up even more.
As a non-woodworker I'm pleased with this first ever effort to make a gnome scale anything. As always, comments and critiques are always welcome and appreciated.