Saturday, February 28, 2009

Platform 9 3/4 - The Brick Wall

Getting started.

Half way finished.

The finished curtain hanging from a tension rod in the doorway.

My daughter as "Hermoine" posing at the "Platform".

How to:
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 passed through the brick wall into the world of "Hogwarts".

8 comments:

  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!

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  2. i am in so much love right now!!!! =D wow this is so great!!!! My son wants to have a Harry Potter birthday party, we always do a theme since his birthday is close to halloween! would you be able to tell me where you got the class banner flags? i dont see it on the side link =) thank you so much!! so many ideas!! =D

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  3. thanx so much!!! where do u get the brown curtain for the brick wall door entrance for the hp party? plz help me!!!
    dylan xoxoxoxo (:

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  4. i swiped this idea for my adult HP party but i cheated and just blocked out the bricks with tape and used spray paint in red and brown. that worked wonderfully and was pretty quick. only problem is the entranceway is pretty dark and if i turn on the hall light it just backlights it and loses all the detail. i guess i'll have to put a lamp on the floor just in front of the brick wall. i was also lazy and just stapled it to the wall and ceiling since i wanted it flat and not wavy like a curtain. takes a bit of adjusting to get the slit i cut in the middle to not gape but it's working fine.

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  5. Today my son asked for a Harry Potter themed party for his birthday in a few months. Thank you so much for posting these directions! My husband was giving me grief over my talking about those two months in advance but with all of the preparations - I mean, I have a brick wall to create, for cryin' out loud - two months seems too little time to me. Hope your kid had an awesome party!

    Best,
    Christie

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  6. So did you leave the front door open while this was hanging in there? Just trying to noodle through having a tension rod in the doorway

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