For the teachers’ lounge renovation, I needed to create a message center near the telephone table. The teachers and staff needed someplace where they could jot down a note or number.
The telephone corner before looked like this:
Try to find a pen and paper in that mess!
I thought about a chalkboard wall or dry erase treatment on the wall, but I wasn’t allowed to do that. So, I needed to create a large surface on which I could add paper or chalkboard paint for messages. I thought about just using plywood, but then I thought that, with a “vintage modern” style for the room, an old door would be perfect for the job!
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Here’s how to turn an old door into a memo board:
1. Find an old door that fits the space.
Try to find a solid wood door – they are more durable, usually nicer-looking, and you can screw the knobs into them to securely hold the paper. I found this door at the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
I chose this door because (a) it was the perfect size for the wall space I had for the memo board; and (b) this key hole:
It gave the door such character!
The raised panels were the perfect size for the width of a roll of paper, too. The door’s paint wasn’t in the best shape, but that was ok because I knew I was going to sand it down and paint it.
2. Clean the door, then sand it down, then clean it again.
I just use a gentle spray cleaner or dish soap and water to clean the door, unless it’s super dirty. (If it’s really bad, use something stronger, like Krud Kutter.) Once clean, give it a good sanding with 220-grit sandpaper.
After sanding it, wipe it down with a damp rag or a tack cloth (a gauzy piece of fabric with adhesive on it; it removes fine particles well). You want a nice, smooth, clean surface for the paint to adhere.
3. Time to paint the door!
I painted the door with semi-gloss latex paint. I chose “Yellow” by Benjamin Moore, because it worked with our teal, red, and yellow color scheme and we needed a pop of yellow in the room. Plus, yellow is such a happy color! It took two coats.
If you are worried about the paint adhering – for example, you aren’t sure if there’s oil paint on the door already or some other finish – apply a coat of primer before painting the door. As a bonus, using the primer may mean you only need one coat of latex paint!
4. Attach hooks.
While the paint was drying, I made the hooks to hang the paper roll out of old door knobs. I found these vintage knobs when I was in Salt Lake City at the SNAP Conference, and I toted them all the way back to Atlanta! They would be perfect for this vintage door.
To turn the knobs into hooks that could be screwed into the door, first, remove the post in the knob (where the screw now is in the above picture). For vintage knobs, those posts (that would have connected the two knobs to the door) was held in by a little screw; just remove that screw and take out the post.
Then I used an epoxy to add the screw. This is the epoxy mix I used:
Follow the instructions on the epoxy, and fill the channel of the knob with the epoxy. Then set the screw in it. Make sure that the screw is straight – the epoxy should set quickly, so just hold it for about 30 seconds to keep it straight. Follow the instructions for the cure period for the epoxy; I let mine cure for 24 hours, just to make sure it was set.
Once ready, screw the knobs into the door near the top, making sure to screw them in level with each other.
Tie jute rope around one knob, then put the rope through the tube of the roll of paper, then tie it securely to the other knob.
I used jute here because it would be easy to untie and retie when changing out the roll of paper.
Oh, and I decided to use paper here, rather than chalkboard paint, because then the teachers and staff could write a note and then just tear it off to take it with them. They couldn’t do that with a chalkboard.
I found this roll of craft paper in the dollar bins at Target! It was the perfect size and a budget-friendly choice!
The problem with the roll of paper is that the end tended to curl up. So, I added something to hold the paper flat to the door/memo board. I found this yard stick in the school’s auditorium and asked if I could use it.
Not only was it the perfect color, given our teal/red/yellow color scheme, but it advertises for “Bus Bodies”! Perfect for a school’s teachers’ lounge!
If you don’t have a vintage yardstick hanging around, you can find them at estate or yard sales or salvage stores, or you can take a new yardstick and make it look vintage with some paint or stain and some distressing.
Predrill the holes in the yardstick and door to avoid splitting the yardstick and slowly and carefully screw it into the door.
I added a hook to hold a container for pens and pencils.
5. Attach it to the wall to prevent tipping.
Last, but definitely not least, I used L brackets to attach the door to the wall, so that it wouldn’t tip over on anyone.
And that’s it. That’s how to turn an old door into a memo board! This was such a fun project – easy and inexpensive (door + paint + knobs + paper = about $50 total!)!