Ronan is obsessed with doors and latches. At the pool we joined this summer there is a kid sized door that separates the baby pool from the rest of the grounds. He loves to open and close that door even more than he likes to swim. Watching him play gave me the idea to create a super fun mini dutch door complete with latches, locks, and a mailbox. And since I made the strong choice of marrying an very handy guy, my wacky idea became a real life toy.
The door itself is made of plywood and it is hung on a simple two-by-four frame. To make it extra sturdy the frame is attached to a small plywood base. It is light enough for an adult to move around but strong enough to take some serious toddler (and kindergartener) abuse. Most of the latches and locks are just for fun, but this is a fully functioning dutch door that can be latched and swung together or opened separately.
Jason was able to salvage all of the wood from construction scrap, hooray for free and green! The latches, hinges, and knobs came from Home Depot and I found the mailbox on Amazon (affiliate link). I painted the finished door with leftover paint, the gray is our exterior house color and the aqua is from the boys room. All told this was a very affordable little project.
Of course this would be an adorable playhouse entry, but for now I love using it as a free standing door. Placed in front of the entry to the hall or kitchen, this little door provides so much fun and keeps him playing right where I can keep a watchful eye. Speaking of watchful eye, I should note, if you make a door of your own, it is quite safe but you will still need to keep an eye out for pinched fingers and slammed doors. Larger kids might be able to topple it if they are really determined. As with most things, do not allow children to play with a toy like this unattended.
I have lots of plans for more little details: curtains, flower pots, welcome mat! And I will be sure to share those here, but first I'd love to know, would you like a full tutorial? If you'd like to make your own door, but feel like you need detailed instructions I'm pretty sure I could twist Jason's arm if we get enough interest. Please leave a comment if you'd like all the DIY details.