Doorway Castle

{Please only use the design for the Doorway Castle for personal, not commercial, use.}

I have a confession:  I think Disney might have ruined my life.  I even wrote a whole paper on it in college.

Did you ever notice how all the princess movies (and I’m talking the old school princess movies, not those new fangled ones where the girl gets a bad ass weapon, like a bow and arrow) involve a princess who needs saving, most often from a crotchety old woman who is bitter with the world because her bottom half is an octopus, or she’s lost her beauty, or the two children she managed to give birth to are giant bumbling idiots?

The princess usually has a special relationship with daddy (who I’m sure is great and all, but did he get up in the middle of the night with her??), and is rescued by a prince who everytime he smiles you are blinded by the glare coming off his perfect teeth.  Royalty must have crazy good dental insurance.

So am I really to blame for thinking that a prince would come and rescue me too?  (Though I’m not exactly sure what I really needed rescuing from . . . . )

And sure, Nathan’s great.  But he seems to have misplaced my tiara, this sure as hell ain’t no castle, and he did not bring with him an awesome dental plan.

Sigh.

All of this is a prelude to tell you about the dilemma I feel whenever buying gifts for my sweet three year old niece, Mira.  When it comes to princesses, the girl goes CRA-CRA.  Which is reeeeeeeaaaalllly ironic, because her mom could not be further from a princess.  She is sweet, and eloquent, but she has taken care of herself since she was sixteen and put herself through medical school.  And my brother for sure isn’t a prince who rescued her.  {Wow.  The men in my life are really taking a serious hit in this post.  Sorry guys.}  Maybe my sister-in-law is just one of the new fangled princesses, only replace the bow and arrow with stethoscope.

So what do you get a princess loving girl for Christmas when you yourself are a bonafide princess hater?

Their very own castle of course!  The inspiration for Mira’s Doorway Castle came from IKATBAG’s Hallway Tent.  I’m sure you’ve seen it floating around Pinterest, but if you haven’t, go check it out.  It’s gorgeous!
The first thing I did when figuring out how I was going to construct the Doorway Castle, was cut some craft paper from the dollar store to the approximate size of our doorway, so I could figure out what the basic layout and scaling would be.


I measured the areas and then bought felt off the bolt accordingly (brown for the door, blue for the sky, and two different shades of purple for the castle walls, turrets, and bricks).  The accent colors (the sun, the clouds, and the flags) were from pieces of craft felt that I had already.

1. So the first place to start is by sewing a loop into the blue, adding a tension rod (I got mine for about $3 each at Target), and hanging it in the doorway so you get a sense of how much castle colored felt you need to cut.  2. Then fold some felt in half and draw out a turret on it in chalk.  When you cut, you will be cutting two identical ones.  3. Then pin them to the blue.  4.  Cut the rest of the castle out of the felt and pin it on.  5.  Cut out a hole for the door.  6.  Now use the piece that you just cut to draw the outline on the brown for the drawbridge.  You will want to go about an inch and a half bigger than the piece you cut out.

Because you cut the drawbridge bigger than the door hole, you can add velcro around the edge, so it can stay up when it is closed.

Once you have it all pieced together, start sewing.  I actually detached the big purple piece when I sewed on the clouds and the sun, so it would be easier to negotiate with my sewing machine.

I didn’t do this, but I would sew the bottom two inches of the brown on each side to the bottom two inches of the purple.  That way when you fold it up and sew shut the loop for the second tension rod, there will be no gaps.

It’s hard to see in the picture above, but I used embroidery thread and hand sewed in the rays around the sun.  I also used embroidery thread to sew the brown poles for the flags, which I left only sewn on with the brown, so they would sort of be able to flutter.

My niece lives a horrible six hours away from me (horrible because I miss seeing her regularly), so I spent the time in the car piecing together a little Asian princess to sit in the castle, with long flowing hair.  (Her favorite movie is Tangled.)

My brother told me that she loved her castle so much, it was the only thing that got her to sleep in her own bed again after a few nights of sleeping with mom and dad when she had a horrible flu.

Comments

  1. says

    That is so flipping cool Lisa! Oh, the princesses. The first time I watched Cinderella with Jordan, she was two. I was all excited to sit and watch my favorite Disney movie with her. Then I actually watched it and was all….oh. my. The messages definitely stink!

  2. says

    OH so cute! What a lucky niece! Remember if you do make the 6 hour trip and want to meet up with another blogger…I’m not too far! I HATE being away from my nieces {and nephew in SC} in Chicago!!! I need to be better about loving them from afar. Your niece will think of you every time she plays with this or even sees it! That’s the best gift ever.

  3. says

    Ok, seriously, this is SO adorable. What a fun gift. And, honestly, I am so not a fan of princesses either. What is with Beauty and the Beast? Don’t even get me started. Anyways, this is BEAUTIFUL. You should make one for your Etsy shop, it would be a best seller. Love the drawbridge and the princess!

  4. says

    Your niece’s mom isn’t a princess, it sounds like she’s a super hero!

    This project is fantastic. We’re not much into princesses and castles around here, but I think I’m going to create something simliar for my girls. I bet they’d love it. Of course, when I say, “I’m going to…” I really mean that my husband and/or mom will. I can’t sew to save my life.

  5. says

    I’d love to make something like this for my granddaughter but am wondering a few things. Where, when and how do you use? I’m thinking of access for adults? Is this something that goes up for a short playtime? I’d love to make something in her bedroom doorway but not sure how her mother would come and go from there. I’m not sure they’d want to install any kind of hinged hardware or such. Would love any ideas in that regard.

    • says

      My niece just has it up periodically in her doorway for play. I used tension rods to hold it up (one at top and one at bottom) and got those from Target. They don’t need to hook in anything, and then you can move them from doorway to doorway without installing anything. I’m thinking that if I make these for my girls (and I probably will, I will hook them up in their closet doorways from time to time.

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