Apartment Door Modding

I came up with the original concept for this project more than one year ago, but it was not until now that I got around to realizing it!

My initial idea was to either print and attach a photoshop job to the door, making it appear transparent, or to paint it to get the same effect but with a more imaginary motif. For this I would mount a board on the door, to avoid making it a permanent modification, instead of using the door surface directly.

While looking through my stuff I found a few door peep holes which I had planned to use to make a fisheye adapter for my pocket camera, but I never came around to doing that. It then hit me that I could mount a second peep hole on my door to enable stereo vision peeping! This was a concept that was easy to accept due to my first peep hole being located near the edge of the door, so adding another one closer to the center would hardly make it look worse!

Very close to the realization of this plan I decided to skip the board because the borders on the door were not perfectly angular, and I was uncertain how well I could get the board to fit. Instead I decided to make an ever changing door, in inspiration from my neighbor who has done it to a door in her kitchen, by painting the door with chalkboard paint and make it a chalkboard, on both sides!

The main ingredients for this project were…

Stereo Vision Peeping

Chalkboard Door

  • Sander incl. sandpaper
  • Paint scraper
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Masking tape

Below is a time-lapse video which shows just about the entire process in a very condensed format.

I have made a short summary as the video can be a bit confusing to follow. It is a fairly straight forward project with pretty basic steps, as you might have noticed, just a bunch of work.

  1. Remove old peep hole, and mirror (!)
  2. Measure and drill the new hole
  3. Sand the surfaces
  4. Fix dents with putty
  5. Sand again
  6. Tape borders
  7. Apply chalkboard paint
  8. Mount new peep holes
  9. Draw!

The whole sanding procedure took me ages, and was what caused the project to take way more time than I had expected. The cause was that I had a layer of soft matte paint on top of old and very hard glossy paint, and the matte paint had a tendency to peel off at certain spots, but not everywhere! I figured that if I left it as it were the chalkboard paint might peel off with it when drawn on, so I sanded and scraped until my fingers hurt.

So far the paint is intact, but I was nervous to try it out! Actually, I was not the first one to draw on either side of my door, people managed to sneak in messages and drawings before me!

All in all I greatly enjoy my new door functionality! In the beginning it was quite spooky to have a black hole as a front door, but as soon as I drew something on it the illusion of a hole broke and it became a solid door again, luckily!

A fun part with having a door that can be drawn on without ruining it is that people can leave messages, if they have chalk. Though, as I now have drawn all over the outside I guess nothing will end up there until I clean it again.

The stereo vision is also interesting, though the view is seldom exciting, as it is often just a pitch black hallway. So far I have almost solely used it when I know people are coming up the stairs to visit me :)

About Andreas Aronsson

Professional app- & web-developer. Spare time multimedia experimenter, VR-enthusiast, motorcyclist. In Sweden.
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4 Responses to Apartment Door Modding

  1. Miguel says:

    Have you seen this? Your door reminds me of it.


    Also, I once rode on a gyro, but I had coins in my pocket and it went flying out all over. :)

  2. Hah! Yes, I saw muto a while back :) Awesome project indeed. I still wonder… did they get permission to paint on public walls? Guess I could read up on it. Now I got all inspired to animate my door… !! Hmh!

    And yeah, I got warned that I should empty my pockets _before_ riding the gyro, so nothing was lost :P

  3. Sharkie says:

    Totally awesome and creative job you did on your apartment door. I just hope your landlord thinks the same! By the way thank you so much for the Amiga cursors. I had the worst Amiga envy as a kid. Through the ingenious creation of WinUAE I got to play all those games I used to live vicariously reading about in Amiga’s magazine.

    Rock On,


  4. Thanks :)

    Wow, I totally forgot to reply here :P December was a stress nightmare, just now getting back on my feet! Actually at the time I did this our landlord had quit! And currently we still have no new landlord. How can this be? I live in one of two apartments in a Church building, so the landlord was a voluntary worker, and apparently he had had enough of it.

    Glad you liked the cursors :D I use them on all my machines! I cannot grasp the logic of using a white cursor in applications that are mostly white to start with ;) And I am really fond of keeping the arrow always, like when you get the text beam!

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