Doorbell drama. Really not a bad kind of drama to have, unless, you know, someone touches the wires that you left dangling beside the doorknob for 2 months and sues you. This kind of turned into a long-winded post about a tiny, tiny part of my house, so here’s the executive summary:
I DIY’ed two doorbell encasements. One was a failure, the other was the shizz. Continue on if you’re interested in lots of pictures, driftwood, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Anyways, fortunately for my insurance policy, no one was zapped by the dangling doorbell, but it has taunted me daily since the entryway storm door was replaced. How did I leave this doorbell in such lousy condition for months?
Not sure. Well, that’s a lie. I was just suffering from a case of the indecisives + anti-conformities, both of which I’m sure are not medically traceable conditions, but effect me often.
I had disconnected the doorbell encasement when I had needed to paint the trim of the front door before re-installing the all-glass storm door. The existing discolored rectangular doorbell was just due for an update, and I had full intent to update within a day or two. Read: Not within a month or two. I did shop around, the trouble was, I didn’t like most of them. Or, any of them. They were a little blah, lookin’ cheap, way too expensive, or in the shape of a lizard. Overall, most were just too “expected” or just not me.
Instead of cave and buy something that didn’t ring my bell (little pun there, did you catch it? Wink.), I paid $3.50 for a simple round button that would have to be inset into the door trim or a separately sold doorbell encasement (like, the lizard, or its friends the seahorse or cow).
I never did find a separately sold encasement that I was excited about, despite online, in-store, and Pinterest searches for everything related to “bell,” “doorbell,” “entryway,” and “front door”. So after those few months of searching, I got crafty. My first doorbell encasement effort involved upcycling regular old paint stirrers from Home Depot, cutting them into 45-degree and 90-degree angles, and piecing the puzzle together into a pattern resembling a herringbone or, actually and accidentally, a Frank Lloyd Wright-esque pattern. You know how much I like both the herringbone and the FLW.
By wood-gluing a few leftover pieces of paint stirrer to the back of the concept, I was able to both thicken the future doorbell plate and keep all the pieces reinforced in place. Voila! It was sanded down, smooth, lightweight, and really pretty cool.
I even got as far as to cut the necessary 5/8″ hole into it for the doorbell to sit within. I was about to paint/stain/poly it in preparation for install, and then realized I had a problem – the two layers of paint stirrer weren’t thick enough to let the doorbell sit flush against the wall. Whomp, whomp. See, this is where I started to see the project as a failure, as happy as I was with the concept overall.
I did consider two options:
- Drill into the trim with a 5/8″ bit so that the wired end of the doorbell backs inside the trim just a little. (But would I accidentally drill through the existing wiring? That’s what I was afraid of.)
- Make the FLW/herringbone faceplate thicker. (That decidely would take away from the flat, flush look I had been considering with a plate of that size).
Shame on me for not being totally aware of the thickness of the button before I got started on this first effort. In any case, it was totally freebie thanks to the free paint stirrers and my imagination.
Effort #2, and the winning solution came to mind when I was thinking up other wood encasements that might be DIYable. I considered drilling a hole into a piece of premium pine scrap that I had on hand, but then I realized I had lots of extra pieces of driftwood bits from the driftwood magnet project I had so ambitiously worked on, and those might work for a more rugged and authentic concept. I drilled a piece quickly with the 5/8″ bit to see how it’d look:
The pieces of wood were thick enough to conceal the doorbell without having to make extra holes into the trim, and I really liked the idea of a round encasement to complement the round bell button. The natural driftwood material was an added bonus, and as much as I say I don’t have a beach themed house, this might push me a little closer. Push. As in push a doorbell. Another pun. Sorry, I don’t know what’s gotten into me.
And to affix the whole encasement to the wall, I threaded the leftover wires into the trim and used a few dabs of wood glue; it wasn’t a heavy unit, and I didn’t want to disrupt the cleanliness of it with wood screws, although in terms of cleanliness, I do have some touchup work to do regarding the old doorbell holes you see in the picture. The glue seems to be doing just fine. I should also note that the entryway is very sheltered from the various eaves and doesn’t take a beating from the weather.
Crafty doorbell #2 was an overall success, and something I’m really happy with. Now that it’s done and I’m happy, I’ll be doing a matching one on the side entryway, which is also due for a doorbell update. Best of all, the only expense was $3.50 for the bell itself; how’s that for savings?