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Some time ago I made my sister an itty bitty gnome door because she had texted me, and I quote: “gnome doors are going to be huge this year”... that was 2014. I’m not sure if gnome doors ever did take the crafting world by storm, but darn if it wasn’t one of my favorite things that I have made pretty much of all time. I don’t actually know how long that little door sat at the base of an old cottonwood tree that gives my entire family terrible allergies before it was put away or walked off with by children or animals or whatever… But when I found an old beaten up craft wood plaque that had been purchased but never used, I remembered my sister’s gnome door and had the bright idea to make another. This time my little door was made for an Easter Bunny, another mythical creature, like the gnome, who doesn’t really need a door they won’t use, but it’s such fun to make and see in the garden, so, why the heck not?
The little plaque that I used in the photos you see here is not the little plaque I had started off with, however, and this whole little project wound up being a really kind of aha learning type of moment for me.
A few weeks ago I got asked when I was going to be done collecting broken toys and, at the time, I didn’t really understand what was being asked of me. You see when I was a little girl my Poppa (grandpa) would take me garage saling when my Mimmie (grandma) had to work on the weekends. When we went he would always let me buy one thing. And so many times I made my way home with an ugly Barbie that some other child had marked all over or cut the hair into a mullet or something instead of taking one of the prettier toys home to be my own. Why would I want the ugly Barbie? Because I was worried that if I didn’t take her, nobody else would and she’d be alone. <— Which thinking back on is kind of kind of a sad thing for a little kid to worry about, right?
I remember once when I was small and Poppa and I were sitting on the front porch trying to figure out how to fix up a skateboard we had just gotten from a yard sale down the street that was missing a wheel when Mimmie pulled up the driveway. And she was so irritated with us both when she found out what we were up to. Why would we buy a broken skateboard? She was especially confused when she learned there was a skateboard that was not missing any wheels and worked perfectly well available at the same sale. I remember her storming down the street with that broken skateboard tucked up under her arm, asking if we could trade out the broken skateboard for the good one, which we did. And later that night when Poppa pulled me around on my skateboard with 4 wheels by a white rope wrapped around his waist instead of us sitting on the porch ruminating how to fix one with only 3 wheels, I had such a blast. I also took a serious wipeout down the driveway into the street that meant I was completely over skateboards no matter their number of wheels, but that isn’t the point… for some reason when presented with the choice of taking home a broken skateboard or a working one, I guess I decided I deserved the broken one.
As I have grown, I’ve made that same darn “broken toy” mistake over and again, hence being asked when this is going to be something I try to overcome. I purchase secondhand furniture that requires far more effort to make decent than the piece is worth. Have you ever done that? Put a lot of effort into trying to make something nice from a total dud and despite best efforts end up with something that is still terribly disappointing? And I tend to do the same with far more life-changing situations than bad furniture. But here very recently I have figured out that I don’t have to put up with someone or something because I worry everybody else has enough sense to pass up a broken toy. Some broken toys are just going to wind up being alone and, let’s be honest, it is pretty high-handed to think anyone, myself included, can fix that permanently.
So when I realized that this beaten up wooden plaque was a great starting point for a crafty idea but wasn’t actually the right fit for what I wanted to achieve, I tossed it to the side and spent $3 on a new wooden plaque. And with my new shape of plaque, I made this magical little Easter Bunny door. Because we’re doing our best to change and though a small thing, it’s really kind of a big thing that I recognized the “broken toy” pattern emerging. And wouldn’t you just know that little yellow door I made from a new plaque evolved into a whole Easter Bunny Hideaway that I love, love, LOVE! Because, like it or not, my experiences both good and bad are helping me learn to change in ways I think will only be super beneficial to my future be it crafty ideas or my happiness in general. And in my present state, I’m feeling less stress which makes me feel SO GOOD! and SO HAPPY! and SO INSPIRED! and SO FREE!!!
…and so EXCITED to show you how to make your own Easter Bunny Hideaway! Haha!
For this project you will need:
- 9 x 12″ Oval wooden plaque
- 1/8″ thick 3″ wide balsa craft wood sheets
- cabinet door knob (I got mine at Hobby Lobby)
- craft knife (I love my Cricut TrueControl, like tons)
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut Knife Blade + Housing
- Free SVG Files – bunny cameo for door center – Easter egg-shaped windows
- Cricut StrongGrip Machine Mat
- 1/16″ basswood craft wood sheets for door decorative design and windows (ours are 3″ and 6″ and 8″ wide)
- masking tape
- wood shapes/cutouts from the craft store if not using a cutting machine (about 3″ x 2″ works well)
- wood glue
- craft acrylic paints in Easter-like colors
Okay, so why is an oval plaque so much better than any other shape of plaque? Because it MOST resembles the shape of an EGG which is totally the kind of door the real Easter Bunny has at the front of his real abode, right? :)
Now I’m using my Cricut Maker because I have always known it will cut craft wood, and though I’ve played around with it, this is the first project I’ve actually shared here using the Maker to cut it. But if you don’t have a cutting machine, you don’t need to despair! There are plenty of adorable pre-cut shapes you can purchase to use in place of the shape we are. Just look around your craft store or look online and just skip the next few photos that don’t apply to you…
If you are busting out the basswood andCricut Maker let’s hit it:
This was one of my earliest attempts at using wood on with my Cricut and it’s definitely the WRONG way to do it :)
The first mistake, the wood is longer than the cutting mat but I couldn’t find my longer one and I couldn’t find a saw to trim down the wood to size seeing as how I had JUST moved. *spoiler alert: I STILL haven’t found my saw. ** second spoiler alert: I’m a dummy. You can cut this stuff with your craft knife (sigh).
The second mistake, you don’t need strong as all get-out duct tape, an easy to remove blue masking tape is definitely a much better choice.
Don’t make my mistakes and trim your basswood sheets to properly fit the size of the strong-grip mat you’re working with (and you MUST use a strong grip mat for this to pan out) and use that good old blue masking tape around the edges to make sure it really, really sticks to the mat. Ooh, and you can also tape over the wood and the blade will cut through it easy peasy, so do that if it makes your pieces more secure. Anything that pops up while the machine is cutting because it wasn’t stuck down well enough can totally mess up your cut out shapes.
You’ll also need to load up your Cricut Knife Blade + Housing because it’s the only blade that works with the Cricut Maker to cut craft wood.
We are working with basswood, which is a bit sturdier than balsa wood and makes for gorgeously clean cut outs, but you can also use balsa wood, if you prefer. You can only work with 2 thicknesses, either 1/32″ or 1/16″, so be sure to buy the proper thickness when you hit up the craft store. I used 1/16″ thickness with the plans to make 2 of the same cutouts and glue them together to match up with the 1/8″ balsa wood I already had on hand.
Also, this is going to take some time. For my 1/16″ basswood the cut time for one of my Easter egg windows was around 12 minutes because to cut all the way through the wood, it has to make 14 passes. Luckily Cricut Design Space keeps track of the number of passes and amount of time the job is going to take.
And as a quick tip, it’s definitely a good idea to stay around your machine as it cuts, or at least check in on it very frequently. If a little piece of wood pops up and gets stuck, it can muck up your wood and waste both time and materials in the end. I just caught up on Facebook drama right next to my machine, easy peasy as you please!
Here are my 2 bunny cut outs. Isn’t that amazing? Man, no freaking lie, I LOVE MY CRICUT MAKER. Need the link for the cut file again? Snag your bunny in an egg cameo SVG file here.
To achieve thicker pieces of wood, simply cut the multiple you need for your thickness and glue them together, though I went a bit crazy with the glue and when squeezed to together made a crazy mess I got to clean up.
Again my pieces were 2 – 1/16″ thick shapes to layer to make 1 – 1/8″ thick shape once glued together. Because these pieces are so thin, you’ll need to put a lot of weight on them on a flat surface so that they will dry nice and flat, otherwise, they might bow up and away from work surface as they dry. I made sure neither the top or bottom side of my pieces had glue on them (a real task with the mess I made) and then popped a new box of cat litter on top and left it to dry overnight, but a few hours would work in a pinch.
If you’re not using cutting machine and using a storebought shape, feel free to rejoin us in the tutorial here.
For the slats on my door, I went with balsa wood because it’s super easy to cut with a craft knife. You’ll want a new, sharp blade and a good quality knife. I’m over the moon with my Cricut TrueControl I have it in every possible color and I bought out every single package of replacement blades Michael’s had in stock when they went on sale. Not. Even. Playing. And it was like 8 packages of replacement blades. I do NOT want to run out :)
And if you’re wondering, that left hand there is covered with a cut resistant protective glove made especially to keep me from cutting the tip of my finger off, again. Yes, again. No, I’m not playing I got the tip back, but it was a terrible thing and something I’d much rather prevent in future. Though I’ve not been brave enough to test these and cut them with my hand in it, because that just sounds dumb to me, I have cut across it WITHOUT my hand in it and I’m really confident using them. They’re totally worth the ten bucks or so they cost because that’s half the price of my GP co-pay, haha!
Placing your first 3″ wide balsa wood slat on your work surface, then your plaque pretty side down on your tabletop with that plank running smack down the middle. Trace the curve of the plaque on top of the wood using a fine point pen or marker. Using your craft knife, cut out the shape. On your first pass barely graze the wood with the knife. Make that pass like you’re using a pencil to trace a line. Next, add a little pressure, but not enough like you’re going to hack through the entire piece at once, and trace over that line again. Your blade will automatically try to follow that first cut, even though it’s pretty shallow. Cool, right? Continue making more passes as needed (remember the Cricut machine made 14 passes, so take your time) until your curve comes out nice and cleanly. Clean up any jagged edges, if needed, with fine sandpaper.
With that first slat cut out, place it where it goes on top of the wood plaque. Next place your center Easter shape in the middle, but nearer the top of the “door”. Trace the shape onto your balsa with the fine point marker or pen.
We’re going to fix one of my mistakes again. Now trace 1/4″ on either side of your marks to leave enough of a gutter or space between the wood planks and the design that it visually POPS out from the plaque.
Using the technique we discussed above, slowly trip away from the shape from your balsa plank.
Paint the top portion of your plank a pretty Easter color. I went with hot pink, the wrong choice, which I then followed up with a much prettier pastel pink once the paint dried and I realized my mistake :)
Cut out the left and right wood slats for your door, again tracing the plaque with the balsa on the table and the pretty-side down on your wood. Cut those pieces out carefully.
And say hi to my cat craft assistant for this project, Maybe. You might have noticed her itty bitty paw in the corner of the previous pic :) Isn’t she lovely? Pretty but a bit fat. We’re working on that!
Place your left and right wood slats on top of the plaque as they would go and trace around your decorative Easter shape. Add 1/4″ around and cut that bit out, too. Once you’ve got all of your pieces, cut, you should have something that looks a bit like this. Give everything a test on top of your plaque to be sure everything fits with a nice gap in between everything, and if not trim as needed so it will properly fit.
Paint all of your pieces a fun, Easter color you love and allow everything to dry. It’s good to note that the paint might make the wood curl up, but we will fix that when we glue everything down, so don’t sweat it.
Once dry, apply a healthy, but not a crazy amount of wood glue to the backside of your wood pieces. Place on top of your plaque and then apply an even amount of weight on top of the plaque until the glue has had enough time to dry. For this, I put a piece of cardstock over the wood to keep from denting the balsa, then put a whole bunch of cans of dog food on top.
Now I began to worry that even my pastel colors were a bit “much” and did a whitewash over top and it wound up working really well because that sucker would have been practically neon. If you choose your colors better to begin with, you won’t have to do this. But should you find you do want to tone things down a bit, add a lot of water to a little bit of white acrylic paint, brush on and allow to fully dry.
Next, drill a hole through the back of your plaque where you’d like your doorknob to be and then screw into place a cabinet door knob. I’ve found that I especially like ones with backer plates as they look like fancy vintage door knobs! I got mine at Hobby Lobby, FYI…
The door made, I decided I needed some WINDOWS! If you have a Cricut Maker this is going to be super fast, but if you don’t have a cutting machine, no worries. Grab your handy dandy craft knife because this shape is simple enough to cut out by hand. Grab the SVG file here to make your windows. If using a Cricut, upload it to Design Space, if cutting by hand, print it to the size you’d like. I have 1 window that is 6″ tall and 2 that are 4.5″ tall.
To cut by hand simply put the paper print out on to of the wood and use a pencil with a dull point to trace the design into the soft wood below. Follow the shallow mark with your craft knife to finish the cuts. For each window you’ll need one solid Egg shape to be the window’s glass and another with cut outs inside to be the window’s frame.
And here’s a fun, quick tip… you can actually stash-bust your craft wood a bit with these windows. I had some offcuts of wood that were random and I used masking tape over top to turn them into one solid piece on my strong grip mat. Here I’ve pulled away the tape and it’s stayed behind on my cuts. On the left of the mat is one solid piece. On the right were 2 pieces placed together to make approximately one length the same size as the one it was beside. And all of those pieces were butted up perfectly together and a piece of tape run along the middle. When cutting my egg window shapes, the solid pieces I lined up the center of the egg with that line where the two pieces meet.
See, when you flip over my egg shapes you can bend them and see how it was one piece. And you can leave the tape on the backside to help support it and keep it “one” egg shape.
If you cut your top frame egg shapes from a solid piece, when you glue the two together it’s as sturdy as if you didn’t use scrap wood for the backsides!
After you’ve cut out all pieces, paint everything as you’d like it to be and allow to dry. I painted mine blue and I added the silhouette of the Easter bunny inside on the solid egg-shape for a little fun! Once dry, glue together and apply a healthy amount of weight on top to fix any bowing that might have occurred. Allow to dry for several hours to overnight.
To set the scene a bit for my Easter Bunny Hideaway I got a bag of natural colored fish gravel and made a little walkway from where my door would sit down through the garden and to the sidewalk and I really think it’s SUCH a cute thing to add :)
I also grabbed a little bag of tiny raffia carrots from the craft store to place near the door. I was thinking this is what the Easter bunny would have delivered rather than milk! And on the other side, I placed the smallest Easter basket I could find from Walmart near the tree, filled it with some ground covering weeds I found in the garden, roots and all, and then put some white plastic eggs in the basket, too. With my little pebble walkway, this Easter Bunny hideaway looks perfectly habitable, right? :)
Now I have to admit I looked like a total crazy person to these new neighbors who don’t know me from Adam all hidden down in the bushes with a whole bunch of Easter stuff and popping up here and there with pine needles in my hair with a camera, but at least I got my little Easter Bunny door set up into a nice little Easter Bunny home in the base of a gigantic pine in the front yard!
Oh my gosh ~ you are not only creative and talented, you’re writing style is fantastic and you’re absolutely HYSTERICAL. I was laughing so hard that my husband asked me what was so funny…..when I told him it was an Easter craft tutorial he just shook his head and walked away.
I LOVE your bunny hideaway and because we still have about a foot of snow on the ground until May (NW WISCONSIN) I’m going to adapt the plans for decorating my gardens and yard for the summer. I can’t wait to delve deeper into your blog, I look forward to more cool ideas and lots of laughs! You’re awesome!
Long time reader, here. I don’t know you personally but I’ve been here with you for years and I am really glad that your in a good place. Your new projects have been so happy and colorful and creative and it seems like you are better off. Looking forward to many years of your happy crafts to come!