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A Makeover For a Sentimental, Retro Doorbell Cover

Projects that use acrylic sheets

Remember how I said the platform we made for Szuka (so she can ride around in the truck more comfortably) was the weirdest idea you’d see all day?  This is weirder…

retro doorbell cover

My grandparents have had this doorbell cover in their house for as long as I can remember – I think my Papa made it.  Originally it was black, but somewhere along the way it got a coat of cream spray paint.  It kind of cracks me up that the windows look very 1970s, because it demonstrates that no house is safe from the trends – not even a fake one.


I can’t actually fit this over my doorbell but my Papa was adamant that I have it because I always loved it as a little girl.  I’m touched that he remembered, so I think it will find a spot in the studio space I’m dreaming up (currently “the fishroom” in our house tour).  But first it needed a whole home renovation: new exterior paint, new windows, and lighting 😉

Before painting, I gave it a good scrub with a toothbrush and some dish detergent, then rinsed it off and let it dry in the sunlight.  Once dry, I gave it a few good coats of Rust-Oleum gloss white (the same paint I used for the painted terracotta planters).  The paint job refreshed it beautifully, but the windows had to go so I ordered an acrylic sheet from Inventables.  They have a great selection of acrylic for various projects, but I fell for this soft blue (“pacific blue”).

Cutting acrylic sheets

We cut the acrylic sheet with a jigsaw and then used our favorite 5-minute epoxy to affix the new “windows” in place.

For fun, I bought battery powered LED lights from Michael’s to slip inside (these ones are similar).

Submersible battery LED lights for crafts

mini battery operated lights

diy nightlight

Now this little house perfectly matches my aqua and white colour palette and lights up, so it makes me smile.  I just need a little Komondor pup figurine for the balcony and some doll-sized Pyrex and I’m all set!

If I needed one, this would be a pretty awesome night light…

unusual nightlight ideasI turned a vintage doorbell cover into a cute nightlight after I gave it a more modern "makeover". #upcycling #vintage #diy

Thanks to Inventables for collaborating with me on this project – and for being so enthusiastic about my super weird idea!  They have some seriously cool project supplies.



  1. Sally Jones
    January 20, 2016 / 11:39 pm

    That is really sweet! It must make you feel good to look at something that's been in your family for so long looking beautiful again. And I'm sure an actual use for it will present itself one day.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 21, 2016 / 1:53 am

      It definitely reminds me of my grandparents' place! I knew I'd never hang it up as-is, but now it's got a shot at wall space 🙂

  2. Grey
    January 21, 2016 / 8:05 am

    Your Papa was sweet enough to remember that doorbell cover as your childhood fave. If your dad made that, then you must have gotten your creativity from him? I love how it turned out even more beautiful and useful too. At least it never gets thrown away and could still be passed on for generations. The acrylic sheet really made an elegant effect to it.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 21, 2016 / 5:27 pm

      It's my grandfather who made it – that's who I call "Papa". I should have been more clear, sorry! In his time, he was very creative but all of my grandparents were good with their hands. They came from a generation of hard times and were used to having to make what they needed/wanted. Both of my grandmothers could sew really well too. My maternal grandmother was an exceptional cook – just amazing.

  3. brikhouse2
    January 24, 2016 / 8:21 am

    Totally cute.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 24, 2016 / 7:55 pm


  4. Ann B
    February 1, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    This is very sweet. Great memories too.

  5. Elizabeth
    August 29, 2020 / 10:30 am

    This is the prettiest thing I’ve seen this year. Although I won’t ever find anything like your object, I’ve learned a thing or two from your overall project, not the least of which, is that acrylic. Stained “glass” just became a reality for me.
    I just adore your project. SO pretty.

    • August 31, 2020 / 12:27 pm

      Thank you so much! Yes, it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind project but maybe you’ll find something similar, like a vintage doll house or cool wall cabinet begging for acrylic panels 🙂 If you’re an avid thrifter, you never know what kind of unusual things you’ll find. I’m glad you could see some inspiration to glean from my weird little project!

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