Tag Archives: how to british phone booth

How to Paint a British Phone Box on a Door

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This is what the hall in our basement looked like before I painted the door.  It’s just an ordinary, very cheap, hollow door. Behind it is our furnace.  On the International House Hunters show on HGTV, I saw a similar door  painted like a British Phone Box and wanted to do that on this door. This is how I did it.  Take a close look at the pictures for clarification of the instructions.

I started by looking at many pictures of phone boxes on the internet and discovered they are not all exactly the same.  I decided to go with the equally shaped windows.


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First I drew on this shape at the top. It is based on the appearance of the real phone booths and modified to fit the space I had. We are fortunate to have a 9-foot ceiling in our basement, but if we didn’t, I would have just changed the shape to make it fit.  Notice the space that will eventually have the word ‘telephone’ in it.  I measured the available space and made a template with paper, then traced around it.


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Then, I painted primer on the door and frame and on the shape I drew over the door. After that dried I drew on the rectangles for the windows. Again, this is based on the size of my door, 32 x 80 inches, and the number of windows.  I came up with a window size of 7 x 10 inches and made a template that size from a cereal box.  There is about an inch between the window shapes and they go to the edges of the recessed areas. Click on the photo to see the lines I drew.  I traced around the template at the top corners and then fitted the middle one in between those two. The rest were based on those and keeping them evenly spaced. If you wanted to get carried away (always a good idea) then you could measure for exact placement.

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Next, I painted the windows.  I did this project with things I had on hand, so the paint I used is black latex semi-gloss. If I were buying the paint, then it would have been satin finish for less shine. You can see where I had a couple of drips, but this will all be covered by the red paint.

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Then I painted the red part of the phone box.  Again, I used paint I already had, so it is also semi-gloss.  If you’ve ever painted anything red, then you know there will be at least two and possibly more coats required, and especially over the parts where I dripped black paint. Also, I was lazy and didn’t remove the door knob which isn’t even hard to do.  I recommend doing that.
After the red is all painted on and you’ve touched up where the red got on the black part, it’s nearly finished.  Loosely based on the real phone boxes, I made a crown template and stenciled that on the top arched part. You could also make a stencil for the lettering, but in this case I actually used the stick-on type letters after painting that rectangular section white.

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Here is the finished project.  On the other side of this utility area is another door that I plan to paint like the blue police box or Tardis!