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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Drum roll please... ZELDA ROOM REVEAL

For those that don't follow me regularly, thanks for the interest in our toddler room. Please subscribe to my feed for more cool stuff, and/or like the Dork On A Dime Facebook Page.

Here's a couple of back story points you need to know:
~ I'm a dork. (My hubby is too.)
~ We're 8+ months pregnant with munchkin #2.
~ I'm on a post-con high (and exhaustion) after last weekend at Dragon*Con 2012.
~ I'm already planning for Momocon 2013, as hubby and I help run the convention.
~ The nursery for our babies is THE Super Mario Brothers Nursery (click link to see post)

Now that you know me a little better, I give you THE ZELDA ROOM - the toddler room we have finished for our 18 month old daughter so she could vacate the nursery for our son who is to arrive in 3.5 weeks. We had our Zelda Room Reveal Party today for our family and friends, and everyone loved the room. I hope you like it! Please comment on what you think, and if you have any questions about how we did ANYTHING, I'd love to hear from you!

Previous and 'in progress' post can be found HERE > Zelda Room June Update


Hubby and I wanted to create a fun and interactive dork room for our toddler that she (and the rest of our kids) can love for years to come. Because we KNOW we want 3 kids (Yes, I know. No, you can't change our minds.) when everything is said and done, I insisted this room be completed to accommodate two munchkins. When our third arrives, he or she will move into the Super Mario Bros Nursery, and our oldest two will be in the Zelda Room. 

This room design, including the top bunk (that will fit the room's second twin bed eventually) and all the structural changes we made, cost about $1,000 total. This is comparatively more than the $300 spent on the Super Mario Bros Nursery, but we are still pleased with this budget makeover. It was much more intense and detailed than the first. We also made convenience a priority over cost since we built this room while chasing a toddler and managing through my second (and relatively harder) pregnancy. A lot of the furniture pieces, because of required maximum sizes for them to fit where they were destined, were purchased from IKEA and altered to fit our design. Additionally, there were some craft/design techniques that we could have done that would have also reduced the cost, but prego atop a ladder doing paper mache' for hours was OBVIOUSLY not a good idea. In a nutshell, we cut corners that cost a little more than we COULD have spent, but it was safer and easier for us at the time.

Now for the details...

~ The walls are painted with a grey wall paint for the base (home improvement store), and TONS of acrylic paint (craft store) were used for all the murals. Paint cost about $100-$150 total. We took good care of the art supplies so two packs of brushes lasted beyond this room. The characters were sketched on the wall using a laptop and projector. The freeform landscape (Death Mountain & Zora's Domain) was done by one of our good friends who is a talented artist, and everything else was done by an assortment of our friends with varying skills. At the end of the day, we just invited all our friends over for multiple paint parties, 4-5 weekends later we have beautiful murals and familiar characters on our walls.

THE CLOSET WALL - Death Mountain & Kakariko Windmill

~ The "Select Item Menu" is a sword stand made from scrap 2x4s. DO NOT FRET - the swords are foam or Nerf. What little girl's room is complete without swords?
~ The treasure chest was a $20 purchase at Garden Ridge. We applied some silver paint to make it look closer to the one from the game, and two coats of polyurethane to harden it, and TA DA! Our hero, Link, and his fairy Navi are ready for battle just behind where the chest sits.
~ The clock was a method I reused from the Mario Nursery. I popped open a $4 clock from Target, played in Gimp (free photo editing tool) to get an image with the clock numbers, printed it at FedEx, used Elmer's spray glue to adhere it to the clock, and put it back together.
~ The curtain is also a reused method. We took down the finger-pinching folding mirror doors and put up a pole across the top of the frame. The curtain is a cheap white canvas-like curtain sold at Target ($10 per panel), and I hemmed it to size. You could do it freehand, but I used the projector to trace the windmill to make it easier. The paint is Oops Paint from Home Depot (samples that people have mixed and don't want, they resell for about 50c each) mixed 1-to-1 paint to water. The butterflies were a clearance find from Hobby Lobby, and they're attached with safety pins and out of the kids' reach. We plan to add an interactive element to the curtain as well - hubby's wonderful Grandma is making us plastic canvas and yarn chickens... so the kids can collect the chickens from around the room and put them in clear pockets sewn to the bottom of the curtain.

THE WINDOW WALL - Kokiri Village & Great Deku Tree

~ The fairies hanging to the left of the window are solar powered. We used the lights and wiring from IKEA's Solvinden ($20, but no longer available in the US... idk why) and attached plain white ping pong balls with air dry modeling clay wings. The sparkly on the wings is just a coat or two of glitter fingernail polish. The solar panel is mounted with velcro to the nearby window... our porch light charges it at night and our little girl loves to watch the fairies 'wake up' just before she goes to bed. <3
~ The hairbow holder is the "M" you see hanging behind the fairies. It's a wooden craft letter, scrapbooking paper cut to shape and adhered with Elmer's spray glue to the front, and ribbon just taped on to the back to hang and to attach the bows, altogether about $5. Saria (from OoT) is just above the IKEA spice rack ($4) we use to hold her combs/brushes/ponytail holders so they're accessible for us but safely out of her reach.
~ The dresser is IKEA's Rast 3 drawer dresser ($35) and paint stained (a favorite technique of ours - half water, half paint so you keep the wood grain look but stain with the color) to match the room. The fairy wings are painted on, and the knobs are the body of the fairies. Again, coated with glitter fingernail polish, and then polyurethaned to protect it from toddler damage.
~ The rocking horse was a consignment store find that resembles Epona. It talks and sings for less than $20, which is acceptable on our dime.
~ The window seat (SQUEE!!!) is one of my favorite pieces in the room. The inspiration is Link's bed at the VERY beginning of OoT - it's a log with a cut out for a mattress. It's built from scratch, framed with 2x2s, and plywood and panel board paneling. The 'bark' is Great Stuff (it's great stuff!) between the ply and panel boards, and carved and painted to look like bark on a tree. The drawers underneath are IKEA, painted to match the brown wood color. The mattress is a crib/toddler bed mattress that was given to us by a friend who didn't need it any longer. Including the $7 can of Great Stuff, this bench cost about $50
~ The Great Deku Tree was framed with scrap 2x2s onto the existing bunk bed post. We molded the shape with chicken wire, and added about 4 coats of paper mache, 2-3 coats of acrylic paint, and 3 coats of polyurethane to harden it... we wanted it to survive our kids and their inevitable destruction as long as possible. The top is a splurge - the tiny white lanterns were left over from the IKEA Solvinden used for the solar powered fairies (above), and the green lanterns are two packs of Martha Stewart's Paper Lanterns available at Total cost was about $35, including the $26 of paper lanterns.

THE TOP BUNK - Lon Lon Ranch

~ The waterfall wall mural is the LAST thing to be completed - our artist acquired the dreaded Con Plague and couldn't complete it before our room reveal party this weekend. No worries - he's planning to come finish it as soon as he's not contagious, and I'll update this post with fresh pictures. The upper half of the waterfall is complete and looks very real from every angle. We will also add rock climbing hand holds (instead of a railing) along the wall after the mural is complete - cost $20 online plus the hardware to mount.
~ We made sure the framing for the top bunk and the stairs is EXTREMELY structural - it's got plenty of cross supports, though they're hidden, and the frame is mounted into EVERY stud possible. The legs are supported with steel brackets, and the rails are under 4" apart, which is construction code for porch rails in our area. Needless to say, we wanted to make sure everything was as safe as possible for our munchkins. This was the big cost for the room, coming in at about $250 for all the lumber, hardware, and the indoor/outdoor carpeting.
~ The bottom two steps have alcoves that hold soft baskets made from fabric and plastic canvas (my inspiration was a very detailed how-to from This was a necessity to have toy storage for our kids. I like that they're soft, so the kids won't break a toe if they trip, but it would have been cheaper to make them out of wood. Cost about $30
~ The faux wall is holding one of the horse ranch decor accents I found at Garden Ridge and Hobby Lobby, either on sale or clearanced. The bookshelf is IKEA Rast bedside table ($15), and it's one of two we used in this room.
~ The bookshelves are made from 10" pine board with notched 2x4s and then mounted into the wall. They serve as another fence for our Lon Lon Ranch bunk ($15), and keep Epona safely nearby. The shelves house a framed sketch my brother did for our daughter's first birthday (he knew we were making a Zelda Room for her soon after).
~ The adirondack chairs were $5 each from Walmart in their summer seasonal items, and they make for great seating up there!
~ The framed cross stitch art on the wall was a gift from a friend. It says "Good things come to those who break clay pots". I better hide all my clay pots for quite some time! The frame was a $2 cabinet door from IKEA in the As-Is section, and it's just screwed straight into the wall. If you don't already, you should begin to check in there when you shop at IKEA. It's addictive, but there are SO MANY things you can find to keep your projects under budget. The white frame on the fence shelf is IKEA's As-Is too. It was $1 because it had a chip out of the corner. A little white paint and you'll never know!

 THE BOTTOM BUNK - Master Sword Meadow & the Fairy Fountain Cave

 ~ Hidden just behind the Great Deku Tree is the second IKEA Rast bedside table ($15) and two more IKEA spice racks ($4 each). I use the spice racks as bookshelves and pacifier holders (for now), but I painted some familiar items from various Zelda games.
~ Underneath the stairs is a hidden cave, complete with a fairy fountain to replenish your strenth, and a full heart piece. The heart is a $10 lamp from IKEA (I joke they designed it just for us, Smila Hjarta model new for 2012). It's cute because our munchkin can turn it off and on by herself and she's so proud!
~ All of the wiring for the baby monitor (hidden above the bookshelves), heart lamp, and the stars (see below) is hidden up into the framing of the bunk bed. We used a locking outlet cover ($8) to keep it safe for our kids, and the cord is blended nicely into the wall mural of the Master Sword in the Meadow.
~ Just above the head of her bed, we've installed 'stars' for her to have as a night light. It's a strand of LED Christmas lights with multiple settings ($5 online), and since they're LED they don't get hot so we can leave them on all night. They are installed on the back side of the panel board, through drill holes, and taped so they don't come loose. Once the panel is up, the kids can't mess with the wiring, but it's accessible for repairs or maintenance by removing the panel.
~ To the side of her bed is the Happy Mask Shop (OoT or MM). There are a few recognizable masks available in the shop, as well as some hooks to hang some she can actually wear. This is one of our more interactive aspects, and she loves being able to play with the masks.

PLAY TABLE WALL - Hyrule Castle

~ The play table & chairs set we used in this room was a freebie. It's MY play table from when I grew up... my Mom and brother both gave me the okay to alter it, and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. We sanded down the old top to give it a new life, but left the original yellow/sunset color that matches the room almost perfectly. I played around with the image I used in Gimp (free photo editing tool) and then projected and traced it onto the table top. The paint is acrylic, and then hubby applied a few coats of polyurethane to seal the table. 

Hubby was great (and my Mom helped a lot too) about doing all of the polyurethane and other odorous things in this room - since I'm pregnant, it's not safe for me to be in the room with some chemicals, so we carefully read all of the instructions and safety warnings on EVERYTHING we used. Good thing power tools don't have a pregnancy warning!!

Thank you again for taking the time to read my lengthy post. I have been so excited and anxious for this post because I know a TON of readers have been waiting to see the final product. Rest assured, I will update with pictures as the final 2 or 3 aspects get completed, and again I thank you for your patience. I hope it was well worth the wait!


  1. I wanted to point out my favorite features, but they're all so great and well thought out! The fairies, use of bookshelf as fence, Weapon-select... All amazing.

    I should expect nothing less from you clever buggers. Keep setting that awesome parent bar high!


    -Justin Grey

  2. Thanks, Justin! Those are some of my faves as well, but for me, the window seat takes the cake!

  3. AWESOME!!! AWESOME!!! AWESOME!!! I know your children will enjoy this room for years to come, but I see a future dispute over who gets the bed under the stars. hmmm.... maybe there will be stars in the meadow one day. Maybe.

    Awesome job to you and all your contributors. Well done.

  4. Awesome is right! That's the coolest room I have ever seen. Great job!!!

  5. Totally awesome! Nice work. Would have been great with this Termina Clocktown Wall Clock!

  6. Thanks guys! Brandi Smart, we actually hemmed and hawed over the clock face for a while before we chose this one. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that this is the clock our kids will learn to tell time on, and anything too busy or modern takes their focus away from the clock numbers. Plus the collage of the oldies is nostalgic for us too!

  7. Amazing! I have half a mind to do something like this to my own room!
    as a lifelong Zelda fan, and a pre-teen (12) things like this and the Zelda room at nintendo are awesome to me!
    thank you for this awesome room, it made my day.