Project TARDIS Studio

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Four months, countless hours of labour and dollars, I am finally able to reveal the #mysteryproject I have occasionally tweeted about. As some of you may already know, I’m also a voice actor and what with a dog running around and limited closet/storage space, we decided to build a small isolation booth to house my equipment. Rather than just have a big grey box in my living room, we decided to spiff it up and build a TARDIS around the booth. We weren’t looking for a prop replica, since it needed to fit the dimensions of my booth which didn’t stop me from being exceptionally frustrated at, oh say, not getting the TARDIS lamp exactly correct. Oh well.

Here it is on day one, after loading up at Home Depot.
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We started with a base for the booth. It’s built on a platform to keep low frequency vibrations from making it into the recordings.

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Here we are with four walls made of 1/2″ MDF, a door (with reinforced MDF) and a roof. So far, so good. We began the project right around Valentines Day and got the main box plus the interior completed by the end of the month, right in time for ECCC, which was great since we had a friend staying with us for the con.

Soon we found ourselves rather frustrated, trying to figure out how to do the TARDIS corner posts. We needed a router, which we didn’t have, so instead, around the end of March, we painted the box blue. We went a brighter blue than I might have chosen, but our living room is fairly dark already so we wanted the blue to pop.

After a few more weeks of faffing about, we discovered a brand new tool library in NE Seattle so we checked out the router and got to work on the posts.

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Things got busy for us for a while, so it wasn’t until May that we got trucking along again, figuring out the rest of the outside of the TARDIS. Here it is after some major progress and it’s actually starting to look like a TARDIS.

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More major progress on the TARDIS as we’ve added windows and top signs, both of which I’m hugely proud of. I figured we’d get the top sign printed on glossy card stock type paper and be done with it, but when the rather unhelpful guy at Office Depot quoted us $30 to do the sign, we realised we could do it for the same amount using that cracked acrylic for ceiling lights. I should note that that brilliant idea was one we found on the TARDIS Builders website, not our own, and it really worked out. We just printed the sign onto repositionable label paper and then stuck the sign on the acrylic, cutting the letters out and spray painting around the letters like a stencil. The hardest part was finding the labels, which is why I want to thank the folks at Office Max who sent us to the right store, a competitor no less, to get it. These guys were so helpful. I used to always get mixed up between Office Depot and Office Max, but not anymore. I know where I’ll shop from now on. Oh, and the guy at Office Max was the only one who saw what we wanted to print and knew we were building a TARDIS. Weirdly, he turned out to also be a voice actor!

The windows were another coup. Of course, they couldn’t be made out of glass because that is terrible for a recording studio so we had to go a different direction. With limited funds, we decided to make the windows out of paper, using wax paper to simulate the glass. At some angles you can tell, and some day when I’m not frustrated at gluing little white sticks together I’ll fix it, but for right now, I’m happy. The part that really makes it all work is that we also used that clear pebbled acrylic ceiling tile for some of the panes which really does make the whole thing pop.

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So here it is all finished. It’s wired up so when I’m recording the TARDIS light is on. I fussed so much with that stupid lamp, but you can hardly see it. The thing is, it will still bug me, because I know it’s not right. At that point, we were too tired and broke to go the proper route so we simply glued some lids to a jam jar style lamp. As you can see, this is more of a Matt Smith era TARDIS. I hadn’t intended for that to be the case. It was really supposed to be a generic TARDIS. But slowly the colour choices and such seemed to lead more to that style TARDIS so in the end I made sure that all the lettering and such generally matched up to the 11th Doctor’s TARDIS.

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Like a true TARDIS, it is bigger on the inside.

And that’s our TARDIS story. I’m really proud of our little TARDIS. It is adorable. Every time I walk by the living room I smile. I know some people will think it’s ludicrous to build a TARDIS in your living room, but for us, it made sense. Big ugly grey box or sleek blue TARDIS? I know which one I prefer.