[FYI, this is Part 3 of 3 of the WBW TARDIS build series. In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2!]

Top Signs

Here’s a tip to start off with. If you’re looking to buy a TARDIS sign print (on vinyl with adhesive backing), don’t get a ready-made one. I found that the cheapest ready-made one on Amazon, for example, was perfectly extortionate — something like £15 per print. Instead, you can find plenty of TARDIS sign PDFs for free online (or just make your own) and then order it from a print shop. I did this for a fraction of the price…

Gluing these onto some plastic sheets I found in a haberdashery shop, they were suddenly sturdy and waterproof. Add a simple wooden frame, and some plexiglass on top, and you get some pretty decent TARDIS top signs, though I say so myself:


To attach them to the TARDIS itself, I just used hooks. Perhaps not the nicest way, but very straightforward. Plus it makes it easy to take them down if/when we move house and the TARDIS moves with us.

The TARDIS Lantern

As you’ll have ready in Part 2 by now, I’m sure, I got this garden light through sheer serendipity. It was the last one the shop had in stock and available at a massive discount, so I picked it up for a bargain and decided to treasure this find forever — until I eventually tore it apart, gutted it and smothering its base and lid in blue paint. 

Originally, the idea had been to add four chrome metal bars curving down from lid to base in an arch over the glass container. However, I couldn’t find a glue that would properly bond with the lid/base, and I eventually gave up on the idea of arches altogether.

For the light itself, I got a remote-controlled, waterproof set of LEDs that I sanded down and glued inside the lid. This cost practically nothing and you can even select the colours and patterns in which you want it to shine/blink. Perfect for a TARDIS disco!

TARDIS Windows

The weekend that I decided I’d finish the TARDIS, I started on the windows. Until then, they had just been sitting in a neat pile in the living room. Adding the windows ended up taking ages. Most of that time was spent carefully drilling holes through the corners of each (of the 48 pieces), before screwing and superglueing them into place.

I also couldn’t contain myself anymore and took this opportunity to attach the door handle.

So the order in which I did this was basically:

  1. assemble the box sides
  2. paint the sides blue
  3. add the window frame bits
  4. paint the window frame bits blue
  5. Screw/Glue windows into place.

Upon reflection, I regret to not switching (2) and (3) around.

Final Assembly

On the penultimate day, I found that the TARDIS corner pieces still wouldn’t slot into place and that I’d need to put the block plane to work again. Due in large part to the time spent on the windows, though, it was pitch black outside and I’d been working with a forehead light on like a madman for a long while when I finally gave up and decided I’d rather finish it in daylight anyway. Left her looking like this overnight:

Sunday finally arrived and I was pretty excited. Spent a good couple of hours planing the corner pillars until they clicked into place, then added the roof frame. This was quite a balancing act. The blasted thing is pretty heavy and I’m not the most athletic of people.

The lantern was fixed into place atop the dome using metal corners. It fits in neatly, and should hopefully not blow away in a gale. Then the dome and lantern went up onto the roof frame and the front door affixed with hinges, opening inward.

I was drilling the hole for the door lock when my drill battery ran out of power. It was about 2pm at this point, maybe 2h of daylight left. So I ran in, charged it for about half an hour, ran back out, tried again. No dice. Ran back in, charged it for another 20 minutes, ran back out, tried again. Nope. I finally had to accept the fact that I’d have a lock-less TARDIS for a little while longer. Furthermore, I was planning on being away the following couple of weekends, so this was effectively postponing the completion by three weeks!

The front sign was originally going to be the very last thing I did, but I desperately wanted to pop it on, so I did. Attached it to the front with plain monkey glue. I’m not going to attempt to describe how it felt, but suffice to say it was a bit emotional seeing it there.

Three weeks later I was finally at home during daylight hours and installed the lock. It says Yale on it, but if anyone asks I’ll just say I had to stop by a locksmith in the Yale Nebula or something to that effect.

Tadaaa! All done.

Well, almost. What’s missing? It’s not bigger on the inside, for starters. Secondly, there’s no floor, which I’ll need to install at some point.

It’s been such a wonderful experience from start to finish, that I really don’t want to stop typing. I’m sure everyone who’s ever built a TARDIS has, on numerous occasions, been asked why they’ve indulged in such a project. We may all have had different answers. For love of Doctor Who. Because I had the time and the space and I only needed another three letters to complete the acronym. Have you seen the TARDIS? That’s why. My favourite answer so far came from a fellow member of tardisbuilders.com who commented on my build diary there, saying “you build a TARDIS because you don’t have one.”

So that’s it. Project over, or Phase 1 of it in any case. Thanks for reading these blog posts. If you haven’t already, have a look at the video I made of the build:

(Yep, I know it’s 20 minutes long, but that’s the beauty of pause-and-continue. ;-) …)

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you asap.

In the meantime, I leave you with these photos of my TARDIS in the snow.


Leon (aka Ponken)

This article was written by Leon
Hey there, I'm Leon, but I often go by 'Ponken'. I'm based in Oxford, the proud owner of my very own TARDIS and the founder of Who Back When. I'm also one of the hosts of the Who Back When podcast (or DocPast), so if you want to hear what I sound like, then subscribe! Kablammo! High-5 Leon on Twitter and say hi from us: @ponken