Front door redo using faux wood grain technique
Ever since we moved in nearly three years ago, our front door has been red.
Don’t get me wrong … I love a red door. But next to our green house, it sort of made it seem like Christmas all year long. 😉 And the painter never painted the door’s window trim, so I always felt it looked unfinished.
My dream was to totally replace it with a solid wood door, until I looked at the prices of solid wood doors. I needed a much thriftier solution! So I decided to try my hand at painting the existing door (it’s either fiberglass or steel – I can’t tell) using a faux wood grain technique that looked easy enough in the YouTube videos I watched. (Cue ominous music.)
I started by taping around the door’s windows, removing the hardware and patching a screw hole. Then I gave the whole thing a once over with a coat of orange-based exterior flat paint (Clark & Kensington Paint & Primer in One – in Copper Pot, purchased at Ace Hardware).
I chose the orange color because my goal was to create a cedar/cherry wood look. You’re supposed to choose a base paint color that matches the undertones of whatever wood you want to mimic.
This is when I got a few double takes from the neighbors. It was really orange. 🙂
Next came that all-too-familiar, sweaty, freak-out portion of the project. I started by mixing together portions of two tubes of Minwax Water-Based Express Color Wiping Stain and Finish.* I chose mahogany and walnut and ended up using a little more of the mahogany.(You’ll want to use this thicker wiping stain or a similar gel stain for this project. Regular stain will not adhere to painted pieces.)
Then I used a good paintbrush (Purdy is my all-time favorite) to apply a coat of the mixed stain to a small section of the door, attempting to create a natural wood look. I had my iPad handy the whole time, displaying a photo of a door I wanted to replicate. This allowed me to get a clear picture of the direction, appearance and texture of real wood grain.
Next I brought out this handy wood graining tool:
This tool is tricky to get the hang of but, once I did, I was impressed! If I didn’t know the door was painted, I would have sworn it was solid wood. This tool allows you to create realistic knots and different types of wood grain patterns based on which edge of the tool you use.
I had to take a lot of time painstakingly going over the door until I felt the color and look of the grain was perfect. It took patience and some technique, so I wouldn’t exactly say this project is great for beginner painters. But, wow! I was happy with the end result.
Check out my little photo bomber!
It’s important to apply two coats of sealer to the door after the stain dries (about 24 hours) to create a durable finish. I’ll be taking off the hardware again today and finishing up that portion.
I can’t believe I waited nearly three years to do this project! It has completely transformed the look and feel of our home. And I only spent a little less than $40 on everything.
What do you think of my new “wood” door?
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