DIY, Home Renovation, Inspiration

How to Add Character to an Old Door

I have provided affiliate links all throughout this post so items pictured can easily be shopped at no additional cost to you. Just click on the highlighted words or images in order to be directed to the link. 

We purchased our eighth home remodel, the Mount Vernon Avenue House, at auction in May 2019. The home was solid and well cared for, but needed updated.

When we design our renovations, we want to create spaces that feel special, interesting, and fun. While dreaming about this home’s potential, I noticed this door’s beautiful hardware, covered up with layers of old chippy white paint.

I instantly remembered a close friend of mine had stripped the paint off of her old hardware using nothing more than an old crock pot, water and a little bit of elbow grease. Her old hinges and handles turned out GORGEOUS, so I decided to give it a try too.

Step 1: Find an old crockpot that you will NEVER cook food in again and fill it with a couple inches of water (just enough to cover over the hardware). Step 2: Put your painted hardware in the crockpot of water. Step 3: Set the crockpot on high from morning till night. Step 4: Take the hardware out of the pot with a pair of tongs (wear thick rubber gloves ((HOT)) and watch the paint practically drip off the hardware in sheets. I did use a screwdriver/old toothbrush to scrape/scrub the hardware in places, but for the most part, the paint just fell right off. ***Be smart and follow guidelines if dealing with lead based paint***

After the hardware was stripped, our contractor stripped the paint off the door as well. The wood underneath was beautiful, but dried out, with lots of sanding marks and remnant paint in the crevices. I’ve had this problem before, and I knew exactly what to do/use to fix the issue. Gel stain. If you’ve never heard me rave about General Finishes gel stain before, just click here and read this post allllll about it. I used GF Prairie Wheat this time. Once the stain was dry, I applied three coats of polycrylic with ample dry time in between coats.

To make the door more of a showpiece, I had our contractor cut out the top wood panel of the door. To take its place, I had a piece of glass cut to size at our local hardware store. I printed the “Utility Room” vinyl decal using my Silhouette machine and adhered it to the glass. If you repeat this project, make sure the words will read correctly on your door. For instance, I wanted the decal to be on the opposite side of the door from where it would be most visible. So, I had to print the decal in reverse on my machine.

Once I had the decal adhered, I sprayed layer after layer of this frosted glass spray (Lowe’s). I probably used three cans of the spray because I wanted it on there thick and even.

After the frosted spray was dry and set, our contractor put the glass panel in the door opening. What do you think of it?

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Do you want a vinyl decal for your wall, window, mirror or door? I’ll make you one! You just have to be able to tell me what you want:)

In order to be entered in this giveaway, simply comment in the box below (on THIS blog post, NOT on Facebook, because I can’t see all of the comments on Facebook) this post with what you want YOUR vinyl decal to say. It can be a scripture, an inspiring quote, a special word, whatever you want (as long as it’s nice;)).  

Anyone can comment, and if you don’t want the decal for yourself, try to think of someone that might be blessed by one, and give it to them. One winner will be chosen within the week.

Thanks so much for following along!

****UPDATE**** Kate won the decal.

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About therestoringhouse

4 thoughts on “How to Add Character to an Old Door

  1. I love the decal & have a laundry room door that looks similar to this… I feel like a custom decal & frosting would make it look so much more custom (and hide the mess in my laundry room, haha).

  2. This looks fantastic! I’m working on restoring an old 1930s cabinet that’s been painted several times (pale green and soft pink :-P). Do you have to sand the wood down enough to get the paint remnants out of the little cracks in the wood, or do you use the gel stain right over that? Also, when the contractor cut the wood panel out, did he also cut a groove for the glass to sit in?

    Also, the giveaway is a fun treat! I don’t have a house of my own yet (looking at next year!) but I would guess we could make a nice customer door for the laundry room, so I would want it to say “laundry”. And I like the box you made framing the word!

    1. Hi Kate. I’d love to get your decal to you as soon as possible. Just let me know what size/font you’d like and I’ll get it shipped to you! Thanks!

  3. …Okay, never mind about the question on staining over paint remnants. I read your post about the stain and it answered my question. You’ve sold me on it!

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