Yesterday, I showed you the walk-in closet behind these lovely doors…Today, let me tell you about the doors, themselves 🙂

I found this set of french doors on Craigslist for $45.Since we bought used doors, they didn’t come with the door jam. So we made one ourselves. It wasn’t too tough, the hardest part was knowing how much extra width to allow for the hinges on each side and also where the doors meet up in the middle. Once the pieces were cut, we were careful to get them all perfectly level, using shims to adjust for a perfect fit.The doors were in pretty good condition, but I wanted them white. We read somewhere (can’t remember where, sorry) that rubbing vaseline on windows was an alternative to taping them off or being really precise with your brush when painting. (You can also do this for your skin if you’d rather be greasy than painty.)

Even though I roughed up the stain with a sander before painting, I opted to use Zinnser Coverstain Primer, which seems to bond well with surfaces that have an existing oil-based product (like the varnish on these wood doors). Since this project, I started using the brush on kind that comes in a can because it is significantly cheaper than the spray paint…but for these doors, I used the spray paint. I think it took two cans, but I can’t remember for sure.

I followed up the primer with two coats of a high gloss paint (Valspar December Starlight). This took a ridiculously long time…as in months. Every time I pulled the doors outside to paint, it started raining. We actually started pulling the doors out instead of turning the sprinklers on for the grass. OK, not really…but we might as well have. Since the closet was functional without the doors, I didn’t even TRY to paint on days there was even a 10% chance of rain.

One tip if you decide to use the vaseline method: while I can’t really say that I tried it any other way to know how big of a difference it would make, I would recommend using an angle brush around the windows and only brushing with the grain so that the paint brush bristles glide on top of the vaseline. If you try to “smush” the brush to get into the corners between the wood and glass, you might smear the vasceline…getting it on the wood, in your paint brush, and OFF the glass where it is supposed to be. Does that make sense?

Anyway, they did eventually get painted and hung. Then came the task of removing the vaseline. While I DO think that the vaseline was effective…and I’d probably do it the exact same way if it came to painting these doors again…it was still a job to get it off. First we used a laminate sample tile from the hardware store to scrape it off (These work well as scrapers and won’t scratch the glass like a razor blade might.) After scraping there was still this cloudy film:And unfortunately, there were also a few places where we scraped off some of the paint on the wood in addition to the paint on the glass. It wasn’t tough to touch up these areas with a small brush, though.After scraping the vaseline, I used dish soap to cut through the greasy film, and then glass cleaner to give it a streak-free clean.So, there ya have it…my Craigslist find french doors dressed in white:We decided to reuse the existing knobs…they were an antique brass finish that really wasn’t that bad. But we wanted brushed nickel. So we spraypainted them. And while we were at it, we decided did the rest of the knobs and hinges from around the house, too.This piece of styrofoam was perfect to stand the knobs up in while painting and to stick all the screws into. It was NOT, however, very good for the hinges that layed flat on it…little styrofoam ball pieces stuck to the hinges and messed up the paint finish in a few places.And since we were painting all the knobs and hinges…we painted all the doors, too. The previous owners of our home had replaced most of the original doors with these 6 panel ones…a good move, I think. But they never took the time to paint the pre-primed doors. And that flat white primer gets so dirty! So I gave all the doors a good coats of the same semigloss paint we used for the moldings, baseboards, and trim around the rest of the house (Valspar December Starlight). But this time I didn’t even try to move them outside to battle the rain…so doors just took over the master bedroom and closet for a few days before we rolled the carpet back out.While I don’t know that anyone has walked in to my home and noticed that the white doors are now a shinier white, I DO think the brushed nickel knobs and glossier doors have made a sublte difference in pulling together a clean and consistent look around the house.
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  1. kim n says:

    This is such a great tutorial! I have uber ugly french doors in my bedroom and haven’t had the guts to paint them, thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Roeshel says:

    Wow! Love the French doors – great job hanging them and painting them! I always wondered about the vaseline. We installed a new set between our family room/living room a few years ago. I have yet to paint the family room side, but left the plastic on the glass for when I do. lol Yep, years of looking at cloudy plastic covered little windows…but this is the year for a family room makeover so they’ll get painted. I used styrofoam to hold our faucets when we painted them too!

    Thanks so much for sharing your tips! They look awesome!

  3. Kristi says:

    These look wonderful, Alisha!! And Vaseline? Who knew? I’m seriously in shock that you got these off of Craigslist!! Well done. So glad you could link up today!! 😉

  4. Kirsten says:

    I never would have thought to look for French doors on Craigslist! What a great idea! I think your painted French doors, as well as the rest of the doors in your home, look fabulous. I’ve spray painted door knobs, door handles, hinges, etc. before, too — such a money saver!

  5. Carol says:

    Looks great! I also love the paint color in your bedroom, what is it? I have so many hideous brass door nobs/hinges etc, I never thought to paint them! Did you prime them first, and with what? What kind of paint did you use for them or recommend?

  6. Alisha says:

    Carol –

    Thanks 🙂 I can’t seem to locate our bedroom paint in our paint closet right now…so I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Regarding the knobs: we used rustoleum spray primer and rustoleum metallic spray paint in satin nickel. The priming may have been an unnecessary step since the metallic spray paint says it is a paint and primer in one (we didn’t know that until after priming). Lots of thin coats is the trick for not messing up the mechanics of the knobs. If/when I do it again, I plan on adding another coat of something glossy on top (either a clear spray paint or a brush on acrylic). I think the finish looks and feels too “flat” right now. Let me know if you discover any more tips or tricks 🙂

    -Alisha @

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