If you are going for an old farmhouse look or an antique, you can achieve the look easily with a little elbow grease.
First you’ll want to buy your supplies and prepare the workspace. Since antiquing a door while it’s attached to the wall will be difficult, you will need to remove the doors and the hinges. You will need a flat head screwdriver and a hammer to loosen the pin especially on some of the older doors. It is recommended that you have 2 people to do this. While keeping the door stable, angle the screwdriver against the pin so you can tap the pin out with the hammer.
Once you have the doors off the hinge, remove all the hardware. If you are working on multiple doors, take note which hardware belongs to which door and where the door was located. This is very important for when you rehang your doors, otherwise they will not close properly.
Lay the door over a large work table or tarp outside in a well-ventilated area. Make sure it is in a space where you can paint them and have them dry without being in the way, since you won’t be able to move them easily as they cure. Cover the area with a drop cloth to catch spills.
Add chips or scratches the wood (optional). If you have a wooden door and are aiming for a rustic, weathered look, you can intentionally damage the wood surface by scratching grooves, adding dents or hammering holes into the door. If your doors have a preexisting coating on them, give your doors a light sanding.
You will need to purchase (or make your own if you can) some wood frames. I found some at my local dollar store and removed all the glass and the backings and ended up with just the wooden frames, it was a super cheap awesome find.
You’ll need to measure out the grid structure for your doors in the pattern you would like the frames attached (for example a 6 panel door). Use a T-square and a pencil to create the lines.
The frames had some staples on the back to hold the glass in the frame. I had to use pliers to pull those staples out of the frames before gluing them down.
I went ahead and got some Power Grip adhesive. You want to now apply the adhesive to the backs of the frames and press them down firmly onto the grid that you’ve drawn on your doors. I only used frames on the ‘front’ side of the doors. This was just a preference. You can attach the frames to both sides if wanted.
Find a good base primer colored paint. I went with the gray so that when I paint my doors white, the distressing will show the gray color. Use a clear clear based paint as the base if you would like the natural wood color to come through. You can use any color combination you would like!
Add a good coat of primer to cover the doors, but don’t paint the primer on too thick. If you need better coverage, paint multiple thin layers. It is important to let the primer dry in between coats.
Next, I used a crackle medium. This is optional if you just plan on sanding to distress your doors. Apply the crackle medium to areas of the door where you think natural distressing might occur the most. Follow the directions on the bottle of crackle medium for best results. I used the brand FolkArt Crackle Medium.
Next you want to go ahead and start applying your top color paint. If you find you are not seeing the effect you like when you start applying the top coat, you might need to apply more crackle medium.
The wood molding throughout my house is bright white, but I wanted the doors a little more distressed so I picked a slightly off-white color to make it look like it was aged a little more.
Once you apply your topcoat you’ll see the distressed crackle start to develop. Let the door dry overnight if possible. Give the paint a ‘nail test’ to make sure it has cured by pressing a screw or nail into the paint and if that makes a dent then it still needs time to dry.
After everything is dried, you can go ahead and sand down certain spots, or add more paint if you like to cover up some of the distressing to your liking.
Once I was satisfied with the doors, I reattached all the hardware specific to each door, and hung each door back up in it’s original location. You will need 2 people to do this properly. Wedging a book under the base of the door helps steady the door when you are trying to reattach it.
As I lived with the distressed doors in my house a few months, I felt like I wanted to make them look slightly less distressed. You can easily fix this by adding a little more paint to your doors to cover up some of the crackle. I liked the original distressing ended up being a little too rustic in my house. I did leave spots where the crackle still showed through, mostly around places that it would naturally occur such as areas around the handles and some of the edges. You’ll be able to make simple touchups to the doors without taking them off their hinges again. Phew.
This was an inexpensive project and it really added a farmhouse look to my house. I enjoyed the process it was a good learning experience for me. Now I feel like I could easily redo them in another color or something completely different in the future!
I also did a door in red with a black background. It came out fabulous! Perfect for a front door. Feel free to send me any questions that you have.
I hope you have as much fun doing this as I did. Remember you can always repaint over the door if you are not seeing the results you want. Experiment with the process as much as you need to, and to wear rubber gloves!
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