Painted French Doors

January 31, 2013

Sometimes I need to listen to my own advice.  I was crushing on colorful mullions and trim a few weeks ago and wishing I could go that route and then I smacked my head and realized I could so add color to my house if I just painted my interior French doors.  So I did.

They’ve been white for five years and I decided to have some fun – I chose a medium shade of teal blue by Glidden called ‘Still Waters’ and it gives the entry and the living room a dose of fresh color.

diy painted french doors


Painting divided light French doors isn’t difficult, you can even paint them in place, you just need these supplies.  A tarp, a foam roller, deglosser, an angled paintbrush, a utility knife or box cutter, a razor blade scraper and painter’s tray (not shown),  painter’s tape, rubber gloves, and a screwdriver or drill.

painting supplies


I tape off doorknobs and loosen but don’t remove door hardware, then I tape around the loosened pieces, then tape off the hinges too.

tape around doorknobs

taped hinges


I don’t tape off glass because it takes too much time and since you can scrape latex paint right off the glass at the end, I don’t bother.  But first, degloss your door with a sander/deglosser product.

If your door is painted with oil based paint and you’re painting over it with latex, you’ll have to prime first.  If the underlying paint is already latex, you can go right over it with more latex but deglossing will help your new paint adhere to the layer underneath.  I rub it on with an old towel or rag.

deglosser on rag

Wear gloves and follow the instructions on the label.

degloss door


When the deglosser has done its job, I apply paint first with a foam roller for even coverage then I follow it up with a high quality brush and paint all the muntins (a reader shared the difference between mullions and muntins with me, you can read the article here.)

foam roll door

Paint one side of the door at a time and watch for drips – paint right onto the glass since you’ll scrape it off later.  I always do two coats, but if you’re going with a dark color, you may need three.

angled brush


I don’t tape off glass because latex paint peels right off of it and even if I took the time to tape off, there would still be bits of paint on the glass so I skip that and just plan on removing it all in the end.  Here’s how.  Score it with a sharp blade from a box cutter or utility knife.

score edges with blade


Next use a razor blade to scrape the paint off the glass.

scrape with blade


*A word of caution: the proper tool for this kind of scraping is a razor blade scraper.  I couldn’t find mine but it’s much safer to use one of these and not hold a razor blade in your fingers!  So ignore my example and use the right tool – they’re pretty cheap at your local home improvement store.

razor blade scraper


Once you score the edges and scrape it with a razor blade you can easily peel it right off the window.

peeling paint


**But here’s a tip:  with this “no tape” method, wait one full day for your paint to dry because when you peel it off you get long strips and small flakes and if your door is still wet those flakes will stick to the door as they fall off – very frustrating.  If you wait until your paint is dry before you score, scrape, and peel this stuff you won’t have that problem.

We have two sets of doors so I painted both sets – the new color plays well with the blue accessories scattered throughout the rest of the living room.

tufted sofa blue doors

living room cg

The thing I love about paint is… it’s just paint!  If I ever want to make them white again or a different color, it’s an easy change.

diy painted french doors

Painting your interior doors is a great way to inject your home with more color with just a few supplies.  If you have any pictures of doors you’ve painted, send them my way, I’d love to see your results!


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