How to Paint French Doors
by Kate Riley on February 7th, 2013
I committed to adding more color to my life in 2013, and I started by painting the French doors that lead to our living room space. Painting a glass paned door isn’t as difficult as you might think; you can add a fresh dose of color to your home with just a few hours of work.
Blue is my favorite color and you’ll find some shade of it in just about every room in our home. I chose to work with Glidden’s ‘Still Waters’—a lovely shade of teal that brought just the right punch of color to our entryway and living room space.
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, a painter’s tray, painter’s tape, rubber gloves, and a screwdriver or drill.
1. 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, deglossing will help your new paint adhere to the layer underneath. Apply it with a cotton rag or old towel, following the instructions on the product’s label.
Note: Here’s an easy test from Diane to find out if the existing paint is oil-based or latex: rub an inconspicuous spot with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. If the color comes off, it’s latex.
2. Next, tape off any doorknobs, hinges, or hardware with painter’s tape.
3. Once your deglosser has done its job, use a foam roller to apply your chosen shade of paint for quick coverage, then a high-quality angled brush to cover all the angles of the door’s interior. 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. Allow door to dry for a full day.
4. Once the paint is dry, score the paint that got on the glass panes with a sharp blade from a box cutter or utility knife, right where it meets the wood of the door. Scrape away the paint from the glass with a razor blade scraper. Peel off the latex paint with your fingers on both sides of the door.
Note: with this “no tape” method, it’s important to 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, which is very frustrating. If you wait until your paint is completely dry before you score, scrape, and peel, you won’t have that problem.
5. After you’ve removed the paint from both sides of the glass panes, clean the glass with glass cleaner and step back to enjoy your new painted French doors!