Two months ago we finished our 90 mile move into a new house! I chose to attempt a door redesign on my office door as my first posted project at the new house. I started with a sage green heavily painted door and set out to transform it into an embellished shabby-chic masterpiece. We removed the door from the wall and set it out in the garage on two work horses.
- Particulate Respirator (face mask for sanding & spray painting)
- Skil Random Orbit Sander #7492 with 80 & 120 grit discs
- 220 & 320 sandpaper/sanding sponges
- Kilz Original (Oil Based Primer/Sealer/Stain Blocker)
- Klean-Strip Green Odorless Mineral Spirits
- Amy Howard 2.5″ flat china bristle brush
- Ace 6″ mini foam roller
- Creative Paperclay Modeling Material in White (16 oz/$8.48 on Amazon)
- Iron Orchid Designs– Prima Vintage Art Decor Moulds: Baroque #4 & #6 ($10/each on Amazon)
- Fuseworks Polarfuse “Steampunk” Molds
- Scraper (to smooth out clay in mold): Ace Plastic Mini Razor Scraper, Putty Knife, or a Butter Knife
- Titebond Premium Wood Glue
- Valspar Signature Paint & Primer in Marina Gray (Eggshell Finish)
- Olympic One Paint & Primer in Toasted Almond (Semi-Gloss Finish)
- Floetrol Paint Conditioner
- Daler-Rowney White Gesso
- Ace White Wiping Cloths (100% cotton t-shirt material)
- Frog Tape
- Laser-Printed French Poster Image
- Decoupage Glue
- Small Sea Sponge
- Pitt Big Brush Pens in Nougat & White (Odorless, Permanent, Waterproof)
- Satin Polycrylic Protective Finish (only used over the decoupage area)
- Foam Brush
- Chalk Mountain 100% Natural Furniture Wax in Clear
- 1st Place Chalk Paint & Wax Brushes
- Amy Howard Dust of Ages
- Rub N Buff metallic wax finish in Gold Leaf
- Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint in Black
- Rust-Oleum Chalked Protective Finish (Matte Clear)
Tips & Tricks:
- Air dry paper clay needs to be kept in a sealed bag/container so it does not dry out
- Work the clay for 15-20 seconds before pressing into the molds
- If you are not using the clay pieces immediately, let them dry in the molds so they do not bend/warp as they dry
- Paper clay feels pretty hefty while it is wet but it dries to a very lightweight consistency
- Frog Tape is superior to blue painter’s tape–paint/primer does not bleed through!
- I used an oil based primer to block the old green paint from popping through, to prevent future staining and for its durability
- Wax is not suggested for sealing a decoupaged image
- Use Pitt paint markers before applying the topcoat of decoupage glue or sealer (so you have a flat surface to draw on)
- Wax should always be used last–you can’t apply Polycrylic over wax because it repels water. Polycrylic can be used before wax.
- Dust of Ages is meant to stick to wax
- Wipe off Rub N Buff mistakes with clear wax if you are using wax as your finish
Front of the Door:
Sanding & Clay Molding
I began by using a random orbit sander (80 & 120 grit) and hand sanding (220 grit) to remove 90% of the green paint. Then I wiped down the surface with a micro-fiber cloth and began pressing air dry paper clay into baroque molds to create ornate embellishments for the surface. The molds released the clay much more easily when I brushed a little cornstarch into the mold before pressing. After pressing the clay into the mold, I carefully scraped away the excess with a putty knife and removed the clay piece from the mold. I immediately glued down the clay (with wood glue) and let it dry for 15 hours.
I got the idea to add clay molding to the door (and everything else in my house) after watching Debi’s Design Diary’s video “How to Blend Paint with a Spray Bottle and Use Clay Furniture Molds.” She is an amazing creator with fantastic energy! Check out her channel for furniture, painting, and crafting projects.
We tossed around a million ideas before choosing the type & color of paint for covering the sanded, embellished door. I chose to first prime the door with Kilz Original (an oil-based primer.) This primer turned out to be very thick & hard to spread. My first coat was applied with a 2.5″ flat china bristle brush and a 3/8″ roller. It was not beautiful when dry with lots of brush marks. Two hours later, I sanded with a 220 grit sanding sponge, wiped down the surface with a slightly damp wiping cloth, and applied the second coat.
This time, I diluted the primer with mineral spirits (1 part m.s. to 3 parts oil based primer) with the same brush for the details and an Ace 6″ mini foam roller with much better results! The second coat was sanded with 220 grit sandpaper. [Oil based primer can be used under latex paint but water based primer should not be used under an oil based paint]
Painting & Gesso Wash
The next day I applied my paint! I mixed 11 oz. of Valspar Signature Paint in Marina Gray (Eggshell) with 6 oz. of Olympic One in Toasted Almond (Semi-Gloss.) To the paint, I added 1 oz. of Floetrol to slow down the dry time so the brush strokes could level out. I applied all of the paint with the (cleaned) 2.5″ flat china bristle brush. Four hours later, I carefully sanded the surface with a 320 grit sanding sponge, wiped off the surface, and applied a second coat.
After the second coat of paint was dry & sanded, I applied a wash of white gesso to the door. I diluted the gesso (1 part water to 1 part gesso) and brushed it onto the door, wiping back the wash with Ace cotton wiping cloths. I applied several thin coats, adding extra coats to the perimeter of the door and left the door to dry overnight.
Weeks ago, I found a video & post from Upcycle with Decoupage that linked off to a beautiful image of a french poster. I printed off the poster (with our laser printer) on one sheet and removed the border before applying. To start, I used frog tape to outline the paper & mark the decoupage glue area. I made my own glue with 1/2 cup of Elmer’s Glue All (not School Glue,) 1/8 cup of water, and 1/8 cup of Satin Polycrylic.
Following her instructions, I wet the paper thoroughly with a sea sponge before applying over a layer of decoupage glue. I gently pressed down the image with the damp sponge to smooth the image & remove air bubbles. Once dry, I covered the top of the image with a layer of decoupage glue. Then I used Pitt Big Brush Pens to outline (and smudge with my fingers) the image before sealing with Satin Polycrylic. The satin finish was exactly what I wanted & did not give too much shine.
Wax & Dust of Ages
Next, I brushed on clear wax to the perimeter of the door, focusing on the clay molding. I applied Amy Howard’s Dust of Ages to the wax while it was still tacky with a chalk paint brush & rubbed back the color with mineral spirits (on paper towel.) The powder will look very dark when first applied. Mineral spirits soften and lighten the appearance.
I had hoped for a darker aged look, so I brushed on a generous amount of the powder and let it sit for one hour. I brushed away the excess powder and buffed. It pretty much looked the same–but I have some noticeable aging in my crevices. With the frog tape still in place around the decoupaged image, I went back & applied the clear wax to the rest of the door.
Rub N Buff
I applied gold metallic wax to the side of the door with a wiping cloth as my last step. I used Rub N Buff in Gold Leaf and as I was buffing out the side of the door, I applied a tiny bit to the high points of the clay molding & around the decoupaged image too.
Back of the Door:
Marking the Door & Sanding
I found the back of the door quite attractive until I removed the green paint because anything looked better to me than the green paint. We placed the door back on its hinges and had a good laugh when we realized that the door didn’t hang straight. We aren’t ready to rip the frame apart just yet. I stood behind the closed door and traced around the framing. This was to ensure that I did not apply clay molding in a manner that would prevent the door from shutting.
We carefully set the door face down on the work horses. We set down a towel on the top of each work horse and we positioned the door so it was not rubbing on the decoupaged image. I sanded with a 220 sanding block & applied clay molding (with wood glue) which I let dry for a day.
We had 2 cans of black chalkboard spray paint that I picked up for $1.76/ea. at a local discount store. I liked the idea of a matte black surface for the back of the door. After puttying between some molding that had shrunk and taping off the handle & the edge of the door, I was ready to spray. ***If I had wanted to turn the door into a chalkboard for drawing on, I would have primed it***
Spray paint has strong fumes and this was a large project. I made sure to wear a disposable respirator. The towels were removed and I moved the work horses and door out of the edge of the garage & across the yard. I applied 4 coats of the chalkboard spray paint, waiting 20-30 minutes between coats.
24 hours after the last coat of paint, I brushed on Rust-Oleum Chalked Protective Top Coat. I applied two coats, letting the first coat dry for two hours. 24 hours later, we hung the door back up.
A tiny bit of the black spray paint ended up on the front of the door, but I like it. It works well with the aging dust effect.
The Finished Door:
The door redesign went smoothly & I love the new door! It took awhile to finish but it was worth it. This door is in a highly visible area in the dining room. I restrained myself from glitter coats or bright pink colors. I love the finished look using the clay & molds so this definitely won’t be the last time I decorate furniture with clay molding.
One door down, 3-4 more to go. The previous owner & renters liked green paint. They liked it so much that they used three different shades of green on interior & exterior doors and 2-3 greens on the walls. Seeing the new door really makes me want to get rid of the yellow paint in the kitchen & dining room! I would love to focus on painting but I have exterior projects to complete first. This office door redesign was a fantastic break from caulking & applying foam!