Thrifty Transformation: How to Paint a Door to Look Like Wood

$40
1 Day
Easy

For a few years, I've wanted to spruce up our side door. Find out how I made it look like an expensive, solid wood door for less than $40.
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
Here's a peek at the before and after.
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
After removing the hardware and cleaning off all the cobwebs and bugs, I gave the door a once over with a coat of exterior flat paint. I chose Clark+Kensington® Paint & Primer in One – in Copper Pot, purchased at Ace Hardware. I chose the orange color because I wanted a finished result that mimicked a cedar/cherry wood look. I would recommend choosing a base paint color that matches the undertones of whatever wood you want to replicate.
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
After the paint dried, I mixed together portions of two tubes of Minwax Water-Based Express Color Wiping Stain and Finish. I chose mahogany and walnut and ended up using a little more of the mahogany. (This thicker wiping stain or a similar gel stain is key for this project. Regular stain will not adhere to painted pieces.)
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
Then I used a good paintbrush (Purdy is my all-time favorite) to apply a coat of the mixed stain to a small section of the door, attempting to create a natural wood look.
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
I had my laptop nearby the whole time, displaying a photo of a door I wanted to replicate. This gave me a clear picture of the direction, appearance and texture of real wood grain. I used this handy wood graining tool to create realistic knots and different types of wood grain patterns in the stain.
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
Together, the exterior paint base and wiping stain create a superior, durable finish. I used this exact same technique on our front door and it has held up spectacularly well for several years. We have a dog that jumps on the door every day and there is not one single scratch in the finish!
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
The wood grain looks realistic, even close up!
thrifty transformation how to paint a door to look like wood, doors, how to, painting
What do you think of the transformation? Visit the blog post for more details on this project.
Living Rich on Less - Susan

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Sue Irwin
    on Jul 25, 2017

    I want to do my kitchen in RED and ideas?
    • Cathy
      on Jan 11, 2019

      your doors or your kitchen? I have shades of white/ cream in my kitchen with a red facet and accents, I can’t share pics here but you can pm me and I’ll share

  • Lorrie Garrett Nelson Dick
    on Nov 16, 2017

    Love your Faux Wood Door! Would this work on a ceiling beam? (drywall & plaster).
  • Olive
    on Aug 22, 2018

    What's the little tool youused to create wood knots etc?

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