How To Turn A Vintage Door Into a Family Message Center

We came across some really neat vintage doors in our travels recently. So, of course, Dave crammed them into the back of his big white van and we brought them over to All Things New Again in Leesburg, VA!

Vintage Door3

Vintage Door1

Vintage Door2Vintage doors are very popular right now. Check out Pinterest for one million things you can do with them! Here’s a DIY project Dave and I did (and you can easily do too!) to transform a ho-hum door into a perfectly weathered message center for your home using Real Milk Paint Company non-toxic milk paint.

Here’s the before shot:

vintage door_beforeThe 24 x 80 inch door had a great shape to it—and a beat-up white paint job that needed sprucing up.

We started by cleaning up the door. Cleaning is always my least favorite part of any paint makeover, but it is so important. Dave was really nice and did this part for me!

Then I mixed up a batch of Real Milk Paint Company’s Warm Ash and sloppy painted it on.

vintage door_warm ash basecoatThis wasn’t even a full coat of paint. I just wanted to get some of this rich color onto the door so when I distressed it later, the brown would come through instead of the old white color.

PAINT TIP: Warm Ash is a great color to use as a basecoat—especially if you are covering up a previously painted piece and you want to give the appearance of wood coming through your final color.

The next step was a bit of an experiment for us. After the Warm Ash dried, we applied Real Milk Paint’s Hemp Oil around the edges of the door where we thought it would naturally distress over time. The Hemp Oil creates a resist for the second color of paint you apply, allowing the basecoat color to come through with some wonderful texture.

vintage door_warm ash basecoat2We learned you do not want to apply the Hemp Oil in big splotches—thin lines will do nicely. Apply the second color of paint while the Hemp Oil is still wet. As they dry together, it creates an old, crackly, alligator’ed look that I love.

We used Real Milk Paint’s Granny Smith Green—a pretty color more on the yellow side of green.

vintage door_real milk paint cansOnce the Granny Smith Green dried, it kind of bubbled up and crackled where the Hemp Oil was applied underneath. I came back and halfway scraped/ halfway sanded these areas to reveal the Warm Ash brown color.

In some places, it looks distressed. In other places, it looks alligator’ed. The entire door looks vintage and beautiful. I’m very happy with how it looks and I’m glad we tried out this new technique.

vintage door_granny appleI finished by sanding the entire door just to smooth everything out. (No need to break out a sander. I just rubbed it with a sanding block for a few minutes.) Then I brushed on Hemp Oil again—this time over the entire door—to seal the paint.

My original plan was to paint the entire door green, but then our friend, Kirsten, stopped by the shop while we were working and said that top panel was the perfect space to paint a chalkboard.

She was so right! Thank you, Kirsten, for the great idea!

We changed our design and painted that big square with four coats of black chalk-type paint nice and thick. When it was completely dry, I “seasoned” it by turning a piece of chalk sideways and rubbing all over to prepare the surface for writing on it. (Courtney shot a video on painting chalkboards onto furniture. Here’s the link.)

The finishing touches complement the rustic look of the piece. We took a cup handle and turned it upside down to make a chalk tray. We also added rusty star-shaped knobs from the inventory we carry in the shop to hang a wire basket.

Now this vintage door looks beautiful—and it serves a great function as a family message center and spot to drop mail. Perfect for an entryway or mud room!

vintage door_real milk paint

vintage door_hardware closeup2

vintage door_hardware closeup1

vintage door_chalk holder

I like how this project turned out so much that I might just grab one of those other doors and paint it to match MY mudroom at home!

~ Cathy

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All Things New Again is a family-owned furniture and paint boutique in Leesburg, Virginia, about an hour or so west of Washington, D.C. We offer our own eclectic brand of hand painted furniture, home decor and several lines of paint for your next DIY project. We also offer painting classes and workshops. Stop by the next time you are in town!






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