Making Old Closet Doors Look New

by Rachel Blackburn in ,


Caden and Emmy’s rooms both have brass-framed mirrored closest doors.  

Have I told you how much I love brass?  Um, yeah no.

The doors are not cheaply made.  They are big and heavy.  They also make me a little nostalgic, reminding me of the big antique-brass trimmed closet doors in my grandparents’ place in Palm Desert.  

We looked at replacing the doors, but for a number of reasons decided to refinish them.  Reason number one was money.  Good quality doors like these are expensive, and we are trying to renovate this house on a really tight budget.  Reason number two was eco-friendliness.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  And reason number 3 was that we couldn’t figure out how we would dispose of those big heavy beasts if we were to get rid of them!

We’ve already filled one three yard dumpster with stuff from this house, and we’ll probably need at least 3-4 more before the house is done.  Just saying…

So, we decided to reuse the closet doors.  They didn’t fit our design plan though, so they had to be given a facelift.

Enter, my good friend spray paint.

Don’t get me wrong.  I use spray paint as little as possible.  It’s definitely not zero VOC and it makes a mess, but there are some times you just need some good old metal-adhering spray paint.  And it’s cheap.

Michael took this project on.  We took the doors and track out of the 2 closets and painted them outside.  It took many layers and quite a bit of time, but we have brand-new looking doors for $25.  Quite the budget-booster, (mostly) eco-friendly and much more convenient than hauling the doors away!

- How to Paint Metal Trim on Mirrored Closet Doors -

1. Take the doors off the track and the track off the floor and wall.  

2. Put the screws and hardware in a baggie and store it somewhere safe, but not so safe that you won’t find them until you’ve given up and bought new screws and hardware.  Not that I’m speaking from experience here…

3. Clean the doors and hardware.  Get dust and rust off.  You might need a wire brush.  

4. Either tape plastic over the mirror part or resign yourself to scraping paint off of mirror with a razor blade.  Michael did the latter.

5. Spray several coats of spray paint on the metal frame.  Plan on many light coats of paint.  Too heavy and you’ll have drips.  Be sure you bought a spray paint that adheres to metal.  Read the label.

6. If you decide to scrape paint off of the mirror, do so once it’s dried.  Use a razor blade.  Otherwise, remove the tape and use a razor blade to touch up where the paint leaked through.

7. Run a line of painter's caulk around the inside of your door frame (smooth it with your finger or a little tool you buy at the hardware store) to hide any areas the paint couldn't reach.  Scrape the excess off with a razor blade.

8. Reinstall the doors and admire your work.  

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- A few things we learned -

1. Don’t try to paint when it’s below 50 degrees, no matter how tempted you are.  Trust us.

2. Michael found that scraping the paint off the glass was best done around 3-5 hours after painting on a warm, fairly un-humid day.  He said doing this kept the paint from chipping or peeling away from where we wanted it to stay.