How to Distress Hollow Core Doors
On today’s episode of Bless’er House flops…
this oh-so-innocent looking but dastardly door.
I know this oak grained antique door may be looking at you all puppy dog eyed, but let me tell you. We had it out, this door and I. And actually there were two of them.
Two months ago, I had mentioned as we were in the middle of our master bedroom makeover that I’d found the Craigslist treasure of the year, a pair of old solid oak doors for only $10 each. What a deal! Well, uh… not so much.
After going at these things with varnish stripper for hours and sanding down to the bare wood with my palm sander until my arms went numb, I realized after further inspection that they were in rough shape. There were cracks all over them and since they were solid oak, they were easily 200 pounds each. (Which I already knew before trying to strip them down, but I was stubborn and swore they would somehow magically work.)
UPDATE: See our full master bedroom makeover reveal here!
The whole point of getting new doors for our master bedroom was to put them on a track to help our weird door configuration in there, and I’m pretty sure these beastly ones would have caused it to rip right out of our drywall. Sigh…
So on to Plan B- hollow core doors:
Since I wouldn’t be able to have that gorgeous wood grain I so badly wanted, I decided to go for texture with a chippy paint look instead.
The only problem was… it’s not all that simple to achieve that look on these types of doors because they’re not really wood at all. I mean, they’re practically a step up from cardboard.
But I got as close to the real deal as I could.
Supplies used: (Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information, see my full disclosure here.)
- Fusion Mineral Paint in Algonquin
- Crackle Medium
- Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement
- Paint brush (This one is my favorite.)
- Paint sprayer (I used this one from HomeRight and it worked like a champ.)
- Hollow core doors of your choice (I got these 5 panel doors at Lowe’s during their 20% off windows and doors sale. #neverpayretail)
I wanted to make the doors look like they were solid wood underneath the chippy paint finish, so I painted a coat of the Algonquin color first. I used my paint brush, but you could use the sprayer if you wanted to for this step.
Normally, I would paint two coats, but since this was only the base, I just did one. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
When the Algonquin was dry, I brushed on the crackle medium, which is clear. The thicker you brush it on, the bigger your cracks will be, so I laid it on pretty thick. Lay your door down flat on the ground as you want the crackle to be even and you don’t want it to drip or puddle.
Just follow the directions on the back of your crackle medium. I used the CraftSmart brand from Michaels, but I couldn’t find it to buy online anywhere for some reason.
I let the crackle dry thoroughly, about 2-3 hours.
For some extra distressing, I used my fingers to rub a little Vaseline on some of the edges of the door panels where paint would naturally rub off with age.
Then, this guy came along…
This was the first time I ever tried a paint sprayer and my life is officially changed. It saved me a good hour of painting by hand, literally. It’s going to be my lifesaver when I get to painting our cabinets in our kitchen makeover.
The reason I used a sprayer was because crackle medium is tricky stuff. If you overbrush it, it won’t crackle and you end up with this gunky weird texture. But if you only brush on one stroke of paint to make the crackle work properly, you can end up with odd looking brush strokes on large surfaces. So the sprayer was an easy way around all of those problems.
I poured an entire 500mL bottle of the Casement color paint into the sprayer’s paint chamber and mixed in about 10% water to thin it. That amount just barely covered 1 door, front and back.
Make sure you practice with water first if you’ve never used a sprayer to get used to it and figure out how to spray a steady, even stream.
I sprayed on one fairly thick coat of the white to get good coverage (since you can’t do a second coat with the crackle) and then watched the magic happen. You can watch it crackle right before your eyes in a matter of a few minutes.
When the paint was thoroughly dry, I wiped away the Vaseline I’d rubbed on the panel edges with a clean rag to reveal more of the brown tone underneath.
And that was it! This actually took a lot of trial and error, but I’m finally pretty happy with how these doors turned out.
Our next step is hanging them on a barn door track so they will slide. I’ll be so glad when our bathroom door no longer slams into our shower door and creates a traffic jam for Robert, Olivia, and me.
With the chippy texture and the metal track that will go on this wall, I think it’ll finally wrap up this room and give it a little bit more of the farmhouse vibe. This bedroom turned out more modern than I originally planned, but I kinda love it.
So what do you think about them? Perfectly chippy? Too distressed? You think we’re fooling anybody with these? After several attempt at this door situation, I’m just glad it’s all done.
If you missed any of the other master bedroom makeover shenanigans, you can check out all of the projects and plans from the beginning:
- Master Bedroom Design Plan
- How to Get Designer Paint Colors on the Cheap
- DIY Planked Board and Batten Focal Wall
- Quick and Easy Dresser Makeover
- 3 Tricks to Upgrade Plain Windows
- Choosing the Perfect Blue Vintage Rug
- DIY Metal Industrial Initial Sign
If you ever want to go distress, chippy crazy on any hollow core doors in your house, you can pin this post for future reference:
P.S. I can’t tell you guys how thankful I am for your sweet words from last week’s e-course launch. I hope y’all are loving it! Have any of you finished it yet? What did you think???