DIY this: paint sliding closet doors for trim effect

10th September 2012

Do you have any of these closet doors in your house? You know, the sort of flimsy sliding kind? Well I do. And they happen to be in our master bedroom. Did you know you can paint sliding closet doors and transform them?

Not pretty, hey? Oh, and want a glimpse into some real life at the sweetest digs casa? Here is our bedroom in all it’s unmade bed and strewn laundry glory. Just keepin’ it real.

Well, I was ready to do something about these doors. I thought about just painting them out a solid colour, but then the idea for a pattern came to mind. I hummed and hawed about doing something intricate or colourful, but then realized that a simple rectangular box in each door in grey and white (so that it would blend with the walls) would be the way to go.

First step was to wash down the doors to remove any residue or dust. I didn’t need to sand since these doors aren’t wood, but if you have wooden closet doors you would want to use a medium and then fine grit sandpaper to prep the surface for paint (like these 3M Advanced Abrasives). To wash down the doors I just used some basic soap and water. If they had been glossy or had some other finish, a de-glosser might have been necessary.

Then I needed to measure out where I wanted the rectangular boxes to go. I started by measuring out the box and putting X’s where the corners would meet. I marked 3 inches in from the outer edges for each door. See that faint pencil mark in the photo below?

Next up I grabbed my ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape (the kind with the edge-lock paint line protector) and taped out the boxes. I cut the edges of the tape at the corners to make sure they were nice and crisp. Since I wanted to paint the inside and outside of where the tape is (and then take off the tape to reveal a white box), I needed to make sure the corners were perfect.

And then it was paint time. I used my leftover pot of paint from the walls (Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore), my mini-roller, a paint mask, and got to work. This was an older can of paint (before the low-VOC paints were so easily available), so I made sure to fully open the windows and wear a mask to ensure I didn’t inhale the paint fumes. You can find various kinds of masks to use when painting, sanding, or even cleaning from the 3M TEKK Protection series.

But after some easy-peasy pealing of the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape (the stuff came off like butter… soooo smooth), I was left with nice crisp white lines. The pattern totally looks like molding and makes the doors look way much more upscale.

Doesn’t it add a nice bit of pattern without being over the top? It’s simple, but feels classic and adds another layer of interest to the room. The bedroom is slowly getting closer to what I’d like it to look like. I still don’t quite know what that final version is, but it’s fun to add different elements over time and see how it comes together.

They just sort of blend in with the room now and actually make the space feel a bit bigger. Such an easy and quick (half-day) project, with great results. Even if you don’t happen to have sliding closet doors like these, you could use the same technique and pattern on any other kind of door or even a piece of furniture to give it that two-toned/molding look.

painted trim on closet doors

And just for kicks, I tried out my very first video tutorial. I feel a little bit mortified about being on camera (who knew I said “uhh/umm” and “so” that often?!), but here you go! It’s got the full play-by-play of the project with some extra tips and tricks. Promise you’ll still like me after watching, k?! Ha.


This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY, but all opinions and projects are my own! To enter to win free samples for your next DIY project, visit 3MDIY.com. Also be sure to check out 3M DIY on Facebook and 3M DIY on Twitter and 3M DIY on YouTube.

Product provided by our partner, 3M DIY.

  • http://Www.stardust-decorstyle.gr Olga@Stardust

    Gemma they look gorgeous and you rock! Much better now!

    • gemma

      Haha – thanks Olga!! I needed that little boost after posting my first video :)

      xo,
      gemma

  • Stephanie

    Love this! Such a nice little upgrade.

    • gemma

      Exactly.. so easy, too. Thanks Stephanie!

      xo,
      gemma

  • http://www.reneebeck.com Renee

    This is amazing! I would have never, ever thought of this, but I’m pinning it for future reference.

    • gemma

      Awesome! Thanks Renee :)

      xo,
      gemma

  • http://www.settingforfour.com Heather

    Turned out fantastic Gemma! Love that colour of gray! Really ties into the rest of the room now…and love your chandy!

  • http://shoesoffplease.wordpress.com/ Gilit

    I LOVE it!!! When I started reading, I began coming up with what I would do with those doors in my head and then I read your plan and I’m like “that’s perfect!”
    I am SUCH a fan of how it came out. Enjoy the newly painted closet doors!

  • http://chicnsavvyreviews.net Kelsey Apley

    Wow that is crazy at how much it added to your room. Great job and I love the colors!

  • Sandra

    Wow! What an amazing transformation. The doors look so chic and classic now. Great idea!

  • http://nate-and-megs.blogspot.com/ Megan

    Love the doors – such an easy change and it made a HUGE difference!

  • Joanne

    This looks amazing,Gemma! So timely because I’m in the process of deciding what to do with all of our ugly sliding doors. I was thinking wallpapering them, but this is such an awesome alternative! Genius!

    • gemma

      Thanks Joanne! Wallpapering would be fabulous, too. If you have multiple sets of these types of closets… you should go for both ideas! Good luck!

      xo,
      gemma

  • http://www.how2home.wordpress.com how2home

    Gemma! This has to be one of our favorite projects by you! Simple, effective and it looks great! It adds a really nice dimension to the closet doors. 2 thumbs up!

    • gemma

      Aww, thanks guys!! I really appreciate it :)

      xo,
      gemma

  • Jesse

    Just starting to look into renovations–very new to it all. I love the video, it’s really helpful!

    • gemma

      Thanks Jesse – it was my first video, so the comments of support are very appreciated :)

      Good luck with your renovations! Have fun with it!!

      xo,
      gemma

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  • http://artistontheinside.com Alexis

    This is so cute! I really like it. I have been debating making my own doors (terrible idea) this is so much easier!

    • gemma

      Glad it inspired you, Alexis!! It definitely makes a huge difference to those boooooring doors!

      xo,
      gemma

  • Sandy

    Gemma,

    I love this idea! Something that could be done inexpensively and looks outstanding!

    • gemma

      Thanks Sandy! Inexpensive but high impact seems to be the theme around my pad… !

      xo,
      gemma

  • Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs

    Pretty schnazzy! Nice job.

    • gemma

      Thanks Connie! They are holding up well, too. Still look good as new! :)

      xo,
      gem

  • Faye (MacGIRLver)

    These look great! Good job!

  • Julie

    Hi Gemma,
    Just found your blog via Pinterest, and I love it! Question: was the paint you used here latex or oil based, and was it flat or did it have a shiny finish to it? Thanks a bunch!

    • gemma

      Hi Julie! Thanks for popping by!!

      We used regular latex paint in an eggshell finish. It was actually leftover from a different project. It has been wearing well – no scratches or anything!

      xo,
      gem

  • Kenz @ Interiors by Kenz

    Hey hey hey! Let’s talk about one thing and one thing only: those are some dang sexy doors. Can a door be sexy? mmm, yes. I love them so much I’m going to feature them on my blog tomorrow. Feel free to come see how much I can talk about my love for those doors.

    http://Www.interiorsbykenz.com

    • gemma

      Hahah – this totally made me giggle!! Thanks so much, Kenz :) I’ll def be popping by your site!!!

      xo,
      gem

  • kristi poplin

    I just found your BEAUTIFUL projects and you have TOTALLY inspired me to get the ball rolling. I love what you did with these doors. I have a set of doors I MUST try this! Thank you so much!

    • gemma

      Thanks Kristi! They were SO easy and make such a difference to the room. Totally recommend this project! Have fun :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://DIY Laura

    Gemma, what color is the trim in your bedroom? I’d like to use the same colors. Thank you for your great idea!

    • gemma

      Hi Laura! I actually don’t know what exact white it is, as it was already white when we moved in and I haven’t had to re-paint. I have heard though, that Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” or “Decorator’s White” are two nice ones. Just make sure to bring the paint chips home first to test them out in your space. Some whites can look super yellow in different lights. Have fun!

      xo,
      gem

  • https://facebook.com/profile.php?id=773787563 Abby Hawkins Underwood

    In my search for ideas for sliding closet doors, I ran across your project! I love it and plan to try it myself…in two different rooms. It’s such a simple way to really change the look of a room. Thanks for your detailed post!

    • gemma

      Totally!!! I love those amazingly simple projects that make such a difference. Good luck! Would love to see a pic when you’re done!

      xo,
      gem

  • Linda

    Hi Gemma!!! Love Love the doors!!! Can you please tell me what width size blue painters tape you used? Also how long did you let the door dry before peeling the tape off? Sometimes paint comes off while peeling the tape. Let me know. Thanks!!

    • gemma

      Hi Linda. Thanks! You know what, I’m not sure what size of tape we used — it was the regular, standard painter’s BlueScotch painter’s tape – an inch and a half, or two inches wide? And I peeled the tape off after 5 or 10 minutes of drying. You are right, if you leave it on for too long, the tape will take up some of the paint.

      Good luck with your project!

      xo,
      gemma

  • Amy

    Do they rub against eachother when they slide open? Ours do! Ive already started painting ours when I thought of this… Maybe felt strips would fix it? Let me know if you have had this problem and what you did. :)

    • gemma

      Hi Amy! Our doors did not rub together, so I didn’t have to worry about the paint scrapping off. Felt strips might be the answer if they rub in a particular spot. Otherwise, I’m not sure? Maybe put a coat of polyeurathane or something on top to help protect the paint finish?

      Good luck!

      xo,
      gemma