French Door Makeover | Part One – Painting

I’ve been working on updating my living room one project at a time.   Since trimming out my windows and building an over-mantle, my french doors were looking a little worn and outdated.  This past week I finally painted and updated the trim around my french doors.   If you want to know how to update your door trim, go to Part Two of this tutorial.

How to install craftsman style door casings on french doors.

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I used the same process to paint my french doors as I did to refinish my bookcases and storage cabinet

To keep from breathing in over spray, always wear a Paint Project Respirator .  The paint sprayer I’ve been using is my Wagner Control Spray Max. I’ve had this sprayer for several years and used it on many projects, including staining my deck

First, I removed the doors and took them in my unfinished basement where I set up a meg shift spray booth; plastic on two walls with drop cloths covering the floor.  Make sure all other furniture is far enough away from where you are spraying, as there will be over spray particles in the air. 

Then, I removed all of the hardware from the doors and set them up on boards to prevent them from sticking to the drop cloth.  I also put a piece of cardboard behind the top back of the doors to keep them from sticking to the plastic on the walls.

Usually I would recommend priming, but I did not prime the doors this time as they already had a good base coat of paint on them.  My favorite primer is Bullseye 1-2-3.  I do not recommend trying to spray this primer, since it is super thick.  I would paint it on with a brush.  I’ve read that you can use Kilz, but I have not personally tried it.

Next, I coated all of the windows with masking liquid.  See the picture below.  I only used about a third of the can to do both sides of two doors.  

Masking liquid for painting windows.

Paint it on with a brush, doing the edges first and then the center of each window.  It looks milky white when you first put it on, but then it dries clear.

Painting french doors.

Next, you can paint the entire door.  When you’re done, gently score the edges of each window with a razor blade knife and peel off the mask.  Below is a picture showing how easy it is to peel off.

Masking liquid on french doors.

Lastly, I reinstalled all the hardware and put the doors back up.  I am very pleased with the way these came out.  Now they are clean and fresh, with no brush marks!


  1. Thin the paint.  You will need a stop watch and your paint viscosity cup (comes with sprayer).  Add some paint to the container for the sprayer and add water to the paint.  Mix well.  Then dip the viscosity cup into the paint/water mixture and start a timer.  When using latex paint, the viscosity cup should empty out by about 50 seconds.  If it empties too fast, your paint will run; empties too slow your paint will be bumpy.  You should have a viscosity chart in the manual of your sprayer.  All paint is a little different, so you will want to test it out on cardboard before you start your project.  The paint color is Behr, Snowy Pine.
  2. Working from top to bottom, make very thin even passes with your sprayer.  Don’t try to cover too much at a time or your paint will run.  If you do get a run, smooth it out quickly with a paint brush.
  3. Wait until the paint is completely dry before re-coating.

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How to paint doors with a paint sprayer.

I hope you found this post helpful!  Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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