DIY Projects, Home Decor

How to Glam-Up Your Vintage Door

Welcome, friends! It’s back-to-school-time and with that I am finally feeling the need to do some fun DIY/crafting projects. 🙂 Today I am sharing how to glam-up an old door I have had in my stash since 2008…

Tools needed for this project

  • drill and drill bits – for wood and metal
  • scroll saw or jig saw to cut out small wood pieces as needed
  • pliers and screw drivers
  • wood glue (I used regular wood glue and Gorilla wood glue), paintable and stainable
  • blue painter’s tape
  • sand paper
  • sanded grout, paintable and stainable
  • paint and paint brushes, various sizes
  • black spray paint
  • antique/vintage hardware escutcheons and glass doorknobs plus center hardware

How to begin?

Start with cleaning your door with a little soap and water (or even just plain water) on a damp cloth, then wipe the door dry. I took my time cleaning the windows with glass cleaner and to clean the lead pieces.

Next, I used a little Lemon Pledge on the stained side of the door (the original outside of this door), and then began figuring out what needed to be done to prep the door for new hardware. 😉

I gathered a drill and drill bits, some old screws (from a box of screws and closet hanger hardware we have had since our first home closet rebuild), and five craft and chalk paint containers from my craft room.

The escutcheons (decorative but purposeful flat door pieces to go behind doorknobs) I picked up at Second Impressions Antique Store in South Dakota when Mr. Ethereal and I were driving home from Peter and Justine’s wedding in 2016.

I am soooo glad that I found those escutcheons since I have had this pair of antique glass door knobs waiting in my stash of goodies for over 20 years! It is nice to finally be able to use these pieces on this door project.

Many of these things I had intended to go on a future birdhouse (back then), but you know how that goes… Eventually you use them where you need them, regardless of the original thought you had for them, lol!

Hubby used a super large, round paddle bit to drill these circles for me! 🙂

The first things which had to be fixed on this door were the big gaping holes where contemporary door hardware used to sit. I asked Mr. Ethereal if he’d help me drill some round inserts from a leftover 2″ x 4″ we had.

The grout shows here on the backside of the door as I was staining it and adding paint striations to help “blend it in.”

They ended up a little smaller than needed, but a bunch of globs of Gorilla wood glue and regular wood glue helped fill in the gaps. I placed blue painter’s tape around to catch any drips and to contain the glue while it dried.

When the glue was mostly dry, I filled in the backside of the inserts and remaining gaps with sanded grout. Let dry completely/overnight.


Next, I mixed various shades of chalk and acrylic paints on a folded paper towel in medium grey, teal, light teal (more of a white), black and brown to create a hue close to the green side of the door.

On the backside, I used some old stain we had in a reddish tint to color the grout then added brown paint and later some tiny vertical brown lines to try and “match” the grain of the oak door.

You can just see some of the paint attempts made to match to door (practically impossible!). It’s not great but at least there isn’t light tan anymore from the grout and wood inserts! 🙂

Adding the Hardware

I grabbed four 1/2″ all-purpose screws from the leftovers box and used the driver drill to screw the white escutcheon on the green side of the door, making sure the piece was aligned vertically with the door edge.

The backside escutcheon will be added after drilling the doorknob hole.

Testing out the door knob in its freshly drilled hole!

Drilling the door knob hole

By adding the front escutcheon first (the white one), I was able to use its door knob hole as the template to drill through the door. Once drilled, I tested the door knob to see if I needed to drill out more or to straighten it.

It’s a little off, as I didn’t have a jig to keep the drill bit completely square, but it’s not going to be used as an actual door, just as an accent piece, so it’s fine. 🙂

Adding the back escutcheon

This particular escutcheon is meant to be embedded into the door, for safety purposes, for the original lock to function. I didn’t want to bevel out the door, which could have been done but I haven’t done that before. We actually have wood carving tools, but I thought I’d add a piece of wood to the back to take up the surrounding space instead.

Using a scroll saw is a lot like using a sewing machine. You have to move whatever you are cutting around the blade, much like you move fabric around a stationary sewing needle.

To cut out the inner piece without going through the outer edges of the wood, turn off the saw, undo the tension (top knob at the back of the arm) and undo the saw blade knob (the one zooming up and down, on the lower-right at the front of the arm. 🙂

Drill a pilot hole through the center of the inner square to begin the inner cutting.

Then, push down on the front-top of the needle housing and the blade will easily pull out. Slip the blade through the drilled hole, reattach the needle, tighten the blade knob plus the tension knob, and saw away!

I realized I’d have to bevel the edges after (or during) the cutting process, so I did that after seeing if I needed to cut off any more wood.

Rechecking the cuts…

It took about an hour to fine-tune this wood insert, a little sanding, then it was ready to set into the black escutcheon and screw onto the backside of the door.

I took a little time out to spray paint the wood black, let it dry out in the 95 degree heat while eating lunch, then aligned the pieces on the door. Painting the wood piece black helps it to not be so visible when the door is viewed from the side.

Upon figuring out where the doorknob hole needed to be, and where the escutcheon needed to be placed (to cover over some of the filled door holes), I realized the escutcheon needed to be drilled.

Mr. Ethereal helped me drill through the lower part of the inner metal creating a hole for the doorknob center hardware.

Had to use the pliers to remove the one short screw which didn’t work and wouldn’t come out without a little assistance. 🙂

Going back to the hardware box, I pulled out more 1/2″ screws, but they were too short to hold the escutcheon on the door, now with the wood piece taking up space.

Adding (4) thin 1″ wood screws worked perfectly! And they were galvanized and a bit black with age ~ absolute perfection…

And that’s all there is to glamming up your vintage door! Please share doors with me which you have redone, I’d love to see them. 🙂

Happy creating, friends,

Barb 🙂

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