The Aging of a Door

Any project you see on this site has multiple steps, steps you often miss when viewing the final product.  This door was no exception!  It started as a beautiful old, solid wood Farmhouse door that, although I loved its chippy look, needed a makeover to be functional in anyone’s home.


So…  the start of any project is to clean the piece thoroughly.  Dirt, grime…  whatever’s on there has got to go!  In this case it also meant the removal of multiple layers of old, chippy paint.  A nice sunny day meant it was the perfect time to haul that sucker out of the garage and get started!  Luckily, all that was needed was a lot of scraping and no actual stripper (of any kind!) was needed.

I knew that I wanted to try two very different looks for the two sides of this door, giving options to its ultimate owner!  This side was going old and rusty so once the last speck of paint was removed it was time to begin adding paint.  Sheesh!


STEP 1.  The first step in the rust process (I used the Modern Masters system) is to apply two coats of their primer.  It’s necessary to use their primer since it is designed to block any of the metals or rusting agent to penetrate through to your base item.  This is particularly important if you are painting over metal since you don’t want to actually begin rusting that metal out!  All I can say is that it’s a good thing we are going to be painting over this primer colour because beautiful it is not.  It is however, effective and that’s what counts at this stage!


STEP 3.  Once dry two coats of the Iron paint are applied.  This is a black paint that has actual Iron particles in it so care is taken to apply it.  Unlike other times in painting you are not necessarily looking for a smooth application of this.  You can paint in multiple directions, stipple it in areas, use a sea sponge in others…  those variations in the paint will provide some interest and variation in how the ‘rust’ reveals itself.  However, at this point it pretty much looks like a big, black, rather boring old door.  Once this coat is dry though the fun begins!

STEP 3.  This is where the magic happens.  Spray the rust activator over the whole piece.  You may even want to come back after 30 minutes or so to spray again in certain areas.  At this point you want to include some variation in the application.  A light misting will give you one look.  Over misting another.  Using a sea sponge to add texture another.  You could stand your piece up and allow some of the activator to run and create drips or to pool in areas to provide heavier coverage.  Although you’ll see some things start to happen within a half hour or so walk away.  Yep…  leave it alone for at least 24 hours and come back to view the magic…

Just look at all that glorious rust patina!  You can see the areas that were barely misted compared to those that had the activator applied with a heavier hand and those areas where the activator was allowed to pool.  Wonderful!  If you love this as it is you can simply seal it (to stop the activation process from continuing) and you’re done.  I would suggest a spray sealer so that your brush doesn’t move and smear any of the rust pastina.

However, you could go on and add a bit of colour to create an even more patinaed look.

(I think I’m making up the word ‘patinaed’ since spell-checker doesn’t like it, and it does look weird in print, but…  it totally works when you say it out loud in the context of my sentence so I’m leaving it.  I can if I want to!) I watered down paints in shades of green and turquoise and teal roughly 50/50, spattered and spritzed ’em, using paper towels here and there to soak up the excess.

Paint stayed in some of the grooves and crevices around the rust, flowed down through areas, spread and layered creating new shades and blended colours.  So cool!


Finally… I sealed it up!  Though there are seemingly a lot of steps to this – none of them is particularly challenging or difficult.  Honestly, the most work in this piece was the removal of the original paint.  However, given my patented dislike for cleaning…  the prep work on any piece is always my least favourite.  Maybe sanding.  Maybe sanding because it creates dust that needs cleaning…  Yep, there is a definite inter-relationship there.  Don’t get me wrong, I like things to be clean, I would just prefer someone else clean ’em!  However, unfortunately, that is not my life so I get to do the prep and cleaning of pieces too!  Sheesh!

And here’s this ‘rusty’ side of the finished door… Which is far lovelier in person where you get to experience all the variations in shades up close and personal.  The colours also shift with the play of light across them so it looks different in the morning, from the afternoon light or evening shadows.  LOVE it!

Rusty Door Main WM

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