A Brush with Elegance: How to Paint French Doors Like a Pro

French doors are an elegant and fun choice for any household. They have beautiful windows that allow sunlight to come in and it’s always fun to swing a French door open as if you live in a castle. 

To make French doors even more beautiful, you can paint them to match the theme of your house.

However, the many windows on French doors can add to the challenge of painting them.

Let’s take a moment to learn how to easily paint French doors so you can match your doors to your house and pull everything together. 

What are French Doors?

What are French Doors

French doors are typically categorized by being a pair of doors that are primarily windows. They have a light construction with many glass panes to let in sunlight.

Many French doors will open either inwards or outwards, though, you can purchase French sliding doors that will open to the side instead of outwards. 

French doors are used as doors to the outdoors. Some use them as the main entrance doors while others use them for the doors leading to the backyard or a patio.

They are very large and take up a lot of wall space. People with very large houses may have French doors inside leading to rooms like a dining room or a study.

How to Paint French Doors – A Step-by-step Guide

Painting French doors will take more work than painting a normal door as you have to avoid getting paint on the glass.

If your French door slides, you will also have to keep that movement in mind as well when you get to painting. 

With that said, it still is easy to paint French doors when you take the proper precautions.

With this tutorial, you will have a simple time painting a French door that you will love and that will look great in your house. 

Step 1: Materials You Will Need

Before you get started, there are several materials you will need to gather to paint your French doors. 

When you see the many windows that French doors have, you may be tempted to grab the masking tape and get to work.

Don’t do that! We have a much simpler way of keeping those windows out of the way of the paint that won’t cost much more than tape. 

To get started, gather the following materials.

  • Your paint of choice
  • Masking liquid (this is in place of masking tape)
  • A brush for the masking liquid
  • Paintbrushes of various sizes for the paint
  • Paint Primer
  • Paint Sealant
  • A utility knife

Instead of using paintbrushes to apply the paint to your French doors, you can also use a paint sprayer.

However, we won’t be covering a paint sprayer today to make this tutorial applicable to all forms of French doors including sliding doors.

We also don’t recommend using spray paint on interior French doors due to a lack of ventilation and possible mess.

Step 2: Be Safe

Before you start applying the masking liquid and painting, there are a few safety precautions you need to take to make sure you stay safe throughout the entire process. 

First, make sure that the area you are working in is properly ventilated. While part of your French door painting process may be outside, you will still need to paint the side of the door inside your house. You shouldn’t breathe in paint or masking liquid fumes. 

Wear clothes that are okay to get dirty. You are likely going to get paint on yourself during the process, so you don’t want to wear nice clothes. 

Protect the floors inside your house by placing newspaper or a tarp to catch any paint drips.

After you follow all of these safety procedures, you are ready to work on your French doors. 

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Step 3: Apply Masking Liquid

Apply Masking Liquid

The first step you will want to complete when painting your doors is to protect the many windows.

You don’t want to use masking tape for this step. A lot of tape would be needed to cover every single window and that will take a ton of time. 

Instead, get your masking liquid and a paintbrush dedicated to the liquid. On each window panel, paint a thick and even coat of the masking liquid. This won’t harm the glass at all and won’t be difficult to remove later. 

The masking liquid will go on as a creamy white color and turn clear as it dries. You will need to wait at least 3 hours to allow the masking liquid to completely dry before you begin to paint.

Once the liquid is dry, it will cast a ripple effect on the windows, but you’ll still be able to see through it. 

Step 4: Apply the Primer

This step is optional but will make the paint you apply later look nicer and last longer.

Take your primer of choice and apply a layer to the entire door on both sides. When applying primer to one side, have the doors closed so you can access all of the door.

Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time the packaging says. Each primer will have a different drying time, so it is good to check with the packaging. 

Step 5: Get to Painting

Get to Painting

Now that the windows have been masked over and the doors have been primed, you can begin painting.

Start with a larger brush, one that is 3 inches wide will work great, and begin to apply an even layer of paint to the door. 

If you have finished both sides of the French doors, feel free to paint the sides of the door as well. For sliding doors, make sure that the door is completely closed before painting and wait before the paint dries before moving to the other side to prevent sticking. 

Apply as many layers of paint as you feel that your door needs. Just make sure to allow the paint to completely dry for a few hours in between each layer. 

For detailed spots or difficult-to-reach sections, use a smaller paintbrush to make sure that not a single spot on the French doors gets missed. 

Step 6: Apply a Sealant

This is another optional step but applying a sealant or a topcoat will allow the new paint on your French doors to last longer. 

Take your topcoat of choice and apply an even layer of it onto your French doors.

Make sure that every spot of it gets covered. Once you have applied an even layer, give the doors a few hours to completely dry.

This is your last paint-related step so by now, your French doors should be looking great with their new color!

Step 7: Remove the Masking Liquid

With the paint completely dry and your French doors looking great, you can now remove that layer of masking liquid from all of the windows. 

Take your utility knife and score the perimeter of each window to “cut away” the dried masking liquid.

use knife

This will separate the masking liquid from the window so you can easily peel each section away. Using the corner of the knife, gently peel up a corner of the dried masking liquid to give you something to grab onto. From there, carefully peel the mask away. 

This step is very satisfying, especially if you remove the masking liquid all in one piece. After you remove the mask, discard it in the trash.

You may notice that there are some spots of paint that the mask couldn’t prevent from getting on the window. Take your knife or another flat and sharp object to carefully scrape away the bits of paint.

This should only take a few minutes if you gave each window the proper amount of masking liquid.

Step 8: Clean Up

Your French doors are looking great! After this long project, it is time to clean up the mess that has been created.

Make sure that all of the pieces of masking liquid have been discarded and clean off all of the paintbrushes used in the process.

If you placed a tarp down, clean off the items from it and put it away. Throw away any paper you placed down to protect the floor and seal up any extra paint you may have.

You should also be able to seal the rest of the masking liquid you have if you purchased a large amount. 

At this point, you are done! Enjoy having a freshly painted door. For those who applied primer and a sealant, you won’t have to worry about paint chipping or turning colors for a long time. 

Final Thoughts 

Painting any door is a tedious process because of the long drying times that go into every step, and French doors are no exception.

However, the results you get from this long process are worth every hour spent. French doors are a gorgeous addition to any house, so making sure that the paint matches your theme adds more beauty to your house.

If this tutorial has been helpful, let us know in the comments. Feel free to share what color you are planning to or already have painted your French doors.

@Image credits: Amazon.com

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