Sunday, July 15, 2018

Old Screen Doors Get New Life

This project has been four years in the making, yes I said four years!  We have a problem with starting projects and letting them sit for years before we decide to finish them.  Four years ago in June, we remodeled the pantry.  You can see that project right here.  I actually mentioned these doors in that post four years ago.  Guess what, we finally got around to make it all happen!
I've grown so used to our pantry being wide open that it will take some time getting used to having a door on it now, but I'm loving the "new" door so far!  I want to get some more bins to store things in now.  I'll be on the search for some type of natural fiber bins, so if you come across a good deal, let me know!
We got these two old screen doors for FREE and they have been standing in our shop just waiting to be made pretty again.
As you can see they really are pretty and have lots of detail on them.  Also, black paint.
Due to neither door being completely intact, it took both of these doors to make one good complete door, so I guess we were lucky we had the two together because otherwise, this project may not have ever happened.
First thing we had to do is carefully remove all the nails, screws and hardware from both doors.
We made two piles.  One pile of good usable parts and the other was our trash pile.
PRO TIP: Use a magnet to keep track of all the nails and screws from your project.
Unfortunately,  the width of the pantry opening was much smaller than our door.  My honey had to figure out how to cut it down to size and still keep the uniform structure that make all the details line up equally. 
He decide that the width needed to be cut down four inches to fit our opening.  That means that he needed to cut off two inches from both sides.  That sounds really simple huh? Well, it wasn't because he also had to factor in making the Dado joint cuts so he could reattach everything. Now it doesn't sound easy anymore, does it? NOPE!

As you can see this old door was held together by mortise & tenon joints.  The tenon (or tongue) on one piece fits into the mortise (or hole) of another.
He used our circular chop saw to make his cuts.  Measure twice, cut once!
Since he had to cut down the boards, he used the table saw with a dado blade to make the new tenon joint on each end of each board.  Of course all the mortise joints were already there.
After got all the parts cut to size and made the new dado joints on each piece, he carefully reassembled it all using his blue measuring square to make sure it was all squared up before he glued and nailed it permanently.  He used his furniture clamps to hold things in place while he made sure it was all lined up.
One of the new joints he cut for reassembling the door.
We always use Gorilla Wood Glue for all of our woodworking projects, we think its the best!  We like to add glue before nailing to insure a good strong hold.
Each joint got glue before it was reinserted back into place.
We ended up not gluing the spindles in because they were a really tight fit already.
Next he used his nail gun to tack it all back into place and make it good and sturdy again.
He applied the clamps with slight tension to make sure it was all firmly back in its place.
I laid out the last of the decorative pieces to see how they went.  These pieces gave the door so much character.  They were extremely brittle and we ended up breaking one of them, but my honey just glued and tacked it and it was as good as new.
I didn't get pictures of it, but he added glue to each end and tacked them on with the nail gun.
After it was all back together and the clamps could come off, I used a wire brush to remove as much of the old black paint that I could.  Normally I would take the hand sander to it, but it had so much detail on each piece that I didn't want to ruin it.
Next he used a utility knife and cut the old screen to fit the "new" door.
 Fit to size and its was perfect!
This was only a trial run, so he just tacked it in about three spots on each side.
Here its sitting on the floor, but we were just making sure it fit in width.  It will be hung up level with the bottom of the pantry.  Now it needs some paint!
Primer first.  I used an old one of my favorite angle brushes because this wood is rough and dry and I figured it wasn't going to be kind to my brush, so an old one it is!
I chose this Zinsser primer because it will lock all that old black paint in and not let it seep up through my nice new paint.
Most of the primer is done here but I had to go find a smaller brush to get into all the tight spaces in all the detailed areas. After I finished with all the hard to reach spaces I let it dry overnight.....actually it was one week! ha,ha!
Next I painted both sides of the door with the same color paint I used on the inside of the pantry.  Its also the same color we used to paint the bead board in our dining room.  You can see that post here.
I thought since all of our kitchen cabinets were distressed, I'd go ahead and distress the screen door too.  So, after I let the paint dry really well on both sides, I swiped on some Minwax dark walnut stain.  Please see this post for my techniques on this way of distressing.

Its kind of hard to capture here, but it just gives it a slight antiqued look, which I really like the look of.  I only distressed the front of the screen door.  I didn't feel the need to do the inside due to it not being seen as much.
Finally to make sure all my hard work is sealed in, I used a clear protector over all the parts I distressed with stain.  I like this Valspar Clear Protector for faux finishes.  It seriously looks like glue and dries quickly and it last!  I used this on all my kitchen cabinets and its holding up great!  Now I can wipe off any grime that may get on the door without having to worry that my antiquing will disappear right along with the cleaning process.
Again, I let it cure completely over night.  Now it's time to call my honey bun back in to add the screen back on it before we hang it.

I forgot to get pictures of this step, but I sprayed both sides of the old rusty screen with clear enamel.  After it was dry I got a damp cloth and swiped around on it and guess what? No rust came off onto the cloth!  It was an experiment and it worked! Yay!
We used the old tack strips (which I didn't paint) to add the screen back to the door.  My honey used his nail gun with brads to hold it in place all the way around the door.
I added a few of the old nails just for "looks"! lol!
We purchased this old silver spoon about as long ago as we got the old screen doors.  It's going to be our handle for the screen door.  He used his hand drill and added a hole in the handle and inside the spoon too.
 We used the old screws from the original handle to attach the spoon to the door.
If you want to see some video of this entire process, please find this highlight tab in my Instagram profile.  My IG handle is ddcamp170.
There she is all hung up and looking lovely!  I love it, but again, my honey is letting it grow on him like this project right here. Ha,ha!  I love him!

Would you like to see more about our kitchen remodel?
Tiling Our Kitchen Floor
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Part 1
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Part 2
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Part 3
Building a Corner Cabinet
Building a Drop in Kitchen Cabinet
Installing a Farmhouse Sink
Pantry Remodel
DIY Mosaic Tile Backsplash 
Painting Our Cabinets

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

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  1. I love it. took a lot longer than that for the hubby to get the sinks hooked up in our bathroom after building our house.

  2. I love this. Wow, your husband did a wonderful job remaking the door. It has has charm is so clever instead of a solid door.

  3. Wow! That's an awesome project! Thank you for sharing at Let's Party!

  4. Such a beautiful vintage screen door, and you really did it up right. Nice job!

  5. Wow! I love it. That green is so pretty and great upcycle. So glad I found your pretty post on the link party. Happy Summer, Kippi

  6. That is super cute. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home.

  7. Fabulous makeover! Thanks so much for sharing at TFT!

  8. I will feature this today at Home Sweet Home! It is so cute! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hi, these screen doors are amazing. You are so lucky to have someone would has the talent to do all that work, sizing the doors. My guy would screw up the project so bad. Hint - he could not even make a flat roof to fit the 5' x 5' well covering. He made a 4' x 6' roof. Screw up!!

  10. I just bought a little old farmhouse and love to see different decorating ideas. Love the idea of using the old doors

  11. I think it is classy! Thanks very much!

  12. I love the door! I would have never thought to do something so unique. I would also like to say I have several projects started that's taken me a minimum of 4 yrs to complete. Several projects, but my thought is if a zombie apocalypse happens I'll have tons to keep me busy. LOL

  13. Hello DeeDee, I found your blog from your hometalk post. What a wonderful new life for the old screen doors, it is an elegant door for your pantry! We're at the start of a remodel and I was wondering what kind of doors to put on an old closet-turned pantry, and this is great inspiration. The spoon handle is genius!

    1. Hi Karen! Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate that! This is all depending on your style/taste of course, but if it was me, I would measure the old door you removed and go on the hunt for a vintage door, maybe with glass panes in it! Good luck with your remodel and have FUN! :)

    2. Love the spoon handle. Very whimsical.

    3. Thanks so much, its my favorite touch to the door! :)

  14. I love it! I was trying to figure out how you attached the screen door.

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much! We used the "invisible" type of door hinges.

  15. Ran across screen door exactly like the one you restored, do you have any history on date of your doors? If so please email me that info at


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