Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Come and Paint On My Door

You may remember when I painted the inside of the back door?

And then I repainted it, but evidently I didn't blog about the re-paint. Anyway, inside it was a light gray (Martha Stewart Seal) and now it's a dark gray-blue (Sherwin Williams Peppercorn).

The outside of the door remained the faded fake wood grain. I was so over it. Going up to our backdoor was like entering a beige vortex of boring.

Caution: the beige vortex will suck you in with its blandness
So I decided to spice things up a little bit. A couple weeks ago when David and I went to Lowes by ourselves, I mentioned that I wanted to get some paint swatches.

Then my eye fell on a Pantone swatch called Haute Red and I realized there were no other colors. Every other red was too pink or too maroon or too orange. Haute Red was the perfect red. So I decided to throw caution to the wind and just buy the paint right then without taking home any swatches at all. Can you believe it? I'm such a risk-taker.

I asked for a quart of the red in semi-gloss and explained that my backdoor faces east and gets some pretty harsh sunlight in the mornings, so I wanted a paint that would hopefully resist fading. She recommended Valspar's Reserve Line, which is kinda pricey, but since I only needed a quart of it, I agreed. (Still, a quart is $18!)

When I came back to pick it up, there was a whole gallon of it waiting for me, and she explained that they didn't have the deep base I needed in the quart, so she gave me a gallon at the same price (normally a $50 gallon of paint!). I was super stoked about my good deal even though I don't really have anything else I'm planning to paint red at this moment. But after my mom saw the door finished, she decided to borrow the gallon to paint her front door.

The paint is an interesting texture--it's almost like a gel, which is awesome because it keeps it from dripping but still spreads really easily. Ideal for door-painting when you don't want to take it off the hinges.

Friday night, I filled up a bucket of soapy water and washed the door from top to bottom to make sure I had a dirt- and pollen-free surface.

Then when Zuzu went down for her nap on Saturday, I opened the door, put down a big piece of cardboard underneath, and got started.

I used a brush to get all the crevices in the panels and then used a small foam roller to get a nice smooth coat. I got great coverage with one coat, but it definitely needed a second coat. Then I just had to touch up just a couple places that I'd missed with my brush. We were fortunate that the weather was cool because we don't have a storm door and the door just had to stand open while it dried for four hours between coats.

Because the sun beats down on the door, I also wanted to put up an awning. However, awnings are pricy and with David landscaping the front yard, I didn't want to spend a few hundred dollars MORE on an awning for the back door. So I decided to make my own.

We followed pretty vague directions I found online to build the frame (my dad actually did most of that part of the project). That was the easy part.

Cooper models the frame

David models the frame
Then I totally guesstimated how to sew the awning out of outdoor material. It was not the easiest thing I've ever sewn. By a longshot. The actual sewing was a little tricky just because the material was bulky, but the hard part was figuring out how it would attach, how I could pull it tight enough to function as an awning, and how to do all of this and make it not look totally crappy. I thought I was cutting the two sides symmetrically but they ended up being uneven, which was really frustrating. That's why I don't have pictures of this part of the process. Because I was feeling stabby. (I actually had to walk away from it for about a week because I was so frustrated that I nearly slashed it to pieces with my sewing scissors at one point).

The problem was that I couldn't find a good online tutorial, and I wasn't sure how to put the cover together, so I just had to make it up. I ended up sewing a large hem that would slide over the top part of the frame horizontally and then attaching ties so that I could pull the cover taut and tie it tightly to the pipes. This works okay, but I am concerned that it's not taut enough across the top. We'll see how it holds up in the rain.

Things I would do differently if I were doing it over again:

- Buy 1/2" instead of 1" PVC pipe for the frame. We went with 1" because I thought it would be sturdier, and it probably is sturdier, but it's so big I think the piping is more noticeable.

- Spray paint the frame. I would have ORBed it to make it look like metal. Honestly, I could still do this since my canvas cover just ties to the frame, but that will require some motivation that I'm not sure I have.

- Have my Crafty Cousin Amanda help me cut and sew the canvas cover. I used muslin to try and make a pattern but I quickly lost patience with that and ended up flying a little too fast and loose with the canvas.

- Spray the canvas cover with polyurethane instead of (or in addition to) Scotch Guard. Which I could still do as well, assuming I ever get motivated enough to take the awning back down.

In the end, I think it looks okay, but only just okay. Definitely not like a professional awning. It does protect the backdoor from the blazing sun, and provides a bit of shelter from rain, but I don't expect it to last more than a season. I do have to say that it turned out better than I thought it would there for a while!

So it may not be most favorite DIY creation ever, but I believe all the materials came in around $60 total, which isn't bad, considering that the awnings I was looking at online started around $300. It will probably require upgrading in the not-too-distant future, but I'm calling it finished for now.

And I think it's still an improvement over where we started:



  1. I cannot sew. No women in my family can sew. I have a profound respect for your ability on this one. I know it may not be your favourite but I am stunned and amazed at how beautiful and classic it looks.

  2. Do you sleep? How do you people get so much shit done? I work 2 days a week and I have accomplished zero projects in like 6 months.

    I love that color for the door, and the awning is awesome! I'll take four please. ;)

  3. I love steps that are wood on top and white on the part that faces out. I think doing something with the steps would really look nice. IMAO at least. :) I love the red.

  4. Looks great - great color pic. The house we are interested in purchasing (still unsure so a ways off from being a done deal) has a front door in need of some paint! I'm envisioning a red like this or mustard yellow.

  5. SO CUTE. You guys are awesome DIYers.

  6. I have to paint out my front door and the wooden shutters in the front of my house. This sounds like a great paint for the work!

    The door looks great, and that little awning is adorable. Hopefully you can re-use the same plastic stuff so the re-do (if necessary later) will be super affordable.