By Jessica Ackerman
Nothing says style and elegance like a leather door, and you can create the look of leather for your closet door by applying a faux finish. Over the course of a weekend using a few simple tools and products, you can create a leather look for your closet or other door without breaking into your piggy bank – and end up with a door that competes with those that cost several thousand dollars. Faux leather techniques can create striking textures and add handmade detail with ease.
Supplies You Will Need
For your faux leather closet door project, you will need:
– satin or semi-gloss base coat
– latex glaze
– latex paint
– plastic wrap
– mixing cup and mixing bucket
– medium nap roller
– stipple brush
Preparing the Door
Remove the door from its hinges and move it to your working area. You can lay down newspaper to keep from getting pain and glaze on other surfaces as you work. The door should be clean and sanded smoothly. Remove all hardware from the door, including the door knob. While you can work on one side at a time, you might also stand the door up on edging that will not be seen when the door is re-hung (the one that the hinges are installed on) and brace each end with clamps. This might sound a bit difficult and awkward, but with the right maneuvering of clamps and braces, you can do both sides at once.
Painting the Door
Even if the door seems to be in good shape and has been painted before, you should apply a coat of primer anyway. Once you have given the primer time to dry, you can start applying the base coat to the door, which should be semi-gloss or satin finish paint in the “leather” color that you like; avoid flat or gloss finishes. Work in small sections; apply the base coat over the primer with a paint roller. Allow your first base coat to dry completely, and then apply a second base coat.
The next step in the faux leather technique is called glazing. You will mix up a solution of one part semi-gloss or satin color that was used in your base coat with four parts of latex glaze. Glaze is clear and works to make the color that you mix it with become more transparent, and since glaze doesn’t dry as fast, will give you time enough to work your leather pattern. Stir the glaze and the paint well to make sure it is blended. Using a paint roller, apply a very generous coating of this mixture to a section of the door that is as wide as your paint roller.
Now you’re ready to leather the door. Using a medium roller, apply a generous coating of the mixed glaze to about a two-foot-square section of the wall. Roll the glaze in a random pattern. Tear off a section of clear plastic wrap (around two foot or so) and crumple it up like you’re planning to stuff it in a small bottle; this gets the plastic wrap “crinkly”. Then lay the plastic wrap out flat on top of the strip of glazing that you have applied to the door. Press the plastic wrap with the flat of your hand so that you only apply pressure, not fingerprints or finger marks.
Apply plastic wrap to the entire section. You can use your stipple brush to lightly press the plastic wrap further into the glazing. Then, use the stipple brush to lightly brush the plastic, which produces the pattern of faux leather. When you are satisfied with the pattern, peel away the plastic very slowly and take care not to touch the door. You should immediately see the look of leather. Using cheesecloth that has been dampened with plain water, gently pat any sections where the leathering pattern is too intense. Repeat the process for each section of the door, on both sides. Apply a finishing clear coat to keep the paint from chipping off, and allow this finishing coat to dry. Re-hang your door and enjoy your “expensive” leather work.
About the Author: With signature design style, Jessica Ackerman, an online writer with WallDecorandHomeAccents.com, describes bold approaches to metal tree wall sculpture and grapes and wine decor.
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