How to Create Antique Wood Effects on Your Cabinet Door

A woman works on an antique cabinet door.

An antique cabinet door creates interest and appeal in the room. It makes a room look warm, cozy, and inviting. You do not actually need to own a piece of furniture that dates back decades. With the right tools in hand, you can create antique wood effects to your cabinet door, no matter how new it is.

Remove Cabinet Door

Carefully remove the cabinet door that you want to treat along with its hardware. You may want to draw a rough sketch of it on paper so you know where to connect the hardware when you reassemble it. Keep the hardware safe in a bowl or bag.

Take the door outside in the open since you will be sanding and painting it, or open all the doors and windows to create good air circulation if you are working indoors. Also, place newspapers on the floors and over any furniture nearby to prevent stains.

Wash Cabinet Door

Mix a small amount of liquid detergent with warm water in a bowl and sponge the surface of the cabinet door thoroughly to remove any grease, grime, or dust off it. The paint will not adhere properly to its surface if it is not clean.

Dry away from the residue with a lint-free towel to prevent microfibers from sticking to the door surface.

Sand the Door with Fine Grit Sandpaper

Use fine to medium grit sandpaper and carefully sand the entire surface of the door, including the sides and any grooves to completely remove any existing paint or varnish on the door. Brush off the surface to remove the residue.

Paint the Door

Paint the door in white or any neutral color with a sponge roller, working in one direction and using even strokes. Allow one coat to dry before applying another coat. Leave the door to dry overnight.

Sand the Door with Medium Grit Sandpaper

Once the cabinet door is thoroughly dry, use medium-grit sandpaper, with grit between 90 and 120 to sand away the paint on the parts of the door that would normally show signs of aging and wear, as if you had owned it for years. These can include corners, edges, areas around the handles and hinges, or any other hardware, and any part you feel may rub or hit against objects when it is opened or closed. Stop sanding the door when the wood beneath the paint is visible and brush or wipe the surface to remove any residue.

Stain the Cabinet Door

Use a stain that is a shade or two darker than the cabinet door. Apply it with a paintbrush to areas on the door where natural wear and tear would occur to create rustic appeal, especially around the hardware and the edges of the door. Immediately rub off the stain with a towel or rag before it completely soaks into the wood. The stain will become lighter as you rub, giving the door an antique look. Reassemble the door once it is dry and hang it.