Monday, March 15, 2010

Before and After... Door Knobs.

Do you ever think about doing something and then you just HAVE to do it.  Right away.  This happened to me a few weeks ago.  You see, over a year ago we bought a house.  Not just any house, an old house, build in 1935.  Why?  Because of the charm, the character, and.... the projects.  Before we moved in, we spent every day painting.  Shane would paint the walls of one room while I was at work, then I'd come home from work and paint the trim of that room.  This went on for an entire week.  There was still plenty of work to be done though.  As with any old house, there are plenty of things that can always be improved.  And  with any old house, there are things that previous owners have done that will drive you nuts.  
Like this.  Over the years apparently someone once decided to paint the entire door knob... of every door.  Then every one that lived in the house after that decided to just continue painting over the entire knob.... you know... because why would you try to refurbish and improve?  

So anyway.  A couple of weeks ago I made it my mission to strip the paint off the door handles and backplates in our house.  

So glad the doors weren't this color when we bought the house... YUCK!  

They even painted over this.  Now this is the only glass knob in the house.  Kind of breaks my heart a bit.  Look at the scrolling in the metal.  

Like any old house homeowner, we are now subscribers to the "This Old House" magazine.  It seams that whatever we are currently focusing on or thinking about doing to our house, they cover in this magazine.  Yes.  They had an article on how to easily strip paint from your door hardware.  And while I failed to take pictures of the process ( I know.  I don't know what I was thinking!) I did get some before and after shots.  Above are the before shots.

So what was the process?  Well we bought a cheap used crock pot at Goodwill.  Then filled it with water and a 1/2 cup of laundry detergent.  Then turned it on high.  Then put all the door hardware that I wanted to strip the paint off of into the crock pot.  Put the lid on and wait about 3-6 hours.  This old house says to wait over night... I think.  But I'm not that patient.  :)  After the waiting period, take the hardware out with tongs... the paint just peels off.  So easy.  I had to scrape and scrub a little, but the end product looked like this...

Which explains why somebody thought painting them was a good idea lol.  This is not the end product I had envisioned when I wanted to strip paint off the door hardware.  I was hoping for either brass or bronze... but I got some kind of weird aluminum or something.  So the next step?  A trip to Lowe's of course.  And after picking out some native grasses and other plants we didn't intend to purchase that day, we picked out some dark bronze spray paint.  
With a metallic finish, the dark bronze paint was what I'd hoped the metal looked like to begin with.  

So Shane set me up with a painting station in the garage.  Note the tarps and lights.  He says you need lots of light.  :)

And some hangers to hook the knobs onto while painting.  This worked really well actually.  In order to keep the spray paint from dripping, you should lightly "dust" the object back and forth, holding the spray can about a foot away from the object.  

Next problem?  Old Screws.  Because I didn't feel like painting the screws the new color of the hardware and because the old screws were in horrible shape, I headed to my local hardware store to buy some new screws.  So I picked one of each kind that I needed and counted how many I would need.  

These were the three different types I needed.  While they didn't have "dark bronze" they did have black, which pretty much is identical to dark bronze in the world of screws...  

And this is the final product!  Just the way I wanted.  And....

Man I wish I had more of these in the house.  I absolutely love how the door knobs and backplates turned out.  

Some questions I still have:  why did I run out of one type of screw and why do I have 3 door knobs and 3 backplates left but no doors to put them on?  I think the boy has something to do with this....  

Next must-do project:  painting our inside doors.  This is something we've been putting off and putting off.  When we finally do it, I will be taking all of the hardware off first.  



  1. Wow!! I love them. They look excellent and you did a great spraypaint job! We had the glass door knobs on all of our doors at the house we were in over there by Utica Square, which was built in 1928 and the reason we loved it as well. Not to mention the arched doorways and wood floors, odd kitchen layout, etc.

    At the flea market here in Raleigh, NC, there's this interesting hippie-style lady that sells all kinds of vintage hardware and architectural salvage. She has tons of crystal/glass doorknobs and backplates. I always want to figure out something to do with them. They don't really fit in with this 2005 builder home that we currently live in, but neither do we!! Maybe the next project...

  2. They look awesome. Maybe I will get inspired and do ours too.

  3. oh man, Laurie, if you see any like our glass one and she has like 8 of them, grab 'em up and we'll pay you back!

    Kristy, it really was an easy project compared to other projects...

  4. OK, I'll look and see what she has. Don't know what she charges for them, but I'll check and take some pics (the non-professional kind) :)

  5. Very impressive! Looks great :)

  6. Holy crap, what a neat project! I've never been jealous of someone's door hardware before...until now. Thanks for that. =)