One of the, shall we say, special aspects of our master bedroom were the gold-framed, sliding, mirrored closet doors. I knew they had to go as part of the master bedroom revamp…or did they? I conducted a great deal of research into options for replacing them and everything I found was super expensive. Closet doors are not cheap and even making our own would entail significant materials costs. So, we decided to paint them. I wasn’t sure if this would work, but it did and was a $4 fix to a pretty hideous problem, which makes this our cheapest frugal home improvement project yet! Plus, I like having full-length mirrors in the bedroom–useful for checking out sweet thrift store finds and, they make the room feel bigger.
Total cost: $4
- Drop cloths or old grocery bags
- Trash/recycling bins or a sawhorse
- Spray primer:
- We used Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Flat White Primer
- Spray paint:
- We used Rust-Oleum’s Gloss Protective Enamel in white
- I chose white so that the mirrors would blend in with the trim in our bedroom. You could get fancy and do a contrasting color–spray paint comes in about 1,000 colors.
- Good, non-windy weather:
- This is an outdoor-only project and if it’s windy, the spray paint will blow everywhere. Best to wait for a warm, windless day.
How to Paint/Refinish Gold Mirrored Closet Doors!
Step 1: Determine a staging ground.
- Since you’ll be spray painting, you really need to do this outside. So, unlike how Mr. Frugalwoods and I did it–plan out your work space BEFORE taking the doors out 🙂
- Frugal tip: We laid out a drop cloth on our patio (spray paint gets everywhere) and overturned our trash and recycling bins to make a platform to hold the doors. If you own a sawhorse use that, but no need to buy one if you don’t.
Step 2: Remove doors and all hardware.
- Carefully lift each door out of its track, then remove the top and bottom tracks and front pieces (no idea what they’re actually called…)
- Keep all screws in a ziplock bag.
Step 3: Position doors on top of your barrels/sawhorse.
- You need to elevate the doors so that you can spray all sides of the frame.
- Make sure the doors overhang whatever they’re resting on so the paint doesn’t get smudged.
Step 4: Cover the mirrors.
- You really don’t want to get paint on the mirrors–it’s very difficult to remove. So, cover every inch of each mirror with old newspaper/old paper bags.
- This was the most time-consuming aspect of the project, but well worth it since spray paint generates a fine mist that will completely ruin your mirrors.
- Frugal tip: I used painter’s tape (which is quite expensive, but performs superbly) around the edges where it was important to have a sharp line between the area being sprayed and the mirror. I used cheaper masking tape to hold down the paper in the center of the mirror
Step 5: Wipe the edges of the mirror down.
- Remove any dust or dirt from the door frames (the gold parts). The spray paint won’t adhere well if the mirror is dirty.
- Clean off the top and bottom tracks and front pieces and lay them out on a drop cloth.
Step 6: Spray away!
- Make sure there’s nothing within about a 5 foot radius–move all dogs, children, and patio furniture far away.
- Apply the spray primer first, then the paint.
- Shake the can of paint and spray in long strokes to avoid having the paint glob up. You want to move the can constantly at a steady pace while you’re spraying.
- Since the mirrors are propped up on their bins, you can easily walk around and spray as you walk. Make sure to get the edges of the frame since those’ll show when the doors are open.
- We did 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint on each door and the top and bottom tracks and front pieces.
Step 7: Remove paint from mirrors.
- Even with my copious taping and cover-up job, we still got some flecks of spray paint on the mirrors.
- Use a razor blade flat against the mirror to skim off dried particles of paint.
Step 8: Reassemble.
- Put the top and bottom tracks back in and maneuver each door back on track.
Step 9: Rejoice and admire!
Why not buy some new doors?
No, really, we’re not mainstream. And I suspect you aren’t either since you’re searching google for ways to make your 80’s gold sliding closet doors look nice for cheap. *High five*
We practice radical insourcing for most things that other folks would pay someone to do. It all part of our extreme (sometimes hilarious!) frugality. We’re busying saving money so that in 2017 we can quit our city jobs and move to a homestead in Vermont.
If you’d like the story from the beginning, check out our About page.
And good luck with the sliding closet door project! Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comment section. We still read and reply to comments even though this post is over a year old.
(By the way, more than one year in and the doors are holding up famously. The paint is sticking well, even on the parts the get touched and abraded on a regular basis.)