Wednesday 7 May 2014

Creating Space :: DIY paper-covered doors

Hello hello.

I'm happy to report that, in my grand 'Creating Space' office redecoration project progress [along with two curtains and even more mess] has been made!

You might remember - either from my earlier 'work in progress' post or if you've landed on my Facebook page in the last few weeks - that I'm turning down the colour dial in there.

There's just something sharp and clean about black and white that I find really appealing right now and so I'm exchanging colourful busyness for monochromatic restfulness.

Just think of it as a reverse Wizard of Oz or Pleasantville.

But this desaturation process meant I had to refresh my Technicolor paper-covered boiler cupboard doors [try saying that fast 3 times and see how far you get!].

So - should you wish to try something similar in your own space - here's a quick look at how I did it.

DIY paper-covered doors

BEFORE: [but it's also kind of after too ... let me explain ... ]
Yes, these are the cupboard doors before I decorated them last month ... but, obviously, they'd been decorated previously!

It must be close to 10 years ago when I first covered them with my favourite bright, graphic print scrapbook papers so they needed a change really.

[Actually those of you out there whose Mastermind topic would be to identify the range and brand of any given sheet of 12x12 might be able to recognise and date these designs better than I!]

But ... if your doors aren't already decorated, then just treat the photo above as another 'after' image to inspire you ... and take the photo below as the real 'before':  
I didn't actually do anything to prepare the doors before I covered them.

Because I'm lazy a rebel like that.

The base was just the old, yellowing, paint that was there when we moved in, and hiding that with patterned paper was certainly more fun than repainting them with white gloss!

However ...
  • if you've got a particularly uneven surface;
  • or if your cupboard doors will be handled often [mine are hardly ever opened];
  • or you're just more professional than I am ...
You could always sand the surface of your doors first to  create a 'key' for the adhesive to grip to.

But now the boring work's out of the way let's move on ...


Here's what you'll need:
Papers:  here I used a couple of full sheets plus scraps of patterned scrapbook 12x12 papers but you could use anything at all such as:
  • wrapping paper;
  • sheet music;
  • old book pages;
  • tickets, labels, ephemera etc
If you're using heavily patterned designs or a mix of colours, then consider the position of each individual scrap as you go along; so that the overall effect is a balanced one.

eg. don't have too many solid colours together in one corner then a cluster of prints in the other. Spread them out around the entire surface; think of it as a patchwork quilt design with a nice spread of designs around the finished surface.

Adhesive: This time around I used Anita's Tacky Glue [Anita didn't mind.] Which is just a kind of PVA glue. It's not a specialist glue for this kind of thing and regular PVA would work just as well.
  • I poured some of the glue onto a non-stick craft mat and kept a pot of water next to it.
  • Rather than water the glue down exactly, I just kept dipping my paintbrush into the water before dipping it into the glue. It just helps to move the glue around more easily. 
  • Then, once I'd decided where my scrap of paper was going to go, I pasted the slightly watery glue on to the back.
At this stage you're ready to start covering up that uninspiring white gloss!
[NOte: I mention a 'clean' brayer ... be careful all that previous inky/painty fun you've had with your brayer doesn't end up smeared across your fresh new papers!]

Wriggle the paper into position - to line it up with the edge of the doors - before the glue sets [which will depend on the temperature of your room.]

And just keep adding papers until the whole expanse is covered. That is ...

... unless, like me, you're hanging notice boards / white boards / magnet boards on to the doors too. If so you only really need to cover the areas that will be visible surrounding the boards.

  • Keep the papers flush to the front of the doors; unless you are using very thin paper DON'T try to wrap/return them around the edges. This will cause too much creasing and will most likely catch when opening and closing the doors.
  • 'Sealing': I didn't feel the need to 'seal' the end result with anything. However ... if your project is going to be handled frequently [eg. a chest of drawers or your wardrobe] then you might need to protect it from daily wear and tear.
  • Book pages etc can be sealed with a watered down PVA or a layer of Glaze Medium [you can get Matt mediums if you don't like the idea of having a shiny finish].
  • However ... I'm not sure that all scrapbooks papers would respond happily to this method. If I did try it I'd definitely choose the Matt option.
And really ... that's all there is to it! Here's the finished result:

And finally ...

... if you've been inspired to give it a go in your own room, or even on a smaller project ... you're welcome to link me up to your version any time.

Visit me here on my blog, on Twitter or on my 'WithJulieKirk' Facebook page and let me see!

Oh and ... importantly ...
I thought I was smiling. 
I was wrong!
If you've enjoyed this post, or found it useful ... or if you just think the world needs to see my sad little 'why are you making me do this?' face ...
... then please pin this tutorial to Pinterest or share it in whichever way you share things!
Thanks in advance.
Julie x


  1. A very smart clean graphic look, Julie :). Good to see the progress you are making ... It must be very cheering?

  2. OMG! I'm SO going to do this! Love it! Thanks Julie! Great refresh on the colour scheme. :)

  3. What a great way to use paper Julie. I like the monochrome look
    it is restful and timeless. Your room must be looking great with all you are doing!

  4. Good way to use up those scraps too. Love this - both the before AND after :)


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