How to Paint a Metal Door to Look Like Wood

After posting this photo of our metal front door on Instagram, so many questions have rolled in. In this post I will show you how to paint a metal door to look like wood.  There is a tricks when using stain to make this work.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

How to paint a door to look like wood

We have been in the new house for about 2 months now and I feel somewhat organized and settled.  To the point that I think I will finally start blogging on a more regular basis.  I have so much to share with you. From the building process and all the projects we worked on along the way.

Choosing a front door was easy for me.  I had searched Pinterest and saved so many inspiration photos, that I knew exactly what I wanted.  Our building budget was starting to bulge at the seems and a wooden door was out of the question.  Our builder installed a metal door I would paint a door to look like wood.  Seemed simple enough to me!

Faux-Wood-Door-24 tool

I started by googling the idea and came up with several videos where a wood graining tool was used along with Zar Wood Stain.  The video shows applying a coat of stain to the door and using the wood grain tool to create the look of, well wood grain.  (this is the tool I used)
I followed all of the directions from the videos, applied the first coat of stain. I used the stain I had on hand because it matched our fireplace mantel and island. After mastering the wood grain technique, I let the first coat dry as suggested.

paint a door to look like wood step 1

Second step, seemed to be the easiest of all.  Apply a second coat of stain, wiping it on with a cloth, let dry, seal and you are done!!!  WRONG!  In both videos I watched, Zar Wood Stain was used. Who would have thought you HAVE to use Zar wood stain to make this work.  (THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST BY THE WAY) Please learn from my mistakes.

paint a door to look like wood step 2

Can you guess what happened when I applied my second coat of stain?  If you guessed, “the wood grain wiped off” you are right!!  All that work was gone with one swipe of my rag!  I may have swore a little at this point!  So learn this lesson from me, if you try this technique, which is really pretty simple, use Zar Wood Stain!!!

paint a door to look like wood step 3

It is hard to see in the picture above. This is not what the second coat should have looked like!  After I realized the second coat of stain was wiping off my wood grain, I had to be very careful.  Problem, it wasn’t wiping all of it off and I wasn’t sure how I was going to re-create the grain.  I didn’t know if I could paint the door white again, probably could have. However, I would rather give myself an anxiety attack and push through this mess!

Quickly I ran out and bought several shades of ZAR Wood Stain. Not knowing what color would match the mess I had already started.  After applying several additional coats of stain to obtain the color I wanted. I finally stopped before I made it worse and was somewhat happy with the look!

These pictures are not the best. Working in the middle of a construction zone made it difficult to capture a good shot.

Now to show you how simple the process is when you use Zar Wood Stain from the start:

Step 1- Apply first coat of ZAR Stain and use wood graining tool, let dry.
Step 2 – Apply second coat of stain. Simply wipe it over the first layer with a clean rag, let dry.


When I applied the Zar Wood Stain, the process in the video worked just as they said it would!  So for my door, both sides look just a little different.  However, until I just told you this, I don’t think you would even notice.

paint a door to look like wood using Stain

Making this house a home, One DIY project at a time. Or should I say, one mess at a time! Let me know what you think by dropping me a comment below!

Here are a few other posts you may enjoy:
Master Bedroom Night Stands
I Flipped our Living Room and Dining Rooms
Farmhouse Dining Table

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