how to add moulding to doors

Hey, hey y’all! It’s Week 3 of the ORC (or One Room Challenge)!

If you are just joining in on our journey, the ORC is a bi-annual blogging/renovation challenge hosted by Calling It Home and House Beautiful – 20 featured designers and hundreds of guest participants all join together to renovate/redesign one room in their homes.  Each week you can follow our progress over at the One Room Challenge page!

If you want to see our kitchen renovation project from square 1, head here now:

Week 1 | Week 2

If you read my post last week, you’ll know we were running a bit behind and hit several bumps in the road.  We did hit a few bumps this week as well, but I’m happy to report we are back ON SCHEDULE! I’ll give you the detailed Week 3 progress update here, and you can also check out the second half of my post for a DIY tutorial on how we turned our plain MDF ugly doors (pantry and back) into faux wood masterpieces! (Yes, I stand by the word “masterpieces” – I am SO thrilled with them!) But more on that later!  For now, a progress update!

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one room challenge

Week 3 Progress Update:

First things first – how does our kitchen look RIGHT NOW?!

one room challenge week 3 kitchen update

EEK!! I’m SO happy with our progress!! It is WHITE and the faux doors are done and look so great! I can’t wait to get the cabinet doors and drawers back on with our fancy new hardware!

The main things we did this week were:

  • Caulk cabinet cubbies – they now look seamless with the ceiling!
  • Finish removing glue from cabinets (we use a product called Citri-Strip – it still required a ton of time, but this stuff is amazing and worked so well!)
  • Fix cabinet doors and drawers (sanding with sandpaper on oil based paint? DONT DO IT! It made a ton of scratches so I had to sand with steel wool, and then re-prime and paint TWO more coats of paint! Yikes!)
    • P.S. If you are using water based paint, do not by ANY means sand with steel wool – you risk getting rust spots!
  • Sand cabinet bases
  • Prime and paint cabinet bases (we did 2 coats primer and 2 coats paint)
  • Score countertops with angle grinder (we rented this tool from Home Depot – BEWARE: creates SO much dust!)
  • Add moulding to and paint back and pantry door to look like faux wood
  • Install new doorknobs
  • Clean inside of cabinets

After all of that, we have actually started to see a VISUAL progression – and it feels SO good.

But who wants to READ about these things, I’d much rather see the progress in photos! How about y’all?! So, without further ado, here is our week in photos:

how to remove glue from cabinets

We used the Citri-Strip and a putty knife to scrape off the glue – a PAIN and TIME CONSUMING – but necessary and worth it! The Citri-Strip definitely helped

The glue comes off in literal globs – so gross! But better on the floor than still on the cabinets! 🙂

The primer, paint, and paint additive we used! Also I highly recommend STRAINING your paint and primer each time you use it – after the first pour, dust and other particles can get in the air and then onto your project – no bueno!

painting cabinets

Here’s the doors and drawers completely done! By the way, we used the Valspar cabinet enamel (see above) in the color Bistro White, which we LOVE! It is the absolute perfect white in our space! That said, always get paint chips or samples to test in your space before committing to a color.

True Life: even though we taped off our ENTIRE kitchen with plastic tarps, our ENTIRE upstairs is still dusty – dust gets everywhere, no matter what, but sectioning it off with tarps certainly helped!

scoring granite

The start of the granite scoring! We rented this angle grinder from HD for only $12 for 24 hours! (They gave us a $10 credit because we had to wait 45+ minutes for them to find one of the tool accessories!) Why did we do this?  Because sanding granite, no matter what someone tells you, will NOT work.  Because we are going to tile and add concrete right on top of this surface, it needs to be scuffed up a bit to ensure proper adhesion of the concrete and mortar.

using angle grinder to score granite

Counters and backsplash completely scored! This actually took MUCH less time than expected. But there was much MORE dust than expected!

painting cabinets

Here are the cabinet bases primed and painted, and the cubbies caulked.

DIY faux wood door

And a sneak peak of our AMAZING doors! Keep scrolling for the full tutorial!

And that is our week in pictures!  (I will spare you a photo of the cleaning cabinets part – it was G.R.O.S.S.)  Overall, it was a tough, but super fun, week!  Finally actually SEEING progress is so exciting!  3 weeks down, and 3 to go!

And to keep ourselves on track, here is how we are doing in terms of my original timeline as outlined in Week 1:

  • Week 2: Remove all moulding and trim from cabinets; Build cabinets up to ceiling; Remove thermafilm from uppers; Sand, prime, and paint uppers
  • Week 3: Remove thermafilm from lowers; Sand, Prime, and Paint lowers; Install shiplap wallpaper on peninsula; score countertop and backsplash to prep for concrete and tile installation
  • Week 4:  Install trim on doors and paint doors; Install new doorknobs; Install cabinet hardware; Install trim and moulding on cabinets; Start DIY concrete countertops if possible (requiring moving of appliances and sink)

A few things to note:

  1. We decided to postpone the shiplap wallpaper until after the concrete countertops – that process will require a good bit of sanding and I don’t want to risk potentially damaging delicate and newly installed wallpaper
  2. The faux wood doors need their frames painted – I didn’t account for this in our timeline originally, but luckily it should only take a couple of hours

So I’d say we are doing GREAT! Back on track and so excited with the progress!

Be sure to also check out all the other amazing bloggers and their Week 3 updates HERE!  But, stick with me for just a bit longer to see how we transformed out ugly/plain/white MDF doors into custom faux wood doors with “paneling.”


How to Add Moulding to your Doors and Create a Faux Wood Effect:

kitchen renovation DIY

Here is a glimpse of the back door BEFORE (the pantry one looks the same just slightly smaller)

It’s just so BLAH! I knew I wanted to add moulding to the doors and paint them, but my original plan was plain old grey paint.  But then, I stumbled upon this over on Instagram:


This photo belongs to my IG friend Dale Marie over at @bloomingdiyer – yes, I also got our cabinet cubby idea from her! She is literally the DIY queen and has AMAZING style – definitely go check her out if you are on IG and in need of home inspo!

Isn’t her kitchen Farmhouse perfection! And as soon as I saw this door, I knew I had to do it in our kitchen!  So how did I do it you ask?  Read on, my friends, read on! (P.S. Dale Marie has an amazing video tutorial of the painting process/technique you can watch on her IG as well; I definitely cannot take credit for this technique – all her!)

What you’ll need:

  • Moulding (measured out in advance – see below for tips) – OPTIONAL (if your doors already have panels/moulding, you can skip this and the associated materials/steps!)
  • Wood glue
  • Nail gun
  • Brad nails (we used 1.25″ ones)
  • Miter saw
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Chalk paint – I used Valspar in Bonnet Ribbon (as close to Annie Sloan French Linen as I could get)!
  • Annie Sloan Dark Wax
  • 2 flour sack towels
  • 3″ paint brush
  • Chalkboard paint
  • FrogTape and/or Blue Painter’s Tape
  • Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint
  • Rust-Oleum Linen White Chalk Paint
  • Caulk or wood glue
  • Small Putty Knife
  • Sanding blocks in varying grits
  • Gloves

Step 1:

Using your level and pencil, mark off where you want your “panels” to be. There really is no exact science to this – I just used trial and error to draw lines on our doors (2 rectangles – one on top and one below) until I liked their size and look.

add moulding to door

Here you can see the lines I drew. Our back door rectangles were 18″x33″ and 18″x29;” our pantry door rectangles were 14″x33″ and 14″x29.” I intentionally made the length measurements the same on both doors to achieve a cohesive look.

Step 2:

Measure and mark your moulding to your measurements – make sure you decide whether you want the moulding to sit inside or outside of your lines on the door – if you want them to sit inside your lines, you need to measure the outside of your moulding, and vice versa.

Use your miter saw to make 45 degree mitered cuts at the corners.

Step 3:

Label your moulding AS you cut; this will save you a major headache! You can see our labelling system below:

We labeled with the length and the location (G=garage, or what I’m calling the back door in this post, B = bottom, L = left)

Step 4:

Apply a very thin layer of wood glue on the back of your moulding; spread with a putty knife.  Place your moulding in place on the door and tape down with painter’s tape to hold.

add moulding to door

Here you can see both panels completely installed!  Make sure to tape all the corners once all 4 pieces are installed on each panel.

Step 4:

Use your nail gun to nail your moulding into the door – be sure you are using nails that are long enough but won’t go all the way through your door.  Also test your nail gun on a scrap piece of moulding (in other words, try nailing a scrap piece into another piece of wood so you can be sure the settings are right so as to not split your moulding)

We used 3 nails for the vertical pieces and 2 nails for the horizontal pieces.

Allow the glue to dry overnight.

Step 5:

Un-tape and caulk the corners of your moulding.  Spread the caulk with a small putty knife and/or your fingers.  Allow to dry.

Step 6:

Use your 3″ brush to paint on your base coat of paint – ours was the Valspar Chalk Paint in Bonnet Ribbon.  Paint your moulding first, and then the rest of the door.

PRO TIP:  Be sure to tape off your door where you don’t want paint (i.e. the wall, the door frame, etc.)  Also be sure to remove your DOOR KNOBS!

Step 7:

Do 1 or 2 coats, depending on your door material – we did 2!  Allow to dry.

faux wooden door technique

Here is the door fully painted (and still drying!) with the base coat.

Step 8:

Apply dark wax all over your doors with a small flour sack towel (I actually just leave a small one in my wax containers permanently.  I highly recommend wearing gloves!  Apply in vertical strokes to all parts of the door except the very top, middle, and bottom pieces directly above and below your horizontal moulding.  Allow to dry – 30 min or less.

Step 9:

Wife off excess wax with a clean flour sack towel.  Use sanding blocks in various grits to distress to your liking.


Step 10:

If you’d like, dry brush Linen White chalk paint mixed with your base paint color onto the door for added distressing.  If my paint looked a little too streaky after the dry brushing, or if I could see obvious brush strokes, I just blended it all together with a paper towel.  The dry brushing/blending technique really adds another layer of texture and allows you to distress more than just with the sanding blocks.

PRO TIP: Only dry brush in places that would NATURALLY accumulate distressing – i.e. corners and moulding.  If you dry brush smack dab in the middle of a panel, it looks less natural.

Step 11: (optional)

If you want to add a chalkboard panel to your door (great for kiddos!), tape off the panel you want to paint and use your 3″ brush and chalkboard paint to brush the paint inside that panel.  Mine needed 4 coats to be fully covered!  Allow to dry, and remove tape.

This was after 2 coats – as you can see it needed a couple more!

Step 12:

Reattach your door knobs, remove any tape that’s left, and voila!  Your ugly basic door is now a faux wood masterpiece! Don’t you agree?! I mean look at the finished product below:


I am obsessed! It looks SO custom and MUCH better! The distressed faux wood look adds so much character to the room, too. Given that we are making basically the entire kitchen white now, I wanted a bit of balance and character and these doors were just the ticket!


So that’s all for this week, friends!  Again, don’t forget to check out the other amazing guest bloggers HERE, as well as all the featured designers HERE! And, as always, if you want LIVE updates from the Casa del Ochoa kitchen renovation, head over to my Instagram and watch my latest stories!  Our entire kitchen renovation thus far is also saved in my highlighted stories for your viewing pleasure!

Enjoy, my friends, and I’ll see you next week for Week 4 of the ORC! We are halfway there! 🙂



P.S. Approximate man hours worked so far: 149!!

P.P.S. Our current budget stands at approximately (because I have rounded up to the nearest dollar on all our purchases) $2,201.  So a bit over budget.  That said, 95% of everything is purchased, and we have several returns to make!  I’ll keep ya posted, buds!


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