A tale of 4 doors | dealing with Aniline

What? you don't know about the organic compound Aniline?! #chemistrymuch

LOL Same. So, here's a long story on how we met! Let's go!

There were 4 original (heart eyes!) doors upstairs, all closet doors.

Side note: WHY couldn't the bedroom doors be original too???! The previous owners hoarded EVERYTHING, but decided to toss the original doors? Makes no sense. Anyways...

We had these 4 doors, which had chipped paint/scuff marks/pink paint? IDK what, but they needed help. Since I was re-painting all the trim upstairs white anyways, I figured they could use a fresh coat. We tossed them in the garage when we sanded the floors last April, and I've finally re-installed them all inside. Why do little projects like this take SO long, I asked myself for 6 months.

So, to refinish, first I washed the doors down with TSP... I needed to refill the bucket after each door because OMG what was even on them. Then I lightly sanded them down a bit - just to get the big gouges off. I wasn't going to go full on paint-stripper-sand-paint them all since the actual wood of the doors are a little beat up regardless of what the paint is doing #charm?

I ALWAYS do 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint. As I was rounding the corner of my 3rd coat I started to tackle the hardware. Layers of paint were coated on them. I wanted to strip the paint off and spray them with ORB to eventually match the new hardware upstairs.

I began by using a paint stripper. I've used it before and it KINDA works...but it was taking forever.  3 coats of stripper and a week later I said uncle. I originally didn't just take off the hardware because of all the paint on the screws. The screws were in VERY rough shape so I knew unscrewing them all was going to not be a fun task. One afternoon I grabbed 5 different flat head screws and went to work. About 30 minutes later (20 minutes too long IMHO), they were all stripped.

SO! How did I get the paint off? A crock pot! Soapy hot water will loosen the paint and it peels RIGHT OFF. Since I don't really want to eat anything in a crock pot that has had paint in it, I used a few of those crock pot liners while I left them in there. WORKED LIKE A CHARM.

Next up: spray paint!

Here's where things got FUN...

When the knobs were taken off the doors, some of the paint around them peeled off with it. So I primed those areas, and started painting over them and then OMG LOOK WHAT HAPPENED.

Enter: three months of pulling my hair out from pink bleeding through.

WHYYYY (spoiler, ima 'bout to tell ya)

So, APPARENTLY doors have been 'dyed' in the past. How do I know this? The depths of the internet. Literally the page at the bottom of the internet bucket. Aniline is the culprit. This is the chemical that is bleeding through. I found a chat forum where a woman ran into this, she ended up stripping the entire door, bleaching the wood, priming (oil), and painting. That worked for her.

That sounded like something I didn't want to do, at all.

So I went to Sherwin Williams, with paint in my hair and fire in my eyes and showed them photos of the doors. Now, prior to going I had already tried everything in my arsenal. I tried water based primer, oil based primer, sanding down to the wood and re-priming (it just made it spread!!).

Back to Sherwin Williams, first, homegirl sent me home with this:

And was like "Nothing can't be blocked with this stuff" Then my doors were like TRY ME GIRL.

So I went back, near complete melt down at this point. Hoping she just gives me a torch to burn these doors to the ground. Instead she hands me this and was like, "my thoughts are prayers are with you, girl."

IT WORKED! Finally, yeesh. 

NO MORE PINK! 2 coats of the toughest primer in the WORLD, followed by 2 coats of oil based primer followed by 2 coats of paint and omg why doors whyyyyy. 

Then, FINALLY, I was able to re-install the knobs and rehang the doors.

Don't you just love projects that should only really take one week and end up taking 6 months of your life away?! But, am I glad I persevered? HECK YES, Look at those beautiful things.


  1. I love this! Your doors and hardware look amazing! What did you use to paint your doorknobs? I have newer doorknobs like 10-20 years old probably (and shiny gold) and I tried painting them with rustoleum metal spray primer and then rustoleum metal spray paint, and it it didn't work! I tried it twice now and it keeps on chipping off! Any tips?

  2. Thanks girl!! I used Rustoleum ORB spray paint (not specific to metal). TBD on how long the paint lasts haha. But i'd recommend lightly sanding the knobs before you spray them (and maybe some TSP to take off any grease) so the paint has something to stick to! Good luck :)