Faux Wood Carriage Garage Door Tutorial

We don’t want the exterior of your home to feel left out of #ShutTheFrontDoorDIY week — doors of all sizes, shapes, and colors deserve to be amazing! 🙂 Larissa is here with an awesome garage door update, and don’t forget to come tell us a joke for a chance to win, plus link up your projects here

DIY Faux Wood Garage Door

Spring is in the air and it’s time to add some curb appeal!  I’m Larissa from Prodigal Pieces, where DIY is where it’s at.  I don’t know about you, but I’m beyond anxious to get outside once springtime arrives to tackle home projects that have been brewing all winter. If you want to add instant curb appeal to your builder grade garage door, then this faux wood carriage door tutorial is for you.

It has long since been my husband’s and my desire to give the exterior of our home a long overdue makeover.  When we originally purchased our house we didn’t have a garage, but a carport with lattice as a wall on the one side.  A few years ago we walled in the garage and added a builder grade garage door with carriage windows.

That suited us just fine and matched our scheme, but once we got to work adding a new color and stone veneer, that BIG white door just didn’t suit the rustic feel we were after.  Here it is in its prep mode.

garage-door-beforeI wanted some pizzazz, some curb appeal, some I-don’t-look-like-I-came-from-the-big-tool-store-type attention.  Mind you this was a vast improvement over no garage door which showcased our auto loveliness.

Since it is the norm for me to add texture to the pieces I paint with glazing for my shop, one day I thought to myself, “Why not the garage door?” So off I went to create a faux wood garage door.

Luckily our custom garage door we chose a few years ago already had a faux wood grain inlaid to the panels.  So with some paint, I went to work and made our garage door look like this…


Want to give it a try?  I’ll show you how.

DIY  Faux Wood Carriage Door

Paint your garage door to look like a wooden carriage door!

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • burnt orange, caramel flat exterior paint –  the paint I used was a seconds paint from Home Depot called Caramel Swirl.  Since this is your base, you don’t have to be exact, but in a similar color family.
  • dark chocolate, brown flat exterior paint – again, another seconds can for me, but just pick a deep contrasting brown.
  • cotton rags (old t-shirts work the best)
  • gloves
  • paint brush (& artists brush if needed for windows)

First, check the back side of your garage door for a label that will give you instructions on how to prepare your garage door for painting.  If no label, just make sure to fully clean the surface of dirt and debris. Also, remember I already had a wood grain design on my door…this could be done on a flat surface, but would take different steps to get the desired effect.

garage-first-paint-layerIn the above photo, I’m showing that the bottom three panels are second coated with the top still needing a second coat.  My neighbor’s little boy walked by and said, “I like your orange garage door!”

Ummm…yes it was orange, and yes my neighbors thought I was going to leave it like that.  Gotta love neighbors…can I hear an amen?

Using an artist’s brush to get to the fine details helped make it easier to get around those windows.  I’m also not the type to use tape to mark it off with painters tape, but you could do that if you like.  I worked on a paint crew and have learned the nuisances of painters tape, and that a steady hand prevents you from needing it.

painting-faux-wood-finishMake sure you’re applying your coats in low heat sunlight and try to avoid the hottest part of the day. The curing will go much smoother in a cooler setting. We have a southern facing garage and I had to make sure to do it early in the day before the paint would bake.

On to the fun part….adding the depth.  I don’t believe in buying super-expensive glazing, I just make my own. Glazing is really just paint with an additive to lengthen the dry-time of the product, and I’ve just learned to work around quickly.  So buy a dark glaze if you want to “buy” some more time.

As far as mixing my own, I’ve had several questions as to the amount of water I add to the paint.  I don’t have exact measurements, but I took about 2 cups paint and mixed in roughly 2 tablespons water – just enough to give it flow and the consistency of milk.  If it’s too thick add tiny amounts more of water, and if too runny, just add more paint.

Okay, so you’ll need that homemade glazing you made, some cotton scrap cloths (t-shirts), and a paint brush.  The technique is simple, but takes a bit of time.

Apply the glaze using a fully loaded brush and work in small areas at a time.  For me, I worked in one panel at a time. 


After covering one panel, grab your cotton rag and then lightly wipe the glazing off.  You’ll be leaving some of the glaze behind to fill the grainy texture, giving it the wood grain effect.



Here is my partial finished door. Again, the neighbors are peering out their windows wondering what in the world I was doing.  The entire time I’m doing this I’m singing to myself John Denver’s song…”country road, take me home, to the place where I belong…”

My heart is in the country!


All it takes is only one coat of glazing, the garage door is finished and just needs a couple of days to cure.

Since a rustic look was what we were going for, we also added some carriage door hardware.  You can find it at any home improvement store and comes in different variations.


I just love how it came out.  A few mistakes I made was trying to touch up some spots – better left alone. ahem.  But…I learned and am so glad I took this project on.

DIY Faux Wood Garage Door Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces via RemodelaholicNow the neighbors are oohing and aahing and wanting theirs done too!  ha! I love it.

before-after-garageGot questions?  Please feel free to ask and I’d love to see yours if you give it a try!

If you like this post, then you’ll also enjoy these rustic DIY projects:

DIY Farmhouse Bench

DIY Farmhouse Bench Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces for Remodelaholic

DIY Barn Wood Shutters

DIY Barn Wood Shutters from Reclaimed Pallets by Prodigal Pieces via Remodelaholic


Coming up in #ShutTheFrontDoorDIY:

(be sure to subscribe by RSS or email to get updates for every post of Shut The Front Door DIY week)

How to Paint Cabinet Doors

How to Paint Cabinet Doors - the right way, so you only have to do it once

+ posts

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Is your garage door fiberglass? Would love to do that in a modified version on my door- but it is smooth fiberglass.

    1. Mine is a metal version. The only thing I would attempt is to paint the undercoat as I did and then use the glazing mix and brush with a large bristle brush to create the grain effect, but do not wipe it. It would take some practice, maybe on some scrap wood, etc., but I think it can be done if you’re willing to try!

    1. Thank you, Mark. Ours is a metal door with a wood grain texture to it. I would check with a store like Sherwin Williams to see if they have a product they could recommend as a primer before doing it. Also, check the back of your door for a label that would give instruction on how to prep it for painting. Hope this helps!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial on faux wood paint on a garage door. We have a 3 car garage and this is on my fall “honey do” list. One point–I see a lot of people making faux carriage doors, but they all have the same flaw. You mounted a set of door pulls to the middle to make it look like two doors, but why is it no one goes the extra step and paint a vertical shadow line between the door handles to make the doors look like two actual doors? Seems to be an easy fix and would really complete the carriage door image!

  3. Hi, I love love love this idea and how it turned out. I will be purchasing a ranch soon. It has a white garage door and white front door. Do you think this technique would work on the front door as well? Then my next problem, what color to do the shutters. Currently very faded green, liking like a chocolate (the shutters are plastic). Suggestions?

  4. Where you listed the items needed you wrote a caramel exterior paint and then also a dark brown exterior paint. So do I do on coat in the caramel then go to the dark brown then do the glaze? Or is the dark brown exterior paint the glaze you’re referring to. Because in the picture where you’re talking about the glaze it looks as if you’re putting the glaze over the caramel “burnt orange” color.

  5. I want to do my front door like the garage doors but it is smooth. What do I do to give it the wood texture look??

  6. I have a creamy yellow garage door. Do you think it wouldn’t look good if I just did a gel stain over that?

  7. Hi Larissa!
    This is amazing! I’ve been wanting to do this to our garage doors since we bought this fixer-upper we are living in now. have a flat fiberberglass garage door. I know we’d have to prime it first, but how would we create the wood-grain effect since the door is flat? Any ideas or suggestions are most appreciated! Thank you, Nancy 🙂

  8. I would LOVE to do this to my garage door but not sure as to what color family my base would need to blend with the wooden shutters I have. (I was hoping to be able to upload a photo of my house with the shutters in hopes of getting an opinion…but it won’t let me post a photo). Would you be willing to post an email in hopes of getting some help with mine?