How To Paint A Door With Glass Panels

Upon first glance, doors that have glass panels embedded in them can seem a bit tricky to paint. However, they are actually quite simple to paint and can be painted from top to bottom in a short amount of time. In this post, we'll cover this process to help you get your doors painted with minimal effort.

A door with glass panels can be painted by following a few steps to protect the glass, and you don't need to take the door off of its hinges to do so--you will simply paint around them. Here are the steps to paint a door that has glass panels:

  • Lay a dropcloth
  • Inspect the door
  • Cover the glass
  • Prime the door
  • Paint the door panels
  • Paint the moldings
  • Paint the opposite side of the door

If you still have more questions, don't fret. We'll go over each step in more detail as well as discuss whether or not both sides of the door should be the same color, if you can use exterior paint on interior doors, how to remove dried paint from glass panels, and more. So be sure to keep reading.

A painted door and window to a guesthouse in the back yard, How To Paint A Door With Glass Panels?

Steps To Paint A Door With Glass Panels

Here, we'll cover all of the tools that you will need to paint the door as well as a few professional tips to avoid getting paint on the glass panels.

Tools you'll need:

  • Drop cloth
  • Primer
  • Wet rag or old t-shirt
  • Paintbrushes (angled and straight-edge)
  • Interior/exterior paint
  • Sandpaper (100-grit or 120-grit)
  • Paint tray
  • Wood filler
  • Damp sponge
  • Masking tape

Step 1. Lay A Dropcloth

Lay a drop cloth down in front of the door and smooth it out so that it lays as flat as possible, as you don't want to trip over it while you're working on the door. The door should be open about halfway so that the majority of its hinge-containing side is accessible.

Pro tip: It's best to place a couple of objects on both sides of the door to hold it in place while you're painting.

Step 2. Inspect The Door

Closely inspect the door and look for any blemishes, dents, and areas where the wood may be splintered. If you do find any, be sure to fill them in with wood filler. Sand down any protruding pieces of wood with your sandpaper (80-grit if for bigger protrusions, 120-grit for smaller ones).

After doing so (and once the filler has dried), take your sandpaper and gently rub it across the panels of the door from top to bottom, ensuring that there are no areas that stick out of the door surface. After dusting the door, wipe it down with your slightly damp sponge and give it a few minutes to dry.

Check out this sandpaper set on Amazon.

Step 3. Cover The Glass

Take your masking tape and cover the areas of the glass on the inside edge of the wood panels (or moldings). Make sure to do this carefully so that you don't place the tape over the door itself. You want it to slightly overlap the door panels and cover about a half-inch of the glass. Make sure to secure the tape firmly and press it along the edge of the glass so that it's completely smooth.

Then, take a utility knife and carefully cut the masking tape where the wood panel meets the glass and then peel it off. Next, take a look at the panel and make sure that the tape is no longer covering the door's edge, as this will be your paint line.

Check out this masking tape on Amazon. 

Step 4. Prime The Door

Take an angled brush and dip it in the primer. Next, apply it to the door panel starting at the top left. Work your way to the right of the door and then to the bottom. Upon finishing, allow the primer to dry for the appropriate drying time and then lightly sand the door with the sandpaper (120-grit). Doing so will help you create a suitable surface for the paint to adhere to.

Check out this primer on Amazon.

Step 6. Paint The Door Panels

Take an angled brush (different from the one that you use for the primer if it hasn't been cleaned) and dip it about it an inch into the paint in the tray (wipe off excess paint on the side of the tray). Take your brush and paint the areas of the door near the glass panels to "cut in" the edges.

After you have painted the small panels, you can now move to the larger panels on the door. Start at the top left of the door as before, making sure to use short horizontal brush strokes to work your way to the right and then to the bottom.

Check out this angled paintbrush set on Amazon.

Pro tip: Don't panic if you accidentally get a little paint on the glass panels while painting the door edges. If it's still wet, simply take a wet washcloth and wipe off the glass using a bit of paint thinner, or a clear spirit such as vodka or gin if you have it. To avoid this, it's best to quickly inspect each glass panel after you paint the edges around it.

Step 5. Paint The Moldings

Now it's time to paint the moldings. It's best to use a small amount of paint on the paintbrush to avoid coating the molding too heavily, as it can easily cause dripping. Start at the top left of the door and paint the molding around the first glass panel, working your way to the right and then to the bottom.

Pro tip: Use an angled brush when painting around the edges of the door and the hinges; it will allow you to get a more precise paint line.

Step 8. Paint The Opposite Side Of The Door

After you've completed the entire door, allow the paint to dry for the appropriate drying time, then move to the other side of the door. Follow the previous steps until you've painted the entire door. Once you've painted the other side, allow it to dry for the appropriate drying time before closing the door. And then you're done!

Should You Prime A Door Before Painting?

It depends on if the door has already been primed, as well as the type of paint that you're using. If the door is pre-primed, then you won't need to apply primer to it. You also won't need to prime a door if it was previously painted with latex paint and you're using latex paint to repaint it.

Should Both Sides Of The Door Be The Same Color?

This is a matter of personal preference. You'll need to take into consideration the cohesiveness of the interior decor when the door is open. Some homeowners prefer that the outside door match the framing of the home or the railing on the entry steps while others may want it to be a neutral color or to match the immediate interior of the home.

More often than not, exterior doors are painted the same color both on the outside and the inside. If you do paint the door two different colors, however, it's best to note this on the paint cans so that you can easily remember them for future touch-ups.

Can You Use Exterior Paint On Interior Doors?

Yes, you can use exterior paint on interior walls and doors without any negative effects on the finished result. One reason professional painters may advise against this is that exterior paints tend to produce more chemical emissions in the air. So if you do use them for your interior, it may be best to wear a ventilator mask and/or open the windows to let in a bit of fresh air.

How Can You Remove Dried Paint From Glass?

Sometimes you may get paint on the glass panes while painting your door panels or window sills, and either forget that it's there or go without noticing it until hours or even days later. If this happens, there is a way to effectively remove it from the glass in a matter of minutes. Let's discuss how.

Tools you'll need:

  • Soap (dish soap works great)
  • Spray bottle
  • Utility knife
  • Drop cloth
  • Bucket
  • Window cleaner
  • A soft cloth
  • Glass scraper
  • Paper towels

Steps To Remove Dried Paint From Glass

Step 1

Lay down your drop cloth beneath your windowpane, door, or whatever surface the dried paint is on.

Step 2

Add one or two tablespoons of soap to a bucket of water. You don't need that much water, about 6-7 cups should suffice. Use your hand to stir the soap around in the water slowly (to avoid making it "sudsy"). Next, take your spray bottle and fill it with the soapy water.

Step 3

Spray the glass with the soapy water and then use your cloth to gently scrub the glass. Be sure to apply the solution liberally.

Step 4

Next, take your utility knife and gently score the perimeter of the glass surface (if it's a window or door panel). Take your time when doing this so that you don't scratch the wood with the knife (you don't need to apply a lot of pressure).

Step 5

Take your glass scraper and while holding it at a 45-degree angle, scrape the paint off the glass surface. Make sure to go slow and use steady strokes so that you don't accidentally scratch the window. It's important to hold it at a 45-degree angle as opposed to a 90-degree angle, as it can make it harder to use.

Check out this glass scraper on Amazon. 

Step 6

Wipe down the surface of the glass with a wet or damp cloth to remove any remaining paint chips. Then, dry it with a piece of newspaper or a microfiber cloth.

Check out these microfiber cloths on Amazon.

Wrapping Things Up

Painting doors that contain glass panels is a relatively simple and easy task once you take the right measures to protect the glass so that it doesn't get paint on it (even if you do, you can always get it off later).

Be sure to check out our other posts before you go:

How To Clean A Glass Dining Table (And Keep It Clean Too)?

28 Glass-Enclosed Porch Ideas

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