Fabric Door Renovation and Makeover

DIY specialist and professional furniture expert Natasha Dickens from Little Red Industries returns with another fab DIY project to breathe new life into your home interiors – this time bringing us a simple fabric door reno. 

Transforming an everyday, functional part of your home into a showcase for art and pattern is a great way to brighten up a space and give an average bedroom entry a point of interest.

This project is fun and very simple. It uses fabric and a new sealing technique I designed with Bondall’s Monocel Water-based Varnish – a bit similar to the retro concept of decoupage with that classic formula called Mod Podge. 

This hollow-core door had been damaged and badly repaired, but rather than simply paint it, I turned it into showcase one of my favourite patterns – the iconic poppy print Unikko by Marimekko, designed in the 1960s. I’m such a big fan of bold, mid-century design!

Once you have the fabric, pick up everything else you need at a hardware store. Allow two days to work with the door on a flat surface. Set up outside and undercover so you can leave the varnish to dry overnight.

The key is in the application. Start with a mini foam roller to apply the Bondall Bondcrete adhesive, which has the perfect, fast-but-forgiving dry-time for this project. Then use a microfibre roller to finish with Bondall’s Monocel clear water-based varnish to seal and protect the fabric with a beautiful texture.

While the door is removed, spruce up the jamb with a fresh coat of paint. It’s also a good idea to update the door hardware and chose a matte black lever so it’s almost invisible on the pattern. The black hinges match nicely too.

To cover the back of a door, simply cut the fabric to fit almost to the edge and fit the moulding flush with the edge to create the frame. But if you go with the front, as I have, mark around the jamb before removing it so the frame doesn’t prevent the door from closing.


  • Felt-tip pen
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • 3 lengths of 2.4m 12 x 6mm half round flybead moulding for the frame
  • Mitre box with handsaw 
  • 180-grit abrasive paper with hand-sanding block
  • Water-based enamel paint
  • Mini roller with tray and two microfibre covers, one foam cover
  • Fabric to fit the door, about 2040mm x 820mm
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Bondall’s Bondcrete adhesive 1-litre tub
  • Masking tape
  • Print roller or rolling pin
  • Bondall’s Monocel Water-based Clear Varnish in satin, 1L
  • 25mm x 1.6mm bullet head nails
  • Small hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Small paintbrush
  • Pair of matt black hinges
  • Passage leverset in matt black


STEP 1 Close the door to trace around the inside of the jamb with a black felt-tip pen as a guide for positioning the moulding frame.

STEP 2 Use a drill or screwdriver to remove the handle and strike plate, then remove the door and hinges, taking off on the bottom one first.

STEP 3 To make the frame, position the moulding inside the pen marks, using the mitre box and hand saw to cut one corner of the flybead moulding at a time. Check the pieces fit then sand the edges smooth.

STEP 4 Lightly sand the door then apply two or three coats of paint on both sides and edges using a microfibre roller. Also paint the frame pieces.

TIP Use a specialty paint for doors and trim as it’s more resistant to scratching than a wall paint.

STEP 5 Position the fabric on the door, moving it to showcase the pattern. Measure from the factory edge, tapping a guide to cut with scissors so the fabric fits inside the lines.

TIP Be sure to show off the pattern! In this case, the flowers are positioned to down the centre, with a black background for the handle.

STEP 6 To glue the fabric, tape the bottom half to the door to secure it while working on the top. Fold the fabric back to apply Bondall Bondcrete adhesive in a light, even coat. Fold the fabric back and use a print roller or rolling pin to push out air bubbles. Tape down the edges then repeat with the bottom half of the door, leaving to dry thoroughly for a couple of hours.

TIP Use a mini foam roller to apply the adhesive, which has the perfect, fast-but-forgiving dry-time for this project.

STEP 7 Use a microfibre cover on the mini roller to apply varnish over the fabric, working around the edges to prevent fraying. Cover the roller with plastic wrap and leave the door to dry for at least four hours. Cut out the handle hole then apply a second coat and leave to dry.

TIP Although the instructions for Monocel Water-based Varnish suggest sanding between coats, it’s best to avoid sanding the fabric.

STEP 8 To secure the frame, start with the top piece, tapping in nails at least 50mm from the ends to avoid splitting, and about 300mm apart. Fit the side\s, nailing the corners first to ensure a neat join, attaching the base last.

TIP The frame covers the edges of the fabric. After nailing it down, trim any escaping frayed edges with a sharp utility knife.

STEP 9 Use a small paintbrush to hide the nail heads and touch up around the outside of the frame to cover any pen marks.

STEP 10 To hang the door, attach new hinges then use a timber offcut to help lift and position it, securing the top hinge to the jamb first. Make sure the door closes without hitting the frame then install the new handle and strike to make an entrance!

If you do a similar makeover, be sure to post it on Facebook or Instagram, tagging @littleredindustries, @bondall.au and @monocel.timbercare. We’d love to see your creations!