Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget

Restoring Doorknob Plates



Before- ewww, so much paint!


After- new (old) knob, most paint removed!


Another after- obviously still need to match the paint!

Someone (actually many someones, judging by the layers) covered these beautiful brass doorknob plates in paint. From the looks of it, the plates were a pale yellow, then the typical Craftsman green, then white. I pulled these off (with some difficulty) and started stripping the paint.


The problem with stripping paint off aged brass is the difficulty preserving the patina while removing the paint. I used a gel-type paint stripper and a scraper for the flat areas, but the dotted areas were quite stubborn. I tried using a metal brush, but it scratched either the metal or the patina (I couldn’t really tell which, but stopped immediately). I tried using cloths and steel wool, but the steel wool completely removed the patina and made the brass shiny, which is not at all what I wanted.


Next, I tried soaking the plates in mineral spirits. That didn’t do anything at all. Eventually, I used some pins to scrape out small portions of the paint. I did leave some in between the details of the plates in order to preserve some of the history and add some interesting detail! I could have really scraped the paint out and then used a brass ager, but I was afraid of all the scratching.



Color history- these colors fit perfectly with the craftsman palette!

Unfortunately, removing the plates also pulled a lot of paint off the doors themselves (particularly the latex paint). When I tried to re-paint those areas after scraping a little, the white didn’t match and wasn’t thick enough to remove the line between the old paint and the part that had been removed. I ran out of time, so just painted the areas around the plates before screwing them back in. I’ll need to probably paint the entire door… four times. Super disappointing! Here’s hoping that I don’t have to do any sanding! At least I got the bonus of seeing the color history of the doors in question.


Front and back doorknobs didn’t match before this project!


Thanks to Rick and Carey for giving us the old doorknobs from their home for this project!!


Author: Morgan | Culture | Meredith

Morgan Meredith writes about mental health, travel, and tech, based on her own experiences. Morgan left her job at a tech startup in 2017 to travel the world, and hasn’t stopped! She’s passionate about making travel as accessible for people with mental health challenges as it is for those who are nerotypical. She is also an outspoken advocate for destigmatizing mental health. Morgan received an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BFA and BA at Bradley University. Hire Morgan for your project or speaking engagement at

2 thoughts on “Restoring Doorknob Plates

  1. Pingback: Salvaged Door Project | Inglewood Craftsman Home

  2. Pingback: Non-Toxic Paint Removal from Hardware | Inglewood Craftsman Home

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