How to Make a Star Wars Door

A Sci Fi spaceship office is incomplete without matching, hissing Sci Fi blast doors. And making real metal blast doors might be a bit excessive (also too heavy).

The next best option is to make some out of plywood and make them LOOK like metal blast doors. But that is no easy feat.

With no luck finding information on the internet on how to best achieve the effect we wanted, I set out trying all sorts of methods that could work.
After many tested methods, this is the process that I came up with to best achieve the desired look that I had in mind.
First the Plywood needs to be sanded and smoothed out.

Next, I apply Mud with a flat edge to the plywood, spreading the material evenly with a paint roller. Then let it sit to dry. The paint roller creates a texture that works as a good starting point.

After the Mud dries, I wrap sandpaper around a flat wooden block and lightly sand the surface. Only removing the “high” spots of the mud while leaving the “lows” and flattening the surface. This helps create the “pitted” texture seen on mill scale with metal.

Now to paint the area, two separate coats to make sure the plywood grain pattern is hidden. (We’re going for metal, not wood.)

After the paint dries, the next step is to use different metallic and black wax-based paints called “Rub-n-Buff” to create the appearance of painted metal being worn off over time. This helps sell the idea that the door is made of metal and that the “spaceship” is lived in.

Using a flat piece of material as a palette, I smear the paint on it evenly with a flat wooden block. Then I rub this block (with the paint now mixed on it) across the surface. This flat block hits the “highs” further selling that the elevated parts of the surface text are being “worn” down first.

Rubbing and spreading some of the more concentrated deposits of paint with my fingers helped add a gradual fade look that I’m going for, looking a little more realistic.

The darker wax paints represent the oil, grit, and grime that would gather in cracks, edges, and corners of the surface.

The lighter metallic paints represent the rubbed off paint and polished metal that would be found underneath, typically on the window and door edges, and especially at shoulder/hand height in the entrance.

So we’re really adding paint to make it look like the door “paint” has been removed over time.

I installed it on a track that can found here, it works using a motion sensor and also has a manual override.

And the Final Result looks pretty good. Share your thoughts, tips, and show me what you make with these techniques!

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