Remove The Doors Drawers And Shelves
- Be sure to mark each drawer front and door with a marker to prevent mixing up the doors. The best place for this mark is behind the hinge location.
- Back out the hinge screws from the cabinet frame and remove the doors.
- Working from left to right, top to bottom, label each one with a numbered piece of tape. Also, number the edges of cabinet shelves and the bottoms of drawers.
- Set aside the shelf-hanging hardware.
- At your worktable, remove the pulls and hinges and save what’s being reused.
- On the doors, transfer the number from the tape to the exposed wood under one hinge.
- Cover it with fresh tape.
Prime Cabinet Doors If Needed
Not all cabinets will need to be primed before painting, if youre using DecoArts Satin Enamels. Satin Enamels are formulated to adhere well to wood, and Ive seen this to be true in multiple cabinet and furniture painting projects.
If your wood is old, has stains or dark knots, or seems dried out , it can be a good idea to prime first. Primer helps with adhesion and stain blocking, so it helps your paint stick better, look better, and go farther.
This Zinsser BIN Advanced Primer is what I recommend for painting over wood, whether its cabinets, molding, or doors. It does the best job of stain-blocking out of any primer Ive ever used.
Plus it dries in 45 minutes, so you can get on with your project quickly!
Full disclosure when I painted these cabinets, I used DecoArts Stainblocker, but its not available for purchase anymore. Ive use the BIN primer in several other wood projects and I know it will do the same job.
How Long It Can Take To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
It can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or two to paint kitchen cabinets, depending on the size of the cabinets and how much prep work needs to be done. It can take longer for professionals to paint cabinets as they follow a more in-depth process than DIY painters.
Heres a general timeline for how long it will take to paint kitchen cabinets:
- Prepping the surface: 1-2 hours
- Applying primer: 1-2 hours
- Painting the first coat of paint: 2-4 hours
- Painting the second coat of paint: 2-4 hours
- Drying and curing time: 24 hours
The total project can take anywhere from 6 to 16 hours, spread out over a few days. Of course, this is just an estimate your actual time may vary depending on the condition of your cabinets and how many coats of paint you need.
Drying and curing time are also taken into account, so the cabinets will not be usable for 24 hours after they have been painted. Some professional painters will let the cabinets cure for 2 weeks for the absolute best results.
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Move Onto The Second Layer
For the second layer of paint, use your brush again to get into all the crevices. Then you can finish it off with a sponge roller. Now it’s about creating a really even finish and getting rid of any brush marks so you don’t need a lot of paint.
Depending on what color you are painting over, two coats might be enough, but do a third coat if you need to.
Top Tip: Make sure you remember to paint the sides of the doors and drawers, as these will be visible when opened.
To Poly Or Not To Poly
Many of you may be wondering if I used any sort of top coat or poly to protect the paint and the answer as of now is NO! As an experiment, I am waiting to see if the milk paint is durable enough to forego any sort of protection. It has been three weeks so far, and I have yet to inflict any sort of damage to the milk paint.
UPDATE: After observing how incredibly rough my small children are on the cabinets, I decided to be proactive and apply this topcoat to them. Want to know how the milk paint is holding up after 6 months? to read the follow-up post. You can also watch the video below
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Apply The First Coat Of Paint To Your Kitchen Cabinets
When your primer is set, you can go in with your first layer of paint. Remember to stir the paint, especially if it’s highly pigmented as it will separate. Using your paintbrush, work in both directions to really get into the grain, for an even finish. Remember again that lots of thin layers is best when painting kitchen cupboards. Let that layer dry completely.
When completely dry, take a small sanding block to smooth out any spots which are a little clumpy. Then wipe it down with a soft cloth to remove any lingering dust.
Support Doors On Standoffs
You can buy plastic painters pyramids, which work great for supporting doors while you paint them. Or you can make your own standoffs by driving 2-in. screws through 3-in. square scraps of plywood. If you dont mind a few barely visible dimples on the back of your doors, you can paint both sides of a door at once using standoffs.
Heres how to get started painting your kitchen cabinets. Paint the back first, leaving the edges unpainted so youll have a spot to put your fingers when you turn the door over. Paint the back. Then flip the door over and rest it on the screw tips.
Now you can paint the door edges and front, then let the door dry. If you look hard, you can spot tiny indentations where the screws contact the wet paint, but theyre inconspicuous.
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Clean All The Surfaces
- Clean the cabinet by spraying it with a degreaser solution and wiping it down with a rag. This removes all the oils and grease that could prevent a perfect finish. If ordinary cleaners arent effective, consider using a stronger cleaner like trisodium phosphate , which is sold at hardware and paint stores. Just make sure you follow the safety precautions on the container.
- Once all the cabinet pieces are clean, rinse them thoroughly with water and let them dry.
Why Did You Use Drydex As A Grain Filler
We tried several products, including many actual wood and grain fillers, but we got the best results with the Drydex wall spackle mixed with a little of the dust that remained on the cabinets from the first sanding. I know it sounds strange, but it worked great.
With that being said, please know that this isnt a magic product. Youll still see an extremely subtle grain at certain angles on the finished product, just enough grain to know it is wood under there. We werent aiming for a glasslike finish. We just knew from previous experiences painting oak that the grain detail sometimes remains black because the paint cant make it into the tiny cracks. We definitely wanted to avoid grain showing through completely, and this solved our problem!
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Remove Doors And Hardware
Remove all of the hinges, hardware, doors, screws and drawers from your cabinets. Use masking tape to label each door with a number and its corresponding location as you remove them so you’ll remember which one goes where. Do not mix them up or the hinges may not line up properly when you reinstall. If you are painting only the drawer fronts, you wont have to remove the attached slides. If you do need to remove the slides, mark them and their locations as well. Place the hardware and screws in plastic bags inside the cabinets where they will be easy to locate when you’re ready to reassemble everything.
Clean Prime And Paint Frames
Once your doors are out of the way, youll repeat the same cleaning, priming, and painting process as above, just on the frames this time. It sounds like a big job, but it really isnt.
The frames dont take up much space, so they wont take you long to finish. Just make sure you tape off any edges first, to make your life easier.
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Now For The Most Exciting Part Of Painting Cabinets: We Spray The Color On
Heres a very poor shot, but you can see the dark muted green color already sprayed on the cabinets in the upper left:
Once the final color goes on, you can really start to envision how beautiful your kitchen will be. Since your cabinets are already fully prepped, primed, and sanded smooth, painting cabinets in the final color goes surprisingly fast.
Want To Know What Our Cabinets Look Like Two Years After Painting Them You Can Read An Update Here
Spoiler: They still look perfect!
Theres not a scratch or mark in sight, even in areas that get a lot of wear and tear like around the handles or edges of cupboard doors. I honestly couldnt be happier with how it looks and how its holding up!
Im totally aware that painting kitchen cabinets can seem like a daunting thing to do we definitely had our concerns but its not as difficult as it may seem and achieving a flawless finish where you wouldnt know that the cabinets are painted is possible!
With all of that said, heres a flowchart to give you an overview of whats involved when painting kitchen cabinets. And, if youre planning on painting your kitchen cabinets, were also sharing a helpful step by step checklist that you can download at the end of this post.
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Best Paint For Kitchen Cabinets
In 2014, we used Proclassic Latex Enamel: We did not have ours tinted. I honestly didnt even know that you could tint all different whites at the time and this was also the same white latex enamel we used. The non-tinted Proclassic is Pure White.
Proclassic was our favorite paint until we recently used a new line from Sherwin Williams. I am not even sure this new paint line existed when we first painted our cabinets.
Now we recommend using Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel. We recently completely updated our kitchen cabinets using this line of paint. While Proclassic Latex Enamel is still great the Emerald Urethane is just another step up. We loved its self-leveling abilities. It truly made our repainted cabinets look new again!
Should I Paint My Cabinets
Before you head out to the paint store, however, examine your cabinets to see if they can be resuscitated in the first place. Even the highest-quality paint job can’t revive cheap cabinets that have grown frail with age. Thin veneers peel or delaminate, particleboard cabinet bottoms or shelves sag or break, and hanging rails come loose. If these are the issues youre dealing with, youd actually be better off replacing your kitchen cabinets.
Assuming that everything is still in fine shape and good working order, lets examine some of the questions youll need to address before you start repainting your kitchen cabinets.
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Put Back All The Pieces
- Once the second coat dries, reattach the door and drawer fronts. Enjoy the fact that youve given your kitchen cabinets a fresh new look without investing a lot of time or money.
- Remove the tape over each door’s number, install the hinges and knob, and hang them in their original opening.
- Replace the drawer pulls and reinstall each drawer.
Sand Lightly Between Coats
Even if your paint looks pretty smooth, it will benefit from a light sanding. Small imperfections that are hardly noticeable could stand out after more paint is applied, or in a different light. Wait until your paint is very dry, and then sand it lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe everything down before applying the next coat of paint.
Prime And Paint The Doors Drawers And Shelves
Priming and painting the doors, drawers, and shelves is the final step in painting your kitchen cabinets. Make sure to use a high-quality primer and paint, as this will ensure a smooth, durable finish.
To prime the doors and drawers, use a small brush to apply the primer to all edges and surfaces. Once the primer is dry, paint the doors and drawers using a small brush or roller. For best results, paint in thin, even coats and allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
To paint the shelves, you will first remove them from the cabinets and lay them flat on a work surface. Apply primer to all surfaces of the shelves, then paint them using a small brush or roller. Allow the primer and paint to dry completely before reattaching the shelves to the cabinets.
Mistake : You Skip Cleaning The Wood Before Beginning To Paint
“No matter how clean you think your kitchen is, you need to wipe everything down with a grease remover,” says Fahrbach. Otherwise, when you add a water-based paint to an oil-covered door, the paint won’t stick. He recommends a paint-prep degreaser called TSP, and a non-scratch delicate scrub sponge for stuck on spots.
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How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets Step
You’ll only need a long weekend or so to recreate the best kitchen cabinet ideas, whether yours are wooden, laminate, already painted or not.
Although painting kitchen cabinets is a relatively easy and cheap DIY, as expected, you can’t just whack paint on and hope for the best… Our video and step-by-step method will help you achieve professional-looking results.
Tips For Painting Cabinets
- If you have flat doors on your kitchen cabinets, you can make quick work of paint application by using a roller with a 1/4-inch nap .
- Paneled kitchen cabinets require a little more work use a paintbrush to evenly coat angled surfaces and inset areas.
- Choose a synthetic bristle brush if youre using latex paint, since the water-based formula will swell the bristles of a natural paintbrush.
- Remove any hardware before painting. If you’ll be replacing the hardware with a new style and not using the same holes, fill them in before sanding and painting.
- Get any dried paint off glass-front cabinets by gently scraping it with a razor blade.
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Worried About Adhesion Try Acrylic Urethane
Acrylic urethane has many properties that make it a perfect primer for cabinets. First, it sticks tenaciously to almost any surface. You could even paint over plastic laminate cabinets with acrylic urethane.
Acrylic urethane also cures to a very hard and durable finish. You can use acrylic urethane primer and cover it with your choice of paint. Or you can use acrylic urethane paint as the final coat too.
Which Colour Is Best For Kitchen Cabinets
I have to say, I have been obsessed with blue and green cabinets. If you have decided to paint your kitchen cabinets, you dont have to be limited by the colours offered by the manufacturers. You have A TON more options.
I worked with the Spray-Net team on a kitchen project, and the homeowners picked a BEAUTIFUL colour called Hale Navy.
Spray-Net can do pretty much any colour you are looking for. You can do something bold . You can even do a two-tone cabinet.
On our shows you typically see us tearing the walls down and investigating whats behind the walls. On most of our projects, we are fixing structural, electrical, and plumbing issues. We do this for PEACE OF MIND and to obviously make it right for our homeowners. When your budget is limited and you just want a quick facelift for your kitchen, spray painting your cabinets is the way to go!
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Two: Remove Everything From The Room
I mean everything. There will be a lot of dust created! You will want to completely clean out your cabinets, junk drawers, everything. This was a good opportunity for me to employ some tough-love and get rid of the kitchen utensils and items that have never been used. This process alone can take you quite a while, depending on how disorganized you are .
How We Did It
Before starting to do any painting or sanding we gave our cupboards a very thorough clean.
We always use sugar soap for cleaning cupboards and furniture were going to paint as its really good at removing all grime and grease which is obviously especially important in a kitchen!
We also took the cupboard doors and drawer fronts off the cabinets before painting and also removed all handles. Even if youre planning on using the same handles again, wed definitely recommend removing them because itll make the whole sanding and painting process much easier.
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How Many Coats Do You Need On Your Kitchen Cabinets
This depends on the type of material and the colour you want to achieve. And as with any paint job, the more thorough the prep, the better the result.
I am sure you can visualize white or light-coloured cabinets going to a darker colour. But you can actually take dark cabinets and do a lighter colour as well.
Spray-Net uses the same coating for all cabinet surface types, whether you have laminate, wood or melamine, etc. The preparation of the actual paint varies depending on whether a primer and grain filler are used.
The Spray-Net crew has the expertise to determine what your particular needs are. No guesswork on your end and flawless finish every time!
Before & After Kitchen Transformation With Spray-Net.