Our Step by Step Guide to Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know I have made it my mission to paint every single last cherry cabinet in this house! I am currently 38.3 weeks pregnant and decided about 3 weeks ago to tackle the last, and biggest cabinet painting project in our house: Our kitchen! 

While waiting for this baby, I realized there wasn't any time better than the present. I have free time and free hands, and I'm not sure when a combination of those two things will happen ever again :) 

I decided it was worth it (even in my current state) to go ahead and knock these out. I've been sharing the process on my instagram stories and get lots of questions about how to do this. So, I thought I would go ahead and document the steps one by one in a long form so people can reference back if they want! 

Here are the materials you'll need: 

- Electric screwdriver for removing cabinet hardware 
- Electric sander or sanding block (I used a sanding block on mine because they have a smooth finish) 
- Plastic tarp 
- Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Satin (the best, best choice for cabinets!) 
- Frog tape (the only painter's tape you should use! It never bleeds, unlike blue tape)

Now let's get started! 

1. Remove all the cabinet drawers and doors and remove hardware. I recommend numbering the doors and bases so you know which ones go where! I also like to keep all of the screws in each shelf or drawer when I remove them so I don't lose them! Keep all the handles together in a box or basket. 


2. Lightly sand the cabinet fronts and cabinet bases with your sander/sanding block. I don't use too much strength here. I just try to rough them up enough to get the sheen off. Should be mildly dusty. 

3. Once you've sanded everything with your sanding block, I use the Liquid Sandpaper to to make sure all of the factory finish is off AND double it as a cleanup from the sanding dust. This is why I like to do this part second! I pour the Liquid Sandpaper out onto a rag, and just wipe everything down until it's clean and coated. 

4. You are finished prepping your cabinets! They are ready for paint. I really like the primer base called STIX from Benjamin Moore. It's fumey, but it will bond to anything. I've used it on my tile floors, all of my cabinets, and furniture and it provides an excellent base for the paint to bond to. I typically save my foam rollers for applying the cabinet paint, so I prime with the small angled brush, making sure to cut into all the edges. It should cover your cabinets but not be opaque. It doesn't need to be. One coat is usually sufficient but you can do more than one if you want to be extra thorough. Prime the front and back at the same time (this is different from how I recommend applying paint, so this will make more sense in a minute). 

5. Let the primer dry for 1-2 hours. Once the primer is dry, I set up my cabinets on top of little stands like the image below. It helps the cabinets to be steady, and any drips to fall to the table below vs. sitting on the door front. 

6. Start on ONE SIDE of the cabinets. Usually I start on the back side first so that I can sand down any paint drips on the front. I will do all 3 coats on one side fully before flipping them over. Start by cutting in the edges with your angled brush. I find it's easiest to cut in on the edges and corners first, and then roll over them to smooth out so there are no brush strokes. Coat fully with your smooth roller, not pressing too hard so as to avoid lines. If you see any paint lines, lightly roll over them to smooth out. This paint is self leveling, but you will get a more professional finish if you take care to roll out any visible lines. Allow first coat to dry 2-3 hours. 

7. Apply second coat and third coats (you'll likely need 3 for full coverage) allowing to dry 2-4 hours in between depending on your humidity. The more humid, the more time you'll need for them to be dry between coats. Rushing between coats can result in the paint sticking/pulling up. You want them fully dry in between. Once all three coats are applied, let them dry overnight or for 24 hours. This allows the paint to cure and harden before you flip them over. You especially want to do this if you are using the painter tripods above. Otherwise, if the paint hasn't cured, it will leave indents! 

8. Once the paint has cured for 24 hours, flip over to the front of the cabinet. Sand down any paint drips you see so you are starting with a smooth base. You've already primed this side, so you are ready to start on your paint cutting in. Cut in all the edges and then roll out 3 coats (allowing the same 2-3 hours between each coat). 

9. Allow cabinet fronts to cure for 24 hours. Once it's been 24 hours, check for any drips and lightly sand down, touching up paint as needed. 

10. Touch up any spots/deficiencies you see. Allow another 24 hours to cure. 

11. Once you're DONE DONE with your painting and happy with your work, you can reapply the hardware! If you rush to reinstall the hardware before the paint is cured, the paint will be too soft and will stick to the hardware. I made this mistake early on and will not make it again. Even if it feels dry to the touch, it's like putting shoes on when you've had your nails done. You need to just wait a day or you'll smush it :) 

12. Reinstall the hardware and rehang your cabinets! THEY WILL BE CROOKED. This is normal! Once the cabinets are rehung, you can adjust the levelers to get them to close properly. I have a good video on instagram stories highlights about how to do this, but you adjust these two screws in/out and up/down to get the doors to hang properly. It takes about a minute of fiddling with each cabinet to get it right. You may be wondering why you have to do this if you rehung them using the same holes. I did too! The thing to remember is that when they were installed, they would have been leveled out the same way as you're doing now. It's just part of the process.

14. Once you rehang the hardware, you are DONE! Here are the before and afters from our space. I can't tell you how much brighter it makes the room feel. I am so happy we tackled this, even though the timing was interesting. It feels wonderful to have it done and makes the kitchen feel more modern and breezy. 

We have a few more plans for this kitchen including a new dishwasher (Ours has inconveniently broken a week before our baby is due...), installing a new light fixture (this one barely lights up the room), and re-doing the backsplash. The previous owners installed a fiberglass shower surround as the backsplash, and installed long outlet strips that are not fire safe. We will need to have an electrician fix the outlets and will likely have a professional install a new backsplash for us. We had always planned to replace the counter top with something more our style, but we actually find the counter a lot more tolerable now with the white cabinets! It's much less yellow, and more honey colored. We had originally envisioned white counters and white backsplash, but now I'm considering something like this and keeping our counter tops. We're going to sit with it for a bit before we decide. 

Overall, painting your kitchen cabinets is time consuming but not difficult. For me, the hard part is having the time and patience to wait between paint coats/ rehanging. We were able to do our whole kitchen in 2 weeks (with me doing 99% of the work and being 800 years pregnant). With different conditions I think this would have gone faster. But, if you have kiddos and are having to stop and start like I did, it will take some time! But, we were able to give our kitchen a massive makeover for $130 of paint and supplies. From my experience doing this with our 3 bathrooms, these steps allow the paint to hold up really well for daily use. We haven't had to touch up any of our bathrooms so far. Obviously a kitchen does get heavier use, so I'll report back how they are holding up in six months. Now... time to go have a baby! 

1 comment:

  1. cabinet maker When your website or blog goes live for the first time, it is exciting. That is until you realize no one but you and your.


Powered by Blogger.

Search This Blog

Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan

Your copyright

Your own copyright