How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Just DIY It!
Hi HELLO family – well its ready – How to paint your kitchen cabinets is happening right here tonight! I wanted to take my time writing this post to capture all you need to know to do your DIY project. So, how many of you did your homework? Did you visit a paint shop and ask those questions? Have you chosen your brand of paint? Did you order the Cabinet Video from The Magic Brush?
Great job! Now let’s get started on how to paint kitchen cabinets the Hello I Live Here way.
What you need:
Cordless drill or screwdriver
Krud Cutter or Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
Spackling compound or wood filler
120- to 220-grit sandpaper
Tack cloth or rag
Paintbrushes, 1.5-inch tapered and 2-inch-wide synthetic fiber brushes
Microfiber paint rollers, 2-3 inches wide
Paint tray and stir sticks
First, you really need to think about the paint you want to use. We chose to use General Finishes Milk Paints to complete our project.
We like this paint because it has a very good self-leveling agent. This helps to level out the brush marks as the paint dries for a super smooth finish, which for us was the only choice since we were hand brushing everything. Because we are doing a cottage theme in the villa, we decided on Antique White for the tops, and Queenstown Gray for the bottoms. We used 1 quart of each color (not bad right?)
Then, drop cloth cover all surfaces you do not want paint on, like your counters and floors, and use painters table around edges to keep paint off back-splash if you have one, and side walls. We elected not to drop cloth the floors or the counter tops because, well, we are ripping both out. Wood floors will be installed and new counter tops are on order along with back-splash systems. But, you may not be doing those upgrades, so make sure you prep these areas before starting.
Next, remove those hinges and hardware. (Note: I did not empty out my cabinets because I am a freak and clean mine every couple weeks to remove debris.) The best way to paint cabinets is to remove the doors and drawers. Don’t ever paint over the hardware – it’s an expensive mistake and keeps doors and drawers from closing correctly. Now, map out that kitchen! Map just how the doors and drawers go together in the kitchen by labeling each piece with its position.
This helps you reassembly fast and easy. Use a cordless drill or screwdriver to remove hinges and hardware. If your cabinets have adjustable shelves, be sure to remove those — and the hardware that supports them — from the cabinets – ours set far enough back so we had no need to remove them as they do not touch the frames.
Once you are done mapping out the door return system, then you are going to scrub the cabinets like crazy! Strap on the goggles, glove up and Get in there – remove all the junk and grease that all cabinets have on them. You can use TSP or Krud Cutter. We used Krud Cutter an all-purpose, water-based, multi-task cleaner, degreaser, stain remover, and exterior wash. It removes even the toughest stains. Leaves no residue and requires no rinsing. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, non-abrasive, and non-flammable. Spray or wash on and let dry thoroughly before the next step. You can purchase Krud Cutter at a paint supply store or your local Lowe’s or Home Depot.
All clean and dry? Remember, if your cabinets are in great shape and free of nicks and dents, you can degloss with Krud Cutter and you not have to sand. But if your cabinets are in bad shape and need work, now is the time to use a putty knife and the wood filler to fill any nicks or dents with spackling compound or wood filler; let dry. Sand the surface with 120- to 220-grit sandpaper to dull the surface and smooth down any imperfections. You can use a small sanding block from Home Depot to softly sand the areas and the frames and doors in all places. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove the dust after sanding.
Now that you are done, prepping, mapping, and cleaning the doors and frames, it’s time to do the prep work. If you are using new hardware, make sure they are either the same size as what you are removing, or fill those holes with wood filler, and sand lightly to remove any hard surface – you want them smooth.
Prep work is important to the validly of the finished product. Select a primer that’s recommended for the type of surface you have (wood, metal, or laminate) and have it tinted to the color of the top coat.
This is especially important if the surface is dark or stained because the original finish can “bleed,” or be visible, through the top coat.
Consulting with the expert at your paint retailer can help you decide between a waterborne or solvent-borne primer. We used Zinsser primer special for our type of cabinets (they were not the real wood we thought they were – so this worked great). We used a good Pro Purdy brush for primer, and worked it all in with the roller first, then stroked over with our Pro Purdy brush. We let dry a couple hours as directed by the manufacture.
Once we finished priming, and it dried – we moved on to adding our paint color. We cracked open a quart of General Finishes Queenstown gray and applied the first coat to the face frames and the back of each door using the same method as when we primed the cabinets.
Rolled, then worked it all in by hand brushing – we did 2 coats letting dry 2 hours between each coat and following the manufactures directions. Once both coats were completed and dried, we added the top coat to seal the product using General Finishes Professional Sealer with a satin finish. Once dry we stood back in awe as we could not see one brush stroke! AMAZING!!!
The second day we did the same process to the upper cabinets only we used the Antique White. We again, primed, let dry, added 2 healthy coats of antique white, let dry 2 hours between each application, and then followed that with 3 coats of Professional Satin top coat by General Finishes.
Once the paint finish has dried completely, it’s was time to attach drawer pulls, screw the hinges on the doors, and hang the doors on the frames, according to the map we made. We then slid the drawers back into place and stood back to enjoy the new cabinets we created.
See not so bad right? Well, do you think it’s easy? Are you going to try to DIY it now that you see how to paint kitchen cabinets? DIY can be rewarding if you take your time, and enjoy the process. After saving a bucket load of money by DIYing our cabinets, we were able to afford the new counter tops and wood floors. Yep both – you can see our wood floor story on the blog – as those are already in and took us about 4 weekends from start to finish.
Hope you learned How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets! Please share a comment about your DIY kitchen cabinets experience! Until our next blog post.
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