I’ve had many requests to share the process I recently used to paint my cabinets, so what better format than my blog. Even though it has been several months since my last update, maybe I’ll get back into the groove of posting more often. We’ll see. I won’t promise anything yet. :)
Before I begin, please remember that I am by no means a professional. There are most likely better ways to paint your cabinets, but this was my process (most of my research coming from Pinterest). Also, my quantities of paint were estimated for 18 standard cabinet doors (fronts & backs) and six drawers.
So, here we go (it may seem like a lot at first glance, but I just want to be thorough.):
You will need the following supplies:
- Screwdriver (pref. electric)
- Drop cloth(s)
- Several box lids, photo albums, etc., to use as spacers
- 4″ Paint roller w/ 2-4 foam covers
- 1″ Foam brush (1-2)
- Paint tray
- Blue Painters tape
- 1 qt. Zinsser BIN, 1-2-3, or Cover Stain Primer
- 1 gal. paint (in your color of choice), nothing less than semi-gloss, pref. glossy sheen
- Lots of patience
- Tin foil (optional)
- Caulk (optional)
1. Take all the hardware off of the cabinets: pulls/knobs, hinges, etc. If you have an electric screwdriver, now is the time to put it to use, unless you don’t ever want to use your wrists again.
For those of you with older cabinetry, you may want to label your cabinet doors and their respective hinges, to make installing them at the end of the job a lot easier to ensure a better fit. I did this, but it probably wasn’t necessary since my cabinets are less than 10 years old. Post-its were used to label the doors, and individual snack-size ziploc bags, labeled with the same numbers, for storing the hardware. I put all the knobs in one large ziploc, since it didn’t matter which door/drawer those went back on.
2. Put down a drop cloth under your workspace, along with something to put under each door that will give a 1-2″ space from the floor (so you can paint the edges). Lay out all the doors on their spacers face/front up.
3. Time to prime your doors with the first coat. I recommend the Zinsser primers because they don’t require any sanding (a.k.a. less work!). I used the Cover Stain mainly because it was the cheapest of all of the options. You may want to ask the paint professional at your local hardware store what they recommend, but most of the reading I did recommended Zinsser. Also, if possible, try to open a window or keep a fan running, as the primer is pretty potent. My cats and I were pretty loopy by the end of the first coat. Good times! To save on clean-up time, I put a layer of aluminum foil in my paint tray before getting to work. Go ahead and pour some primer in the tray, get your foam roller ready, and go to town. I didn’t do this, but I would suggest using a 1″ foam brush to coat the edges and any beveling in your cabinets, then go over everything with the foam roller for a smoother finish. Once dry, turn over and coat the back side. I did one coat of primer per day, takes longer to dry than the paint.
4. While you’re waiting for your primer to dry, you can move back to the kitchen and paint the outside of the cabinet area. Foam-brush the inside edges and roll the exterior surfaces. I chose not to paint the shelving, but that is up to you. Seemed like more work than what I was looking for. :) Don’t forget to put Painters tape wherever you don’t want paint. I forgot to do this and now I have to paint my kitchen walls because there are a couple of white stripes that I wasn’t anticipating. Wah wahhh.
4b. If you’re painting cabinets that haven’t been painted before, you will likely want to caulk any of the open joints (where the cabinets meet; corners, etc.). When the wood hasn’t been painted, the joints aren’t noticeable as when they have even a coat of primer on them. Since there aren’t many projects I do that involve caulk, I just purchased a small tube (approx 5.5 oz) of multi-purpose caulk in white. I just put a thin line in the corner joint of my cabinets and smoothed it out with a damp paper towel (to remove excess). Makes a world of difference.
5. I did two coats of primer on the fronts of the doors, the outside of the cabinet area, and one coat on the backs & edges of the doors.
6. Time to paint! Even though I used white primer and white paint, I used a new roller cover and a new foam brush for the paint step. Same process as the primer, except I used two coats of paint on the edges and back of the doors, and three coats on the fronts of the doors. Since I was going with white paint and I have white appliances, I wanted to make sure I chose a paint that matched well and didn’t make the appliances look dingy/yellow. That process took me longer than the whole project, but I ended up going with Pittsburgh Paints’ “Ultra White” in semi gloss from Menards. If I could do it again, I would’ve chosen the glossy sheen as the doors seem to be more dull than I would’ve preferred. Live and learn.
7. Once the doors look properly covered and once they’re dry, it’s time to hang those babies back up. I probably could’ve painted one more coat on the fronts of my doors, but I was too anxious to get it done. Hanging the doors was easily the most frustrating part of the process for me. Put the hinges back on the door, and then screw them back into place on the frames. It was tricky for me because I was trying so hard to not ding or scratch my freshly painted beauties. Thankfully I only hung two of the doors upside down, so the most exciting part was finally here…
8. Put the door knobs back on! And voilà! You’re done!
The entire project took me four days and less than $50:
- Monday: Removed hardware and doors. Purchased needed supplies.
- Tuesday: One coat primer front & back.
- Wednesday: One coat primer front. One coat of paint front & back.
- Thursday: Two coats paint front, one coat back. Reinstall doors. Finish.
Approximate Cost (dependent of what supplies you currently have):
- Primer: $12
- Paint: $22
- Roller/covers/brushes: $8
- Caulk: $4
Hopefully this was helpful, and if there are questions you still may have, don’t hesitate to ask by adding a comment below. Thanks to all who have shared their positive comments! It has inspired me to finish the bottom half of the kitchen. :)