If you are going tackle a project like this here’s how I’d recommend doing it.
First of all, remove the cabinet doors and hinges. Then number the cabinet doors so that you can put them all back in the same location when you’re done. To do this we marked the number with a sharpie inside of the hole that the cabinet sat. We then covered up the number with painters tape. That way the number would be visible when we were done, but would not show since it was hidden inside the hinge hole.
Next wash the cabinets doors and frames with a mild detergent.
Then tape off the insides of the cabinet frames, and the floor of the kitchen. (on a side note, we did not paint the inside of our cabinets, I would not tackle that job unless we were going to tape off all of the walls in the kitchen and spray the inside).
Now degloss the cabinets (doors and frames). Ask for a wood sander/deglosser at the hardware store, then apply it according to the directions on the bottle. It will rough up the surface a bit so that the primer and paint will stick, and you should not have to sand your cabinets.
After you’ve deglossed and cleaned the cabinets apply a light coat of primer. We used Kilz primer. You can use a brush for this step but make sure that you apply a very light coat and don’t leave any brush marks. If there are brush marks sand them lightly after they are dry.
Now you’re ready to start painting. Before let me just say that I’ve been happy to work with a few different paint companies in the past for projects on this blog. This project is not one of them. This is just the paint that we bought and found that worked ourselves. It’s not sponsored in anyway although I did include a few affiliate links for some of the items that we used).
Using a good quality brush paint the cabinet frames, sides and crown molding. If you’re not sure which brush to use check the paint can, the manufacturer usually will recommend a brush to use with that brand of paint. It will take about 2 coats We found a brush gave us a smoother finish than a foam roller. We tried both. The paint we used is “self leveling” meaning it level out any brush marks. Just make sure you don’t use too much paint. I didn’t notice any brush marks on our cabinet frames after we finished.
Okay now for the doors.
We tried a lot of different ways and found the best way was to spray paint the door on a table then moving it to the floor of the garage to dry.
This is the paint we used.. It’s called Cabinet Coat and the color is Sierra Blanca (that is a color created by manufacturer of the paint, the paint can not be tinted to any color, they recommend using their pre determined colors)- The color we wanted originally was Dove White by Valspar … the Sierra Blanca is the closest one, and I’m happy with how it came out. It’s white but not too bright or sterile. We bought it at our local Benjamin Moore store, but it’s not made by Benjamin Moore so you may be able to buy it at other paint stores.
We tried two different paint sprayers, the one we liked the best was the Flexio Paint Sprayer by Wagner. (The first paint sprayer had a hose that kept coming out of the sprayer, and it would mess up the paint). We did thin our paint with water. The sprayer comes with a guide so that you know when the paint is the correct consistency. It will be too thick to spray as it comes, thinned paint will give you a smoother finish. Make sure you mix the paint and water well. we used a mixer attached to our drill.
Before you paint a cabinet you need to test spray a surface of similar texture. You can buy an old cabinet door or a smooth piece of wood. There are a bunch of different settings on the paint sprayer and you need to make sure that you’ve got the setting that will work best with your paint and on your cabinets. When you spray make sure to do it in smooth even strokes. Don’t hover over one place for too long and don’t get the sprayer too close to the board or to far away. Let the paint dry completely, keep practicing until you get a finish that you like. Then you’re ready to tackle the doors.
If you have trouble READ the directions that came with your paint sprayer. Ours included lots of tips.
We set up a table in our garage to spray the doors. We covered it with plastic and put tarps on the floor just to be safe. We sprayed the doors on one side (while on the table) then gently lifted the door (fingers touching the unpainted side only) and moved them to the floor of the garage, resting them on these paint pyramids.
They totally saved our butt. Before we were stacking them on old paint cans or boxes. We then let the doors dry completely and just prayed that a bug didn’t land on it while it was drying. That happened to us a lot – it was July in Kentucky…
It took two coats of paint on the front and the back of each cabinet door. You have to let them dry completely between coats, that’s why it takes several days to complete the process.
Also: Since we could not use the Cabinet Coat on the island (we wanted a custom color) we used a paint recommended by the store. The color is Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore.
Like I said before I think this process comes all down to the paint. That was by far the biggest mistake we made. We used the Cabinet Coat paint but I know others have had great results with other types of paint. Just be sure you talk to someone at a paint store that KNOWS what they are talking about. You don’t want to use regular wall paint. You need something with an enamel finish so that it will hold up (you don’t want it to chip). I wish we had sprayed test samples before we tackled the entire kitchen… but you know what they say “live and learn”.
If you’ve painted your cabinets before I’d love to hear your tips and I’m sure others reading this post would love to hear them also.