Ohh my goodness ya’ll…
I honestly can’t believe I am writing this post, because I never thought in a million years that I would find the courage to paint our kitchen cabinets myself! LOL But I did, and I am here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT! I lived with kitchen cabinets I wasn’t happy with for 6 years, SIX…and looking at our freshly painted white kitchen, I’m kicking myself for waiting as long as did!
Now, with that being said, tackling kitchen cabinets can be a little bit of a process…BUT if you stay organized and take your time, it will be ohh so worth it! Trust me! It took me roughly two weeks, BUT I really took my time & was slowed down several days due to rain! So it’s definitely a project you can take at your own pace!
The first part of this process is deciding on paint/color.
While researching I found that Behr & Benjamin Moore advance are very popular options for cabinets. Ultimately, I went with “silky white” by Behr in a semi gloss finish. Satin and semi gloss are the two most popular finishes for cabinetry! So here’s why I chose semi gloss. All of the walls in our house are a satin/eggshell so I wanted something with a little bit more shine to contrast them. Also, I told myself it would be silly to paint a kitchen white (the place in the house that gets the most traffic ) if I couldn’t keep them clean. Semi gloss is supposed to be slightly more durable in the long run and easily wiped/cleaned. Satin finishes are supposed to be better at hiding blemishes though! There are definitely pros and cons to both, it honestly just comes down to preference!
Once you choose a paint, let’s make a list of all other supplies you may need!
- Primer–my absolute FAVORITE primer ever!
- Paint–this is the exact one I used in “silky white”
- Sprayer-I can not say enough good things about this little sprayer! I will talk all about it in the post!
- Compressor–this is only needed if your use the same sprayer I did! Some sprayers don’t require an air compressor!
- Electric sander-this thing was a life saver for initial sanding of all the cabinets! I used a 120 medium grit
- Tape-used this to tape off all the frames!
- Painter’s pyraminds– these worked good for propping up the doors while I sprayed them!
- Drop cloth-I used these anywhere I was painting!
- Angled brush-best paint brush, ever! So comfortable to use! Used this on the frames along with a foam roller!
- Foam roller-used this roller on the frames!
- Trays-I recommend having a few of these on hand, you go through them more than you think!
- Fine sanding block-I used these for sanding in between coats of paint!
- Paint strainers-I strained anything I put in my sprayer! I didn’t want to any paint clumps or anything clogging my sprayer!
- Clear cabinet bumpers-I strongly recommend these after you’re finished for the inside of all your doors/drawers to prevent paint from sticking and peeling!
Okay! Now that you have all your supplies! Let’s get started!
First things first, get ORGANIZED!
Set up stations.
In order for this project to flow, you need to be organized & have stations set up so you have a designated space for each task! I found it SO helpful having one place to keep all my supplies together. That way I wasn’t looking all over for something when I needed it.
You need a sanding station. You don’t want to be sanding things & getting sawdust where you are about to paint.
Prepping/cleaning station. I set up a spot in the kitchen to clean all the doors & drawers as I took them off.
Painting station. Since I was spraying our doors/drawers I set up in our garage so I could open up the garage door and get plenty of air circulation.
Now that you’ve got all your supplies and stations set up it’s time to start taking off the hardware and removing everything from the frames. I tackled our kitchen in sections so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming, so it’s completely up too you…some people do all the doors at once, then drawers…some people do all the lowers then uppers! Whatever way you do it always, ALWAYS label your hardware as you are taking it off.
Trust me, over label everything! If you think you’ll remember where something goes, you won’t! I just used ziploc bags and labeled exactly what each piece was. I kept all the hardware in the same place as all the supplies in our guest bedroom.
Once you get done removing all the hardware it’s time to clean everything really good.
This step is so important. You want to start with a nice clean slate. You don’t want your doors covered in grime & grease when you start sanding & painting them. I just used good ole fashion soap and water for this step, however there are lots of TSP options available as well!
If you are also replacing your hardware, after you clean, you want to fill the existing holes BEFORE you sand so you can sand away any excess!
This is what I used!
Be sure to overfill each hole, so you can’t see any little divets.
When everything is all clean & dry it’s time to start sanding!
Click the picture for our exact electric sander!
This thing was a life saver! The thought of hand sanding all these cabinets literally terrified me! Sanding has always been kind of tricky to me… “am I sanding too much, am I sanding enough” I learned that you really just want a nice smooth, EVEN surface after sanding. The goal is to sand away any shine or glossy looking finish.
Now I can’t even lie to ya’ll, by the end of this project this step was my least favorite part! The initial sanding takes some time & can be kind of messy! I mean, sawdust is going to go everywhere! I sanded everything on our back patio so I could just blow it off each time I was done.
When I finished sanding an entire section I would take a little shop vac and first suck up all the sawdust from door & drawers & then I would wipe them all down with a damp towel to get up all the remaining dust.
Don’t forget to do the same thing to the frames it’s just as important to clean them & sand them too! After you finish cleaning & sanding the frames if you aren’t painting the inside of the cabinets you need to tape them off!
Next step, Primer time!
This is hands down my FAVORITE primer! Like, I can’t say enough good things about this stuff! It literally went on smooth like butter and it dries to the touch so quick! I was able to prime everything so fast!
When doing a section of the kitchen I tried to keep everything on the same page. Since I was spraying the doors & drawers I would spray a coat on them first, then while I was waiting on them to dry, I would get a coat on the base or frames! That way I wasn’t getting confused with what had how many coats of what, when! You follow me?! LOL
When priming/painting the doors always start with the back side.
The first coat of primer is always scary looking…let me repeat that, the first coat of primer is always scary looking…don’t FREAK OUT! When the back of the doors were dry to the touch I would then flip them and spray the front! After the doors were dry, I lightly sanded them in between coats using a 220 grit sanding block. In my opinion, this is probably the most important step. Whether you are spraying or brushing/rolling your cabinets I can’t stress enough the importance of sanding everything in between coats.
It might be hard to tell but I tried to get a picture before sanding & then after. If you look closely you can see little raised spots/rough spots on the picture on the left before sanding & then after it’s nice & smooth. If you want that nice smooth finish, it’s so important to sand in between every coat. After sanding, make sure they are clean of any debris before applying more paint!
After I sanded and wiped them off, I would take our leaf blower and blow them off just to make sure! LOL it worked!
I did two coats of primer on everything and sanded after both coats!
PAINT time! Yay, finally!
Like I’ve said, I used a brush/foam roller for the bases and a sprayer for the doors & drawers! I can not say enough good things about the sprayer that I used! We were definitely on budget for this project & this sprayer is so cheap but works so good! The only catch is that you do need an air compressor to use it. So if you already have a compressor you’re in luck! I used our Porter cable compressor and it worked perfectly. You might have to play around with how much psi you are using depending on what kind of paint you go with.
The thinner the paint the lower the psi needed.
I used a touch of Floetrol with the primer to thin it just a tad! Always read your paint can…the Behr paint I used recommended not to thin.
That being said I found the sweet spot for priming was around 90psi, but with the paint I found out that between 40-60 psi worked best.
If you end up going with this sprayer don’t be intimated because you have to use an air compressor. I was SO nervous about finding the “sweet spot” & it literally took like 2 minutes of test spraying on a piece of cardboard. You can do it. The finish from this paint sprayer is absolutely amazing. No orange peel finish at all. It just comes down to trial and error. What worked best for me, might not quite work for you. Just be sure to test your settings on a piece of scrap cardboard first before moving to your cabinets.
In between coats, or if I was taking a little break I would stick a pin in it to make sure the paint wouldn’t dry in the nozzle…
Also, don’t even get your sprayer set up & ready until you are ready to spray. Don’t sand one door at a time clean it, spray it. Make sure everything you are working on (all your doors or drawers) are prepped and ready for paint so everything goes so much smoother.
Another amazing thing about this sprayer is it uses mason jars. Before you start your day of painting, go ahead and fill up a couple, that way when you run our of paint, you can just grab another jar instead of having to stop and strain paint into the jar to continue.
Following the same steps as I did with the primer…I would get a coat on the doors & while they were drying I would go inside and get a coat on the section of the frame I was working on.
I did break the bottom up into two sections on either part of the oven & then I just tackled the entire upper frame at one time because I wanted it to have a seamless look.
I found that brushing the paint on the frame first & then immediately going over it with a foam roller removed the brush strokes and gave the frames the smoothest finish. It honestly doesn’t look I did the frames one way & the doors/drawers another! I have seen people get a professional smooth finish on the doors with brushes & rollers, but I just really prefer the finished looked from a sprayer.
I did 3 coats of paint on everything, lightly sanding in between each coat just like the primer. Always read the paint can for drying times! The actual paint takes a lot longer to really dry than the primer, so you want to make sure it’s dry before you jump in there and start sanding.
If you go with a semi gloss finish DO NOT sand after the last coat.
After I got the last coat on the upper doors I made sure to wait at least 24 hours before re installing everything. Paint takes time to fully cure, so be very careful for at least the first week after you’ve painted to really give everything a good chance to dry & cure properly.
Once you are done and have your new hardware installed (if you choose to replace your existing hardware) I recommend using some clear cabinet bumpers to avoid any paint from sticking or peeling!
I also used these templates for replacing our hardware & they even came with a drill bit! Made the process so much easier!
Now who loves a good before & after?! I know I do!
New countertops and some backsplash are part of the next phase for our kitchen, but I’m just going to soak up these views for a little while!
Have you been afraid of tackling your kitchen cabinets too? Hoping something in this post motivates or encourages you to take them on! YOU GOT THIS! Feel free to leave any questions or if I forgot to answer something just let me know in the comments!
Happy painting friends,
Paige | My Perry Tale Home