How I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets

I mentioned yesterday that I painted all of our kitchen cabinets. I’ve gotten several questions/emails asking about the details and how to. So, I wanted to share with you what did and did not work for me during this transformation.

** Just so we’re all clear, I’m not a professional, and I’m not normally a DIY’er so if I can do it, so can you!

Steps to Painting Cabinets

I bought this (but the large one) kit from Home Depot for $75. My cousin in-law used it on her kitchen and she had great success too. I love that you don’t have to do any sanding with this kit. I watched the DVD it came with and it had some great tips that I followed.

The large kit came with 2 quarts of white paint. When you buy the kit you can tint the paint to whatever white you want. I wanted ‘Pure White'(I did not tint the paint at all). It also comes with a glaze so you can make the cabinets look antiqued or distressed, but I didn’t use it.

1. I started by drawing a map of my kitchen and numbering all the doors and drawers. Then I put a piece of paint tape on each of the corresponding doors and drawers. As I took all the hardware(handles, screws) off I placed them in cups that were numbered according to my map. ( don’t be jealous of my awesome art skills) photo photo17_zps8b462d97.jpg

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2. I made a little area in my garage where I could do all the work. I started out with a plastic cover(Home Depot for .99 cents) but when I would paint the edges they would dry to the plastic. When I went to pull the door up, the paint would tear or leak through onto the backside of the door creating little puddles of paint. So, I used card board. It would still stick a bit, but not as bad. Ideally you would have something for the doors to be propped up on so they weren’t flat on the ground(like a few nails nailed to a 2×4) I didn’t so I made do.

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3. After I laid the cabinets of my first section onto the floor in the garage I took the tape off and taped it next to the cabinet so I didn’t lose it.

4. Now you wash all the cabinets with a wet rag then dry off with a dry rag. Next, you degloss the doors and drawers. This is the step you do instead of sanding. The degloss comes in the kit with a scrubbing pad. I would wear gloves, bring a wet cloth and a dry cloth with me and scrub each door and drawer with the degloss(go with the grain of the wood, don’t use circular motions). It’s important to get in all the nooks of each door so the paint sticks well. I would degloss, wipe it down with a wet cloth, and then dry it completely with a dry cloth(repeat on other side). Then I would let it fully dry for an hour.

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5. While those doors and cabinets were drying, I would tape off(so my walls wouldn’t get white paint on them) and degloss the cabinet inside. * the inside of our cabinets were already white, so I could keep everything in there.

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6. By the time I was done with that(take a little break), I would go back out to the garage and paint the first coat of white paint on the doors and drawers(again going with the grain of the wood). I used a 1.5 inch brush that is meant to ‘cut in’ meaning it has a bit of a tail(the corner that’s facing down is slightly higher than the top, creating a tail or angle). This helped create good paint lines and I could get in all the nooks. It looks like this(don’t judge my poor brush cleaning skills)

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I would let the first coat dry for about an hour and a half. The first coat wasn’t pretty, but I would make sure to fill any holes and get all the corners nice and covered(again go with the grain of the wood).

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7. Come back inside and paint the first coat on the cabinet.

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8. Do last coat on the doors and drawers. Make sure all your lines go with the grain of the wood and you don’t have any spots where your paint has puddled. Let dry for about 2-3 hours. Repeat on opposite side. ** It’s important on your last coat never to start painting and stop. It will leave streaks. When you start on one door/cabinet/drawer don’t stop a stroke mid stroke. Go all the way to the edge every time.

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9. While that was drying I would do the last coat on the cabinet inside. Then I would start taking the next section’s doors and drawers off and all their hardware to prep for the next section.

10. Now you put the protectant gloss(came in the kit) on all your finished and dried cabinets, doors and drawers. This dries really fast, so make sure you don’t leave a puddle because it turns a slight yellow when dried. You want to do a thin coat so that it doesn’t turn your cabinets yellow. Let this sit for a few hours until it’s completely dry. Then I put them back on the cabinets, and then don’t use that section for up to 12 hours so they can fully dry( I didn’t follow that rule completely, and didn’t have any problems. . . ).

11. Repeat steps 3-10 until all your kitchen(or whatever room) is done!

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Last thoughts and tips

**I had to get more paint, but Home Depot does not give you more Restoleum paint unless you buy the kit again. I had to match the paint and get a gallon of Behr Ultra  Pure White.

**Edited to add: Home Depot accidentally added tint to my gallon of Pure White paint. Make sure if you don’t tint your paint in the kit to not tint the extra gallon you may need. Read about here.

I think the Behr paint worked so much better than the paint in the kit. It was thicker and went on the cabinets so much smoother. So if you can get a deglosser and protectant coat without buying a kit it might be worth it.

**After installing all the doors I would have to do a few touch ups that I just didn’t see in my dark garage. It wasn’t a big deal.

**Once I started painting I realized there were a lot of gaps in the wood. Once it was painted you could see those gaps even more. We bought this caulk(it can be painted, luckily it was white already so it went on smooth). Josh went through the kitchen and fixed all the gaps, it was easy!

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This corner of our island had a big gap in the bottom right corner, you can see how well the caulk filled it.

Kit- $75

Extra gallon of white paint- $36

handles-$80 (31 handles at about $2.60 a piece)

Total: about $200 ( we bought painters tape, brush, and caulk to fill holes)

I’m sure I’ve missed something, so if you have any questions, please ask!

About Sugar Plum Runner

Welcome to the Sugar Plum Runner! I grew up in WA state, but currently reside in UT with my husband Josh, son Jackson, and 2 daughters Lily and Claire. I love running, but I have never been so inspired to run, race, and blog about it since 4 years ago after I had Jackson. I grew up playing soccer and cheered in high school. My favorite part of both sports(and yes I consider cheer leading a sport) was the conditioning. I found myself running after practice was over on my own. That's when I realized that running may be the sport I really loved.
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6 Responses to How I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets

  1. beil4 says:

    This looks so good! When it comes time to paint our cabinets I am so going to pick up this kit!

  2. Oh my goodness you were busy!!! You made the before and after look so easy haha. Your idea of numbering everything and placing hardware in cups is pure genius.

  3. Way to go!! I don’t know if I would trust myself to do this….but I would go away for a weekend and let a future husband do it!

  4. Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures says:

    Girl this is awesome! You made it go from one look to a completely new one that looks so amazing, if you ask me! GOOD WORK! I would never have the patience for this, you’re a champion.

  5. You did amazing! That definitely does not look easy!

  6. Pingback: Operation: Finish Work Part 1 (DIY) |

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