Do you desperately need to redesign your kitchen, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money on it? One of the proven ways to give a fresh look to your kitchen is by painting your kitchen cabinets. If you are a handy person, this DIY project will be very easy for you and most gratifying at the same time. If you are not a handy person, this project will surely help you to become one. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions, and your cabinets will look great and fresh once again.
Before you rush to a hardware store to buy the paint, establish first whether the surface you are dealing with is flat wood, wood veneer laminate, plastic laminate, or another type. It is important because it will determine the type of primer you will use. If your cabinets happen to be covered with plastic laminate, then you may also want to read How to Paint Plastic Laminate Furniture. Let’s see now what materials you will need for this project.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
• PRIMER AND PAINT
There are many choices when it comes to the type of paint you can use on your kitchen cabinets: milk paint, chalk paint, latex, acrylic, and others. Whatever your choice will be, make sure you pick the paint primer for your cabinets that is recommended or at least suitable to go under your chosen paint (note: some of these paints might not even need the primer at all). If you are not sure about your paint choices, it is always a good idea to talk about it to your hardware store representative or a paint store salesperson.
However, if you want to get the paint that is easy to work with, is durable, ensure long life and provide a smooth easy to clean finish, use a Semi-gloss Acrylic Latex Enamel. (Do not go with high-gloss finish though, because your brush strokes or roll marks on the surface will be glistening visibly in any light source.)
A good choice for the primer, for the Acrylic Latex Enamel, will make “COVER STAIN” by Zinsser, an oil-based Interior Exterior Primer-Sealer and Stain Killer. It is good for priming bare wood, previously painted surfaces, and plastic laminate. It dries pretty fast, allowing for the second coat to be reapplied after just two hours.
• TOP COAT (OPTIONAL)
If you want to add extra protection to your cabinets for the years to come, then you can apply a clear, protective coat of Acrylic Polyurethane or Polycrylic over the paint layer.
• DEGREASING AGENT
One of the best and proven agents for cleaning surface is Tri-Sodium Phosphate. If you can’t get it, then use mineral spirits instead.
• WOOD FILLER
If there are some holes or cracks on the surface of your cabinets, then get the wood filler to fill them up.
If there are any open seams on your doors or cabinets, then get caulk for filling them up.
• PAINTING GEAR
– sand paper or sanding blocks (220-grit)
– mohair mini roller for applying primer and the paint
– quality nylon-polyester brush for applying the primer
– paint trays
– painter tape
– gloves (optional)
– drop cloth
– tack cloth
– respirator or dust mask.
After emptying your cabinets from all your kitchen contents proceed with removing the doors, drawers, shelves and any hardware mounted to the cabinets. (Don’t even think of skipping this part because if you want to achieve good results, you will have to paint everything separately.) Next, remove the handles and/or knobs from your doors and drawers. Before removing the doors, however, make sure you mark each door with a number, then write on a piece of paper which cabinet each of the doors came from. This is very important because most often the doors will not fit perfectly if reattached to other than their original locations from which they came from. It is because hinges are adjusted individually to make the cabinet door fit properly into its place. You will save a lot of time and aggravation if you do not skip this step.
Next, clean all the surfaces you will be painting with Tri Sodium Phosphate or mineral spirits. Do a diligent work here because your paint won’t stick well in the areas that are dirty or greasy. Pay special attention to the areas where grease deposits itself most often: around the handles, on the bottom of the edge of the doors, and underneath the cabinets. After you are done, let it all dry completely.
PREPARE THE AREA
Apply masking tape where needed to prevent the paint bleeding into the surfaces you don’t want to be painted. Cover your countertop and floor with plastic sheeting or drop cloth canvas to protect them from paint droplets and accidental paint spills.
Once all the surfaces are clean and dry sand them lightly with 220 grit sandpaper (make sure you wear a dust mask). This will promote a better grip between the surface and the primer. Remove dust with a vacuum cleaner and the tack cloth.
FILL UP DENTS, GROOVES, AND SEEMS
If there are any dents or slashes on your cabinet surface, fill them up with a wood filler. Wait for it to dry and re-sand the affected area (you might have to repeat this procedure twice to make the surface nice and flat). If there are any open seams on your doors or cabinets, fill them up with latex caulk and smooth it out with a wet finger. Remove dust with a vacuum cleaner and the tack cloth.
APPLY THE PRIMER
Using clean mohair mini roller apply the primer to the flat surfaces of the cabinets and doors, and use the brush to apply the primer in corners and other hard-to-get places. Let it dry and harden then sand it lightly again with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove dust with a vacuum cleaner and the tack cloth.
PAINT YOUR CABINETS
In a similar fashion, as in applying the primer in a previous step, apply the paint to all the surfaces that you intend to paint on your cabinets. Use clean mohair mini roller and clean quality nylon-polyester brush for that purpose. Always work your way from top to bottom.
PAINTING YOUR DOORS AND DRAWERS
When painting your doors and drawer fronts, apply the paint onto the inside side of the door first, let it dry, then flip it, and paint the front side of the door last. Let it cure for a day and using clean mohair mini roller apply a second coat in the same way as you did the first coat. Let it cure again. Inspect your work in good daylight before proceeding further. If you find any spots that need touch-ups or repainting, this is the time to do it.
APPLY CLEAR TOP COAT (OPTIONAL)
Apply the protective top coat of clear polyurethane or polycrylic paint to your doors and drawer fronts. Make sure you use only clean mohair mini roller. Let it cure completely before proceeding with the next step.
REPLACE THE HARDWARE
After the paint has fully dried, replace all the hardware, reattach doors to the cabinets, and enjoy the new look of your kitchen.