Friday, February 10, 2017

Tips On Painting Your Cabinets

Painting is not easy. I am lousy at it. But what little I know is that the PREPARATION takes ten times longer than the actual painting.

So if you plan to paint, do lots of preparation so you have complete success.

Jo commented:
I was wondering if those cabinets are the same as the ones in my kitchen and seems they are. I was told not to paint them because they would peel. doesn't look like you had a problem at all. Look much brighter.

Jo, you might want to just buy one spray pay can, some sandpaper and just do ONE cabinet face to see how it goes. 

I used to oil my woodwork. This is a no no for painting. Luckily I am behind on housekeeping and haven't oiled anything in awhile. 

Just the same, the preparation took a very long time, or so it seems. I am inpatient. I was anxious to see the end result!

First the cabinet faces were removed. 
Then the brass drawer pulls were removed. 
The hinges at the top of my cabinets were taped over with blue painter's tape rather than removed from the cabinet faces. 

The cabinet faces were moved outside and diligently sanded and dusted. We used a fine grit sand paper folded up to palm size then sanded by hand. You want to remove any shine so the cabinet face looks bare naked. Mine also had the plastic faux brass inserts as part of the trim. While I loved the brass pulls, I was not fond of the silly plastic inserts. This was roughed up with the sandpaper so the paint would stick. 

After sanding, be sure to dust all over because you don't want that dust in or on the paint. A small whisk broom and a microfiber rag will do this just fine. 

Next we covered our outside table in a cheap plastic drop cloth, then spray painted the cabinet faces in very thin light coats. The first coat will look awful. But do it THIN. The second coat will look awful too. Spray a THIN coat. Do not try to cover. I can't stress this enough. Patience!

Let dry, which is pretty quick like 30-60 minutes. Repeat with another thin coat. Let dry. Repeat and on on until you get the look you desire. 

When finished painting try to let the cabinet faces have another 24 hours of dry time. Then reinstall the cabinet pulls, then hang back up on the hinges. 

Now the hard part, try NOT to touch the cabinet paint for at least a month. We are being super careful to open with the pulls and not touch any of the paint.

I was told by a very successful professional house painter, that a month to cure any paint would make it last a super long time. He said it takes about a month for the paint to fully cure. If one can avoid touching the paint for at least a month, it will resist dirt and grime and last. 

So far this project has set me back about $10 in spray paint, drop cloth and sandpaper for 3 drawers and 4 cabinet faces. I have leftover paint too, and more cabinets to do. By the way, you can cut up big garbage bags to make your own drop cloths. 

Try to do just two cabinets or drawers at a time, maybe three at the most. Especially if you are LIVING in your motorhome while doing this. 

Take your time!

Be patient. 


  1. well thanks for the info. my problem is its my house kitchen and I have 15 doors and 4 drawers and 0 patience lol and to poor to higher someone. I'll have to see what I can do.

  2. i like steel and sandpaper. i use bullseye with great success. 2 or more coats. light sanding between coats never hurts. bullseye as in white pigmented shellac(wps). 123 has worked great on everything, so far. limited experience. whs your are outside or the doors are. pre wash denatured alcohol is your friend. wet surface wait a minute or two. then remove, be anal watch a clock. don't guess, well you can if you want. if you wait a day between each your coats life will better.

    ice cream. raz

    1. it should say "i like steel wool and sandpaper."

      sherbet. raz

  3. I'm sure you thought of this, but I've seen some use contact paper on the cabinet fronts as often the paint gives off a lot of Vocs in such a small space. Just a thought. Hope you are well.

  4. Wow! This looks AMAZING!! It’s so fresh and bright. It’s astounding what a coat of paint can do. We painted our dark and dated kitchen cabinets when we first bought our house and I’m still loving the results.


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