How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets | Everything You Need to Know About

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If your old kitchen cabinet needs some revamping, the answer may be learning how to paint kitchen cabinets. Instead of spending tons in replacing them, modifying its look is a more cost-efficient and creative solution.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets | Everything You Need to Know About

You’ll also have absolute control over its final look and to fit your entire kitchen.

To guide you towards your kitchen cabinet painting project, check out our guide below!

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

The first thing to note is that the entire process can take several days. You’ll have to plan accordingly and make sure that your tools are complete and appropriate for the project.

First, ensure that the kitchen cabinets you’re planning to replace are in good condition. Remember: even the high-quality paint cannot salvage a kitchen cabinet with parts already coming loose.

If this is the case, you’d be better off with a replacement. But assuming that they are in good shape, you can proceed to the project.

Step 1: Prepare the Ventilation

One aspect that homemakers often forget on proceeding with painting kitchen cabinets is ventilation. Make sure that your windows are open if you’re doing the project inside your house or garage.

Also, make sure that you’re working with the right safety gear to ensure safe and smooth work.

Step 2: Get the Right Materials

Kitchen cabinets how to paint tip: it pays to invest in good quality materials. But of course, you have to make sure you’re getting the right material for painting kitchen cabinets.

That said, here are a list of the basic materials you will need for the entire project:

  • Two-inch tapered paintbrush
  • Fine-nap roller
  • Paint bucket
  • Paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer sealer
  • Tack cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Steel wool
  • Sanding block
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Denatured alcohol

Step 3: Remove Doors and Hardware

How do you paint kitchen cabinets without obstructions? The answer is removing all the hinges, screws, hardware, doors, and drawers from your cabinet.

To organize them, one tip is to label each part according to its corresponding location. It will make the reassembly and reinstallation step easier for you.

Step 4: Clean Surfaces

If you think about it, every day you work in the kitchen, you expose your cabinets to steam, grease, and splatters. How do you paint kitchen cabinets without these in mind?

To ensure that the paint will stick on the cabinet’s surface, you have to clean them.

  • Scrub the surface of the cabinets to remove any dirt residue.
  • Mix a solution of ⅕ trisodium phosphate and ⅘ water. Use this to clean the surface of the cabinet you will repaint.
  • Rinse (make sure not to soak them).
  • Dry thoroughly.

Step 5: Sand

The sanding part is a crucial part of how do you paint kitchen cabinets. The process cleans the base of the cabinet to ensure good paint adhesion.

  • Sand all the sides and faces of the doors gently. If you’re only painting the exterior of the cabinet, use a painter’s tape to mask off the interior.
  • Use a wood sanding block to avoid rounding the wood edges of the cabinet.
  • Kitchen cabinets how to paint crucial tip: you don’t need to remove all the old paint in the cabinet. Just make sure that the surface is rough enough for the paint to adhere to.
  • Focus on sanding over the glazed areas to remove the previous finish altogether. For stubborn finishes, you can use denatured alcohol.
  • The last step in kitchen cabinets how to paint preparation is to vacuum all the dust from the surface. Then, wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove any remaining dust residue.

Step 6: Apply Primer-Sealer

The next step is to apply a coat of primer-sealer evenly to the surface of the cabinet. This process will ensure that the finish coat before painting is well-bonded.

It’s also an excellent base if you will use water-based paint that offers a durable finish.

Step 7: Apply the Paint

For the primary step, how do you paint kitchen cabinets properly? Paint them in this order:

  • Openings and edgings of the frames
  • Sides of the outer cabinet
  • Front of the frame
  • Cabinet doors
  • Drawer fronts
  • Separate moldings

This order allows you to work faster and to see any smudges or drips. When painting a raised part, make sure the paint flows into the corners and crevices without accumulating.

The key to kitchen cabinet painting is to apply the paint in a thin and light coating. It will prevent air bubbles and bumps upon drying.

Make sure to cover the surface evenly and put a four-hour interval between coats.

Before the second coat, resand the surface lightly and wipe the surface with a tack cloth before repainting.

The recommended number of coatings for kitchen cabinet painting is two to three for better protection.

Important Tips: How Can I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets

Now that you have the answer to how can I paint my kitchen cabinets, let’s go through some essential tips.

This knowledge will be of great help along with the project. It will help prevent mistakes that can turn your kitchen cabinet painting into a disaster.

  • Do a Test Paint

The standard kitchen cabinet materials would absorb paint topcoat easily. However, it’s a different story for plastic laminate materials.

Make sure to check with your paint dealer on suitable paint for this. Also, do a paint test in the cabinet’s discreet area to ensure that it will bond to the surface.

  • Get the Right Brush

Note that the type of brush material you will use will depend on the paint base. However, the standard size would be a two-inch-wide tapered brush.

How can I paint my kitchen cabinets with the right brush? If you’re using oil-based paint, it’s best to use a brush with a natural bristle or synthetic bristle design for oil.

On the other hand, if you’re latex, you would need synthetic bristles. But the best and quickest tip when your cabinets have no raised panels is using a fine-nap roller.

It will speed up while making sure that you’re painting evenly.

  • Go for a Semi-Gloss Finish

How can I paint my kitchen cabinets with the right finish? The answer is to go for a semi-gloss finish.

Why is the case? It is because gloss finish makes mistakes and bumps more visible than semi-gloss.

Meanwhile, a flat finish is harder to clean, especially with all the grease and residue your kitchen is exposed to.

  • Elevate the Cabinet Before Painting

Elevating the cabinet is a crucial step on the question: how can I paint my kitchen cabinets? This step also includes removing all the doors and drawers.

This process ensures that you won’t miss any edges and corners when painting. It also makes it easier to maneuver the brush around the surface of the cabinet without painting the knobs and hinges.

  • Don’t Rush the Reinstallation Part

Never ever rush to put your cabinets back. Otherwise, you’re risking accidental smudging that will double the work for you. Make sure to wait for the paint to cure before reinstalling them.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets in a Mobile Home

If you’re living in a mobile home, your question must be: how to paint kitchen cabinets in a mobile home? Revamping your kitchen cabinets will freshen up the entire vibe of your mobile home.

It’s a must if you’re using a secondhand mobile home so you can add a touch of your own aesthetic to your space.

Composition of Mobile Home Kitchen Cabinets

Let’s first look at its composition. Most of these kitchen cabinets would use medium-density fiberboard (MDF) material. It is a combination of pressed scrap waste and real wood with the use of a binder.

It will then be coated with another layer to create a wooden look and to make it waterproof.

This coating can either be:

  • Textured paper
  • Laminate
  • Vinyl Thermofoil
  • Veneer

Before painting, you need to identify the coating used on your kitchen cabinet to determine the suitable paint for it.

Make sure to check for any damage and repair them before proceeding to paint cabinets in a mobile home. You will usually need to fill, sand, or smoothen the surface, depending on the condition.

Initial Preparation

It will be easier to maneuver the entire process in an open space rather than inside the mobile home itself.

It will give you all the space you need to move and will make how to paint kitchen cabinets in a mobile home easier.

Like regular kitchen cabinets, you have to make sure that you clean your mobile kitchen cabinet thoroughly before painting.

After cleaning, you will need to sand the surface to ensure that the surface is even. Otherwise, you’re up for a messy painting process.

If the surface of your kitchen cabinet is still smooth, a light sanding will be enough to create a rough surface.

Priming, Painting, and Finishing

After completing the initial preparation, the next step is to use a primer. It will ensure a good bond between the surface and the paint.

Then, make sure to do a test paint before embarking on the actual painting process.

Note that the primer can change the paint color, and the lighting in your mobile home kitchen can alter your paint’s color. After two to three paint coats, you can use a sealant for long-lastingness.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets to Look Antique

Now, you may be into vintage and antique aesthetics. Antique looks create a striking furniture statement effortlessly.

However, it can be expensive if you buy an actual antique kitchen cabinet replacement. Thus, the looming question over your head now maybe how to paint kitchen cabinets to look antique?

Luckily for you, achieving the antique look is easy using some smart tips and hacks. All you need is some paint, sponge, paintbrush, sandpaper, and some creativity.

Choose the Base Color

The natural wooden color is the go-to base color for antiquing furniture. While you can leave it in its original color, adding a base color creates a richer effect than you want.

The best tip to look at how to paint kitchen cabinets to look antique is to use lighter base colors. It will make the antique stains stand out once you apply them.

Choose the Antique Stain Color

The antique stain color creates a vintage effect in your kitchen cabinet. You will do this along the edges and corners of the kitchen cabinet.

Here are some tips on how to choose a shade depending on your base color:

  • White or cream base color: Mid-tone stain
  • Honey or caramel base color: Medium or dark stain
  • Dark color: Dark stain
  • Natural wooden color: White or light color stain

Remember the higher the contrast, the more vintage its effect.

Paint the Base Color

Once the necessary preparation is done, you can now proceed to paint the base color.

The trick to how to paint kitchen cabinets to look antique is to follow the wood grain when painting. A good quality brush will give it a smooth and neat surface.

Paint the Antique Stain

This step will determine how well your antique-looking kitchen cabinet will look like. Hence, it’s good advice to try doing a test painting on a scrap wood piece first.

Here, you will need to use a sponge for a textured effect. Again, apply the antique stain on the sides and corners to make it look more authentic.

You can then use a rag to wipe off some portions for a discoloration effect.

Finish the Stain

Let the glaze dry for at least one day. Or, if you’re going for a distressed look, lightly sand the surface before it completely dries.

Then, you can apply a light coat of sealant for the finishing look.

Revamp Your Kitchen Cabinets Like an Expert

Sometimes, you don’t need to spend tons to transform the look of your home. Learning how to paint kitchen cabinets is an excellent skill you can use for a lifetime.

It will help you keep your kitchen always looking fresh and new.

By applying the tips above, you start revamping your kitchen cabinets like an expert!


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