Saturday, April 18, 2009

Painting kitchen cabinets

I was asked how I painted my kitchen cabinets and thought I would share the process I used.  I am, by no means, an expert.  These are just the steps I took.

Painting kitchen cabinets


1. Remove doors and hardware. I also removed the drawer fronts. Clean doors/drawer fronts/boxes (the units left on the wall) with a TSP solution. Make sure to wear rubber gloves. Don’t get the doors too wet. Rinse well. Dry with paper towels.

If the doors are really dirty, may need to do it a second time.

2. If you are reusing the hardware, you may want to clean it. I reused the hinges. To clean, place in an old saucepan, cover with water and add 1 T dishwasher detergent.

Simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes. This will clean off old paint. Remove old paint with a stiff brush. Should come off easily. If it doesn’t, *cook* a little longer.

3. Next sand the wood surfaces. Sand lightly in the direction of the wood grain.
4. If you are using new hardware, you may need to patch the old holes with wood filler. Sand lightly after it has dried to smooth out the surface.


1. I reused my hinges. Didn’t like the color, so I spraypainted them a bronze color from Rustoleum. Check to make sure the hinge will still work properly.

2. I used semi-gloss Kilz paint in the Bleached Blonde color. Since I use Kilz, I didn’t prime. I love Kilz paint for this reason. Also it is thicker than other paint brands. Kilz is available at Wal-Mart.

3. I painted with a small roller the first coat. It seemed to cover better than a brush. But before it dried, I took a 1 ½ inch angled brush and went over it to remove the roller dimples. Second coat, I used only the brush.
4. Paint front and back. May take 2 or 3 coats. My roller must have been rather cheap, because I noticed little fibers on the dried surface. So I lightly sanded those out, and painted another coat.

1. Make sure to dry 24 hours before glazing. This is the fun part, but it is also tedious.

2. Mix glaze with a craft paint. I used these, but any brand will work.


4 parts glaze to one part craft paint. My craft paint color is Burnt Umber.

3. Brush on glaze into the crevices of your door. Then remove with a dampened terry cloth. You’ll need to experiment with the technique until you get it to look like you want it to. Don’t make it too thick.


4. I didn’t seal the doors, but you may want to. I hesitate to use polyurethane, because it could yellow the color. Someone suggested a paste wax.

5. Wait another 24 hours before reinstalling the doors.

kitchen cab 008


I am currently finishing up work on the kitchen island I’m making from the kitchen cab’s we removed last year.

Pictures will be forthcoming!

(Please excuse the captured screen photos.  I had already deleted these photos from my hard drive, but had saved these directions I typed out.  I couldn’t figure out how to convert the photos into jpg’s to insert them here, and then thought of the capture screen function.)


Linda Troumbly said...

Carol, Love the updated kitchen! I am doing mine now, removing wall paper, etc. The cabinets have flat front doors. Would your painting technique work on those since there are no crevices? Help!

paintergal said...

Linda, since your doors don't have panels the glaze wouldn't be able to settle into the crevices.
There is a paint technique that I have used that simulates panels. A faux panel look, as it were.
It's pretty labor intensive, so if you have a lot of doors it would be quite a process.
You could also add molding to the doors to create your own panels to glaze.

Let me know if you're interested in some instructions on the faux panel paint technique.