In this post, I’m going to share a step-by-step video tutorial for how to paint cabinets. We’ve renovated most of our home in the last 2 1/2 years, and I’ve been painting a lot of cabinets! So, this post is a culmination of all that I’ve learned.
Painting your cabinets can very quickly give your room a more updated look, and it’s a lot less expensive than buying new ones!
Before we started our renovation we had 90’s orange oak cabinets that looked very dated.
So, we painted the kitchen cabinets,
the master bathroom cabinets (I forgot to get good before pictures of the bathroom vanities before we took the doors off),
the hall bathroom cabinets (twice – first white and then blue!),
and the basement bathroom cabinets (forgot to take before pictures… but they were the same orange oak as the others).
Along the way, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work when painting cabinets.
Some of the doors and drawers we had sprayed by a professional painter, and some I painted with a roller and paint brush. If you don’t have a sprayer, this method I’m sharing here (using a microfiber roller and paint brush) will give you really good results too.
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HOW TO PAINT CABINETS
- Pittsburgh Paints Breakthrough paint (in the color of your choice)- This is the paint that we used to paint all of our cabinets, trim and most of the furniture we painted. Very durable and adheres extremely well. Our color is actually Benjamin Moore’s White that I had our local Pittsburgh Paint retailer mix for me. On the lid of the can it says the color mixture is L4.
- Oil-based primer that has stain blocking in the title.
- TSP Liquid Substitute cleaner
- Dust mask and/or respirator
- 100 grit sanding block
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Tack cloths
- Painters’ tape
- Painters’ tripods – you could also use paint cans or boxes
- Nylon/polyester paintbrush
- Paintable caulk
- Small paint trays
- Wooster Shortcut paint brush
- Whizz 4″ microfiber roller with 3/8″ nap
- Whizz roller handle
- Small felt pads
I’ve created a step-by-step video to show how to paint cabinets, and I’ve also included written instructions under the video:
The Prep – There are a lot of preparation steps before you can start priming and painting. Don’t get discouraged! Doing them will help you have a great painted finish on your cabinets.
- Empty cabinets and drawers, and number each cabinet. Put the same number on the corresponding door or drawer
- Remove the doors and drawer fronts. Put the tape with door number in the hinge hole after taking off hinges, so that it doesn’t get painted.
- Remove the knobs or handles.
- Tape off the inside of the cabinets and any wall areas next to cabinets with painters’ tape.
- Use dropcloths to protect floors and counter tops.
- Scrape any pads off the backs of drawers and doors.
- Clean the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers with TSP Liquid Substitute cleaner. Following the directions on the bottle. I like to rinse with clean water, and dry with a dry cloth.
- Sand the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers with 100 grit sanding block or sandpaper to get the shiny finish off. If you have laminate on the sides of the cabinet boxes, sand carefully so that you don’t go clear through the laminate finish to the particle board underneath. I recommend wearing a dust mask or respirator.
- Wipe the sanding dust off with a tack cloth.
The Priming – Priming your cabinets with a good stain blocking oil-primer will help to keep any staining from the wood cabinets from showing through to the painted finish. If you have laminate sides on the ends of your boxes and you’re using the Pittsburgh Paints Breakthrough paint, then you can skip this priming step on the laminate surfaces.
- Lay the doors and drawers flat. Use painters’ tripods or something else like paint cans to lift the doors and drawers off of the painting surface.
- Paint the cabinet boxes, drawers and doors with the oil-based primer using a nylon/polyester brush. I like to do the backs of the doors and drawers first. Let them dry, and then turn them over and prime the fronts. Be sure to paint in the direction of the grain of the wood.
- After the primer is dry (usually around an hour, but read the directions on your primer), lightly sand all of the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers with a 220 grit sandpaper.
- Caulk any gaps in the cabinet doors or boxes with a paintable caulk. Let the caulk dry for 20 minutes.
The Painting – Finally, we’re ready to paint! Again, I highly recommend using Pittsburgh Paints Breakthrough paint. They aren’t paying me a penny to say this, I really love this paint! It’s held up for us extremely well – very durable.
Again, I like to paint the backs of the doors and drawers first, let them dry, and then turn them over and paint the fronts.
- Put some of the paint in a small roller tray. Using the Wooster Shortcut paint brush, paint any areas of the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers that will be hard to paint with the roller.
- Using the roller, paint all of the rest of the surfaces. To prep the Whizz roller, use a piece of tape to get the extra lint off. Also, get the roller slightly damp.
- Let the paint dry for 2 hours.
- Apply a second coat of paint to all of the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers. Following steps 1 – 3.
- Apply a third coat of paint to all of the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers. Following steps 1 – 3.
- Let the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers dry for at least 24 hours, and then re-hang the doors and drawer fronts. To protect the cabinets, apply felt pads to the backs of the doors and drawers.
- Put the knobs or handles back on the doors and drawers.
UPDATE: I’ve created a video showing how to apply an extra protective coating (polycrylic) to your cabinets. You can find it here:
Congratulations – you’re done!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this how to paint cabinets tutorial!
I’m sharing here: