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When we moved into our house, my husband and I decided to hold off remodeling of our home as it was a fairly new house (10 years) and it was freshly painted throughout only a few years before we moved in. One thing I did want to tackle was our kitchen. Especially those horrible builder-grade cabinets!
Now, I am a major Pinterest fan! So as custom for a Pinterest fan, I quickly got on Pinterest and started searching for inspiration and ideas. I knew I wanted a somewhat modern looking kitchen, and I wanted gray and white, not sure what yet, but I wanted it to be gray and white. I had an image in mind, but could not find what I was looking for on Pinterest, so I decided to do what I do best! Experiment away!
I told my ideas to my Mr. R and he liked the idea of gray and white until I said I wanted a dark gray, that is. He comes from a family that loves their whites and neutrals, (and has slowly been winning me over to that side and I am absolutely loving it!) and thus envisioned a very light gray on the cabinets and white everything else (did I mention he has a degree in Architecture? Yeah, no pressure or anything). That sounded like a great idea, but of course did not match my set image in mind, so finally after much convincing, he gave in to the idea and loved the end product, so I guess it worked itself out!
Note: Painting your cabinets is a great way to save money and remodel on a budget, but be advised: It is hard work and extremely time-consuming! I would not recommend this project to someone who has little time on their hands or has small children. Unless you’re okay with living without cabinet doors for a few weeks, that is.
Painting the cabinets is a big job and I had a lot of fun doing it as I love me some DIY projects (and also had some free time before starting my fall quarter classes)! Since it’s so time-consuming, it’s very tempting to take shortcuts. But if you want your cabinets to look good, and not have the paint peel within a few months, it’s best to take the time and do every step; it’ll be worth it! I did take a few extra (and quite possibly un-needed) steps since this was my first time painting cabinets and I wanted to be extra sure that the paint job would be ideal. Especially since this is for the kitchen, where the most time is spent. Also, my hopes are that this paint job will last at least a few (5-10) years.
Note: This tutorial is for wooden cabinets and not laminate cabinets. I cannot guarantee same results on laminate cabinets.
Some supplies you will need are: TSP (especially if your cabinets are a bit greasy), a liquid sander, sand paper (80(optional), 100 and 220 grit), small brush, small roller, a paint tray, primer, and paint.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Start by unscrewing every cabinet door off of the base and unscrew each of the hinges. Some people label the doors and hinges, I tried to, but the sticky notes came off. It worked out anyways though and I did not have any problem putting them back up. It may need to be done on some cabinets, if you have custom cabinets for example, but our builder cabinets did not.
After you take the cabinet doors down, unscrew all of the hinges from the doors. Group all of them together from every section in small Ziploc bags.
Step 2: Take the cabinet doors to the garage, or outside, someplace where you will have open air. Also, make sure it’s a space where the cabinet doors will not be in the way and can stay there for some time. I laid my doors out on garage floor near the door and had the garage door open while working.
Step 4: Start sanding the doors, sanding down every surface, on both sides. I used 80 grit sandpaper ( you can buy an assorted pack on Amazon using that link) for this part, (but 100 grit would work here also). Make sure to wear a mask or have fresh, open air while doing this.
Step 5: After sanding the doors down, you can start priming. I used the Zinger Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer for this project. Make sure you use a good quality small roller for this (I used a foam roller), using a small brush for all the corners and hard to reach spots. Let the primer dry for the time allotted on the can.
Step 6: Sand down the doors with a 100 grit sanding paper. Make sure you do not miss any spots because they will be visible in the end product. Then repeat the process a second time with another layer of primer. I let my second coat of primer dry thoroughly before sanding again; I left it to dry over the weekend before sanding it the second time.
Step 7: Now you are ready to paint. When painting I tried to use a bit of a heavier coat for the first layer. Be careful to not have it too heavy because it will run and leave a lot of leaks. I did that on a few of the doors and had a bit of harder time sanding it down. I used the Behr Paint & Primer in One–Semi Gloss for painting (the can even said it is “great for cabinets and trim hehe). When painting, try to perfect the corners as much as you can with the brush, being careful not to leave any streaks.
Step 8: Sand down the doors, this time using a 220 grit sandpaper. Repeat the process again, but this time with a very light coat of paint. Try to not use the brush if possible. Lightly roll on the paint avoiding any leaks or streaks. Let each side dry thoroughly between each painting.
Step 9: Now do the same process on the base of the cabinets. Tape up any walls or areas that you do not want to get any paint on. Then repeat the same process as on the doors (Steps 3-8).
Step 10: Allow ample time for everything to dry completely. I gave it about a week, but a few days should be plenty.
Step 11: Put all the hinges back on the doors, and put the doors back in place. I had the help of my husband with this part.
You can see in the last few pictures the white part of my set image! We got the new counter-tops installed in the process! Woo-hoo!