Diy Kitchen Cabinet Painting Project
I pondered and pondered for over a year on this project! At first, I thought there would be no way that I could do this myself, so I called several cabinet painters and received several quotes. They were all were expensive and that’s where I decided to begin researching DIY! I researched, read tons of articles and watched MANY Youtube videos, until I had built up my confidence, to take this project on, myself! But it wasn’t just this project…….I also wanted to redo the bathroom cabinets and also our master bedroom furniture!!! It was all dark espresso color, and I really wanted to brighten things up.
Just so you all know, my husband wanted no part of this project….haha He agreed to it, only if there was no “WE” in the project. He offered to take the faces off the cabinets, however. lol Which is fine, because if you know me, you’ll know that I actually like painting, and I like projects! I’ve mentioned it before, but I find it relaxing and always love seeing the end result. I’ve painted A LOT of walls over the years, but I had never taken on a cabinet project! If other people could do it, so could I. Plus I would be saving us a TON OF MONEY, by doing it myself. I am a perfectionist, so honestly, I didn’t mind it.
Choosing the Paint Color
We had a dark espresso island, and our perimeter cabinets were an off-white color when we custom-built our home. I believe they called the color “Cashmere”. Which I would need to matchup at our local paint store if I were going to paint it the same color as them. We first thought a darker grey (Chelsea Grey) would look good, but we couldn’t decide. After reading and researching, I had decided that I wanted to use Benjamin Moore Advance paint for the project. I had read a few negatives about other brands, and have always liked the performance, reliability & quality of Benjamin Moore products. When I took a cabinet face in of our off-white cabinet, they were able to use a paint matching tool that matched up what I had, and I have to say it was exactly SPOT ON!!! I got a sample of Chelsea Grey and a sample of Hushed Hue, painted 2 sides of the island to mull over and see which one looked better. The material that our island base was wouldn’t hold paint well, so we were going to have to put up a piece of 1/4 thin plywood on 2 sections of our island. So the 2 sections that I painted on the samples, was going to be covered up anyhow. We ultimately decided the off-white would help brighten up the room and make it appear larger. Our granite has quite a bit of a yellow hue in it, so the white just complimented it much better.
Degreasing & Labeling
Remember when I said my husband didn’t want any part of this project? Well, I managed to sweet talk him help me on the parts that I really couldn’t do myself. He took off the cabinet faces and cut the 2 pieces of plywood for it. Anything involving cutting wood or using an electrical tool, he’s happy to do!!! haha He already had the saw to cut the 1/4 plywood for the 2 sections of the island. After cutting them, he used a nail gun to nail the edges around the 2 island sections. After getting the plywood up, the first step before painting had to be to degrease the cabinet faces and the other 2 sides. If you try to apply primer or paint over any section that has fingerprints/oil/residue/food, it just won’t stick properly. Obviously as much work as you’re putting into painting cabinets, you want it to stick and harden correctly! So I purchased a TSP product, from Home Depot and followed the directions on the proper water/solution measurements, and began wiping the island down. I wore rubber gloves for this, just so it wouldn’t irritate or dry out my hands! I had read to definitely use a piece of blue painters tape or a sticky note to label your cabinet faces. I honestly didn’t think this was that important, until I moved onto our bathroom cabinets, but I’ll save that for my bathroom transformation post that you’ll HAVE TO SEE!!!!!
Tape & Prime
Next, I taped everything off. Underneath the granite, around the floor and around the dishwasher with Blue Tape. After it was all taped off, I then began the first coat of priming. I used the Behr primer here, which came highly recommended from the Home Depot paint guy. I highly recommend rolling it on with a 4″ high density foam roller instead of using a paint brush. This is something I had to learn. You make mistakes as you go, and you correct them, right? The brush was leaving bristle streaks, which you DO NOT want to see once you’re finished painting. The only parts you’ll want to use a brush on are the seams, and around the very top and bottom. I recommend using an angled brush like this one. Wooster and Purdy brand has great brushes, in my history of all the painting I’ve done, FYI. Using a roller ensures no streaking or brush stroke marks! I let the primer dry overnight and applied a second coat the following day. Putting your primed foam roller in a ziplock baggie will keep you from having to use a new one the next day, it will stay just as moist and be ready to use the next day!
Apply the 1st coat of paint
Before painting, I checked any areas that might need light sanding. You’ll want to check for any drips or rough spots, and use 220 grit sandpaper. Just go over it lightly, you don’t want to take off the primer. Wipe off with a cloth any dust particles if you sanded. Next was rolling on the first layer. I didn’t have to press down much with the roller, nor did I want it dripping with paint, leaving it more likely to create runs and drips. I rolled the foam roller really well on the paint tray before applying. It’s best to go in 1 direction, so you have the less likelihood of roller marks. I used the Benjamin Moore Advance cabinet paint in Satin finish. I had read that it would show the air bubbles, but lay down and level out once dry, and that’s just what it did! By the next day, you couldn’t see any bubbles or any marks in the wood. I had laid all of the cabinet faces on saw horses that we had in our unfinished area of the basement(safely out of reach from dust, bugs and most importantly KIDS)!!! I was told NOT to paint the cabinets anywhere where it would be humid. So by being in the unfinished area of our basement, there was zero humidity, where they would dry properly!
Apply the 2nd Coat
So I had read that any project gets worse before it gets better, and that is true. The time spent waiting in between coats is hard to do, but a must if you want it done right! You’ll have primer, cabinet paint, a brush, rollers, painters tape, and old towels spread around your project. Don’t forget to wear old clothes. If you think you’ll be careful and not get any on yourself, you’ll be sorry!!! Just trust me on this! After the second coat of the Advance paint, I then let it cure and harden for a solid 5 days before putting the cabinet faces back on. We tried to keep the kids at our kitchen table and removed the counter chairs so they wouldn’t scratch it in the meantime.
Something that I liked with both the primer and Advance paint is that I could rinse out the brush with water. That’s one of the benefits of these products!
FINALLY!!! It felt like an eternity had gone by. Finally, it was time to put the cabinet faces back on and get the kitchen back together. It looked night and day from what we had started with. The off-white brightened it up so much and I can’t believe we ever had a dark island! I am SO HAPPY I decided to take this project on myself. It saved us a ton of money. The main benefit of someone professionally coming in, was that they would be able to spray the cabinets instead of roll it. Spraying it gives it an even more smooth finish than rolling it. All in all, if you want to save yourself $1000 + then rolling it is the next best thing, or you could always buy a sprayer(amazon has tons of them here)! We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out! We also bought new counter chairs that compliment our modern style here. We wanted something kid-friendly, as well. Out with the dark, in with the Light & bright!!!
Products that I used:
The only negative thing about this project is……….giving me the confidence to paint both main floor bathrooms AND our entire bedroom suite! Yep, that’s right. I painted the heck out of things. Be sure to look for my bathroom transformation post and my bedroom furniture transformation posts soon!!!!
Thanks so much for reading!