We love our kitchen and are so happy that we took the plunge with painting our kitchen cabinets. Here are some before and after pictures too.
Prior to beginning the project we did a ton of research and asked a lot of questions. We also prepared a budget and a supply list. We were lucky to be able to borrow a HVLP paint spray gun and an air compressor (since then we have purchased our own HVLP paint spray gun for more projects!) which saved a good amount; both of which are not cheap.
I think one of the most important pieces of painting your kitchen cabinets is the type of paint you use and using the paint sprayer as opposed to brush painting. We used Advance paint by Benjamin Moore and the color we chose was a Behr color from Home Depot that they made for us in the Benjamin Moore paint in Powdered Snow. The Advance paint by Benjamin Moore is not cheap, but it is SO worth it. I love the color and am so happy we took our time and looked at lots of samples. We are even using the same color now on our fireplace mantel and on our media table in the family room. It will look nice and cohesive so that makes me very happy. With having such an open floor plan you have to be consistent, as I have learned.
The project took a lot longer than we anticipated. We started the kitchen cabinet painting project after our powder room remodel was complete, the end of February and finished up about mid-April. We did take a week off for vacation and had no real hard stop; besides just being annoyed with having our kitchen not a totally working kitchen and having to park outside (yes, we are spoiled and love parking in our garage!). Seriously, if you plan to do this project take your time and don’t feel rushed or stressed to have to get it done by a specific date. Things come up and unexpected steps come into play. It is worth the wait and perfection in the end.
We started off by taking out everything from our kitchen and placing it in the office closet and office space. This was annoying and tedious because I had to think about what we use on the regular and make sure we could access it during the project. It took a couple of hours and while I was doing this step Jeff was removing all of the cabinet doors, drawers and hardware. We used painters tape and labeled each door with a number along with the matching Ziploc of hardware. Jeff took photos of the kitchen before disassembling and numbered all doors and drawers in a Word document to refer back to when putting everything back together at the end of the project.
We created a work space in the garage and got to work applying Krud Kutter Degreaser to all of the cabinets, letting it sit on them and soak in a bit and then using some old freebie t-shirts from Jeff’s work to wipe all of the Krud Kutter off. We then let them fully dry overnight.
The next step was to apply wood putty in all of the cracks and imperfections. After the wood putty dried, we started the boring and monotonous sanding portion, but oh so important! We used 80 grit sandpaper after the wood putty and then in-between coats we used 180-220. We sanded all of the imperfections out that we could and then used the dry vac and tack cloth to clean the sanding residue off of the cabinets.
The cabinets were then ready for their first coat of primer. The primer we chose was Glidden’s Gripper which was referred to us by the paint guy at our local Home Depot and it did not disappoint. Jeff and I both used the HVLP sprayer for the primer as well as the paint. The HVLP sprayer we borrowed from a co-worker was a Husky Gravity Feed Sprayer and it worked well, but did take some time to do.
For the spraying we created a spray booth out of plastic and painters tape and made a sort of lean-to on one side of the garage. Inside the spray booth we used two saw horses and placed a board on it with nails that stuck out all across the board. This allowed us to get the sides and pick up the cabinets without touching the fresh paint. After coating the back side of the cabinets with primer we placed them in the safe drying area and let them dry for 24 hours. After they were fully dried we sprayed the cabinet’s front side with primer and let them fully dry.
Next up, another dose of sanding with the 180-220 grit making sure we can in all of the grooves. At this time we applied more wood putty if needed as well (pretty much in between every coating we looked and applied the wood putty as needed). After sanding we again used the dry vac and tack cloth on all of the cabinets. We did two coats of priming so repeat again allowing 24 hours between each side. This basically takes a week with having to wait 24 hours to let each side dry.
After the two coats of primer and sanding again (yes, again…ugh) we were finally ready to paint! Again, we started off with the back sides and made sure the cabinets had a safe place to dry in-between each coat, allowing them to dry 24 hours before touching and applying the other side of paint with sanding, wood putty and cleaning them all in between. We did three coats of the paint so this took a while and we let them dry an entire week before attaching them back to the frames. So worth it though – we are so happy with the results.
Then it was time to start thinking about prepping the inside to spray the frames. It took me an entire day to plastic off the entire room, taping off the cabinets and insides of the cabinets – I started at 7 am and finished at about 7:30 pm. It was pure agony doing it and I was completely delirious. In the end, after spraying it was key to making sure things looked well. I would not have done it any other way. Take the time to prep – it is so important. You have to do enclose the entire room because of the overspray. Even with enclosing the room we had a tiny film of dust from the paint that settled on everything. It took a while to clean everything again and that wasn’t very fun. The joys of doing projects inside your house!
After the inside prep work was done I did all of the priming by hand followed by a light sanding. We did the priming on the frames pretty heavy so we only needed one coat. Jeff sprayed the frames and did three coats of the paint with sanding and wood putty in between as needed. We let the frames cure for a good 3 – 4 days before putting everything back together. The best part of this was being able to take down the inside spray booth and being able to use the oven, microwave, dishwasher and being able to get to the fridge without jumping over hoops. It was a rough 5 or 6 days not having full use of the kitchen when we were spraying the frames. So tired of take-out by the end!
It was an amazing day when we got to put back up the cabinets and doors. Jeff’s dad helped Jeff do this step and Jeff finished off drilling all of our new pulls and cups which turned out great – we used the template for the cabinet hardware that you can buy at any hardware store. I also applied the little cushions on each corner of the cabinets to help.
We are now enjoying our kitchen and love it so much. We have had to be very gentle with it as the first 30 days it is curing. All is going well besides having to make sure Livie doesn’t ram her car into the cabinets or take her keys to them, but we are managing. I also did one little touch up once we were all done to clean up a few spots that needed a little more attention.
I highly recommend taking on this project, but best to do your research, be patient and meticulous if possible. I have read some blogs that said they did this project in a weekend and I have no idea how that would even be possible, but that is with just paint brushing. I hope this tutorial is beneficial to some and please let me know if you have any questions.