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Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets - A How-to Guide

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets - A How-to Guide

Posted by Derek

How to Paint your Kitchen Cabinets


The global COVID-19 pandemic has had many terrible downsides that are Known well enough that we do not need to be discussing them here. However, there have been some good things to come out of enforced lockdown. People have got to spend more time with their families, more time with their pets and more time doing something they enjoy, such as reading, walking or doing jigsaws.

Many people have also discovered some practically useful ways to fill the long hours from breakfast to bedtime; they have found DIY.

Whether you're now a seasoned DIY expert or have half an idea that you'd like to try your hand at something new, we hope this article will teach you something about how to go about painting your kitchen cabinets.

We've included all the practical, need to know information, as well as some helpful inspiration for why painting your kitchen cabinets is a great idea (we know some of you may be teetering on the fence wondering if it's really for you).

So, without further ado, here is your ultimate guide to painting your kitchen cabinets.


Hand Painted Kitchens


Why you should paint your kitchen cabinets


Before painting most surfaces, you need to apply a layer of primer to help the subsequent layers of paint stick. And as painting all your kitchen cupboards may seem like a daunting task, we thought we would provide some words of encouragement and inspiration, to act as a primer to make the idea of tackling the task stick.

It saves you money


Hiring professional painters is often very expensive as they charge a considerable amount. This is fair enough as they (mostly) do a grand job, but if you want to save a fair chunk of cash, DIY is the way to go.

It's something to be proud of


After the job has is completed, and you take a step back to admire your handy work, you will feel a real sense of pride in having planned a project, put in the graft and seen it through to completion. Plus, you're lying to yourself if you say you won't enjoy dropping it into conversation with your friends the next time they're round for a cuppa.

It's therapeutic


There's something about painting that is just so relaxing and therapeutic. Seeing the fruits of your labour as you go is satisfying, and the work requires just enough thinking to help you zone out and forget about your usual thoughts and worries.


The 9 steps to painting your kitchen cabinets


Presuming you're now absolutely sold on the idea of painting your cabinets, you'll need a little guidance on exactly how to achieve that. This step by step guide will give you just that.

The preparation stage


"Step one, crack the paint open and start firing it on?"… If only it were that easy. Before any paint job, there are several preparation steps, and it cannot be stressed enough that these steps are just as necessary as applying the paint. The old maxim, "fail to prepare, prepare to fail" sums it up nicely.

Step 1. Cleaning


Even if you clean your kitchen regularly, one area that often gets overlooked is the cabinets, and for that reason, a thin layer of grime and grease builds up over time. You must apply a reputable kitchen cleaner and give your cabinets a good old scrub down. Leave them to dry properly before step 2.

Step 2. Sanding


The next step involves sanding the surface of your kitchen cabinets to create a rough surface for the paint to stick too. Sanding paper is given a "grit" grading according to how coarse it is. Take a piece of fine or very fine sanding paper (150–250 grit) and gently rub all areas to be painted. Always sand in the same direction as the grain of the wood. While doing so, this will produce a fair bit of dust, so you might like to use a mask while working.

Once you've sanded everywhere, wipe away all the accumulated dust with a damp cloth and again leave to dry completely.

Step 3. Taping


Now you need to apply masking tape to all the areas you want to stop the paint reaching, including door handles, panes of glass and metalwork. Remove any door handles you can and if not just be sure to tape them. It's also a great idea to cover your floor in painters sheets or newspaper to stop any stray drips hitting your floor coverings.

Step 4. Priming


Now we're getting to the good stuff. Ideally, it would be best if you went for a primer that is designed specifically for the surface you're painting. However, to keep the job simple, you can't go wrong with some Ronseal One Coat All-surface Primer and Undercoat, found in any hardware or paint store. Steer clear of wood primer, as this is required only on wood that hasn't received paint yet.

Apply just one layer of primer then allow to dry for 2–4 hours. Critically the area has to be completely dry, so patience is key here.


DIY Painted Kitchens


The painting stage


An important note is required here on what paint to use. Paint stores are the best place for advice on this, but as a general rule of thumb, if you're painting laminates, opt for a paint specially designed for that surface. If you're painting wood, most interior paint will work well.

Step 5. First coat


Having acquired the appropriate paint, it's time to get started. Give the paint tin a thoroughly good shake around as it can sometimes settle at the bottom. A chisel or screwdriver may be required to prise open the container, then give it a good stir around with a piece of wood.

Make sure your paintbrush is loaded with a fair bit of paint, but you don't want it to be dripping everywhere. Apply the paint in the same direction as the grain of the wood, which is usually up and down. Then, work your way around all your cabinets. We recommend some good music and a willing and able partner to lend a hand.


Step 6. The waiting game


Now, between coats, you'll generally need to leave around 24 hours drying time. This will feel like ages, and you'll be sorely tempted to ignore or alter this step and crack on.

However, it would be best if you didn't give in to temptation as it is vital you let each coat dry properly before applying the next one. Failure to do so risks ruining all your efforts by producing a patchy job.  If you start too soon, you'll leave big streaks where the still wet paint is pulled out of position by your brush.

It's worth noting at this point that this step will necessarily extend your project time depending on how many coats you plan on applying. Make sure to consider this when planning your project.


Step 7. Subsequent coats


For most paint jobs like this, you'll need at least two coats of paint. To ensure a nice solid colour and hide any wood knots from peeking through. However, you may need 3 or 4 coats if you're changing the colour scheme dramatically.


The final stage


Step 8. Any waxing or sealing that needs doing


Depending on the type of paint you have chosen to use, there may be an extra stage required. Some paints require a layer of sealant or wax to be painted over them. Helping to ensure the paint repels water and other substances and making sure your paint job will last a long time.

In particular, this is necessary for chalk paints. However, it is always best to read the instructions that come with your chosen paint carefully. Alternatively, paint or hardware stores will be happy to advise on the specific requirements of each paint.


Step 9. Removing the tape


You are going to enjoy this step as it is incredibly satisfying. After all your paint and any layers of wax or sealant is dry, slowly and carefully remove each piece of tape from any metal or other surfaces you had covered.

You mustn't yank or rip at the tape, as a small amount of paint will have overlapped the tape and your cabinets, meaning if you pull at the paint you risk big chunks of paint coming off your cabinets.


The final say


Having completed all these steps, the last stage is to make a cup of tea, take a big step back, and thoroughly enjoy the satisfaction of your completed paint job.

We hope this guide will be a useful source of information for your next DIY adventure. All that remains to be said is good luck!