How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets and a 5 Year Update!

Do you have a kitchen that's in need of a refresh on a budget? Do you have perfectly good bathroom vanities but don't like the original colour of them? Well today I want to share with you guys how I paint kitchen cabinets with a paint brush and roller with near perfect results, and a 4 year update on my very own kitchen after heavy daily use!



First thing I should mention is I painted my kitchen 4 years ago, so before I started blogging and using Instagram, so even though I don't have many pictures of the actual process of how I painted my own kitchen I did recently paint a staff room kitchen and plan to use that to explain to you guys the exact process of how to do it.


A key thing I always like to stress when painting cabinets is to not skip out on the important prep work. I know sanding is never any fun, but how long do you want your paint job to last for? Also how often are you going to paint your cabinets? Probably once right, maybe twice? Well lets do it right the first time so you don't have to do it again:)




* Please note that all supplies I mention are products I personally use and have tried and tested. I do not receive any compensation for mentioning these products and all opinions are my own.



Tips Before We Begin


*I like to paint on a large flat surface like a clean floor or a large table. I lay down large plastic drop sheet first then grab scrap pieces of wood so that my cabinet doors are not directly on the plastic. You can also use these great little inventions to place your doors on. If you decide to paint outdoors please don't paint on a windy day, or a in an area where if there is a gust of wind a bunch of sand or dirt will land in your wet paint. I prefer to paint inside of my garage and if I ever paint in the winter I always use a space heater.


*Use painters tape on any floors around your cabinet frames and on the walls.


*Plan to get dirty, always wear clothes that can get paint on them and have a respirator on hand if you plan to use the respirator I mention below.


*There are 2 important 'P's to remember when starting your cabinet makeover, PREP and PRODUCTS. If you stick to properly prepping your cabinets and doing every step I mention below and follow that with good quality products you will have a highly durable and beautiful paint finish.



Supplies Needed:


1 quart or gallon of Benjamin Moore Advance Paint (Semi Gloss or Pearl)

1 quart or gallon of Zinsser Cover Stain Primer

TSP Heavy Duty Cleaner

High Density Foam Rollers (I like to buy the multi packs)

Paint Roller Frame

2" Paint Brush, Purdy's brushes are my fave

1.5" Paint Brush

Small Paint Trays

2" Frog Painters Tape

Tray liners or use my trick of heavy duty aluminum foil to line the tray!

150 Grit Sandpaper

220 Grit Sandpaper, I like these flexible sponges


Before we begin lets take a look at what we are starting with here! We painted this kitchen at my kids school on the tiniest of budgets. I spent a total of $125 to transform this kitchen in the teacher's staff room. I mean what school has extra money to spare on cosmetic upgrades right?? So, I was happy to help with a couple helpful friends and take on this challenge to give our hard working teachers a space they deserved to enjoy during their much needed and deserved down time.




Step 1:


First thing I did was remove all of my cabinet doors. Removing them is the best way to get a professional finish. Don't try to paint around the hinges, it's not worth it and no matter if you tape it's not going to look as good if you removed them.



Step 2:


Wash your cabinet doors and frames down with TSP. You must not skip this step. This is so important. If you don't give them a thorough degreasing with a heavy duty cleaner no matter what paint you use there will be chipping in no time as your paint will not get proper adhesion. This stuff is strong, so I recommend using gloves when you use this stuff. Read the directions on the box for proper dilution ratios, or you can also use the ready made solution in a spray bottle.






Step 3:


Once everything is properly washed, rinsed and dried it's time to sand them all down. Ugh I know here comes the messy part, but lets just get it over with shall we!? When I sand my doors and frames I don't sand so much that the old stain comes off, I just scratch them up a bit by lightly going over them with a 150 grit sanding sponge or paper. You just need to etch the surface so the primer and paint has more to grab onto to. Think of this step like your insurance to a long lasting paint finish. One you've sanded down all of the surfaces, wipe them all off with a tack cloth or a lightly dampened rag until all the sanding grit is off.




Step 4:


Now that your doors are all cleaned and sanded it's time to give your paint it's first coat of primer. The primer I've selected is a smelly primer as it is oil based. If you are painting indoors you will need to wear a respirator and open your windows. If you are painting outdoors you still may need to wear the respirator, this stuff can give you a headache. I have tried many primers but this one hands down is the best one I've tried. Oil based paints will always give you the best longevity, but the draw back is the stanky smell!! When I apply this product I use a brush that I use only for oil based paint. Mineral Spirits is a chemical you can use to clean oil paint out of paint brushes, but I sometimes find it hard to really clean the old paint out, so I like to buy a less expensive brush that I don't mind throwing out once I'm done my projects with oil paints or stains.


First place I always paint is in the grooves and uneven surfaces of my doors with my 1.5" brush. Be careful anytime you paint that you don't over load your brush. You don't want any drips or too much paint gathering in your corners, just an even thin coat. After your grooves are done use your 4" high density roller to role on the primer on all the flat surfaces including the sides. Again do not over saturate your roller, just enough so that your roller is fully coated with paint but not dripping.




Step 5:


Now that your primer is dry you should sand your surfaces lightly to smooth out any grit or dust that may have settled into the paint with a 220 grit sand sponge. Wipe clean. You can apply 2 coats of primer to really give your paint job extra longevity. This second coat of primer is not necessary, but I decided to do it for my kitchen cabinets cause I knew they would get heavy daily use and lots of abuse with little kids. Once your primer has fully dried get your paint tray ready with your Benjamin Moore Advance paint. Same as in step 4 you will paint in your grooves first with a 1.5" angled brush. Once your grooves are painted use a new 4" roller and role your paint onto the flat surfaces. I love using my roller for my cabinet frames and boxes, this gets the job done fast. Try not to role back and forth too many times as this can create air bubbles. Also if you do find you have air bubbles once you have finished rolling don't panic as this is a self levelling paint and most imperfections level out as it settles. I waited about 8 hours before I flipped over my doors and painted the other sides. Make sure when you do flip over your doors that you lay some pieces of paper towel down so that your freshly painted doors are not sitting directly on the raw wood. Advance paint needs a full 24 hours before you can apply your second and final coat



Here I'm painting on the colour Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Step 6:


Now that your first coat has dried you can paint your final coat on repeating all of the same steps in step 5 including a light sanding first to smooth out any imperfections if necessary. With Advance paint you DO NOT need any final sealer or clear coat. This paint is highly durable and does not need anything else! Once your paint has sat for 24 hours you can put everything back together onto your cabinet bases and lightly use them.


Putting the cabinet doors back on!

All finished!