How Frustration and an Accident Ended in a New Kitchen Cabinet Look

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Let me start by staying that I know this look is not going to be for everyone, but after many trials, false starts and a weird accident I finally found what I wanted to do with my kitchen cabinets.
Time: 8 HoursCost: $60Difficulty: Medium
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
Here is what I started with. When we built the house 21 years ago we installed thermofoil cabinet doors. If you don't know what thermofoil is they are mdf boards covered with a plastic that is melted on. They look like wood grain, but feel like laminate. They held up over the years pretty well, but were starting to peel and crack.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
I used a heat gun to remove the thermofoil. As soon as you start blowing the heat, it starts to peel.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
I kept moving the heat gun and pulling the thermofoil slowly.

  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
This is what the sheet of thermofoil looks like after it is removed. If you use heat and pull slowly, there is no damage to the mdf board.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
I couldn't decide exactly what I wanted to do to the cabinets. I didn't want plain white, I wanted something different. This was my first try, I used a beige paint and a brown glaze. It wasn't horrible, but I wasn't totally thrilled with it either. It was too similar to the old look.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
Second try, hated it!! I don't personally like the distressed look, so this was defiantly, NOT what I was looking for.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
Third try, green spray paint. Hmm, not horrible, but it wasn't exactly right for me either.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
What happened next was several months of cabinet drawers with no fronts as I gave up on this and moved onto other projects while waiting for inspiration. When I finally came back to the cabinets, I tried Behr Alkyd paint in an off white color. I hated it! So in disgust, I decided to heck with it, I am going to paint them white and grabbed a can of Rustoleum Ultra Cover in white and painted over the alkyd paint.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
When I walked by an hour later, to my horror, I discovered this! The white paint had cracked and the beige alkyd paint was showing through the cracks. I am not a chemist, so I don't know what happened, but it was some sort of reaction between the two types of paint.
  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
At this point, I was almost in tears. When I showed what happened to my husband and my kids, they all told me that they thought it looked cool. So, I decided to embrace the crackle! I wanted more of a contrast though, so this time I bought some Behr Alkyd in Barn Brown and used a roller and a brush to apply one coat. After that dried, I used a roller and a brush to apply the Rustoleum Ulta Cover in white. The next day I applied two coats of Varathane Spar Urethane.

  • how frustration and an accident ended in a new kitchen cabinet look
Here is the finished look with my new hardware. I love the way it turned out. I was looking for something different, and thanks to a freak accident, I found what I was looking for.

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