How to Touch Up Chipped Paint and Maintain Painted Cabinets

A year after painting my kitchen cabinets with Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations they still look great! For the most part. They have a couple minor chips all the way down to bare honey oak. Of course I don't want that to show and I've figured out an easy way to fix these chips.
Here is a picture of the island. It gets beat on the most and surprisingly has only one small damaged/chipped corner.
This bad boy and one small toddler (you would think we had a clumsy elephant that smashes everything in his path living here) named Jackson are the culprit for the nicks and chips. Jackson circles around the island about 50 times a day on that motorcycle and sometimes his car. So really we have put cabinet transformations to the ultimate test and in my humble opinion a couple small chips as the result of continuously running a motorcycle and other toys onto the painted surface is pretty amazing!
Here's a picture of a small chip on the cabinet door below the kitchen sink. I'll show you all how easy it is to fix this so you can't even tell it was there!
First I grabbed my paintbrush with white paint on it out of the fridge.
Yes that's right, the fridge.
Many years ago Cory found out that you can wrap your wet paintbrushes in Saran Wrap and store them in the refrigerator and then use it again another day without the paint drying up on the brush. This genius trick has saved us countless hours (and probably paintbrushes) since we don't have to clean the brush every time we're exhausted and done painting for the day.
Since I'm currently working on another painting project with pure white cabinet transformations I already had a wet white brush in the fridge. I found out you can put the wet brushes in ziploc bags and it works just as good as Saran Wrap at keeping the brush nice. I store wet brushes sometimes for weeks at a time. Yes, I know, I'm totally lazy and sometimes the brush does get a little too dried out and caked with paint so I have to wash it before I start painting, but I have yet to ruin a brush by using this technique.
This particular brush could really use a good rinsing since I think it has been in the fridge for a couple weeks (shame on me) but for touching up nicks on cabinet doors I really only need a tiny amount of paint and honestly a "dry" brush works better for this.
Before you do anything with paint you could lightly sand the chipped area with very fine sandpaper. Maybe it's because mine are glazed, but I find that I don't need to. If you don't have glazed cabinets, I would highly recommend sanding!
After I took my brush out of the Ziploc bag I dabbed on a very slight amount of paint, so slight I used the paint that was already on the brush (really lazy of me, buy hey, it worked). What I try to do is only get paint on the gouged out area. I wiped off the paint that got on the already painted surface with my finger and that also helps to push more paint onto the chipped area I want to cover. I want the edge of the painted surface and the gouged out surface to be flush with each other so you cannot tell that it's been repaired.
I let that dry for a couple minutes then I grabbed my foam brush with glaze/stain on it from the fridge (yep, I put that in the fridge too). Of course f you don't have glazed cabinets, you would skip this step.
I just put a dab of stain right over the fresh white paint and wiped it off almost immediately (just enough time to snap a picture) with cheesecloth.
Here's the finished product, before the protective clear coat of course. You can't even tell it's been repaired or that a chip was even there! It really is such an easy fix (made easier by having my brushes ready to go in the fridge!). I discovered how to repair any chipped paint on the cabinets when I was initially painting them. Before the clear coat is painted on the surface is extremely delicate. You can scratch the paint off with a fingernail. I had a couple areas that I had to fix because I was apparently reckless and handled the cabinets with wild abandon or well, who knows really, but after that I handled the cabinets with kid gloves until the clear coat was dry.As for maintenance, honestly it is the same as with unpainted cabinets. I wipe up any spills with a damp sponge. That's it, nothing special. I almost feel like painting these cabinets made them more durable because of how hard the protective clear coat dries. You can even paint on an extra clear coat and that would make your cabinets even more durable! To see more on this post check out my blog :)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Emily
    on Nov 12, 2016

    Would the Saran Wrap trick work with a paint roller, you think?

    • Shidhi
      on Feb 12, 2017


    • Nadine Hartman Bourne
      Nadine Hartman Bourne
      on Apr 9, 2017

      yes it will but it will eventually dry out. I had to leave a project for a few days and when I got back to it the paint had started to dry on the brush. when I was done and I washed the brush I had to pick out by hand the dried paint bits.
    • Ardale
      on May 16, 2017

      I put my wet paint brush and or roller in a zip loc plastic bag, push as much air out as I can the zip it up and I've literally had brushes stay wet, soft and pliable for several weeks. Nice when you can't get back to your project for a long time. Rollers keep longer in the bags then they do wrapped in plastic wrap but they will start to dry out much quicker then the paint brushes will. If your like me and hate to have to wash out my brushes and rollers until I'm completely finished with my painting your going to want to try this tip.
    • Mary Iverson
      Mary Iverson
      on Nov 12, 2017

      I wonder if a paint roller would stay moist longer if you placed a damp rag or paper towel in the bag?
    • Eleanor Korf
      Eleanor Korf
      on May 21, 2018

      Not only will it work, but you can wrap it with several layers of plastic wrat, put the roller in the freezer, and months from now thaw it out and reuse it. This worked with latex paint for me.

    • Peggy Riggles
      Peggy Riggles
      on Aug 15, 2018

      Wrapping in a ziplock bag works very well as the others have said. I also had read somewhere that cleaning latex paint out of brushes with liquid fabric softener works well too. I was kind of sceptical ( VERY) but poured some Downey in a small plastic container plopped my brush in and left it soaking a few minutes. When I came back to wash it out all I had to do was rinse! I was pleasantly surprised ( SHOCKED!) A at how easy it was and how clean it came. Well worth a try!

    • Cindy
      on Oct 27, 2018

      Yes it works with rollers too. I think besides time you also save paint. It takes quitell a bit of paint to fill a roller.

    • Carey
      on Oct 30, 2018

      It does work well with rollers as well. With Latex paint, I put them in the freezer & didn't have to worry if I didn't get back to it soon enough. I would hesitate to do it with oil based paint.

    • Carolyn Benston
      Carolyn Benston
      on Dec 8, 2018

      Latex didn’t work in freezer for me n maybe because paint had been thinned

    • Becky
      on Dec 15, 2018

      Yes it does but I put mine in the freezer you don't get the dried gunk.

  • Kim
    on May 15, 2017

    What is the name of the clear coat you used?
  • Deb
    on Aug 19, 2018

    How can I repair divots on my hardwood kitchen floor created from accidentally dropping heavy objects like vans, lids, etc. I don’t want to replace boards since it is floored throughout the first floor. Our floor color is a light winter washed color with a light clear coat that gets many complements. Attached picture.

     Thank you for any help!

    Deborah T.

    • Vaclav
      on Oct 5, 2018

      The dent in the flooring was caused by the wood fibers being compressed when a pot, pan, or whatever was dropped on them. The best way to raise or re-inflate those fibers and give them new life is to steam them.

      Place a well dampened (but not wet) towel over the dented area of flooring. Using a steam iron on “high” setting, iron the towel where the dent is located in a circular motion. (Always keep the iron moving—keeping the iron stationary/in the same place could possibly burn the towel and/or the floor. Occasionally use the steam button for more concentrated steam in that area. Be sure to keep the towel damp.

      You may have to repeat this procedure a few times depending on the severity of the dent and the finish on the floors. (The dent may never fully go away, but this gets it pretty close, provided it’s a dent and not a gouge in the floor.)

      This process works best on unfinished wood, but I’ve had great success on the waxed original wood floors of my 160-year old house. You have a clear coat finish on your floors, which may whiten when steamed; so you might want to test an inconspicuous area first or sand the area of the dent first, then steam it, let it dry completely and then apply some clear coat afterwards with a small sponge brush. If there are any watermarks after steaming, wait until the floor is completely dry in that area and then lightly sand the area before applying clear coat. (Never sand wet or damp wood.)

      Good luck!

  • Misty
    on Aug 29, 2019

    I painted my kitchen cabinets the exact same color as above. It has been a year now and I would like to remove some one the glaze. It looks like it has darkened more over the past year. I have went over them with dish soap and warm water to remove any dirt but that didn’t help lighten the dark areas any. Do you have any ideas?


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