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

by Mary
4 Materials
8 Hours
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.
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.
I used a heat gun to remove the thermofoil. As soon as you start blowing the heat, it starts to peel.
I kept moving the heat gun and pulling the thermofoil slowly.

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.
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.
Second try, hated it!! I don't personally like the distressed look, so this was defiantly, NOT what I was looking for.
Third try, green spray paint. Hmm, not horrible, but it wasn't exactly right for me either.
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.
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.
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.

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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  • Chatycms Chatycms on Mar 11, 2020

    If you cannot get rubbing alcohol at all of any kind (from 0 to 90%) can I use actual alcool or vodka or gin instead? We have nothing left in any store.

  • Jaswan Jaswan on Jan 12, 2021

    So in applying the 2 paints--- 1 coat if the brown alkyd( never heard of that) and just 1 coat of the white rust oleum? Any issues with applying the white as the final cost? Go on smoothly? Do you have to be careful how you apply like when you are painting over a crackle glaze? The results are quite remarkable....I love it!! Thanx

  • Susan Susan on Jan 12, 2021

    How many hours after you painted the alkyd did you cover it with the rustoleum?

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