9 Things to Know Before Painting Cabinets

4 Materials
3 Days

When we did our laundry room makeover, I thought that building the shelf or hanging the wallpaperwould be the most challenging part of the design plan. I was surprised that painting the cabinets was actually the part that gave me the biggest headaches.

I love the look of painted cabinets and now that I’ve learned some lessons, I’m ready to tackle the rest of the painted cabinets we have in this house. That is, as soon as I finish our front door makeover.

Before picture of our drap white laundry room cabinets. Here are the 9 things I learned making this transformation.

Buy some sawhorses – This is a garage/workshop must have if you like doing any sort of home projects or even crafting. They are perfect to stage your cabinets on when you are prepping them and painting them. I use these on my projects, I love the lower table.

Scrape off excess paint – If you have old or layered paint on your cabinets, take the time to scrape it off. It will make your finished product look great and help your primer and paint stick.

Sand them down – Also another important step that shouldn’t be skipped. I sand them really well before I put on primer and then gently with a fine sandpaper once the primer is dry.

Use a good primer, maybe twice – I love Killz primer. It’s worth it to put a layer of this on even if your paint includes a primer in it. Especially on cabinets that are going to get a lot of use.

Invest in paint – This was my biggest mistake in our laundry room makeover, I used crappy paint. If I had to do it over again, I would have had my paint store color match the crappy paint and used a higher quality brand. It’s worth the time and the money.

Use foam brushes – On cabinets, if you are hand painting them, you want to use foam brushes so you eliminate brush marks. I like having a few different sizes, like in this package. If you want to get super fancy, use a sprayer. This is ideal for bigger projects but for the four doors in my laundry room, brushes were fine.

Have a small bowl or cup nearby to keep all the loose screws – Painting your cabinets isn’t a one day project so it’s nice to be able to keep all the screws and hardware in one central location so you have it once you are ready to reinstall.

Painters tape is your friend – Use painters tape to mark off what cabinet door go where (very important thing to keep track of) and it to measure and mark drill holes for the new pulls. Very important to GO SLOW when you are drilling into your doors. Using light pressure and taking your time will make sure that your doors don’t split or crack when you drill through them.

Load up on patience – Take your time and do it right. Trust me it will be worth it.

Suggested materials:

  • Paint   (Target)
  • Sander   (Home Depot)
  • Brushes   (Home Depot)
See all materials

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

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  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Jul 30, 2018

    A few months back I purchased used cabinets for my laundry room. I’ve been working on them for weeks now. They were so dirty. It took days just to get all the grime off of the one. Just a 30x30 inch cabinet. I did buy a good quality paint but used brushes, a roller and foam brushes on it. I liked the foam brushes best but as they are t the best quality, I went through several of them. I used a high gloss enamel in white. I just finished the first one and it looks gorgeous! Now on to the next which will take a bit longer as it’s a bigger cabinet. I chose not to use the doors they came with. I am going to make a small barn door and extend it on a rod that goes the length of both cabinets. I want one side to be like open shelving but the smaller cabinet I want a door on which I can just slide over if I want to cover any part of the other side.

  • Alice Faggi Alice Faggi on Aug 07, 2018

    That sounds like an amazing project!!!