My $100 Kitchen Cabinet Makeover-Plus New Update!

by Sarah
2 Materials
I recently saw another post on here where someone used General Finishes Gel Stain to redo their kitchen cabinets. I did a little research and after picking a cabinet I decided to do my own!

I decided on Antique Walnut since I thought the Java color might be too dark for my tastes. I am loving the outcome!

I started by cleaning all the cabinet doors, getting all the grease and grim off. I removed the hardware and took the doors off the hinges. We then painted the frame first.
These are the exact products that we used.
After the frame was completely done, (it took about 3 coats) We put the doors back on. We left the drawers in the whole time and just stained around them. The doors took a few more coats, about 4. We used cheap foam brushes purchased in a multi-pack at Wal-mart.

Then we used General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. We cheated a little bit on this part because we stopped after one coat. I was torn between buying Satin and Semi-Gloss and after one coat of the Semi-gloss, it had reached the maximum shine that I wanted. I hope I don't regret only putting on one coat. The instructions say 3.

The topcoat we used a cotton t-shirt to wipe it on. The foam brushes we used for the stain were putting the topcoat on too thick and it was causing drips.
UPDATE! I also recently did my island top. This is after 1 coat.
Island top after 2 coats.
I'm loving the new kitchen! See more on my blog
I did do 4 coats of the Arm-R-Seal on the island and it turned out almost too shiny. But I wanted it to have a very durable finish as this is where I do a lot of my work.
I plan on ordering new bar stools soon!
This is the Before!
This is the After!
This is the after! (I've recently also stained my island, so this is the NEW after!)
Suggested materials:
  • General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain   (
  • General Finishes Arm-R-Seal   (
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 38 questions
  • Vic Vic on Jul 06, 2017
    How did you make your kitchen island. Love the drop leaf.

  • Barbara LeBlanc Hatch Barbara LeBlanc Hatch on Sep 10, 2017
    Did you sand the cabinets first?

  • Kathy Kathy on Jan 15, 2021

    Did you make your island or buy it if so where

Join the conversation
2 of 77 comments
  • JudyH JudyH on Mar 23, 2018

    Your cabinets look nice. Love your drop leaf island! I'm thinking it would also make a great sideboard to be pulled out and setup for extra seating for big holiday dinners using chairs from other rooms in the house! Especially if the bar could be purchased at table instead of bar height, with drop leaves on both sides, and wheels under it.

  • Penny Penny on Apr 14, 2018

    wow! what a difference! great job...i love that the wood grain still shows through...makes it look very rich and elegant...