Ever get half-way through a project and wonder if you had to be half-crazy to have started it in the first place?
Yeah… That was me about a month ago.
My road to crazy was a gradual one… Thanks to too much time spent on Pinterest, I’ve had my eye on white kitchen cabinets for about a year…
The problem was that I couldn’t exactly justify ripping out my current cabinets and springing for brand new ones. Although I wasn’t a fan of the builder-grade orange oak, they were still in good shape and I didn’t exactly have a couple thousand bucks hanging around for a full kitchen remodel.
So there I was– with orange cabinets… and a whole bunch of paint brushes in my basement.
You can see where this is going, right?
Hubby wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea at first– but after I showed him pictures of crisp, farmhouse kitchens with creamy white cabinets, he started to “feel” my vision…
There are a lot of cabinet painting shortcuts online, and although I was tempted by them at first, I decided to avoid them. My kitchen is the most-used room in my home, and I couldn’t risk having paint that would rub off it a year or two…
I decided to follow the process that Young House Love outlined in their cabinet-painting tutorial. They have multiple in-depth posts on the subject- I definitely recommend checking them out. (I think I read the series about 582 times before I started…)
I originally figured that the project would take about two weeks…. *cue hysterical laughing*
It actually ended up taking over two months… I somehow failed to include the fact that I have two small children, a homestead to run, and a blog to maintain into my initial time estimate.
Since Young House Love did such a splendid job on their cabinet-painting series, I won’t go into every detail here, but here is a quick run-down of the process:
How I Painted my Kitchen Cabinets (in a nutshell)
1. First, I removed cabinet doors, hinges, and drawers.
2. I sanded the drawer fronts, doors, and cabinet boxes with 100-grit sandpaper. (An electric sander will be your best friend.)
3. Wipe off sawdust with a damp rag.
4. I then applied a liquid de-glosser. This basically coats any leftover polyurethane or finish and makes sure that the paint sticks to it. Some folks just do sanding OR de-glossing– but I did both just to be safe.
5. Apply two coats of quality primer. Let each coat dry completely according to the manufacturer’s directions. (I used Zinnser primer.)
6. Apply 2-3 coats of quality paint. Let each coat dry completely according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Now– the type of paint you choose is very important– do NOT skimp on quality here! I know that some folks just use regular latex paint, but I had heard great things about Benjamin Moore Advance, so I went with it– and I wasn’t disappointed. (I’m not affiliated with Benjamin Moore in any way– but I’m still singing the praises of this paint!)
It’s basically a latex paint that acts like an oil paint. It’s self-leveling and dries to a very hard, very wipeable finish. (And if you don’t have to use paint-thinner to clean your brushes!) It wasn’t cheap (expect to pay $40-$50 a gallon), but it was worth it since I do NOT want to have to re-do this project in a year or two…
7. I chose to spray paint my old hinges instead of buying new ones… I priced replacements, and it would have ended up costing several hundred dollars for new hardware… We’ll see how the spray paint holds up, but so far– so good. (I used Rustoleum Professional High Performance Enamel)
8. After giving everything a couple more days to dry, we re-hung the doors and attached new knobs and drawer pulls.
A Few Tips I Learned Along the Way:
1. Give yourself lots of time…. LOTS. This isn’t a weekend project– expect to live in chaos for a while.
2. Keep stuff in the cabinets. Since my kitchen had to stay functional during this whole process, it wasn’t really an option to box everything up… (Although maybe if I had, it would have been completed sooner!) Instead, I chose to leave the contents of my cupboards in place… I did have to remove everything and rinse it off after the sanding was complete, but otherwise, I was still able to cook during the remodel. (And hey, my cupboards needed a clean-out anyway…)
3. Use quality brushes and paint. I know, I know– I’m a frugal gal too. But this is one area where you don’t want to skimp– unless you plan on re-doing the project in a couple years. Like I mentioned above, I was very happy with my choice of paint, even though it wasn’t cheap (Benjamin Moore Advance in Acadia White). I also bought quality 2″ paint brushes and a small foam roller for the process.
4. Follow the directions and let things dry. Read the back of your paint/primer cans and obey. If you rush the drying times, you’ll end up with gummy paint that won’t be as durable.
5. When painting the doors, start with the back side first. This allows your final coat to be the front side, which is the most important in my opinion. And yes, the door-painting part of the project takes for-ev-er……..
6. Stick with neutral. Before I started this process, I was tempted to choose a fun, trendy color for my cabinets. However, I quickly decided against it since I didn’t want something that would be dated in a year or two. Instead, I chose a timeless, soft white that can really go with any future color scheme. The same goes for the hardware– I found some fun, trendy knobs that I liked at first, but ultimately ended up choosing a simple knob with an antiqued pewter finish. I really don’t want to have to re-do this project any time soon (I think I might have mentioned that once before…)
So… now that it’s all done, was it worth it?
Absolutely! My kitchen is much lighter, brighter, and larger feeling. You can still see a slight bit of the woodgrain in certain light, but for the most part, they look perfect. (Minus a couple little mess-ups that were my fault… but I guess that 100% perfection is rather unrealistic…)
The white is holding up great thus far. Yeah, I have had to wipe food splatters here and there, but the paint literally dries to an enamel-like finish, so everything wipes right off.
The couple hundred bucks I spent for paint, supplies, and hardware sure beats the several thousand I would have spent for brand new cabinets.
But, I’m sure glad it’s done. 😉
This post was shared at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways
Can't Get Enough Homesteading Goodness?
Join over 67,000 others who get the weekly Homestead Toolbox delivered fresh to their inbox. It's packed full of recipes, ideas, and homesteading tips you can actually use (no fluff), plus a copy of my very popular mulch gardening how-to guide.