Painting Kitchen Cabinets the Right Way: Your How-To Guide

Painting kitchen cabinets is a great DIY project. But when you’re gearing up for this task, it’s essential that you study up on how to do it the right way. It’s not as simple as getting a can of spray paint — painting kitchen cabinets is an in-depth process and you need to follow the steps carefully for the best results.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Prep Is a Key Step

Preparing the cabinets is the first — and the most important — step. First, remove all hardware and label each piece so you know which cabinet connects with which handle and knob at the end. As you take out each drawer and remove each door, draw a map of your cabinets and label where each one goes. This will save you so much time on the other end!

Remove all items from the counter and cover it with protective paper so you don’t get paint on the stone or laminate. Next, it’s cleaning time! Spray and wipe all cabinet boxes, drawers and doors with a paint-prep cleaning solution.

Finally, it’s time to sand. Sand the boxes first, then the drawer and door fronts. Don’t sand all the way down to the wood grain — you’re just working on removing the current finish. Shop vac the dust when you’re done.

Priming Is Essential for Professional Results

You might think you can skip priming, but beware: This will give you less than professional results. Primer is essential for paint to stick for the long term. Follow manufacturer instructions on how long to let primer dry before you begin painting.

Boxes First, Then Drawers and Doors

Start with the cabinet boxes, then work on the drawer and door fronts. Cover all surfaces with a light coat of paint, then wait four hours (at least) before you begin the next coat. Sand the surface lightly with a fine-grained sandpaper in between coats. Wipe away the dust with a tack cloth before beginning the next layer.

Painting kitchen cabinets typically requires at least two coats, and sometimes three. After all, your cabinets get plenty of day-to-day use!

Be Patient

Make sure you wait for the final coat to dry completely before you begin installing hardware and putting all the cabinets back where they belong. It’s not worth it to rush — one blemish means you have to start all over!

Project Proving Futile?

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get the finish you’re looking for. If painting kitchen cabinets isn’t solving your design problem, come to AWA Kitchen Cabinets! We will give you plenty of design ideas, along with affordable ways to replace outdated cabinets.