Tag Archives: DIY kitchen cabinets

How To: Painting Kitchen Cabinets

When we moved into our new house, I knew repainting the kitchen cabinets would be a top priority.  I also knew that using a paint sprayer was the way to do it, however I was hesitant considering I had heard horror stories from everyone who has ever tried to use a paint sprayer.

Luckily I have a amazing father-in-law who stepped in and spent the entire weekend tackling this project with us.  He had some tips and tricks up his sleeve to get the paint sprayer to cooperate and used it without a single sputter!

I will say, the project was somewhat of a hassle, but the results were amazing.  With the help of a new kitchen sink, dishwasher and floor, the kitchen looks instantly updated.

Here are the cabinets before we painted them:

And after:

You will need:

Good quality latex primer (we used Benjamin Moore)
Good quality latex paint  (we used Benjamin Moore)
air compressor
spray gun
sand paper
water
respirator

Prep Work

First, you will want to take down all of your cabinet doors.  It helps to label them so you don’t mix them up.  Although they might all look the same size, each one can be just a little different.  You will then want to sand the surface just enough to scratch it up so the paint has something to grab hold of.

Remove all of the hinges and door handles. Be sure to save the hardware whether or not you plan to reuse it. You never know what kind of problems you will run into when you go to reinstall the doors.

Once the cabinets are prepped, wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust and let them dry completely before you start painting.

Next, tape off anything you do not want painted.  It helps to tape newspaper between the cabinets, over the counter tops and sink and on the walls.  Here is a picture of our kitchen taped off with the first coat of primer on the cabinets.

Setting up the paint sprayer

Once you hook up your paint sprayer to your air compressor, you can start to prep your paint.  Latex paint is too thick to be used in the paint sprayer by itself and will cause it to sputter and clog if you do not thin it out.  Depending on what kind of paint you use, the ratios may be different, but we mixed 3/4 parts paint with 1/4 parts water.  That got the paint to a good consistency for the paint sprayer.  Keep in mind, oil based paint should be thinned with paint thinner, but latex paint should be thinned with water.

Next, you will want to fill the paint sprayer and test it on a piece of cardboard to get comfortable with how it works. The sprayer will let you adjust the kind of spray you want and the air compressor will let you adjust the pressure.  Keep in mind this will take some trial and error.  We went to the garage and tested it on a piece of cardboard until we were comfortable with the way it sprayed. You want it thick enough that it covers, but not so thick that it causes paint runs.

Painting the Cabinets


Now you are finally ready to start painting. Be sure to read all of the information that comes with the paint sprayer and follow the directions. You should also wear a respirator while painting.

Start with your primer and spray one thin, even coat on the cabinets. Allow this layer to dry completely before you add another layer.  To paint the cabinet doors that have been removed, just set up a paint shop outside or in your basement and spray the doors the same way you are painting the cabinets.

Let each layer dry for at least a couple hours before you add another layer of paint. Don’t let paint sit in the sprayer while you wait for the layers to dry. You will want to rinse it each time to ensure it does not dry and ruin the sprayer.

Once you have the cabinets primed, continue to paint with your paint color each time putting on a thin, even coat. Our cabinets took 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint.

Putting the cabinets back together

Let the cabinets dry completely before you attempt to put them back together.  If you have a hard time installing the doors and making them level, it is helpful to slip a piece of cardboard under the bottom of the door while you drill it to the hinges.  That will keep it level and prevent it from being installed at an angle.

Once your cabinets are up, step back and admire your work!

Although painting cabinets is a slow and sometimes tedious process, your hard work will definitely pay off.  It is an inexpensive way to freshen up your kitchen!

Good Luck with your home projects!

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