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How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets


Hi, I’m interior designer Tracy Metro and welcome to the Dunn-Edwards Paints’s “How to Paint” video series. Now, a fresh coat of paint on cupboards can transform a kitchen. And what’s great is that it costs far less than replacing old kitchen cabinets. But before you decide to repaint them, examine the condition of them to see if it’s even worth your time and if they’re going to look good once they’re repainted. See, if the cabinets appear damaged from years and years of use or they’re made of a lesser-quality material, such as a particle board that can warp or rot, unfortunately, not even a good paint job can fix them. On the other hand, if you’ve got great solid wood cabinets, they can be greatly improved with just some elbow grease and a fresh new coat of paint. In this video, I’m going to show you step by step how to paint kitchen cabinets and make them look brand spanking new. Plus, I’ll show you a few tips and tricks to make the job even easier. All righty. So step number one is to remove everything from the kitchen. And when I say everything, I mean everything, from inside the cabinets, from on the counter, and from the drawers.

And then, what you need to do is remove and unscrew any hardware, such as drawer pulls or door knobs. And then, put them in a large Ziploc baggy so that nothing gets misplaced during the makeover. Now, here’s Tracy’s tip for you. In case you’re afraid that you’re going to forget where certain knobs or pulls go, it’s so easy. All you have to do is take a photograph with your cell phone. That way, if you’re confused at the end, all you have to do is consult the photo and you know exactly where stuff belongs. This has definitely saved me before. Next, unscrew the doorknobs and remove the cupboard doors by taking the screws out of the hinges and pulling the doors off the frames. Again, place any hardware in a marked baggy. Here’s another Tracy’s tip. Make sure to number the cabinets and doors so that you know which doors belong to which cabinet. Simply take a small piece of painter’s tape, mark the cabinet and door with the exact same number, and then stick one piece of tape with the number on it on the door where the hinge goes and the other piece inside the cabinet.

Now, this is also a good time to assess the hardware that holds the cupboards together. Any screws, hinges, or braces that look old and tired should definitely be replaced after the cupboards are repainted. Then, use a sponge or a soft cloth and some TSP or some Krud Kutter to remove any dirt or stains on the cabinets. Lastly, wipe down the cupboards with water and let them dry completely. So how do the cupboards look to the naked eye? Are there scratches, scuffs, or even gouges? Well, any professional painter will tell you that to have a great-looking paint job means you have to start with a completely smooth surface. So now is the time to patch any blemishes, scratches, or dents by filling them with a patching compound. Simply apply the patching material to the damaged area of the cabinet. And then, using a putty knife, scrape away any excess patching compound.

Then, let the compound completely dry. Well, at this point, you’ll need to decide if you want to keep the original hardware or if you want to mix things up. Well, different-size you want to change out the hardware, it’s more than likely not going to fit in the exact same holes that currently exist. Different size screw holes or holes that are closer together or further apart. So you’ll need to fill the existing holes with patching compound and drill new ones before painting. Now, since we absolutely love these classic circa-1970s handles, we’re definitely going to stick with these babies. They are pretty groovy. The next step is to rough up your wood cabinet surfaces with sandpaper using 120-grit or finer sandpaper. Lightly rub all of the areas that you intend to paint.

This will help the primer and paint adhere better. Now, if your cabinets are made of a melamine veneer or they’re finished with a really hard coating, when you send them, make sure you use a very, very fine sandpaper because if you use a really rough sandpaper, it’s going to scratch and you’ll see it when you paint. Make sure that you also prime them really well so that the paint adheres. Now, here’s Tracy’s tip for you– I’ve got a lot of tips for you– when sanding, always sand with the grain.

Never go across the grain or against the grain or worse, in a circular motion, as moving in the wrong direction will only cause scuff marks which will ultimately show in your paint job. And pay special attention to the areas where a patching compound was applied. Sand just enough that the filled spots are flush with the rest of the cabinet. Lastly, wipe everything down with a damp rag to remove any dust or debris that collected from sanding.

Next, if you want your coat of paint to adhere evenly to the wood and if you want the paint job to last a long time– and frankly, who wouldn’t– you’re going to want to apply a good quality primer before you paint. Now, I’m using Dunn-Edwards Ultra-Grip Premium Multi-Purpose Primer. But before you start priming, you’re going to want to tape off the areas that you actually don’t want to be painted. So you need to start by taping around the inside edges of the cabinets and the drawers, of course, assuming that you don’t want the paint to bleed to the inside. And be sure to tape around the ceiling, edges, or walls where the cupboards meet. Now, if you notice, I put plastic wrap down on the kitchen counter because I want to protect it from getting painted also and I’m lifting it up onto the backsplash and taping it down to protect that, as well.

Well, now that the taping is finished, all I need to do is prime it. Using a mini roller cover, apply a coat of primer and then use a paint brush to gently roll out the area. You want the primer to have a smooth and an even finish. Then, you just allow the primer to dry. Well, now comes the fun part, the painting. And we’re starting on the inside of the cabinets first and then we’ll paint the cabinet frame areas. And we’re doing something really, really fun. See, most people paint the inside of their cabinets white or cream and that’s just so boring. But we’re going to jazz it up. We’re using a bold color on the inside and I’ve chosen Dunn-Edwards Arboretum, which is this stunt

ing greenish-bluish-aqua color that is going to look so stylish every time they go in to get a dish or a bowl.

Next, paint the cupboard doors. Use a mini roller cover to apply the paint on the large areas and then use a brush to feather out those areas so that you have a smooth and an even finish. Feathering out eliminates visible roller stipple and brush strokes, which, of course, makes the paint job look very, very professional. And we have chosen Dunn-Edwards Mint Chiffon as our cabinet face door color. And to make the doors really stand out, we plan on doing some detailing on the molding using Dunn-Edwards Arboretum, which ties into the inside of the cabinets. This is going to look so gorgeous. Now, here’s a little reminder for you. Be sure to paint the door edges, cabinet edges, and drawer edges, along with the back side.

Let the paint dry completely on all the doors, drawers, and cabinet frames. The first coat of paint should be given at least four hours to dry before applying another coat. So do you need a second coat of paint? Yeah, you probably do, because the second coat of paint can be the difference between a job looking pretty good and a job looking extremely professional. Once the second coat has dried, you can add any detail painting that you like. So we’re letting the cabinets tell us how they want to be painted since this molding right here is different from the rest of the cabinet. It’s pretty much saying, Tracy, paint me a different color. Well, of course, I’m going to oblige by taking it off and painting it with Dunn-Edwards Arboretum, which is actually our inside color. So what’s especially lovely about this detail is that we’re able to create stripes without actually having to paint little stripes, which can be really difficult in this kind of an application.

Once the paint is completely dry, install the handles and other hardware and reattach all cupboard doors and drawers. Doesn’t this kitchen look absolutely spectacular? Think about it. All we did was repaint the kitchen cabinets. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a little bit of elbow grease and a can of paint. well, if you have any questions or you just need some help, head on over to your neighborhood Dunn-Edwards Paints store. And for all of us here at Dunn-Edwards Paints, I’m Tracy Metro. Thanks for watching and happy painting.

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