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How To Paint Cabinets

If you are considering painting your cabinets yourself I hope you have read more than one tutorial about it.  Please spend a little time looking at how-tos, specifically for the type of cabinet you currently have.  If you have laminate cabinetry you will need to do things differently than someone with painted cherry cabinets or someone with oak.  If you have oak and you want a silky smooth finish you might want to specifically look up solutions for hiding wood grain on oak cabinets.  I am currently trying some of these different methods of painting cabinets and I will write a post about my findings when I have tried it all and found what I think works best.

how to paint cabinets with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints by Vintage Bette in colorado

These instructions are very general and really are directed more at the general steps needed to accomplish painting cabinetry as well as those specific to getting a great result with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Products.  Spraying cabinets is a great option for some people and it would be different when it comes to the painting steps.

If you don't read any other tutorial about painting cabinets then please read 11 Big Mistakes You Make Painting Cabinets by Good Housekeeping.  They go over the biggest mistakes and I often find myself reading about biggest mistakes after I have made them.  Here is your opportunity to read them before you begin, making it easier to avoid them!

These are the Basic Steps:

  1. remove doors and drawers
  2. remove hardware and bumpers
  3. clean
  4. fill holes
  5. degloss or liquid sandpaper or sand
  6. hide wood grain**
  7. tape off
  8. prime
  9. paint
  10. finish
  11. rehang doors, replace hardware, etc

You Will Need:

  • drill or screwdriver
  • plastic bags or other container for hardware
  • map of kitchen numbering doors/drawers
  • tsp or degreasing cleaner
  • heavy duty rubber cleaning gloves
  • woodfill
  • deglosser or liquid sandpaper 
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 320 or higher sandpaper or brown kraft paper
  • painter's tape
  • primer
  • paint
  • high quality paintbrushes (recommend wooster short cut)
  • something to hold up doors (lazy susan is great--you can spin it!)
  • sponge brushes
  • chip brush
  • tack cloth
  • small angled artist brushes to clean up corners and pooled paint
  • finish
  • **something to hide wood grain like sanding sealer, grain filler** if you have oak cabinets and you want to completely hide the wood grain

**optional steps/supplies

How to Paint Cabinets with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Products

How to label doors and hardware when painting cabinets with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay PaintsTake all the doors down, remove drawers.  Be sure to number them and draw yourself a map of where they go.  I like to label the hinges as top or bottom and with the door number.  Some hinges are fancy and can be adjusted a million ways to get the door to hang straight and if you return the hinges to the same places you are less likely to have to redo any of that adjusting when rehanging everything.    

Remove all hardware and plastic or rubber bumpers.  You will want to get new bumpers but the hardware can be reused either as is or repainted!  I have read many posts Remove rubber and plastic bumpers before painting cabinets with CeCe Caldwell's Paintsand tutorials where they have left hinges on.  This is your project so you can choose to skip any steps I have here but I wouldn't ever skip this one.  If you want to paint your hardware to match your cabinets I would still remove it and use an appropriate spray paint or use the same paint in a sprayer.  I often use Rustoleum spray paints for painting hardware and they always turn out great.  It is an inexpensive way to get a new look.  Hardware can be pricey!  I have used it all and Rustoleum is the business!!  

Clean all surfaces with a heavy duty degreasing cleaner.  Wear gloves to protect your skin!  This is important.  Spills and spots on cabinetry like toothpaste and oil and grease can potentially ruin a paint job.  If there was ever smoking in these rooms you will want to clean the surfaces several times as the yellow from the nicotin can seep through layers of primer and paint, showing up days after your final coat is complete, even.  Don't forget around the refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc...

Allow surfaces to completely dry then either sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper or apply a deglosser or liquid sandpaper to all surfaces and allow to dry completely.  Be sure to clean the sandpaper dust thoroughly if you sand.  I recommend using a chip brush to get dust out of corners and wiping with tack cloth.

If you are replacing your hardware you will want to be sure the holes alreaFill extra holes with wood fill before painting cabinets if you are changing hardwaredy in your cabinets are where they need to be for the new pulls and knobs.  If not, then you will want to fill the holes with Wood Fill at this time so you can redrill new holes after your painting is complete.

If you are hiding the grain of oak cabinets you should do that now.  You can find many, many tutorials and how tos about hiding the grain when painting cabinets and furniture.  I am currently trying them all and will write a post soon about my personal findings.

Priming your cabinets will ensure a smooth, even, finish; hide minor imperfections in the surface and seal in whatever junk you didn't get with the cleaning, sanding and possible grain hiding treatment.  This means you *hopefully* won't find a spot bleeding through your paint 4 days after you have finished it all and are proudly posting pictures on social media.  It doesn't mean you won't--it just means you probably won't.

This is when I tape off the insides of the cabinets if I am not going to paint inside.  I also tape arounTape drawers before painting cabinetry or furniture with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paintsd the face of the drawers.  It is also a good idea to put a strip of tape behind any holes left by the hardware.  This keeps them from dripping paint and becoming messy.  You will also, of course, want to tape off your walls, floor, back splash, appliances, etc...anywhere you DON'T want primer or paint.

Use a good primer.  I like Zinnsser Bulls Eye but there are a lot of great ones out there.  I use a water-based primer because I like water-based products better and I think they play nicer with my CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Products.  Apply your primer with a foam roller, foam brush or a high quality sythetic brush.  This is personal preference.  You should strive for an even coat but it won't look awesome unless you apply 2 or 3 coats and even then it will just look like awesome primer.  The number of coats you apply is completely up to you.  I would do 2 coats at least, maybe more if I didn't do any kind of anti-grain treatment.  

Sanding between these coats is the best way to get the best finish on your final product.  Sanding drips or pokey nubs is necessary.  I kind of like sanding so I just do it all over--I'm putting in the work--it might as well be done right!  If you don't sand down drips you WILL have a drip mark later.  It doesn't matter that you are going to do another coat of primer and 3 coats of paint and then a finish.  That drip mark WILL show through ALL OF IT and give you nightmares.  Also, wait 24 hours between your last coat of primer and your first coat of paint.  This will give any stains or spots time to seep through and show themselves before your start the painting.  You will want to be sure and continue coats of primer over such a stain until it stops showing through.  If it shows through your primer it will show through your paint.  I once had a little end table with a spot that took 10 coats of primer to cover.  I didn't do 10 coats of primer on the whole table, of course, just the spot!  

Once your final coat of primer is completely dry and sanded with a and you have dusted all the corners and surfaces with a tack cloth and there is not a speck of dust anywhere on these cabinets you can begin gathering your painting supplies!  At this time I go around and find anywhere the tape has begun to lift and/or anywhere primer or other gunk has accumulated along the tape line and I pull that tape and replace it with new tape.  This will help ensure you don't get any surprises when you peel off your tape at the end.  Nothing ruins that moment more than a huge splotch where 3 layers of products has seeped behind the tape or when a chunk of your new paint comes off along with something from the 1st layer of primer.  ugh.

After you have stirred your paint really well...and put it into a tray or temporary container for your painting session you may begin painting your cabinets with a high quality synthetic brush, like a Wooster Short Cut.  You can use natural bristles with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints but they traditionally do not leave a silky smooth finish so keep in mind the end result when choosing your tools.

Paint cabinet doors and drawers by starting on the inside of the most inside of any Paintbrushes for painting cabinetry with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Productspanels and getting the edges of all the panels.  Paint the short sides first followed by the long sides then lastly painting the outermost panels, short sides, then long sides.  I use a small, angled, artist's brush in the corners to ensure no paint is pooling or dripping in these spots.  Mistakes in these spots show up well and they are the hardest to sand and fix later.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of ???.  

Allow your paint to dry thoroughly and sand lightly in between coats to get the smoothest finish ever.

After your final coat of paint is dry and sanded and you have dusted with a tack cloth you will apply your finish.  Endurance is the hardest, most durable brush on finish made by CeCe Caldwell's Paints but Satin Finish is also a great option for cabinets.  Waxing your cabinetry with either Clear Wax or Waxing Cream would be a big job but with a buffing drill attachment it wouldn't be too bad and would, of course, look stunning!  Remember wax finishes require maintenance.  You will be reapplying periodically to keep those cabinets looking great.

Apply your finish as directed and after your final coat has dried and been treated as needed you can replace all the hardware and put your cabinetry back together.  This is the BEST PART!!







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