Painting Kitchen Cabinets, Etc.

March 10, 2010

A few weeks ago you all saw the new color I painted in the refreshed kitchen !  Every morning it’s like a breath of fresh air walking into this space, and I’m so glad  I took the time to add new paint and accessories.  So I thought I’d break down the step-by-step on how I painted the kitchen cabinetry, specifically the island, and wrap up a few other details as well. 

Here’s a quick reminder of the island, Before and After:

island before and after

Here are the steps I followed for refinishing my kitchen cabinetry in oil with a brush technique.   For projects larger than this, consider renting a professional paint sprayer for quicker and smoother application.

The steps I followed for refinishing my kitchen island:

1) Remove all hardware, doors and drawer fronts. 

2) Clean any dirt, grime or grease off the cabinets, then lightly sand them with a sander or sanding pad.  Medium grit (#80 – #120) should work just fine. 

3)  Tape off all of your appliances, and inside of cabinets if necessary, and prep your area for priming and painting. 

ready to prime

4)  I recommend oil based primer on kitchen or bath cabinetry because it has a  bonding agent and a harder finish.  It’s also necessary to use oil based primer if you plan to use oil based paint (see Step 4).  In addition, it also helps to use a conditioning additive like Penetrol to lengthen the time you have to work with your oil based primer and to minimize brush strokes. 

penetrol additive

5)  After your primer is dry, sand any brush strokes that do occur with a medium to fine sanding pad.

6)  Apply two coats of oil based paint.  I chose oil over latex because I believe it’s better to use oil based paint on cabinetry in high traffic areas like kitchens or baths because oil based paint is typically more durable over time.  Note, oil based paints can amber or yellow over the years so if you’re using a shade of cream or white, consider using a water based or latex paint designed for kitchens.  I used semi-gloss for its shine and a surface that’s easy to clean. 

semi gloss bm

Wait the full drying time between coats.  For me, it was 24 hours.  If you don’t want to wait that long, you can use an additive called Japan Dryer to speed up the drying time of your oil based paint. 

Lightly sand between coats with fine grit sanding pad.  Pay careful attention with your second and final coat and concentrate on avoiding drips and minimizing brush strokes.  Many people use a roller to apply the paint, and a brush to fill in the crevices, but I find since you have to go over the roller marks with the brush anyway, why not just dirty up one tool instead of two, especially when working with oil based products.  

kitchen island painted 2

7. You need to clean up any oil based product with mineral spirits or paint thinner.  One thing I like to do with smaller projects using oil based products is buy the 5 for $5 dollars Rubbermaid paintbrushes at Target, then toss them out when I’m done rather than dealing with cleanup.  (I do toss them out with the other toxins that go to the toxic waste disposal site due to the residue on the brushes.)   Clean up any oil based paint off your hands with simple vegetable oil, no need for chemicals!

And now if anyone wants to see a video of me talking about this kitchen project, I put a few clips together.  I cannot guarantee anything special, in fact the quality of the video somehow deteriorated in transmission.  See the video right here.  

Other Kitchen Upgrades:

Now y’all know I’m a big believer in the transformative power of spray paint.  BIG believer.  I was playing around with a vignette for above the mantel and fixated on the idea of a mirror in the kitchen.   I found the mirror and the candlesticks at a discount store and gave them a coat of my best friend, Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’.

mantle before

kitchen mantle mirror

I also found this wire basket on clearance – I liked it in blue and loved the modern shape, but the color was not right for my kitchen. 

basket blue

Rustoleum’s American Accents in ‘Oregano’ to the rescue. 

oregano spray paint 

bowl of apples

I recovered my barstools with some botanical themed fabric, and the breakfast peninsula bench with a soft green tweed.  Did I bother to remove the fabric underneath ?  Nah. 

recover barstools

breakfast spot

I also created this simple no sew valance for the kitchen garden window. 

kitchen valance

It’s a pale mushroom colored silk like fabric with a hint of green and a bit of shimmer.  It was on clearance at Joann’s Fabrics for $5/yard.  For the no sew valance above the window, I followed these steps. 

1) I recycled the 1” x 2” birch strip from the old valance I made last year.  2) I clipped two strips of fabric for the swags.  3) Then I used fusible web to give the edge of the fabric a finished seam.  4) Then I measured my desired length of fabric for the fall in front of the window.

1 to 4

5)  I cut my fabric to the desired drop length (times two) then folded my length of fabric in half then stapled it to the top of the birch.  I wrapped the fabric around the edge, secured with a staple, then covered the staple with the fabric from the top (as shown).  Then I secured the valance to the window with the ‘L’ brackets from the old valance.  6)  I pressed the strips of swag fabric with an iron, then used fusible web to seal the fabric together.  7) I used fabric glue to secure the trim to the swag fabric strips, then finally (8) I used a staple gun to secure the swag strips to the underside of the valance. 

5 to 8

No sewing !

kitchen garden window

So that’s the final post about all the details that went into the transformation !   You can see the original reveal right here, and check out this follow up article with your questions answered. 

Have any of you refinished your bathroom or kitchen cabinets ?  What was your experience ?


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