After Pictures: Painted by Jessica Kline using General Finishes Milk Paint and High Performance Satin Top Coat
Painting your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room cabinets can really make a big impact and upgrade your space. It can be a big job but with a few simple tips, it will go smoothly and you can achieve a professional look.
1. Before you do anything, get out painter's or masking tape and number all your cabinets. You will want to place the number on the inside of the cabinet door or drawer, use the coordinating number and place it on cabinet frame or inside the drawer. Why? Cabinet doors and drawers are typically screwed on when installed. They do not match up and you will spend hours trying to figure out which door belongs where if you miss this step.
2. Always remove all hardware. Grab a gallon size plastic bag and just start throwing your hardware into it as you remove it. It will help you from losing any pieces. Why remove? It is too difficult to get a nice smooth finish if you have to go around your hardware.
3. Clean and clean more. Kitchens are grease magnets. Paint will at some point want to come off if it doesn't adhere in the first place. Paint may go on, but down the road if your cabinets chip, it is typically due to the grease, dirt, etc. that was not removed before painting.
For those who want a non-toxic way of cleaning, use 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water. For extremely greasy cabinets, you may have to go to a harsher cleaning method (only use this method if absolutely necessary) for instance TSP (available at Hardware Stores) and water. Be sure to use gloves and a mask with this method. Or sand any grease off. ON ALL THESE METHODS, be sure to go back with a clean damp rag that only has water on it to remove any cleaners off of your cabinets.
4. Figuring out how much paint you will need. This is a very difficult job and no one can tell you exactly what it will take. Everyone uses a different amount and different woods can take more than others. This is how I help my clients - Purchase a couple of quarts or a gallon. Completely paint your first coat on everything including your cabinet frames and doors/drawers. Figure out what it took and then you will know approximately what you will need for a second or third coat. BIG TIP: Why not paint a section at a time? All paints have different dye lots. If you paint a section and you run out of paint, there is a very good chance that the paint won't match. ANOTHER BIG TIP: On your last coat, be sure to mix all the paint together so it all matches. If you know you need 3 quarts, get a small pail (available at hardware stores) and mix them all together.
5. To prime or not to prime? You will find that most professionals will prime cabinets no matter what paint they use. If you are using chalk paint, you can skip this step if you prefer. However, if you are painting a dark color and wanting it much lighter, this step is highly recommending. Terra Bella and General Finishes have amazing stain blockers.
6. Have a practice cabinet. If you can find a cabinet that is similar to your cabinet, use it as your practice board. You may want to distress your cabinet and then you do it and decide, nope, don't like that look. Or you want to age with a glaze, good to practice to get the look you want before tackling all the other cabinets. Where to get practice cabinets? I have found some at Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, garage sales, etc. Also, Michael's and Hobby Lobby sell small sign boards that could be a good practice board.
7. Protect your work!!! This is the last step. Distress, add glazing techniques, etc before you add your topcoats. I sell two types of Topcoats - Terra Bella and General Finishes. Please contact me to see what kind is right for you.
8. Painters tape. It is worth taking the time and using tape to protect your walls and get a beautiful edge. I tear about 2 feet of tape at a time and overlap a little bit. Much easier than trying to deal with large piece. There are two types of tape - regular painters tape and painters tape for painted surfaces. If you are using it on a recent painted wall, it is best to get the tape for previously painted. 3M has an orange core and Green Frog's is yellow. I prefer Green Frog's Yellow on previously painted pieces but I use 3M regular all the time when I paint walls.
9. Let your paint cure. All paint has a cure time. It is typically 20-30 days depending on how many coats, how much humidity is in the air and other factors. This doesn't mean you can't use them, just be careful with them. And to clean, use mild cleaners after the 20-30 days. Consider it fine furniture.
10. Enjoy!!! And please feel free to contact me and I can help guide you with the many products I carry.