We talk a lot about kitchens here on Remodelaholic — from complete renovations to small updates and everything in between. As with everything in life and DIYing, kitchen updates are a balance of time, money, and work involved, so when we see a beautiful kitchen makeover that has saved on one or more of those, we love to share! Our guest today is going to show you her tricks to paint your kitchen cabinets in just ONE weekend!
or if you’re feeling BOLD, try out a colorful kitchen:
Ready to get painting? Give Vanessa a big welcome to Remodelaholic!
How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets In One Weekend
by Vanessa from Vanessa’s Modern Vintage Home
Remodelaholic readers, I am so excited to share with you! I am Vanessa from vanessasmodernvintagehome.com and I am here to tell you about that time I painted my kitchen cabinets in 1 weekend without sanding or removing the doors!
Let me give you a little background on how I painted my kitchen cabinets in 1 weekend. You see, girl met boy and boy liked girl. Boy buys a fixer-upper, guts entire kitchen, have oak cabinets built, and improves kitchen drastically to impress girl! (You can see the full before and after of this room in the kitchen reveal).
They get married and girl starts to live with oak cabinets and decides that she does not like them. She tries to convince him to let her paint them multiple times and he does not like the idea. After about a year and half of convincing, boy agrees to let girl paint the cabinets and girl jumps on the idea before he has a chance to change his mind. She went on a quest to figure out how to paint the cabinets as quickly but yet efficient as possible and she found it. She is now ready and willing to share her tips with you and if you ever run into boy, make sure to thank him for inspiring me to work quickly and thereby developing this method to share with you!
Here is how the cabinets looked before they matched the rest of the house.
The Secret to Painting Cabinets Faster
Most of the tutorials that I came across recommended that you remove the cabinet doors and prop them on something while you paint. However, I thought about it and decided that it would take too long to remove the doors . It did not help that I would only be able to paint one side at a time. This means that I would have had to wait to do the reverse side for each of the 3 coats of paint and 1 coat of primer on each of the 22 doors. That was not happening if I could help it! Our cabinets have hidden hinges and so I did not care if the hinges were painted. Having the hidden hinges also means that they do not ever touch the face of the cabinets when they are open and so I had nothing to worry about.
1. Clear and tape off the counter with tarps.
This one is really simple but I promise it’s necessary. If not, you’ll have little drops of paint all over our counter and floor. So, take it from me, cover the floor and ceiling.
2. Wash all of your cabinets multiple time with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.
You will be tempted to skip this step but please don’t. You need to get all of the grime and grease from cooking off of your cabinets. Paint or primer will not stick to a greasy surface and so you really need to get this squeaky clean. If you have time to sand your cabinets, I will not discourage you from doing it. A light sanding is always a good choice. I did not sand my cabinets because they already had a rough surface and I knew that primer would stick very well to them.
3. Use caulk to fill in holes and cracks.
So, I actually forgot about this step until after I was done with painting but I would advise that you do it here. When I finally got to doing the caulk, I had to repaint that area which took time I had not anticipated on taking.
4. I used a primer that sticks to glossy surfaces
I used INSL-X Aqua Lock plus. When I went to Benjamin Moore to buy their furniture paint, I was recommended this primer and I loved it. I did one coat of primer Friday afternoon and let it dry over night for about 12 hours. This step is exciting because here, you start to see the transformation.
5. Do not remove cabinets or drawers.
Remember how in the story earlier I told you how girl wanted to paint these cabinets as quickly and as efficiently as possible. When I began, I looked at lots of tutorials and they all recommended that you removed the doors. No, No, that was not going to happen. Leaving the doors intact would allow me to paint both sides of the cabinets at the same time that I painted the face of the cabinets. With 26 cabinet doors and 8 drawers, I was determined to do anything that would save me some time. I looked at my cabinets and realized that the doors never touched the face of the cabinets.
Ah ha! I could get away without removing the doors. I took advantage of that and kept the cabinets on and just opened the doors to that sweet spot where they stayed open by themselves.
The only disadvantage was that I had to paint the hinges but because they are on the inside, it did not make any difference to me.
It took me about 3 hours to paint all of the cabinets.
6. Wait the recommended wait time on your primer’s instructions and do a coat of paint.
I started my primer at 3 in the afternoon on Friday, and by the next morning, it was dried enough for my first coat of paint. I did another coat of paint right before bed that night and another Sunday morning. In other words, I did the next coat after letting each coat of paint dry for 12-13 hours. I used Benjamin Moore’s Advance Cabinet paint in a color called “fog mist.”
7. After at least 24 hours, do a coat of polyurethane
Use a coat of poly to add extra protection to your cabinets. I would recommend that you wait at least 24 hours to do your coat of polyurethane. This will allow for the maximum amount fo dry time before you seal everything. I waited a week but 24-48 hours should do. 12 hours after your last coat of paint though, you should be able to close the doors.
As mentioned earlier, I did 1 coat of primer, three coats of paint, and 1 top coat. I started at about 3 on Friday and finished on Sunday morning but left the doors open until Monday night. I did wait to do my top coat on a different weekend but I could have done it that same weekend.
Well, there you have it. You can paint your cabinets in 1 weekend! It has been 7 months since we painted these cabinets and they still look great. I have had to touch up a few spot where the cabinets rub but otherwise, they have held up so well.
Thank you guys for reading! It is always a pleasure!
Thank you for sharing with us, Vanessa! Remodelaholics, be sure to head over to Vanessa’s Modern Vintage Home to see more of her kitchen, like her easy DIY kitchen sign and minimal wall damage floating shelves, and her beautiful dresser into an island.