Have you been looking for a great tutorial on how to paint oak cabinets? I have painted cabinets in three different homes. These are the best steps to take to ensure the paint adheres.
This is the before picture of my kitchen. Please don't judge me.
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Step by step how to prep and paint oak cabinets:
Wash down all doors, drawers, and facings with warm soapy water, rinse and dry
Remove doors and drawer fronts and all hardware. Identify each door and drawer so you know where each goes when it's time to reinstall.
Fill holes if you are changing out handles. I switched from handles to knobs, so I only filled one hole on each door. To do this, I filled the lower hole on the lower doors, and on the upper doors, I filled the upper hole. I used Elmer's wood filler. (hint: put a piece of Scotch Blue Painter's Tape on the inside of the hole to keep the putting from going all the way through) Let dry, and lightly sand.
Tape the inside edge of all doors and drawer fronts. I highly recommend that you do NOT paint the inside of your cabinets. Nobody will see them, and they're likely to get very scuffed.
Lightly sand doors and drawer fronts to remove any remaining sheen. I used 220 grit sandpaper. I did the doors and drawer fronts outside. Make sure to wipe off ALL dust from sanding.
Lightly sand the front facings and ends of cabinets. I never emptied my cabinets. However, I did cover the items with cheap garbage bags to keep things neat. After I finished sanding, I removed the plastic and threw it away. Wipe down all dust.
Tape off any areas that will be too difficult to keep paint from splattering. I taped the edge where my countertop meets the front of the counter.
I used oil based primer as a base for all of the wood surfaces. For painting outdoors, I used a sprayer from Harbor Freight on the doors and drawer fronts. Please follow all safety precautions using an approved respirator and goggles.
Two coats of primer were used, lightly sanding in between coats. I used an "in-between-coats" sanding sponge. Allow paint to dry thoroughly before moving ahead on any of these steps. I allowed 24 hours in between every coat.
Spray doors and drawer fronts with latex paint. I used Dutch Boy Refresh (quart) Semi-gloss in Sweetened White.
I used a small foam roller for the front facings. Two coats of primer, lightly sanding in between coats. I only bought one little tray for this job, so using a plastic bag allowed me to reuse it without cleaning it with mineral spirits.
Again, I let each coat dry for 24 hours. I did about four light coats on the doors and drawer fronts with my sprayer.
I did three light coats with the foam roller on all the facings and cabinet ends.
Allow all wood surfaces to fully cure before reinstalling. I waited about two weeks, storing the doors and drawer fronts indoors while they cured. Allowing the paint to cure fully is the secret to longevity.
Install all hardware and reinstall all doors and drawer fronts in their original places.
You can see how I painted my utensil holder and my wooden knife block in my post Kitchen Accessories/Krylon Paint
The white cabinets helped to brighten up the room. I get very little natural light in this kitchen.
Edited to add: Over the last 13 years, I've made many changes to the kitchen, but the painted oak cabinets still look great.
I also painted my vinyl floor.
Update: I also painted my counter tops.
One last update, I installed new laminate wood flooring.
For more great kitchen makeovers, stop by The Kim Six Fix's How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
My new favorite option for spraying is the HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.