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DIY: Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

Day-lab DIY posted before and after photos of the process of painting her kitchen cabinets, along with simple instructions for her readers to do the same. She went for '40s style inspired green cabinets with a white trim. The photos are so inspiring, especially for those of us burdened with dingy '60s cabinets, and not intimidating in the least. So, I thought I'd pass this project along.

Oil-based paint is the suggested paint of choice because it provides a lasting coat that won't peel off over time. If you're on a budget you can go for acrylic latex paint, but at least get a semi-gloss.

Here are the steps:

  1. Remove the cabinet doors completely.
  2. Remove the hardware.
  3. Sand the cabinets until no glossy sheen is left.
  4. Clean well with tack cloth.
  5. Prime with a latex primer (i.e. Klitz).
  6. Paint three coats of latex paint onto the cabinet surfaces and trims (i.e. green and white), or 2 coats of oil-based paint.
  7. After the final coats dry, apply three clear protective coats of Polycrylic (if you used latex).

For more photos, tips and details on fixing your ugly cabinets,




  • Don't ever paint when it's raining. The paint will not cure properly, and your cabinets will have to be stripped and repainted.
  • Latex dries and can be re-coated in about an hour. After 45 minutes, make sure it doesn't feel sticky. If it does, wait until it feels dry and smooth.
  • Polycrylic water base dries in about 30 minutes to 40 minutes.
  • Oil base takes 24 to 48 hours to dry for one coat. So, it's faster to to do 6 coats of latex and polycrylic than 2 coats of oil base.
  • Latex washes up wet with soap and water, and dry with a little spritz of windex.
  • Oil base paint won't wash up with water, but will with some mineral spirits.
  • If you're replacing '60s hardware too, look for new hardware with screws spaced similarly, so they will fit the existing hardware.
  • If you're painting over old paint that is sloppy or drippy, there is no need to strip the old paint off. Just sand down the bumps and roughen up the rest of the surface, prime, paint, and seal.
  • An angled trim brush will give you more control, and small detail brushes are good for drips and panels.
  • See day-lab DIY's post.

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