Let me show you how we did a kitchen cabinet makeover without having to sand! Transform your kitchen in just one weekend.
So, you want to do a kitchen cabinet makeover? I was originally going to wait to share this tutorial until the kitchen was complete and then realized you are fully capable of appreciating the work in progress that is our kitchen. Our kitchen is finally starting to match the rest of our house! As most of you know, Alex and I have made a lot of changes to our fixer-upper in the last year but the kitchen was put on the back burner due to renovation burnout :). Last weekend we finally took the next step to a prettier kitchen by painting our cabinets. We eventually want to replace the countertops, add a backsplash and switch out our black appliances for stainless but all of those things require time and money. So we are taking it one step at a time.
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Materials for Kitchen Cabinet Makeover
- Rust-Oleum Transformations Kit: White, Gray, Espresso (Kits can be purchased at your local hardware store too)
- Painter’s Pyramids
- Painter’s Tape
- Drop Cloths
- Disposable Gloves
- 2″ Synthetic Brushes
- Paint Cup
- Ziplock Bags
Instructions for Kitchen Cabinet Makeover
The Cabinet Painting Kit I used
This Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit removes the stress out of my projects. No, this is not sponsored (even though I tried). I genuinely love it! NO SANDING! My friend suggested we use this kit when updating our kitchen at our first house and I have used it several times since. I’ve used this kit on cabinets, vanities (see them here), our banister (find the tutorial here), a dresser, and I plan to use it on a few upcoming projects too. The hardest part is having to wait through the dry times between each step. Seriously, I love this product so please let me know if you have any questions!
Establish Staging Area
Establish a staging area for painting your cabinet doors and drawers in an indoor/covered area near your kitchen. I set up several folding tables and covered them with drop cloths in our garage for our staging area and it worked great. Bugs became a problem at night though. Pro tip: The more you spread the doors and drawers out the easier it will be for you to work on them. You won’t want to be reaching over one cabinet door to paint another.
Number and Remove Cabinet Doors and Drawers
Make a sketch of your kitchen on a piece of paper and number each cabinet door and drawer. Then label each one with that number using a sharpie and painter’s tape. This is extremely helpful when you hang your doors and drawers back up when the project is complete. Once all of the doors and drawers are labeled, begin removing them from the cabinet frame. We left the screws and hinges in the cabinet they were removed from instead of tossing all of them in a bag. This way the doors didn’t need to be readjusted when hung becuase we used the original hardware.
Wipe everything down with a lint-free rag and be sure to remove all dust, pet hair, and crumbs (no judgment here) from the cabinets and frame. I used the rags that come with the kit for this step.
Now it’s time to tape. Be sure to cover any and all areas you do not want to paint. Do yourself a favor and assume you are the sloppiest painter in the world and go overboard with this step. I think taping is easier to do at the beginning then having to do touch-ups at the end of the project. TAPE!! This is a good time to cover your floor too. We taped down plastic. Have a wet cloth handy just in case you get paint where you don’t want it.
The deglosser is what eliminates sanding by preparing the surface and allowing proper adhesion. I’ll be honest, it’s my least favorite step but I prefer it over a sanding mess any day. Wearing gloves, pour a liberal amount of deglosser onto the provided scrub pad. Begin scrubbing your surfaces while making sure to go in the direction of the grain. Once all surfaces have been scrubbed, wipe them down with a damp cloth until there is no trace of deglosser. Be sure to wait 1 hour before moving to the next step.
Pro tip: If this is a weekend project and you are starting after work on Friday like I did, I would stop here. Start the painting process Saturday morning to keep the dry times consistent.
This is when the transformation begins. Wipe all surfaces down with a lint-free cloth before each coat. Using the provided stir stick, stir your paint thoroughly. Now it’s time to begin! Be sure to paint along the grain and with thin coats to avoid drips. Rustoleum provides the below diagrams to help explain their suggested application method and I found it to be very helpful.
Depending on the contrast of your colors, the surfaces will seem very streaky on the first two coats. I did a total of 3 coats for the back of the drawers and cabinet doors, 4 coats for the front, and 4 coats for the frame. Allow 2-3 hours of dry time between each coat. Repeat this step 3-4 times.
Pro tip: Store brushes in Ziplock bags to avoid rinsing them out each time.
This kit includes a decorative glaze to give your project a custom antique look. I opted out of the glaze for the kitchen, but used it when I refinished one of our dressers. You can find the before and after here. If you choose to go with this step, liberally brush it onto your surface one small section at a time. Be sure to get the glaze in all crevices and corners. The glaze remains workable for up to 5 minutes. Using provided cloths, wipe off the majority of the glaze. This will require some experimenting. The more pressure you use, the more glaze will be removed. Be sure to use the same amount of pressure for each section. Allow the glaze to dry for 8 hours.
ALMOST THERE! Use one of the provided stir sticks to stir the topcoat thoroughly. No shaking! Apply it the same way you did as the other coats by painting along the grain. This coat dries fast, so avoid smudging by not repainting areas that have started to dry. Only 1 coat is needed. Allow the topcoat to dry for 12 hours before reinstalling cabinets, and 24 hours to resume full use. We started hanging out about 6 hours later and they were fine. Just be careful if you go rebel like us 😉 .The Rustoleum kit includes an instructional pamphlet and DVD including more details.
Using a small brush touch up where it’s needed to complete your cabinet makeover!
Free Kitchen Conversion Chart Printable
Speaking of kitchen cabinets… Once your cabinets are nice and cured, you need to add this to the back of one of them! This cheat sheet sure makes meal prep flow a lot easier! My FREE kitchen conversion chart printable is your new best cooking buddy! We use it every time we cook. I taped it to the back of our cabinet so we can easily access it at any point during meal prep. Click here for your free copy!
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