Let me teach you, step by step how to paint your cabinets all by yourself using a very simple process. Painting cabinets can take an old, tired, or just boring bathroom from blah to refreshed faster and with less investment than any other remodel. I found myself wanting to paint cabinets in many apartments and then chickening out. This time, I took the dive, and I am so happy that I did!
Don’t get overwhelmed, knowing the process, makes painting bathroom cabinets much easier! Follow these simple steps and you’re sure to thrilled with the outcome!
Step 1: Prep
In order to get a good paint job, it is imperative to make sure your cabinets are properly cleaned and prepared for paint.
First remove all hardware. Even if you will be keeping and reusing your existing hardware, take off the hardware and keep it safe from paint.
Next, use painters tape to protect anything you don’t want to get paint on. (Including your spouse! LOL) Specifically, focus on areas like the closest walls and trim that you don’t want to accidentally plash paint onto.
The last part of the prep is cleaning Making sure the cabinets are clean will ensure excess dirt, oil, hair, tape, etc doesn’t get stuck into your paint job. I suggest using a microfiber cloth and de-greaser cleaning agent or your favorite kitchen cleaning product.
Step 2: Rough
I named this step “rough” instead of sand because you have a couple of options to add texture to the cabinets before painting. Creating a texture on the surface of the cabinets gives the paint something to stick to. This will make your paint job last.
Our bathroom cabinets weren’t real wood, so we were weary to sand them all the way down. Instead, we did light sand using sanding blocks (probably 60-80 grit) by hand, you could also use a medium grit steel wool.
If your cabinets are real wood, you can fully sand them down using a random orbital sander. This is a way more tedious process but will ensure you get the new paint to sit on top of the original wood.
Lastly, instead of sanding at all, liquid deglosser can be applied to the cabinets before priming to remove all of the gloss of the previous paint/ stain job. Bloggers, “Chris Loves Julia” used liquid deglosser on their kitchen cabinets and shared their whole process here.
Step 3: Prime
It is so tempting to skip priming, but let me advise you otherwise! Priming allows the paint’s finish to be smoother and also fills in the grain of the wood on your cabinets.
When searching for a primer make sure you select a water-based primer (way easier cleanup and less odor) and a primer specific for the material of your cabinets (wood, composite, etc.)
Step 4: Paint
FINALLY, you have reached the satisfying part! You finally get a preview of your original vision for the cabinets when you start adding your paint color.
I suggest starting with a paint brush for your first coat so that you get coverage on all the nooks and crannies. After that you can either roll with a mini roller or use a spray gun (if you have one). Both of these will leave a smoother top coat.
Allow the paint to fully dry for about 24-48 hours before adding the second coat of paint. You will need at least 2 coats of paint, but could need a 3rd depending on the color.
Step 5: Protect
Once your paint has fully dried, protect the paint job you just did by using and polyurethane (topcoat). This is a clear coat that will protect the surfaces from wear and tear.
Allow everything to fully cure (dry throughout) for a few days before adding your hardware back onto the cabinet doors.
Voila! You are all done and I am sure you killed it!
Below you can see photos of the before and after of the bathroom cabinets, I painted! You can check it my whole DIY video on this bathroom on my videos tab or check out my YouTube Channel!
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