How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like An Expert Painter

These Are The Steps Everyone Should Follow When Painting Their Kitchen Cabinets
Aaron standing in front of kitchen cabinets he painted

How to paint kitchen cabinets starts with assessing them. Then you take them apart, clean, sand, clean, prime, sand, paint, and wait.

Find all the steps and more below-

We’re Stuck Here, So Let’s Update!

“Let’s start by painting our kitchen cabinets,” suggests Sarah.

Jason raises an eyebrow. “Is being stuck in the house finally getting to you? Or do you actually want to learn how to paint kitchen cabinets?”

Sarah raises an eyebrow back at Jason. “Yes, I really do want to paint our kitchen cabinets. It could be a fun project for us to do together. And it could make our kitchen look even better!”

Jason frowns and crosses his arms. “I don’t know about this. What if we mess up? Or damage the cabinets by accident? Or what if…” he trails off. “We can sit around playing ‘what if’ or we can try something new!” Sarah replies.

Jason sighs then smiles. “Well, let’s do it then. We can unleash the Dream Team on these cabinets. If it seems like too much we can look up the cost to paint kitchen cabinets.”

First, the couple looks up the steps for how to paint kitchen cabinets. Here are the steps they find-

Tools And Materials

Tools and materials
  • Drop cloths
  • Cordless drill and bits
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Crud Kutter
  • Rubber gloves
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Permanent marker
  • A medium and fine sanding sponge
  • Dust mask
  • Rags
  • Paintbrush
  • Mini roller frame
  • Mini roller cover
  • Roller pan
  • Bonding primer 
  • The paint of your choice

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets In 9 Steps

  1. Assess the condition of your kitchen cabinets
  2. Remove and mark doors and drawer faces
  3. Remove and mark door hardware and handles
  4. Clean doors, drawer faces, and cabinet boxes
  5. Lightly sand all surfaces
  6. Clean again
  7. Prime your kitchen cabinets
  8. Lightly sand clean again
  9. Paint your kitchen cabinets

Explaining The Steps

The first step for how to paint kitchen cabinets is to look for damages and wear.

Any damages need repairing before painting. Damages can show up through the paint and lessen its lifespan. Make any repairs and move on to the next step.

Using tape to mark the kitchen cabinets for painting

Remove the doors and drawer faces using a cordless drill or screwdriver. Start with the door, then the hinges, then the handles. You can use a pen or marker to put a number in the hinge hole and the same number on the inside of the cabinet. Label a bag with that number and put hinges, handles, screws, etc into that bag. It makes putting everything back together easier.

Pile of dropcloths ready to be laid out

Now put down drop cloths to cover and protect the floor and countertops. Knowing how to prepare for painting can result in a better job and make clean up easier.

Then, clean the kitchen cabinets with denatured alcohol and Crud Kutter. This removes dirt, oils, and other things that can cause the paint to peel faster.

Lightly sand with medium and fine sanding sponges then vacuum them clean. Sanding creates a texture for the paint to grab on to. This makes the paint stick better and last longer.

Sanding the kitchen cabinets

Now comes the priming. We always use a bonding primer. Bonding primers are specially formulated to do two things very well: stick and be stuck to. This primer does cost more but that’s because it’s engineered to work better.

Roll on the primer with a mini roller and a brush. Don’t push in too heavily or you’ll start seeing roller and brush marks. If it happens, and the primer is still wet, lightly go over it with the roller or brush to remove the excess primer.

Once the primer dries you can inspect it to see if it needs a light sanding. If so, sand and clean afterward to remove any dust.

Now the painting begins.

Painting kitchen cabinets

Use the same process as with priming. You’ll probably need 2 coats for it to look good and have enough coverage. Read the can to find out drying times for each coat of paint. Follow the same painting process for the cabinet doors and drawers. Watch out for stipple (small dots and flecks). It’ll create a texture on the cabinets if it dries like this.

*We avoid this by taking them to our shop and using sprayers. No wind, rain, or other things to accidentally get paint on.

Then let them cure. Paint dries in an hour, but if you want the best for your kitchen cabinets, you’ll let them cure for two weeks.

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“Now all we have to do is get the tools and materials, prep the kitchen for painting, then do the rest of the steps,” Sarah says easily. Jason lets out a low whistle. “This sure seems like a lot now that I look at it. I’m still game, but we might want to do a little more research first.”