Before I started my kitchen, I read every tutorial I could find and watched some how-to videos online. When I had a good idea of how I was going to do it, I went to the Home Depot to price it out. I figured I could do the whole thing for less than $200 (I didn't need to replace my hardware, which is originally from the Home Depot, I think. So that kept the cost down.). I bought my supplies and painted a sample cupboard (I knew I was going to replace the under sink cupboards with a skirt - I am pretending that I have a pretty farmhouse sink - so I used one of those. The skirt is held on with velcro so I can wash it when it gets dirty. And yes, it is totally not baby-proof, I know.). After painting the sample, I decided that I loved the color (Heavy Cream, by Martha Stewart in Behr high gloss latex. I chose latex for its easy clean-up and low odor. It's definitely a creamy, yellowy white, not stark at all. I matched some dishes I have that looked pretty sitting on the countertop.). I also decided that using a foam roller was a bad idea (It left the finish really bumpy, and I didn't want bumpy.).
Once I got started, I never looked back. I divided my kitchen into 5 sections. I worked on one section a week. I knew that if I tried to do the whole thing at once, I would do a sloppy job. Also, I have four kids (including a little baby). I don't have the kind of time it would require to do it all at once. Breaking it up into manageable sections kept my kitchen from being a disaster, kept my work neater, and kept me from going crazy.
This was my schedule, give or take a day:
On Monday, I removed all of the doors, drawer fronts, knobs, and hinges. I cleaned all of the surfaces with warm soapy water, used a liquid deglosser, lightly sanded, and wiped everything down. Then I caulked the cracks. (I figured that using the deglosser and sanding covered all of my bases. The biggest tip I read was to sand, sand, sand!)
On Tuesday, I did three coats of primer on the backs of the doors and drawers, and on the body of the cabinets. Since my cabinets are less than five years old and in really good shape, I didn't need to paint the inside. That would have been a lot more work.
On Wednesday, I primed the fronts of the doors and drawers.
Thursday was light sanding and wiping down, then two coats of paint on the backs of the doors, drawers, and cabinets, letting each coat dry for at least two hours before applying a second coat.
On Friday I painted the fronts.
I let each section dry for about four days before rehanging.
I used a high gloss paint. If I were to do it again, I might use a flatter finish paint with a glossy polyurethane over the top. High gloss paint is really hard to work with. It shows everything. But it seems to be the most recommended paint for cabinetry, so hopefully it will hold up and not chip too terribly.
Here's what I learned about painting your cabinets yourself: Unless you have lots of experience and use a sprayer, it's probably not going to look like a factory finish. You will see brush strokes and some mistakes. You have to be ok with that. I didn't want to wait until I could afford new cabinets, so I was willing to put up with some imperfections to get the look I wanted now.
a few more tips:
- always paint with the grain of the wood
- after painting one side of a door, wipe the edges with a wet rag to get the drips
- always have a wet rag nearby
- no matter what anybody tells you, sand!
- three thin coats are better than one thick one
- buy the best brushes you can afford. I went for the "better" ones.
p.s. The magic words print is from HomeGoods, and I don't remember the name of the wall color. Sorry!