Want to know what painting cabinets is like? It takes patience and self-obedience. I am a “paint pusher” meaning I never give paint enough time to dry before I’m hanging it (a frame, a light, a door knob) up again, and yes, the quality always suffers in the end. This time around, since expensive cabinets are on the line, I’m not allowing myself to push the paint. The end result? This scene from Sandlot playing out in my mind throughout the entire process:
Let’s recap. Last week, I posted about my laundry room plans, of which included painting my cabinets white. Knowing the cabinet-painting would take the most time, I started there first. I was thinking a 24 hour process max, but it took almost close to 72 hours, and I’m only halfway done.
Here’s where I started, from a photo I shared with you in the last post:
And then this weekend, with laundry done and the wine bottles removed, the almost-clutter-free room looked like this:
Even with just removing the wine bottles, the room improved. (By the way, it’s hilarious that I call this a “room” when a better term might be “nook” or “short hallway.”) Once things were cleared out and my “dropcloth” set up (the blue sheet in the above photo) I was ready to begin my cabin painting process.
Here are the steps I took for getting my wood, blonde cabinets nice and shiny white:
1.) I removed all four cabinet doors, any knobs and all hardware. To keep everything together, all pieces went into a Ziploc bag. There’s nothing worse than a missing screw halfway through the project. I also had to remove the little rubber door stop buttons, which came off with a little force and Goo Gone.
2.) Time to sand! Before priming, I had to remove shine / any lacquer from doors – both inside and outside. In some cases, you’re able to skip this step, if your wood finish is bare / natural, but my doors had a shine to them and were slick to the touch. I used a medium grit hand sanding sponge and sanded until the shine was gone.
3.) Repeat, repeat, repeat until all surfaces are sanded, including the body of the cabinet. Regarding the cabinet body, I decided to paint only the outer trim, versus the shelves, back panel, side panels, etc.
4.) Using a damp cloth, I wiped down every surface to remove the sanding dust and let everything dry completely.
5.) Time to set up my painting station. Since fumes are involved, I almost always opt for tackling the painting outside. I don’t have any sawhorses, so I set up a dropcloth on an old wood bench I’ve had since college. (Note: Saying “old wood bench” reminds me of Anchorman, for whatever reason.)
6.) I laid out my cabinet doors, face down first. It’s always a good idea (thank you Google for the tip) to start painting the inside of the cabinet (both primer and paint) first, that way, any paint oopsies from flipping the cabinet doors over will appear on the inside of the door rather than the outside.
6.) It’s prime time! After lots of Googling and blog reading, I decided to do an oil-based primer and sealer first, just to be sure no wood stains would come through and ruin my hard work. I used Behr’s Oil-based Primer and Sealer.
7.) Wait, wait, wait. This was my first time working with oil-based paint (I’m a water-based paint girl) and while I knew the dry time is longer than water-based, I wasn’t expecting to wait an entire 36 hours! Fresh air certainly helps speed things up, but it takes awhile for everything to dry and set up. Also, I knew to expect the coverage to be not as complete as a first coat of water-based primer, so when I saw my blonde wood peaking through, I knew not to freak out.
8.) After waiting the full 36 hours, I was ready to add my first coat of latex paint. I used a 3″ smooth roller to get the smoothest finish possible (although I had some issues with getting a smooth finish… keep reading). My paint pick was Behr’s Ultra Pure White in semi-gloss enamel. Here’s a pic of both the primer and top coat.
9.) After another hour of dry time, it was time to apply the second coat to both the cabinet body and the cabinet doors. At this point, everything was looking very white and semi-glossy. The only thing I wasn’t thrilled with was the finish, with things feeling a tad bit more rough than I liked. For the front, I plan to switch to a foam roller to help with the smoothness.
10.) With one side of the doors done and dry, it’s best to leave 3-5 days to allow the paint to set up and harden. (Ugh.)
So… since I’m out of weekend time, I’ll leave you with what the laundry room looks like as I type this.
It’s good to be half done and I’m excited for Thursday to roll around so I can get to painting the front side of the cabinet doors. And, I’ve already got a great start on paint choices for the laundry room, after going through several trial runs with paint testers. Here’s what the opposite wall in the laundry room looks like now:
If you remember from last week’s design plan, I was thinking the paint would be Sparkling Brook by Martha Stewart, but it’s just too much blue for that little space. Instead, I’m thinking grey will work perfect and after lots of hemming and hawing, it seems Martha Stewart’s Bedford Grey will do the trick. (Grey paint is the hardest color to buy, by far, but more on my paint choice adventure later.)
Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend. In between painting, I had time to clean house, clean my car, get a sunburn and hang out with my family. Also, my sister leaves for a month-long Europe trip in a few days, so I was glad to see her before she left. I am so excited for her adventure!
– emily (& my very-enthused painting mates)
All photos taken by Aaron May for Go, Haus, Go!