Welcome to the ongoing saga of the RemodelingGuy.net “Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets” series of posts! I think that many of you will like where I go with this today, though I know that some will disagree even though I’m on-trend with painting kitchen cabinets black!
Plan A – Part 2 – More Sanding
As you can see in this close-up shot, the primer dried a little thick on some spots and the brush marks were readily visible. I knew I would need to sand the door a little more, but I was disappointed with the rough finish left by the primer and I had to sand it more than I would want to do if I was doing a whole kitchen.
After a good sanding to get all those brush marks in the primer smooth, I’m ready to paint. I set-up in the shade and worked early because I didn’t want it to be too hot out, which causes the paint to dry too fast.
I have a couple of brush options because I want to avoid the dreaded brush marks. A foam roller works well on flat surfaces, but that won’t do for this door. Too many little crevices in the profile. This has to be brushed so I have a couple options…and I have my coffee. Good to go!
What A Disaster
Let me say at this point that a brush isn’t the “professional” way to paint a cabinet. I happen to own a very nice “professional” spray machine perfect for this work. You’ve probably never even heard of an HVLP, but it is one of the preferred tools of a pro for cabinet painting. I’m not using it because I figure that exactly ZERO of my readers has one of these sprayers.
I wanted to show you a way to get professional results with average tools.
Take a look at these pictures:
It may be hard to see, but these pictures don’t show a great job. I’ve titled them “Disaster1“, “Disaster2“, and “Disaster3“, if that tells you how I feel about them.
Cabinet Doors, in general, have a lot of detail. Ups and downs, corners and curves. All of these are exactly why the professional way to finish a cabinet is to use spray equipment. It’s very difficult to get those corners clean with a brush, especially with a relatively normal latex paint.
It works, don’t get me wrong. The primer was well cured and very tough. The paint covered very nicely and applied easily. If I wasn’t such a perfectionist, the results might be fine. But the brush marks are driving me nuts! I wouldn’t want them in my kitchen.
Old Time Wisdom
I learned a lesson many years ago when I was a kid. It was literally “hammered” into my brain through repetition. My parents, grandparents, and even the radio disc-jockey all played a roll. (see if you get the pun…)
Listen to this: You Gotta Know (link will start a short audio clip)
Know When To Fold ’em
I knew I needed a new plan. I was steering you wrong! I would never paint my cabinets this way! I was trying to show you how to do it right, but not do it professionally. No such thing! The professional way is the only “truly correct” way. But it isn’t the only way that works! There is an easier way that works and is fast and you can do it with no help from anyone!
And no sandpaper.
Disclaimer: What you are about to see is NOT PROFESSIONAL! It has drawbacks. Attempt at your own risk!
All I can tell you is that it will be a cold day in Hell before I ever tried to sand and paint a kitchen the way I was showing you before! If I couldn’t go the professional route (sprayed with pro equipment) then this is what I would do.
Spray Paint Your Cabinets
That’s right, spray paint. Like with a can. I didn’t even go to the store. Kim is a spray paint aficionado so we had a decent selection at the house.
And I just happened to have another cabinet door. Same type thing, lacquer finish on solid wood. What you see in the photo below is the extent of the prep work we did. Wiped it off with a T-Shirt.
Now my door was brand new so it didn’t have grease or grime. You would want a clean surface. One reader suggested using TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) which is a good cleaner that won’t leave behind a problematic residue.
My aim at this point was EASE, SPEED, and LOOKS!
I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t take this oh so seriously. If I forgot that I’m a pro. If I didn’t try and do this as if I were being paid thousands but with no tools.
What would I do if I were a homeowner who just wanted a fresh look without a ton of time or money invested?
Get It Clean
Kim is a serious threat with a can of spray paint! She can do amazing things with it and she hit this door like it was nothing. She uses very light coats which dry almost instantly and she alternates direction as she passes over the previous light coats. She covered the door completely with primer in just a couple of minutes.
The primer we used is Rust-Oleum automotive primer. I have no idea if the can said that it was or wasn’t approved for kitchen cabinets. I started reading it, saw that it said not to apply to surfaces that would get hotter than 200 degrees farenheit and figured it would do.
We were painting a slick surface and I wanted a good primed surface for the top-coat, so automotive sounded like the ticket. Plus this is what we had on hand…I have no idea why.
Bottom line…when painting a slick surface you really AT LEAST ought to prime it if you’re willing to live with the sacrilege of not sanding. Sanding wouldn’t have hurt, but I was being an extremist.
It took less than five minutes.
Whew! Time for a Coffee Break
Watching Paint Dry.
Took about ten minutes.
Time For The Finish Coat
Seems like black is popular, so we decided on black. We had some more good quality Rust-Oleum paint. This can was designed for use with outdoor metal furniture. Looked good to me. Ding Ding, Round 2:
I’m telling you what…the girl is scary with a can of Rust-Oleum! If they know what’s good for them, they would make her the national spokes girl! Swish, Woosh, spray, spray, a little mist here, a litte shot there… done!
Three Minutes! I’m in Love!
Just Let it Dry
I’m so amazed by this. It’s just another example of how we tend to make things in life way harder than they need to be. Look at this result:
Is that amazing or what? This result is in minutes, with almost zero prep, and with no real effort all given to controlling dust, etc. We didn’t sand, we didn’t vacuum, we didn’t do squat! Kim wiped it with a T-Shirt and sprayed it with automotive primer and metal furniture paint. In less than 20 minutes, including dry time!
You can buy enough spray paint to do a whole kitchen for less than $100.00 and I bet you could do this in a day. You could do a clear top-coat if you want to add more durability. But I’m looking at the door right now and it’s almost flawless.
I tried to scrape the paint off of a corner with my fingernail and did no damage at all. So then I got out the key to my truck and tried to scratch it off and all I did was create surface scratches, the paint did not come off!
The other door, as of now, has about three hours labor in it and it isn’t close to being finished. Hmmmm….???
Forget The Real Paint Store
We all know that I’m a fan of a real local paint store. That won’t change until the big box stores get serious about having people in the paint department that know paint. That said… this is spray paint! No paint man needed.
Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowes! Even Amazon.com has Rust-Oleum!
Call me crazy, but this seems like the way to go to me.
Kim’s Spray Paint Tips:
Better to work in the heat of the day, bright sun, so the paint dries fast!
Try to work in an area with no wind to keep junk out of your paint and your paint off of your junk!
Don’t hold the can too close to the work, you can see in the pictures how she does it.
Spray at an angle, not straight on. And change your direction after each “mini-coat”.
One “coat” is actually a series of “mini-coats” all done at one time. These are very, very thin…you can see right through the first one.
- Make sure you look closely from all angles to be sure you don’t miss grooves and cracks, etc.
- Better paint covers much better. Rust-Oleum is the house favorite!
Some Posts You Should Read:
Stuck On Spray Paint – See some of Kim’s other spray paint work at Forever…Wherever!
Painting Kitchen Cabinets – Part One – the first steps down a bad road.
Drillbit Designs Cabinet Doors – where all of this started
Drillbit Art How-To – A cool post showing how to do the bird design.
Have fun! I’ll let you know how the Plan A door works out, but what do you think about the Plan B version?
Edie @ Life In grace has a whole linky party on painted wood and you can see her amazing kitchen which she says required NO SANDING! Sounds good to me.