Tag Archives: kitchen remodel

Paint Your Builder-Grade Kitchen Cabinets DIY Style! >>>My Kitchen Makeover<<<

20 Jan

Kitchen Makeover 1

The finishing touches on my kitchen remodel finally happened today and I’m sooo excited, just in time before school starts too =) =)

        Are you ready to see how you can transform you builder-grade kitchen cabinets into custom ones?!?  Let me just go ahead and say, the husband and I started this project late friday night (mind you I worked 7pm-7am that friday and saturday night in the E.R) and did not finish until late monday night.  We worked like maniacs, but you must allow for sanding, priming, dry time, double coats, custom beadboard and cut out action sooooo…. it’s definitely a bit of a project BUT TOTALLY DO-ABLE!!! Things started progressing much quicker too once I discovered the BEST PROFESSIONAL CABINET PAINTING TOOL !!

What you need to your Paint Builder-grade Wooden Kitchen cabinets and Wooden Kitchen Table

kitchen unfinished

Whizz 4 inch mini foam roller (one for every paint color and/or person helping) I used two! = THE BEST PROFFESIONAL CABINET PAINTING TOOL!!

Mouse Sander w/ sander pads to fit the mouse ( I borrowed this so there was not cost here, thanks Kim!!)

Zinsser Bull’s Eye 1-2-3- Primer for all surfaces: I bought tinted gray primer since I was painting my cabinets black

Valspar Duramax Paint + Primer (Interior) >>>( in whatever colors you are choosing to paint your cabinets, so I purchased black and white. I only used 1/2 gallon of black for my entire kitchen including the table. I bought a quart of white paint for my island and of course had lots of left over! I loved working with this paint because it covered well and  I felt that it did not splatter near as much as paints I have used in the past (aka, thicker and easier to paint with)

Two-inch Natural Bristle angle paint brush (for the nooks and crannies)

–paint drop cloth (psst. I literally used left over christmas paper =) =)

–screwdriver and/or drill (for removing and hanging cabinets)

-towels (paper, microfiber, whatev) These are for wiping off the cabinets after you sand them!


blue painter’s tape: I was just very careful when painting the edges of my built-in cabinets in the kitchen, but if you are new to painting I would suggest taping off the edges so your kitchen walls don’t end up the same color as your new cabinets

Beadboard: if you want beadboard on the ends of your cabinets and islands to make them look custom<<< makes a HUGE difference >> this really makes your cabinets and island look custom!! (amount obviously depends on cabinets and/or island) I used about 40-48 sqft)

–jigsaw (I borrowed this, thanks again Kim)!

–finishing nails

–wood glue

paint pyramids— I have read these can be helpful to place your cabinets on when drying, but I just layed my cabinets on christmas paper in the garage =)

Project Timeline

Friday night:

-Remove all dishes, silverware, anything from the cabinet surfaces that is to be sanded and painted. Move to a separate room otherwise your dishes will get sand-blasted

-Remove all cabinets, drawers and hardware. Place hardward in ziplock baggies so you don’t loose them for later!


Sand every surface including the cabinets front and back. The primer I bought says you don’t have to necessarily sand before priming, but I wanted these cabinets to look profesh so the hubster roughed them up just a bit, but did not take them down to the grain. I also did not think gel stain would work on these builder grade cabinets because the middle surface is thinner than the edges (typical builder-grade style) so I didn’t want to run the risk of having the two different thickness/type of wood absorb the gel stain color differently–talk about a potentially disaster!!

Also  you might be contemplating.. Do I really need to do the backside of the cabinets, I mean nobody really see’s them>>>The answer would be yes, if you are going to paint like a profesh, don’t be a 50%er… I know, I know, I contemplated it too but once the project was in full swing, you already got paint in your hair so why not right!?!? Plus, it WILL LOOK GHETTO when you or your kiddos leave cabinets doors open and the backside is still that lovely oak color!


Wipe off all excess saw-dust with wet microfiber towel and then let cabinets dry or wipe dry.

Prime the front side of the cabinets using the foam roller going in the direction of the wood grain and using the 2 inch angle brush for the nooks and crannies.  Make sure when your done with one cabinet to look for drips and roll them out, otherwise that drip mark will be visible when you paint your top coat>> does not look as nice in the end with drip marks on your cabinets!


Let front side of cabinets dry completely. I laid my cabinets flat in the garage on some christmas wrapping paper left over from the holidays. You can also use painter’s pyramids, tarp, or lie them flat on the concrete (I did this when I ran out of Christmas paper) as long as you don’t mind some spillage as that can occur.

 Prime the back-side of all the cabinets and let dry. The foam roller is KEY to making your cabinets look professional, take your time and roll out any drip marks.  The husband primed the kitchen while I was working on the cabinets in the garage. At some point before going into work that night, I started painting the first layer of black top coat on a couple of cabinets.



Tip: every night after you are done painting instead of cleaning all the brushes for the night, you can wrap your foam roller and paint brush up in aluminum and stick it in the fridge=) In the morning, unwrap the foil from the paint brush and you are ready to go!


Finish the first black coat on the front-side and back side of cabinets. I had so many cabinets to paint, by the time I finished painting the last cabinet, the first one I painted was dry and ready for the final 2nd black coat on the front-side of of the cabinet. I also painted the first & 2nd black coat  in the kitchen between cabinet drying time




Finish the 2nd top layer front and back to the cabinets and to the kitchen. Once everything is COMPLETELY dry and touched up, start hanging cabinets then putting on hardware .

Don’t forget about those cabinet base boards. Instead of using blue painter’s tape, I shoved magazine pages in between the tile and wood to paint the cabinet edges that touched the tile. I painted the kitchen island white to help tie in the existing white appliances. Sure I think stainless steel appliances would look much better, but those just aren’t in my  budget =)


Note: If you are going to put beadboard on the edges of your cabinets and island, you can make a trip to Lowes to pick this us while everything is drying. The husband measured the island and ends of the built-in kitchen  cabinets with a diagram and I had my friendly Lowes’ lumber department associate cut the pieces to appropriate size.   The Lowes’ associate made most of the large cuts for me in-store, but we had to use the jigsaw for the power outlets and the small in-cut at the bottom of the island. If you are going to make cuts yourself, remember you want the breadboard all going the same direction (vertical as picture below).

Helpful hint: when using the jigsaw to make a power outlet cut in the middle of the board, here is a helpful video


To  attach the beadboard, we slathered on some wood glue and the hammered in some finishing nails. Length of finishing nails should depend on the thickness of your cabinets and beadboard that you pick out.

Other Kitchen Upgrades

(some occurred before painting the cabinets, some after )

–I painted the pantry door black. See how here and the type of oil-based paint I had to use that was different from the cabinets

–I painted the center piece of kitchen table black using the same steps I used for the kitchen cabinets

–I had granite installed and when I did so, I had the island extended to create more seating.

–The Kitchen walls got a coat of brown paint called “Steady Brown”. This is two shades darker than latte that is painted on the main walls so it gives the kitchen a nice subtle contrast. I also pained my niche and hallways this steady brown color. You can always checkout the rest of my diy home improvements by clicking on my “House Tour” tab above

–The husband and I installed a rustic metal orb  Chandelier  over the newly painted kitchen table(15% off)

–I spray painted the brass door knobs a hammered rustic brown color. Remove, take outside, place on newspaper and give two coats with this

–Added hardware to the cabinets. Adding hardware not only keeps you from putting your grimy fingers on the doors, but it creates interest, just like when you wear jewelry. Maybe not entirely necessary, but looks so pretty!

–Knocked out the center of two cabinets and paid to have glass installed. You can cut these out with a jigsaw if you want to do this too!!

 All in all, the materials to paint the kitchen cabinet, kitchen table,

 glass installation in two kitchen cabinets ($102),

new metal orb chandelier at 15% off ($138)

and new wreath for the pantry cost

less than $400


kitchen 8

kitchen 3

kitchen 7

I know this is quite the project and if you need any clarification on what I did, feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you have done this before and have any suggestions, please let me know how this could be done even better and faster in the future!!

Happy Home Improving!!

Kelley B.

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