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How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Hey there! So I thought I had published all my kitchen renovation posts…and then I saw this little draft sitting all alone, ready to be published but not! Lol! Here it is, all about how to paint kitchen cabinets!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

I am telling you, I was beyond skeptical about painting my kitchen cabinets…but ordering a whole new kitchen this large of cabinets was out of the question for my budget!

How to paint cabinets

I never liked the idea of painted cabinets simply because I felt like they always LOOKED painted, but after painting my desk cabinets a few weeks before with a paint sprayer, I was sold that I could do my kitchen cabinets as well and even make them look GOOD! Eeek! I even made a video for you guys, even though somehow I managed to not record…or perhaps delete🤔 some important parts!😅 Go ahead and grab a cup of coffee, and  I’ll show you how to paint kitchen cabinets!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Let’s check the kitchen out before the cabinets were painted! It is AMAZING the power of paint…and a little added plywood and trim! I don’t know if it will ever stop amazing me! Lol!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

If you haven’t been following along since the beginning then you may want to take a look at some of these other posts to see how I got the kitchen to this point and ready to be painted!

Stripping the Cabinets

Building out the Island

Extending the Cabinets to the Ceiling and Building Out the Peninsula

Pour in Place Concrete Countertops

Tiling a Kitchen Wall

Building the Cabinet Above the Fridge

Pantry Door Makeover

DIY Cup Dispenser

Alright now that you have caught up on all that I did to get the kitchen ready to be painted, let’s dive in! This is a LONG post just to forewarn you, but it’s all necessary information to share so that you will get the results you want on your cabinets so you don’t waste your time!

Kitchen Renovation with white painted cabinets and gray island

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Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Let’s gather some supplies to get started!

Materials Needed to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

***Some links below may be affiliate links! If you make a purchase after clicking one of the links, I may make a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you! Thanks in advance if you make a purchase at one of my links!

Paint – I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic in Pure White satin sheen (cabinets) and Gauntlet Gray satin sheen (island and vent hood) – I would not recommend painting them with a paint and primer mix…but that’s just my opinion!

Primer – I used Zinsser Bullseye Primer – It’s thick and has to be watered down quite a bit for the sprayer but it works really well! The link above is to Amazon, just to show you what the can looks like…you can purchase it at Home Depot or Walmart though for cheaper!

Paint Sprayer – I was sent the newer version of the Home Right sprayer for this post, but I had previously purchased the other cheaper model and both work GREAT! If you have the extra in your budget, splurge on the newer model, but if you don’t, the older model WILL do the job!

Painter’s Tape – I really don’t have a favorite here anymore, I have bought all of them and had good and bad results with all of them! Lol!

Brown Paper – to protect the floor – I liked this better than drop cloths for around the cabinet bases on the floor, I didn’t want to have to buy a ton of small drop clothes or cut them down, so this worked best!

Drop cloths – I love the ones that are paper but have the plastic back, they are cheap but I like them more than the solid plastic ones! I get them at Walmart for the best price!

Sanding Materials – This sander was what I used on almost the entire kitchen…yes, this tiny micro zip by Gator…found much cheaper at Walmart, was AMAZING! I also used a sanding block as well!

Caulk and wood filler – A great paint job starts with the prep work, making sure to fill any gaps or brad nail holes makes all the difference in a good or bad paint job, and just a little info for you…white paint magnifies all imperfections! Lol!

Respirator – or charcoal mask at least – The paint that is in the air is unreal when you are using the sprayer, and even though you may not realize it a the time, you are breathing a ton of paint into your lungs! Do not do this to yourself as I did! 🙈Wear a respirator! I had a fan going in the dining room window, pretty far away from the painting, and you should have seen the white paint on the window screen. That’s when I realized how dumb I was for not wearing at least a mask the entire time and I started wearing one! Also, the painted boogers were a really good indicator as well! Lol!

-Old Clothes – My clothes were speckled with paint just like the floors where they received overspray!

Once you have all your supplies together, you are ready to paint the cabinets!

Want to see me IN ACTION, watch the video on how to paint kitchen cabinets!! (Well  you will be able to tomorrow)Lol!

Prepping Your Cabinets for Paint

After making sure the cabinets are built out how you want, added on to, crown molding applied, or any other changes you would like to make, you will need to caulk any gaps and fill any nail or screw holes. I used Dap Alex Plus caulk to fill all the gaps around the MDF I added as trim to the cabinets, where the baseboards meet the cabinets, where the inset section of the cabinet doors met the cabinet door trim, and anywhere I saw a gap. The paint will exaggerate any gap left without caulk!

I used Minwax Wood Filler to fill in all the brad nail holes where I nailed the trim on! Caulk is not as easy to sand as wood filler is, so I used wood filler anywhere I could, but a good rule of thumb is, caulk is for gaps and filler is for holes!

After caulking and wood filling, you will need to sand everything down! If the caulk is left slightly raised anywhere, you will be able to see it after the paint. So sand, sand, and sand some more! The best bet with caulk is to rub it as thin as possible at the edges when you apply it as opposed to trying to sand it later!

Here’s my kitchen ready to be primed and painted!

Kitchen Renovation - Cabients ready for paint

Before painting, everything must be covered! You would be shocked at how far that overspray can manage to go! I like the brown paper for around the cabinets on the floor and the countertops. I used the plastic-backed paper-like drop cloths around the vent hood and inside cabinets. I used the same drop cloths later for the cabinet drawers and doors to be painted on!

It took me a couple of hours to get all the paper taped and spread, but you will be so happy you did it as opposed to scrubbing paint off the floor or ruining your new countertops!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Using a Paint Sprayer for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

**Tip of the Day: If you want to paint your kitchen cabinets without a paint sprayer, it can be done with a quality paintbrush, just make sure to keep your paintbrush wet with water, as I have found that to be the secret to not having any brush strokes! Keeping your brush wet works to thin the paint so it will settle, I think water works FAR better than Floetrol or any other paint additive when using water-based paint.

Setting up the Paint Sprayer

Using the sprayer is pretty easy, the instructions show you how to put it together, but here are my pictures to help. Don’t mind that I took shots from the video and they are really grainy and ugly…I’ll update them as soon as I can!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Attach the straw.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - setting up the paint sprayer

If you are going to be leaning the paint sprayer down a lot, turn the straw to the front.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Setting up the paint sprayer

If you are going to be painting upwards, turn the straw backwards!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Setting up the paint sprayer


Next, pick the tip that fits your project, for cabinets the green tip is best! The tip has a needle that goes with it (mine is stuck in the tip but if you look at the blue and red ones, you will see their needles. You will need to screw the needle into place first and then screw the tip in (mine is screwed in together🙊). This is something unique to the new version, having 3 different tips, the older model only has one, and this is AMAZING!!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets - Setting up the Paint SPrayer

The sprayer comes with a small wrench to tighten the tip, but I found a wrench that fits it and use that, it works better than the cheap one that comes with it!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Place the springy thing in there, LOL! I have no idea what you would call this!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Pick the size of the air cap needed. Black is the one that is best for cabinets! (The older model doesn’t have two, it only has one.)

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Last, pour your paint into your container and thin it as needed! FYI: The newer model has a larger container that really makes a big difference in how long before you have to refill! My son and I were using them at the same time the other day and he would have to refill when I still had 1/3 of a container left. That makes a big difference on a project of this size.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Add water to the paint or primer.

How to paint kitchen cabinets

Stir and check consistency! The more often you use the sprayer the easier this part becomes, it may take a few tries on your first attempt…heck it still takes me a couple tries at times! LoL!

How to paint kitchen cabinets

Once you feel it is thin enough, screw the container on and get spraying!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets with a Paint Sprayer

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I sprayed the whole kitchen of cabinets with two coats of primer, followed by two coats of paint, letting them dry 4 hours in between coats per the instructions of the paint!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

There’s really not any more to it than that honestly! Make sure that you get up under your paper that you have taped and slow and steady wins the race, you don’t want runs so a nice slow steady pace works great! It’s actually a really quick process compared to brush painting!

How to paint kitchen cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

How to paint kitchen cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Trouble Shooting Your Paint Sprayer

One of the complaints I have seen about this paint sprayer (and others like it) is people saying that it splatters, or spits paint. When this happens, it looks like a bunch of tiny droplets were spit out of the sprayer! Well, there is one heck of an easy fix for this…you just need to thin the paint a little more!! DO NOT throw out your sprayer… or return it, or think ugly thoughts about it, just open it up and add a little more water!😜

Even after using it a ton, I still have times that I think I have it thinned, start spraying, and realize it needs a little more thinning! In the video, you will see that at this point! Lol!

How to paint kitchen cabinets

If it starts splattering after using it for a while, you are running out of paint! Add more paint and it should solve your problem, the same as when it starts spotty painting or missing spots, it is struggling to get paint into the straw and it just needs a refill! This is shown at this point in the video!

How to paint kitchen cabinets

If it has a decent amount of paint still in it and it starts sputtering, you may have leaned it the opposite direction of the straw. You can change the direction of the straw if your painting position has changed or just rotate the paint sprayer back to the direction of the straw! Hope that makes sense.

One other thing that has happened to me is I get the whole sprayer set up and plug it in to start spraying but it only blows air, no paint. This usually only happens when I didn’t clean it really well when I put it up and there is dried paint somewhere blocking something! I just break it back down and clean it again focusing on the nozzle area, fixes it every time!

The last thing, while you are using the sprayer if it seems to be spraying very little paint even though it is full of paint, there is usually a build-up on the spray tip and you just take that off and use your fingernail to make sure to clean the tip, it will be back to spraying correctly again!

That pretty much sums up any issues I have ever had with my paint sprayers!

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Last but not least, make sure and clean your sprayer every time you use it to keep it in tip top shape!

It’s pretty simple to clean, you basically reverse the steps you used to put it together and clean all the parts! It comes with a stiff wire brush that makes cleaning a breeze!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets - A How-to guide

Painting Kitchen Cabinets - A How-to Guide

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Alright, now you know how to set up the paint sprayer, fix any troubles with it, how to clean it, and you even saw how easy it is to paint using a paint sprayer…now all you need to do is go paint your cabinets! What are you waiting for?

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, I would LOVE for you to share it with friends and family!

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How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

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