Painted cabinets are rich and beautifully custom looking, but have you ever considered painting them yourself? The idea scared me to death. I didn’t want to screw them up and if I did, I knew I’d never hear the end of it from the spouse! And I certainly was not interested in the whole stripping, sanding, priming, painting process. My mind was set on dark painted cabinets though. So what could I do?
All the cabinetry in our home is exactly the same, much like many modern day, cookie-cutter homes. The cabinetry is maple which is very strong and dense. But ours has an odd orangey hue to it that has always annoyed me. I looked into staining maple but discovered that because of it’s density, it will not accept stain. I’m glad I found that out, but I did not want to live with all this orangey-ness any longer. We’ve been remodeling our daughters’ bathroom and I knew darker cabinets would really make the whole look come together. (Click HERE to read about their bead board bathroom.)
One day in Home Depot I came across this new product by Rust-oleum and it intrigued me. Rust-oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit claimed that no sanding or priming is needed. This sounded too good to be true! After going back and forth to Home Depot, indecisively staring at the box… four times…the paint dept. people think I’m a stalker…. I finally decided to go for it. I mean, come on! This was a big decision!
Rust-oleum Transformations has over 70 colors to choose from; another reason why I was so indecisive.
I chose Espresso!
The kit comes with a ton of paint and everything you need to do this project except for a few items. There’s even a DVD to give you step by step guidance.
First things first, you must remove all the doors, drawer fronts, and hardware from the cabinet base. Keep the hardware and screws in plastic baggies. Next with gloves on, start using the De-glosser on the rough scrubbing pad provided and thoroughly scrub the cabinets and wipe clean with damp cloth. Follow the wood grain while scrubbing.
After cabinets are clean and dry, start painting on your base bond coat. Start in the deepest corners and work in long smooth strokes. A 2 inch beveled edge, synthetic brush is recommended. Buy the best brush you can afford. I used my Purdy 2 inch beveled brush. A really good, quality brush is important for the success of this project and it is not recommended to use a foam roller for painting the cabinets with this product.
Always follow the direction of the wood grain when painting. Do not over stroke an area, especially if it has already started to dry.
Rust-oleum recommends starting on the backs of all the door and drawer fronts first. This will help get your stroking technique down. Allow the base coat to dry the recommended time and then apply a second layer of base coat. This paint has a very nice “leveling” quality which means how smooth a paint is after drying. It’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
Now this part is totally optional. I like the look of distressed cabinets. But I wanted just a little bit of distressing, nothing dramatic. After the two base coats are dry take a 100 grit sand paper and very lightly brush it along all the raised edges. You want the detail of the cabinets to show up. 100 grit paper is very rough, so apply a light touch. It’s all I had on hand, I’m sure a higher grit paper would be a better choice, but I’m too impatient and just used it.
Wipe the cabinet clean. With a clean brush, paint on the decorative glaze, working it into all the cracks, crevices, and entire cabinet, then wipe off in long smooth strokes with scrunched up cheese cloth provided in the kit. The decorative glaze is very workable and forgiving, for 5 minutes or a bit longer. Play with it until you get the look you desire. Add more glaze to darken or add just a little. It’s up to you! The glaze will be very subtle on dark colors.
Allow the glaze to dry overnight, then apply the final protective coat, which I’m assuming is a poly-crylic. I’ll be honest, I HATED THIS PART!! This sealer is not forgiving at all, unlike an oil based polyurethane. I’m a fine artist and have rather good paintbrush skills, but I’m telling you, this part is hard. Turn off the TV, don’t answer the phone, make sure the kids are at school or the baby is napping because you’ll need full concentration and you have to work precisely and fast! You must not pause until one entire cabinet face is coated.
Use a clean brush for this! Apply the protective top coat sealer the same way you apply the base coat, starting in the corners, stroking in the direction of the wood grain, with long SMOOTH STROKES. If you see bubbles at all you will need to super lightly stroke over the bubbles until they disappear. Follow all directions in the manual concerning this important part.
Below is a picture of what will happen if you get too much sealer on your cabinets. It looks like Elmer’s Glue when painting it on and if it is applied too heavily it will look like this, bubbled and bumpy.
The sheen is satin and does protect the cabinets well. After just 2 hours of the poly drying, your cabinets are ready to be reinstalled! I found these oil rubbed bronze knobs at Target. I was really impressed with them. The are quite heavy and feel comfortable to the touch. Not to mention they look FAB!
I’m so excited how the cabinets turned out. Yes, it was labor intensive but not as intensive if I didn’t have this Rust-oleum kit to use! I definitely recommend giving this product a try, but be warned, it’s a bit pricey.
Tell me what you think! Do you have painted cabinets? Tell me about your paint stories!
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