Cabinet Painting Part Two – Day Two Dilemmas.

Day Two of cabinet painting didn’t go quite as smoothly as Day One.

There were a few key reasons I decided to start where I did in the kitchen. The bottom left side of cabinets only had 2 doors and 2 drawers that needed painting. (I did go back and paint the side of the cabinet next to the fridge – but I left the oven side in its original state). The other side of the kitchen had double the drawers and doors to paint, and some of them weren’t in the best condition.

It took me about a week of living in the apartment to notice that a lot of the cabinet doors were showing some serious wear and tear. (The apartment had a lot of other issues that we were much bigger than cabinets!). The cabinet doors under the sink looked especially water damaged and dried out. When I more closely inspected the damage, I realized that one of the doors had been pretty badly mangled. In fact, it looked like a whole knee had gone through this poor door! It was a miracle it was still hanging here at all.

Sidenote: I found a Pinterest remedy (basically a homemade Old English made of olive oil and vinegar) and it worked wonders on restoring the shine and removing any sign of the water damage. I was skeptical, but it lasted a whole year (and more if I hadn’t decided to paint them!).

I moved the mangled cabinet door to a less high-traffic area of the kitchen (luckily the sizes matched and could be swapped easily), and forgot all about it until I needed to paint it blue.

Time to call Mom and figure out what she would do about this guy.


Front: Shockingly minimal damage here, still small crack that needs tending.


Back: a missing chunk of wood, huge crack, and serious needs for support/bolstering.

Mom said all I needed was the wood filler that we bought to fill in some dents and scrapes in the bookcase project. Perfect! I didn’t even have to make a special trip to Home Depot. :)

So of course I rummage through my drawer pull out my wood product…and call Mom back when the wood filler is running down the side of the cabinet and won’t stay in the hole it’s supposed to be filling up. She seems pretty confused at first. After a few moments of conversation she realizes I’m not using wood filler. I picked up the wood glue (which in my defense was ALSO purchased for the bookcase project) instead of wood filler – very different.

So…I wiped off all the wood glue I could with my paper towel and waited for it to dry so that I could apply my wood FILLER, let that dry, sand it down, and repeat – until I was satisfied with the results.

What a mess! (Can I blame this on paint fumes? Probably not.)

Once that whole mess was cleared up and ready for Step 1, I repeated my steps from yesterday:

  1. Remove doors, leave hardware attached to inside of cabinet if possible.
  2. Label and contain loose hardware in separate bags, according to the door and its location in the kitchen.
  3. Empty drawers, and remove from cabinet.
    1. the drawers under the sink are false fronts and they couldn’t be removed. This added to my frustration, but didn’t turn out to be a big deal in the end.

Instead of de-glossing these doors on the kitchen floor, I decided that I should move my operation to the kitchen table from the start. Since the doors were all the same size, it was going to be far too easy to mix them up, and I didn’t want to have trouble re-leveling them or re-matching hardware.

I laid them out on the table in the order they belonged in the kitchen. This made the most sense to me.

cabinet ordering

At first I used post-its/painters tape as a label by each door, but eventually I just knew the farthest door to the left goes to the farthest left in the kitchen. I’m sure if you have a larger kitchen, then labels are vital. In my small space, I couldn’t paint enough doors at once to really lose track if they were all in a row.

De-glossing the cabinets went just the same as before.

When painting them, I attempted to use less paint and more coats to avoid some of the drips and lines I didn’t like from the first set of doors.

Below is the Rustoleum How-To Video that comes with your kit. It intimidated me for a while, but with the confidence gained from my years of furniture painting (ahem – 2 items that we luckily didn’t ruin in our rookie attempts), I knew I could handle the technique as long as I mainly followed the instructions to properly prep my surface and applied my paint in thin coats.

Feel free to watch the whole video, but I started it at 8:42 where it begins to describe the actual paint application.

Looking back at this video…I followed their painting advice to a T – except that I used a foam brush for the small corners and a foam roller to apply the paint everywhere else. Whoops!

I think the paintbrush is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE if you aren’t working with real wood. That way, your cabinets still have a wood grain look and feel to them. Since my wood grain would show through the paint even with my small foam roller, I lucked out by not following their tip on that one.

The biggest/most frustrating lesson I learned while completing these lower cabinets involved painting the kick plate under the cabinets and the cabinet pieces located next to the walls.

These pieces of cabinetry were not solid oak like the doors and their plastic texture (even after de-glossing) wasn’t always enough to make the paint stay where I put it.

Of course, I only discovered this after carefully taping off the walls/floors/dishwasher and painting each surface with two solid coats (on my knees). When it was finally dry I went to remove the tape and the paint clung to the tape like a latex balloon and started peeling right off!! So Frustrating! It was certainly extra frustrating because this was the final step before completion, but it had to be repainted just the same.

To avoid a repeat of the “balloon peel” I used an X-acto knife to score along the tape line and encouraged my paint to stay exactly where it belonged.

By the end of Day Two, all of the lower cabinets were blue!!

The wood filler did a nice job on the damaged cabinet. From the front I can hardly even tell it ever had a crack!


In case you can’t tell the difference either…it’s the door on the right! You can tell they aren’t a matched set, because they aren’t level – remember I swapped it with the one under the sink? I never really noticed/cared until this picture revealed all my kitchen imperfections.


Here’s the finished product on the right side:


Yes, that IS a Christmas towel. No, I haven’t put it away yet. It makes me happy.

So do my Nautical Blue Cabinets!!

Now to tackle all ELEVEN doors on top…ugh.

2 thoughts on “Cabinet Painting Part Two – Day Two Dilemmas.

  1. Pingback: Cabinet Painting 2.0: How to DIY with a Toddler at Home. | Tickled in NYC

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