I got about fifteen comments asking how I painted my cabinets.  Since I did it almost a year ago when I had about 100 followers I figured I would repost this in case you wondering how it is done…
Alright I am going to attempt to walk you through how I did my kitchen cabinets. I will probably do it in a few parts, since it is so wordy. I tried a lot of different techniques and tricks and finally made up my own. So you may want to consult someone who knows what they are doing instead…but here goes.

1. If you are going to add any decorative moulding to the top or bottom of your cabinets do it now. My father-in-law (I LOVE YOU!) hung mine using a nail gun and then I caulked everything so that it looked seamless. Do not skip the step of caulking. You will regret it. So buy yourself a caulk gun and any paintable, stainable, all-purpose caulk and get your caulk on!

2. I decided to attempt to do some shadow boxing on my island. I had never done this before but I figured I would try. I knew it would give the island a more custom look. So I bought a miter box and saw (I paid $4.99 for mine). I added some shadowboxing on the front and sides of my island. My box on the front is 5 inches from the top and bottom and 4 1/2 from the sides. I used a nail gun to attach it but you could also use an old-fashioned hammer and finishing nails. Here and here are two great tutorials for moulding. It was so simple and I felt such pride after I was done.

NOTE: Learn from my mistake: Before you nail in your shadowboxing sand the island down first. It is easier to sand without the trim in place. My island is not real wood. It is that laminated stuff that looks like oak (who thought of that brilliant, nasty idea?). Sand it just like it is wood. Also, make sure you caulk all sides of the moulding and the nail holes. Don’t skip this step. It is tempting to do but you will regret it. Caulk for goodness sake.

I also added quarter round to the bottom of all the base cabinets using my miter box and saw again trying to give more quality to my kitchen.

3. Next, take off all your drawer fronts(if they can be removed) and cabinets doors. Remove all the hardware and hinges and anything shiny and metal. 🙂 Also take off any trim or molding pieces. You have heard that preparation is key when painting right? Well let me reiterate in case you have never heard that before.


4. Fill in any holes with wood filler. Since I was going from handles to knobs I had to fill in one hole (although I filled both of them because I didn’t know what hardware I would be getting at the time). I used Plastic Wood. Be generous…you can always sand it off later.

5. After an hour of letting the Plastic Wood dry, lightly sand the entire surface of your cabinets, drawers and bases with 120 grit sandpaper. You can do most of it with an electric palm sander but you will have to get in the crevices and corners by hand. Take your time and do this part right and you will be happy. You want to basically take all the finish off and have a scuffed matte surface.

6. Wash your cabinets, bases and drawer fronts with soap and water and let them dry thoroughly. Here are a few of mine all sanded and washed.

Note: After all my experimenting I did not put primer on the cabinets. Since I was scuffing them and wanted the brown to show through I did not need primer. But sand well my friends…sand well!

Part 2 – PAINTING will come tomorrow!

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  1. Gosh, that sounds like a lot of work, I’m in awe of your commitment to preparation! 🙂
    I’m an instant gratification kinda gal, and sanding doesn’t gratify me. 😉

  2. What did your FIL attach the molding with?

    And will you please share where you got the wireless plug when you get there?

  3. you go girl.
    i’m still in awe that you did all this work yourself!
    whenever your ready just let me know..i will e-mail you my address and you can come help me 🙂

  4. You are my HERO!! At least your crappy island sanded down. I tried EVERYTHING with my crappy island and nada. Stupid thing.

  5. Fantastic! I need to update my kitchen too. Our cupboards have upper moulding, but the bottoms of the cheap-o cupboards are raw and the laminate is beginning to chip. I have been looking for a solution. Your look great. What type/shape moulding was used on the bottoms of the upper cabinets? Thanks for sharing!

  6. I'm very impressed. We're thinking of adding molding to dress up the fronts of our flat cabinet doors…sanding and painting and all that. How long were your cabinets unuseable? Not looking forward to that, but our bathroom remodel is first on the list.

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