Kitchen Cabinets!!Welcome to my Kitchen Reveal Week! I’m so excited to share with you all that I’ve learned. Some of it has been AMAZING and some of it was a giant flop and needed to be rescued. Like these kitchen cabinets.
Our kitchen has been a huge labor of love – starting with our refrigerator that we bought off a local buy/sell site -and I am beyond delighted with the results (after all the hair pulling and crying was done, of course). Be warned, this first post is quite long – feel free to skip down to the end if you don’t care to see all. the. ways. I messed up. I won’t mind at all if you skip that part.
What’s the easiest, most budget-friendly way to update your kitchen cabinets?? Paint them, right? Right.
Unless, of course, you fail to take the time to do proper research – looking into all the ins and outs of painting your kitchen cabinets. Not that I would ever just rush headlong into a project without first looking at ALL the angles, ALL the pros and cons, and ALL the things you SHOULD be doing before you start.
Well…that’s basically what I did with this “learning experience”- (which is the term I’m using when I refer to this process). It went THAT well. But you know what? I’m happy to share with you my mistakes – so YOU don’t have to make them!
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Do your Research
I read one person’s amazing experience using this wonderful, magical paint and thought, “If it worked for her, it’ll work for me, too! Yippee!”
Here’s the thing. I forgot to take into account the fact that her kitchen cabinets were a golden oak color. Mine were stained dark cherry. Slight difference. I was so thrilled at the thought of a paint actually covering in just two coats – with NO priming or sanding, that I jumped in with both feet…these cabinets HAD to go. This kitchen was driving me crazy – all of it. (The ugly floors needed to go, too – Updated: click here to see what I did with those!)
And the clutter on the counters and the legos on the floor? I’d love to say that this was just a rare day and that my house never really gets this bad, but you know what? *whispering* Sometimes it does. As a family of 6 with four boys, ages preschool to teen, some days it DOES get this way, despite my best efforts. Just keeping it real, friends.
Back to the kitchen cabinets.
With excitement in my heart and a song in my head, I removed all the doors off the kitchen cabinets, set them up downstairs in the workshop and went to town on them. First I scrubbed them all down with liquid deglosser – a good thing to do, since it’s a great de-greaser and cleaner, and it gives your surface some texture to hang on to. That went well. Yay!
Houston, we have a Problem
But here’s where it starts to get yucky. I painted on the first coat of milk paint and noticed right away that the red stain was showing through. But that’s normal, right? The first coat never covers super well, so I didn’t think much of it. Then the second coat went on, and I started to get concerned. The red stain was still really seeping through the white paint. Ugh. Maybe one more coat would do it. After waiting several hours, to ensure the paint was dry, I went ahead with the third coat. And my heart sunk as I watched that brown/red stain start to seep through yet again.
By this point, I was starting to freak out and was asking my painter girlfriends WHAT IS GOING ON? And WHAT DO I DO NOW???!!!
Major Painting Lesson Learned…
It all boiled down to this. I didn’t take the time to properly investigate the paint I was using and the prep work that I should have done beforehand. Finally, I went on to the company website and found videos, talking about how to use their paint (something I totally should have done in the first place) – and the first video I watched? Yep – they talked about “if you’re going over a dark stain, like cherry…..PRIME first.” Cue the tears. I had literally just wasted HOURS of time and a really expensive quart of paint – all for nothing.
Resignation set in and I knew it was time to break out the primer.
Oh – and I forgot to mention. All that work that I had done so far on the kitchen cabinet doors? Yeah…I had also done three coats on the cabinets themselves, too. That day, there wasn’t enough coffee in the world to make this whole thing “ok”. I was so frustrated – at myself – for blindly following what someone had said without really looking into it thoroughly.
Finally, we’re Starting to get Somewhere
After priming, I went back over everything again with two more coats of milk paint. NOW they looked good. Finally! After the paint was thoroughly dry, I coated everything with three coats of the recommended high performance poly. I purchased my poly in their “flat” finish, but I feel like it has quite a bit of sheen to it still. Oh well. Overall, I’m happy with how the cabinets are holding up so far. The kitchen feels so much lighter, brighter and updated. Mission accomplished (however challenging).
And do you see the new hardware?! My husband was a dear and agreed to getting new hardware for our freshly painted cabinets! Woohoo!! (Have I ever mentioned how awesome my husband is? Well…He is.) 🙂 When I started looking into hardware for my cabinets, I quickly realized it could get expensive really fast – and our budget doesn’t allow for $10-$12 PER PIECE for new hardware. So I turned to my favorite source for All The Things…Amazon. After a quick poll on my blog Facebook page, I decided to go with these pulls for the cabinet doors and these cup pulls for the drawers. They were a fraction of the cost compared to other sites and gave me the same look I wanted. Yet another Amazon win!
But I’ve digressed. Where were we?
Let’s break this down into the pros and cons of
General Finishes Milk Paint for Kitchen Cabinets.
Please remember, these are MY thoughts on it – someone else may have a completely different experience than what I had.
- goes on smoothly
- low odor – which is great when you have kids in the house and are worried about fumes
- fast drying (I loved this) – you can re-coat in just two hours
- it goes a long way – even with all the coats I had to do, I was surprised at how much a quart covered
- it’s expensive, at $30 a quart
- you DO have to prime – especially if you’re going over dark surfaces
- the coverage isn’t that great. Even after priming, I still had to give it two coats – and that’s after the three previous coats.
- you really need to seal it with three coats of the recommended poly – which translates into more time, more money and more work. However, to be fair, this step is supposed to give you a long lasting, scrubbable finish. My cabinets haven’t been done for very long yet, so I can’t say how they’ll hold up a year from now. I will try to remember to come back and update to let you know how they’re holding up.
Here’s the moral of the story, and the thing I hope you’ll take away from my whole kitchen cabinet painting fiasco. Are you ready? Here it is.
NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS OR WHAT THEY TELL YOU “WORKED GREAT FOR THEIR KITCHEN CABINETS”
ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BEGIN. ALWAYS.
And this goes for all big projects. And yes – this even includes what I’M telling you here. Don’t even take my word for it. Take your time. Do your OWN research. BEFORE you jump into something like this. You will save yourself a lot of time, money and hassle by really doing your research first. Don’t do what I did and jump in with both feet on one person’s recommendation. It’s expensive, frustrating and time consuming.
Do I love my freshly painted bright white kitchen cabinets?
I absolutely do. It was totally worth all the work – even with the self-induced detours. 😉 My kitchen has gone from dark and dreary to bright and cheerful. And all for under $100.
Do you see those floors further up the page?? Get the full details on them here. And yes, I learned my lesson on my cabinets – I did plenty of research before choosing a really unique paint for my floors. A paint I’d never heard of before! I can’t wait to share the result and the process with you.
It’s your turn. What project have you had that you thought would be simple and quick but turned into a complicated fiasco? I know I’m not the only one with projects that don’t go quite how you thought they would – so tell me in the comments below – what’s YOUR “how NOT to (fill in the blank)” project?