How to Spray Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Get a pro-quality look with a DIY budget

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Next Project
Time

Multiple Days

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

$101–250

Introduction

Instead of replacing your old kitchen cabinets, make them new by repainting them. With an inexpensive paint sprayer and a few gallons of paint, you can transform your kitchen in a weekend.

Tools Required

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Bucket
  • Cordless drill
  • Paintbrush
  • Putty knife
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Shop vacuum
  • Utility knife

Materials Required

  • 1 mil plastic drop cloth
  • 320 grit sandpaper
  • Cardboard
  • Floetrol
  • Latex enamel
  • Masking paper
  • Painter's tape
  • Rosin paper
  • Spackling compound
  • Stain-blocking primer

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on new cabinets to give your kitchen a stunning new look. If your cabinets are in good shape, you can give them a fresh face with paint. Everything you need to give your drab cabinets a silky smooth painted finish costs less than $250—including the spray painter.

Professional painters typically spray-paint doors because it produces an ultra-smooth finish. In this article, we’ll show you how to spray-paint your doors and drawers to look like professional kitchen cabinet painting. There’s just a short learning curve to use the spray painter effectively. You could also spray the paint cabinet frames, sides and trim, but masking off the cabinet openings (and the rest of the kitchen) takes a lot of time, so just use a brush for those areas.

Despite our enthusiasm, there are downsides to a painted finish. Paint isn’t as tough as a factory finish, and even if you’re careful, you can still end up with paint runs and brush marks on your paint cabinet sides.

All the materials you need to paint your cabinets are available at home centers and paint stores. Plan to spend four or five days completing the job—you’ll have to let the paint dry overnight between coats, and you can only paint one side of the doors per day.

Project step-by-step (15)

Step 1

New-Looking Cabinets in Three Steps

Clean the old paint cabinets thoroughly, prime with a stain-blocking primer, and then paint with high-quality latex enamel.

3 steps to Paint Cabinets Graphic Copy]

Step 2

Is Painting Right For You?

Not all cabinets are worth painting. They must be structurally sound—paint obviously isn’t a cure for doors that are falling apart or don’t close properly. If your cabinets are oak or some other species with coarse grain and you want a smooth finish, you’ll have to fill the grain on the door panels, cabinet frames and cabinet sides with spackling compound. That nearly doubles the length of this project because sanding the compound takes a long, long time (but if you don’t mind a coarse finish, you can skip this step). If you like the style of your cabinets and they’re in good shape, and you’re willing to invest the time to paint them, this project is for you.