Monday, May 4, 2009

How You Can Redo Your Kitchen Cabinets

When I first moved into my home my kitchen cabinets were painted a high gloss white.  They looked very nice for a while, but I got tired of them.  I'm not crazy about bright white in the kitchen and my tastes sort of lend themselves to earth tones.  So about 8 years ago I painted them.  At the time I thought painting them a beige tone and coating them with a darker beige tone, using lambs wool would be just perfect.  Here is a photo of what they looked like when they were completed.  The entire process took me 4 weeks.  I have 44 cabinet fronts.  

This process involved sanding each cabinet face, applying one coat of latex enamel beige (I used Behr paint) and then one coat of the a darker beige (applied with lambs wool).  At the time I did plenty of research and found that most people felt that a coat of polyurethane would not be necessary, so I didn't apply one. The cabinets held up very well-lasting about 8 years.

Now, they are looking pretty scrappy.  Most of the cabinets held up well over the years but the cabinets that were used the most really needed help.  I decided to do the entire process over, but this time I changed the look completely.  I liked the idea of an antique look and decided to go with that.

The Process
Each cabinet was sanded front and back using an electric sander, then cleaned with mineral spirits.

One coat of latex enamel was applied to the back and two coats to the front of the cabinet. 
For this step I used a medium beige color (like the color of coffee with lots of cream).

I mixed a glaze (four parts latex paint + one part glaze).  For this I used a dark chocolate brown. I brushed this onto the front of the cabinet and promptly wiped it off using cheese cloth.  This glaze dried really quick, so I had to work fact.  I then used a soft fluffy paint brush to blend it in.

When the glaze was all dried (I let it dry overnight), I flipped the cabinet around and applied another coat of beige to the back.  Let dry over night.

Next day I sprayed the back of the cabinet with polyurethane.  Let it dry.  Then I applied using a brush, three coats of Minwax quick drying polyurethane sanding with 220 grit sand paper in between each coat, letting them dry completely each time.

I purchase all new hardware.  Cost $195.00.  Cost of glaze $20.00. Cost of latex enamel $20.00.  Cheesecloth (and I went through a lot), $4.00 a bag.  I went through 4.  Sandpaper about $6.00.  Polyurethane can and spray about $20.00.

Time to complete= six weeks.  Yes, it was a massive project and took tons of my time but I am patient and able to see the end results so it keeps me motivated. 

My research this time included three coats of poly.  I hope this will keep my cabinets looking new, longer.  I believe this time they will be more durable.

Originally my garbage cabinet worked like this.  Open the cabinet and pull the can (on tracks) out.  When I did this project I decided to change this.  Now the cabinet pulls out a long with the can.  I found the conversion kit online and the track kit at Home Depot.  Now throwing away a piece of garbage is a "one" step process.  I plugged up the holes on the side and moved the handle to the center.  This all worked out great. 

 This cabinet glides out so nicely and there is less wear and tear on the cabinet itself.
Here are some photos of the kitchen cabinet redo.  The stained glass that is added to five of the cabinets I made myself 8 years ago when I did the cabinets over.  I cut out the five panels of wood and replaced it with the glass.  I also added some decorative wood cut- outs to two of the cabinets.

Lots of work, very time consuming but worth it all.  The kitchen looks completely different now and I am much happier with the way it looks. 

I am very tired now of the whole project and need to take a break.  I'm now outside working on the garden.  In a month or two I will go back into this project and paint all the insides and do some touch up work around the desk.

Consider this: 4 coats latex, 1 coat glaze, one coat of spray poly and three coats brushed on poly X 44 cabinet fronts.  Don't forget the cabinet bases too.  Not a project for the faint of heart.

But just think of the money I saved!!!
Now that's thrifty.


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