Weekend Update – and how NOT to paint kitchen cabinets.

This weekend included a mini-milestone, some shopping and a whole lot of frustration!

The shopping was a happy accident. I’ve had my eye on these white Hampton Bay wicker chairs at Home Depot for a few months now, but when they finally went on sale I could resist them no longer..

Hampton Bay Java wicker chairs from Home Depot

And the cute indoor/outdoor cushions were also on sale for just $10 each! (All home depot outdoor stuff is currently on sale and includes free shipping.)

The cushions also look quite lovely (and vastly improve the comfort of) the loveseat from the Delahey patio set:

Delahey love seat

The wicker will find its home on our front porch eventually, but our front porch had become the impromptu cabinet painting studio.. which brings me to our next news: I finally, FINALLY finished painting the kitchen cabinet doors!

I must confess, this was the project from hell and do believe that by now I’ve become a bit of an authority on the subject. And an as an “authority” it falls within my rights, no, my responsibility to write the following guide… I hope you find it useful if you plan on taking on this project in the future.

How NOT to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors.

#1) Don’t let my husband prime them.
Seriously, the messiest job of priming I’ve ever seen. The drips were so thick and goopy that they were impossible to sand off and are still (2 months later) wet-ish and soft to the touch.. and are still plainly visible even after four coats of paint.

#2) Don’t Use Pure White Paint.
You probably know this already, but no one (except me apparently) paints anything pure white – and with good reason. There are endless shades of white to choose from, decorator’s white, antique white, white dove – and any of those would have looked infinitely better. In the end I had to paint an extra coat of an off-white to tone down the icy-bluishness of the pure white.

#3) Don’t let my husband use your paint brush and then not wash it out.
Right around the time I was applying the second coat I started to get tiny little bumps on the cabinets.. and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. I washed my brush, still the little bumps. I poured new paint.. still the little bumps. I poured paint into a new cup and STILL the little bumps. I finally figured out (after most of the damage had been done) that the tiny bumps were the result of little bits of dried paint hiding in inside the bristles, not visible unless you’re really looking for them.

#4) Don’t Use Overhead Lighting if If you’ve Ignored item #3.
EVERY tiny surface imperfection will be painfully visible, as if your cabinets have a very bad case of acne.

#5) Don’t Throw Away or Lose the Old Cabinet Hinges.
As a final chapter in our comedy of errors, we realized that Jeff had thrown away every single last one of the hinges except the one that I had been carrying in my purse for months.. that I now can’t find. Saving this bit of hardware will clue you in to all sorts of important information such as what style of hinges you need to replace them with! Otherwise, you will end up wasting hours of your life surfing the internet trying to educate yourself as to the differences between inset, overlay, butt, and reverse inset bevel hinges… and you STILL may get it wrong (See #6).

#6) Don’t buy Overlay Hinges Without Springs (also known as self-closure hinges).
Because in all likelihood the doors won’t close all the way which may cause you to cry, because you’ve already been through hell and back for these #!!*&@ cabinets and now the won’t close? Seriously??

#7) If you ingore #5 and #6, Don’t Gouge a Notch So the Doors Close and Try Not to Panic.
Chances are you just need to go on the internet and figure out that you bought non spring hinges, return them (during your FOURTH trip to home depot in one day) and buy the self closing kind. The tightness in the spring will probably pull them shut… At least that’s what we’re hoping will happen and if it doesn’t, say a little prayer for me and call the men in white jackets because that might be the final straw that officially drives me over the home improvement edge into the deep abyss of full blown insanity.

There you have it, I hope your weekend was more fun and more productive than ours!

20 Responses to “Weekend Update – and how NOT to paint kitchen cabinets.”

  1. Ariana, seriously, you have got to stop buying cute furniture that I want, because I am soooooo far away from that stage that it’s just making me want to run away and cry. :(

  2. Aw, sorry, I’ll try to keep that in check :) Good news is the sale lasts until August, so maybe by then you’ll be ready?

  3. Oh dear… why must every DIY project, as seemingly benign as you might believe, end up so complicated?! I look forward to seeing the pictures once the project is complete.

    Great new stuff! I especially like those pillows. :)

  4. Don’t I know it! I think I ask myself “Why is nothing ever easy” at least 20 times a day. At least its comforting to know I’m not alone…:-)

  5. Ha! By August, we’ll have subfloors. And that’s about it. ;) Probably no furniture buying for me until next year.

  6. You let Jeff prime and I let my dad paint.

    He is also a member of the “let’s just get this done” group. One wall, if seen at an angle shows so many directional roller paths, some places with more than three coats, and some with just one. What was he doing!

    I really should paint one full coat over the whole room but I just don’t have it in me. If anyone has the stupidity to come into my room and point out the patchy spots they deserve whatever I do to them, right?

  7. What a miserable experience! So much hard work. I have kitchen cabinets that I’d like to paint at some point, so am grateful for your pointers!

  8. I can heartily sympathise. I still have brushes and rollers in my freezer, laden with (oil) paint. Dh painted the bathroom, oh, last January, February? We’ve been married ten years and I’m just beginning to clue in that perhaps I need my own set of painting brushes. That way I will always know they’re clean (and where they are.) (And if they wind up in the freezer or in the “workshop” wrapped in Saran for six months I won’t be able to blame him–which is a good a way to keep a marriage! :)

    So sorry about the hinges. I hope the doors close for you!

  9. Ouch. I feel your pain. We never painted kitchen cabinets, but with all the painted furniture disasters,I think I have a pretty good idea of what that would be like. HGTV and DIY have deceived us all… these things ARE hard!

  10. @lsaspacey: Jeff does that too with the paint! There’s always these huge ridges where he pressed too hard with the roller edge.

    @Linda, I wish I had more concrete advice on how to do it the RIGHT way.. but I do wish you much more luck with your project than I had!

    @Alana, I think separate brushes = saved marraiges :)

    @Liz, you’re totally right, watching HGTV and then doing your own home improvement is a bit like watching ER and thinking, “Hmm, that looks easy. Maybe tonight I’ll do a kidney transplant. And if that goes well, after that I’ll try open heart surgery!”

  11. […] of course, because this is the project from hell, we realized that one of the cabinet doors we needed did NOT get painted and one of the doors we […]

  12. I love your blog,I have always wanted to do what you are doing , I love older homes.
    I especially love how your deck looks ,the chippy grey blue stain and wicker how nice, I will be back.

  13. Thanks Chris and welcome! I’m glad you like our chippy deck, I love it too even though everyone else thought it was too shabby when I posted about it. I still think I’m keeping it though :)

  14. Uh oh, I just let my painter convince me to repaint our kitchen cabinets. Bright white. He just finished the first coat. I better skedaddle over there with my own paint and have him go at it with that…thanks for the heads up.

  15. I have learned most of these lessons the hard way too. I now have a secret stash of paint brushes and small tools so that my honey won’t use them. ;-)

  16. Sounds like you had a horrific encounter!There are all sorts of websites that give step by step instruction on painting cabinets.My husband is a perfectionist and never loses brushes -that would be me.

  17. I am exactly where you were! He is cursing chipping the painted cabinets and now that we are finally putting them back up None of them are closing properly. I HATE THIS OLD HOUSE! Countless priming and painting coats )48 cabinets and draws)Sounds to good to be true HA!
    Anyonw interested in buying this 100+ year old house on Staten Island in NYC? We are getting ready to sell it after 21 years of nothing ever being Normal.This is not a weekend job

  18. haha, thanks for the offer Marie, but one old house is about all I can handle! Good luck with your cabinets!!

  19. […] Read How not to Paint Kitchen Cabinets at Becoming Home, for a grim foreshadowing of what happens if you skip steps. I hope you enjoy it […]

  20. […] Read How not to Paint Kitchen Cabinets at Becoming Home, for a grim foreshadowing of what happens if you skip steps. I hope you enjoy it […]

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