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Kitchen Cabinets – Painting Tips

Final Gratification

This is what everyone always want to do first - paint. It is really the second to last step in the process. The application of paint is an art. Most people that I watch paint do a miserable job. Why? Because they were never really taught. They think that anyone can do it. Well, anyone can do it, but not necessarily well!

Let's do the doors and drawer fronts first. We can really make up some time with these articles first.

If you are using oil based paint, you will need two brushes: a 1.5 inch and a 2 inch wide brush. Buy the 1.5 inch one as a tapered brush. Be sure they are china bristle or a synthetic fiber brush that is suitable for oil! If you use water based paints, NO china bristle brushes! You will ruin them with the water. It swells the natural hair bristles.

Oh yes, we also need a roller pan and a small 2 or 3 inch wide fine nap roller. What? You are confused? You mean to tell me that you have never used a small roller to apply trim paint? See what I mean by everyone thinking they could paint....! Come on now, don't go away angry....
We are going to use the roller to apply the paint on any flat surface which will accept paint from the roller. The brush is used to smooth the paint after it is applied.

Painting Doors

Raised panel doors should be painted from the inside out. In other words, paint the flat center area first. Then paint the beveled areas of the raised panel. Finish the outer frame last. Detailing is everything. See where one piece of wood joins another? Those are the same places that brush strokes should end and begin. Speaking of brush strokes, do you know how to avoid them on long pieces of wood work? It is easy.

You avoid brush strokes by working from an unpainted area towards an area that was just painted. The final brush stroke is towards the painted area. Just as you finish the stroke you gently lift the brush off the surface while your arm is still moving. You will see the lift off mark for a few moments, but if you have a great self leveling paint, it will disappear! As soon as the door is painted, set it flat on a can or some other surface that is smaller than the door. This will allow you to get all edges painted. It will also reduce the risk of runs in case you put too much paint on. If you set the door on the floor, on paper, etc. the paint at the edges will stick and cause a big mess.

Drawers - A Piece of Cake

Paint the drawers in the same fashion. Set them on end to allow the paint to dry. Try not to get too much paint inside the knob or handle holes. If you do, remove the paint with toothpicks as soon as possible.

Let's talk about open time for a moment. High gloss paints require that you keep a wet edge. If you try to paint too large an area and the paint starts to set, you will have problems when you try to blend the fresh paint to the drying paint. Flat wall and ceiling paints are very forgiving. If you are used to this, you had better get ready for a BIG surprise. Paint one door or one drawer from start to finish. Don't try to get an assembly line going with that roller. Cover the roller pan or brush with aluminum foil to minimize exposure to air if you are worried about the paint drying.

Paint Indoors or in a Garage

Paint the doors and drawers in a covered area. Avoid direct sunlight and breezes. You will find it easier to keep the before mentioned 'wet edge'.

Cabinet Frames - Gravy!!

The cabinet frame is a cinch. Use the roller on the flat fronts. Use that tapered brush for all tight spots and cutting in against walls and countertops. Remember, no brush strokes!

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