I have been slowly painting all my orange oak builder's grade orange oak trim and doors white. It's taken a while because of life being really busy with the kid's activities and actually having a job I have to work at as well. I've been putting off the kitchen cabinets for a while now. I finally decided one day I was going to start and knowing that once I started sanding, there would be no going back. This is precise reason I rarely have any before pictures because I just take a piece and start sanding or painting making myself get started. I do have some pictures so you get the idea of what it looked like before but not those perfect before and after pics that are the exact picture at the exact angle. Oh well, I think you'll get the idea when you take a look.
The first thing I did was to take all the upper doors off the hinges. I removed the hinges and even the screws to set aside to spray paint. I wanted to save as much money as possible on this project so I reused all the hardware except the brass and porcelain handles. You can use a hand held screw driver and manually take all the handles and hinges off but I used my husband's DeWalt drill and it cut down the time tremendously. You just have to be careful. The drill was pretty high powered and it can easily strip the screw or bore the head out if you're aren't careful. I took the screws out and punched them into a shoe box to paint the tops. The rest of the screw will be in the cabinet so it doesn't really matter what color they are. I used Rustoleum Stain Nickel spray that I got at Menards. I have used this paint before and I love it! It's very durable and the head on it works so well to grip. I also used it on the hinges. I did all the spray painting first. Don't spray paint around your cabinet doors, you'll have nickel specks. I did this outside in the grass on the paper and it dries very quickly.
For the hinges, I just rolled out some of my daughter's craft paper and laid the hinges out and spray painted them. These are actually my door hinges in my house but I wanted to show you a picture of what I did. What I learned is that you have to not only do both sides, you also have to bend the hinges so you get the inside or it will be striped. These were brass when I started. They seem to be holding up well with the opening and closing of hinges. I only had to use one coat of spray paint on them.
The next step was to sand all the cabinet doors. Since they are pretty detailed, it was hard to get the edges inside the grooves sanded. As you can tell, my teenagers were more than thrilled to be sanding. They each had an electric sander so the job went pretty quickly. I think they stayed and sanded for about 3 hours that afternoon then helped some here and there along the way. I believe they wanted to go to the movies with friends that night so I figured their time was worth $40. Our Maggie dog got in on some of the action too but only got a measly dog bone for her efforts.
I got my sander last fall at Home Depot. It's the Rigid Sander 2.4 1/4 sheet. You will need to get at least two different kinds of sandpaper, one that is more coarse and one that is smoother. Start sanding with the rough paper to take the finish of your cabinets then finish with the smoother paper to make it as smooth as a babie's tush. It works really well if you do several doors at a time with the rough sandpaper then go through and use the smooth paper so you aren't constantly changing the paper.
Once the doors are all sanded, the painting fun began. For these oak doors, it took three coats of paint. I used Duraclean Dutchboy paint from Menards in a Satin finish. I wanted to be able to clean it but didn't want a high gloss since they are supposed to look somewhat rustic. I used a 2" brush with an angled edge. It's my preference to use an angled edge but a regular high quality brush would work. I wouldn't skimp on the brush type for this project. The cheap brushes tend to loose their bristles and you don't want that on your cabinet doors. I would paint most of the fronts of the cabinet doors then move to the backs by flipping them over after a few hours. I didn't use any kind of special paint or anything expensive to paint them, just painted off white paint on them.
They looked really nice at this point but they were too white to match my off white appliances and I wanted a more custom look.
I played with some brown wax and clear wax and this is what I ended up with, (the cabinet on the left). I really liked it but it was too brown for the look I wanted. I just painted my walls gray and this wasn't going to look right at all. I knew I liked the custom look better than just white so I went back to the drawing board. I tried some black wax and that made the cabinets look gray and dingy.
The brown waxed cabinet door trial. I had rubber gloves on and just dipped a fingertip of rag into the brown wax and smoothed it just along the edges.
I have tried different finishes on different pieces of furniture. I have tried stains, glazes, chalk paint, and waxes. The trick with white finishes is finding something that is durable that isn't going to turn your white paint yellow. Many products such as polyurathane will do exactly that. I saw this wax in the paint section of Wal-mart a couple of years ago and thought I'd see how it compares to the others I've tried. I noticed it was pretty runny compared to what I've used in the past. Waxes can be kind of sticky once your piece is finished but I trudged on trying to find the perfect finish.
I wish I had taken pictures of the technique I used to distress the doors but I didn't. I had rubber glocves on. I took my sander and barely sanded some of the edges of details of the doors. They were bare wood when I did this. I took a cloth that idn't fuzzy at all. You don't want little pieces of fuzz in the paint. I dipped just a fingertip of the rag in black paint. It was chalk paint I had made myself. DIY Chalk Paint Recipe. I smoothed the black paint very thinly on the details barely touching the cabinet so you could see it a little darker in places and a little lighter in places. I then put the Americana clear wax on another cloth pretty thick and went over the black paint spreading the paint out in a straight line, meaning following the edge of the cabinet. Do not go in circles or cross wise, it will ruin the look. I then spread the wax out all along the face of the door making sure the wax went everywhere. Don't do this too think or it will look globby, that's a word right?
This picture probably shows the details the best. They have very little black on them but just enough to accentuate the details of the door. If you like a perfectly smooth cabinet door, the wax will not be an option for you. They have a little rough texture just like a chalk paint would on a piece of furniture. I kind of like that finish though since kitchens are never completely clean. It seems to hide some of the fingerprints and little spills here and there.
Here are the uppers when I finished them. I love the handles but couldn't wait to get the drawers done to see how the drawer pulls looked with the handles.
Here is the finished kitchen. As you can see, my island is a different color. I went from having a red kitchen/dining/living room to light gray. I was so tired of all the oak that I didn't want to become tired of all the white so I went with a different color for the island with the same handles/pulls. I almost painted the island turquoise but know myself all too well. I'd probably get tired of it and change it in a few years. At least with the black and white, I can change the paint color in the kitchen and not have to do the cabinets again since they are a neutral color.
We still need to get the flooring done. That's our next project.
We are also going to change out the countertops. I'm thinking will do DIY concrete countertops but I'm not sure if I'm that brave yet. My husband can make the frames for the countertops, I just need to practice with the concrete first.
The floors are going to be a dark, rich color. We need to find a window when we'll be home for 3-4 days to get that done. We are doing baseball and softball right now, so maybe at the end of the month.
Here are the handles I picked out. I bought them at Home Depot. I actually bought one of each and decided I was going to keep them so I ordered the rest online. They wouldn't have had that many in stock. The handle has some really nice detail in it and I think it goes great with the rustic look!
They aren't made from the same company but when I held them up to compare them, the nickel finishes were exactly the same and they looked really good together!
Here are my kitchen cabinets completely finished. I stayed up until 11:00 that night to take this picture because I couldn't wait to share it with you all! I LOVE MY KITCHEN NOW! I can't tell you in pictures how much brighter and alive my kitchen looks! I'm so excited how it turned out. Feel free to share if you like the progress of my kitchen and ask questions about any technique I used.