I’ve waited a long time to write this post because I wanted to be able to share the full experience of painting cabinets without sanding or a sprayer before I shared my tips. I’ve now painted three sets of cabinets using this technique, one being over a year ago in our guest bathroom, our kitchen cabinets a little over six months ago, and more recently the cabinets for our laundry room update. There are tons of tutorials for painting cabinets and many different ways of doing it, however, this is what I have done. (post contains affiliate links, see disclosure)
Our kitchen is still a work in progress and this is just phase one of the makeover. However, painting the cabinets a bright white made such a difference! I can’t wait to get new appliances, countertops, and add a backsplash. But for now, just painting the cabinets was a very affordable makeover.
PAINTING CABINETS WITHOUT SANDING OR A SPRAYER
- Rust-oleum Transformations Paint Kit in Pure White
- (3) 2-inch brushes
- microfiber cloth
- paint risers/stands
- 220 sanding block
- Take the cabinets doors off of the hinges and remove drawers. Then, remove all of the hardware including hinges, pull, and knobs. Because I did all of my cabinets in small sections, I didn’t number them. However, if I was doing all of my kitchen cabinets at once, I would number all the cabinets and drawers with a small piece of tape and keep a diagram of where they all go.
- Clean off the surface of each cabinet and drawer with a multi-purpose cleaner. If there is a lot of grease build-up, be sure to get it all off.
- Next, use the Deglosser, gloves, and green sponge that came with the kit. The Deglosser will take the glossy finish off of the cabinets. This is an important step and is what allows you to skip the sanding. Always start with the back of the cabinet, let it dry for an hour or so and then flip to the front and repeat. Wipe off any excess with a microfiber cloth.
- Then, using a 2-inch brush I added 2 coats of primer. Because my cabinets were such a dark color, I decided to use a primer before I started the Bonding coat. Doing it this way cut the cost down because I wasn’t having to use a lot of the Rustoleum product. Again, I started on the back of the cabinet, let it dry, and then flipped to the front.
- Next, using another 2-inch brush, I started on the Bonding coat. And again, following the same process as the primer. Start painting in the inside corners, then one direction in the center. Allow drying about 3 hours before starting on the next coat. For each cabinet, I did 2 coats, sometimes 3 if I missed a few spots. Try to avoid double brushing.
- After the Bonding step, I skipped the glaze and let the cabinets dry overnight.
- Then, I applied the Protective Top Coat. Again, I applied a thin layer using another 2-inch brush. Avoid over-brushing or going over the same area twice.
- For each step on the cabinets and drawers, I repeated the process on my cabinet frames and sides.
- I let everything dry for 24-48 hours and reattached the hinges, pulls, and re-installed the cabinets.
I followed all of the steps in the kit almost exactly. However, after doing this so many times, I’ve learned a lot of tips along the way. Believe it or not, the 2-inch brush that Rust-oleum suggests actually is the best. It does take a little bit longer, but you can’t really see brush strokes or lines in the cabinets. I tried a sponge roller, a very smooth nap roller, and even a regular roller. They all left a texture on the cabinets that I didn’t like.
Multiple light coats work best, instead of a few heavy coats. If there is any build-up of paint or texture showing through, use 220 sandpaper to smooth out and wipe with a cloth before applying the next coat. The texture that appears in the beginning, disappears as more layers are added.
Wait to paint the edges until you are working on the front sides. This way if there are any drips from excess paint, the drips will be on the back of the cabinets instead of the front. Also, keep paint brushes from drying out between steps by putting them in a Ziploc bag and placing them in the fridge.
I personally thought this kit was great for painting cabinets without sanding or a sprayer. It’s very affordable and easy to use. I’ve only purchased 2 kits and it was enough to complete a bathroom cabinet, my whole kitchen, and our laundry room. I also love that the Pure White color matches the white I’ve already used throughout our whole house.