DIY kitchen cabinet resurfacing

cabinet resurfacing


Notice I didn’t call this easy or lazy DIY? Because there was definitely some sweat put into this!

However, this project was actually easier than I thought. My dad owns a few apartment buildings and he “hired me” aka, pitied me, as I am a teacher and had NOTHING to do this summer (and no source of income)…  to paint and prepare one of his small one-bedroom apartments for a new tenant. I relished the opportunity to get off my butt and quit stalking Pinterest/ Buzzfeed/ sloth videos/ typing “How can you…” into Google just to see the weird shit people wonder about..

I painted the whole apartment first and my dad was so impressed that he asked me to re-do the cabinets. Mind you, I really had no idea what I was doing. This surely wasn’t the professional way to do it but it worked and looked great.

There were these dated, dirty oak cabinets c.1986 that needed to be sanded and re-painted so instead of renting a sprayer or anything like that, I did it the old fashioned way – clean, sand, paint then seal!

Notes: This will work on real wood cabinetry (not laminate)

This whole thing took me about 15 hours over 4 days.

Cost: believe it or not technically this didn’t cost me a dime! We had the Paint  ($16), foam roller ($3), brushes, power drill, drop cloths, and sander already. The lacquer was $14 but to be honest I actually didn’t even use it. It’s recommended to seal the cabinets with it however so I included it in my directions.


power drill to remove then re-install screws and hardware
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges to really get the oils and crap off the surfaces
rags to wipe cabinets down
drop cloths to lay the cabinets down on. You also can use sawhorses but I didn’t have these available.
microfiber/foam paint roller (I think mine was 4″)
hand-held power sander with 120 or so grit sandpaper
cabinet/ countertop paint- definitely something with GLOSS. I used a semi-gloss trim paint.
clear lacquer to seal everything in
new handles and knobs if you really want to update your look


cabinets before

1. Remove the cabinets carefully- don’t strip the screws! You’ll be screwed!
2. Clean the surfaces really well- I used a Mr. Clean Sponge aka THE BEST GODDAMN CLEANING TOOL IN THE WORLD

3. Sand ALL surfaces you will paint with a 120 sander – I used a handheld rotary one.
Note: you don’t have to strip the wood of all that old stain. You essentially just rough up the wood (as it was nice oak underneath)
4. “Cut in” the edges and corners with a paintbrush. This is important: push hard to really cover the surfaces with paint.

remove those puppies

remove those puppies

5. I painted one coat with a wide paintbrush in order to “fill” the grainy gaps and make sure the white was really pushed into the wood:

many coats with the roller!

many coats with the roller!

cabinets during

6. Use a small 4″ roller to roll the paint on! You will probably need to do a bunch of coats (I did 3 but it dried very quickly in between so it didn’t take long)
7. Let dry 24 hours at least
8. Because cabinets see a lot of wear and tear, you need to seal them up with lacquer. Follow instructions on the lacquer for best results.
9. Re-attach the cabinets after they are COMPLETELY dry.
10. Install new fixtures (handles and knobs)

and voila! New cabinets!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s