This week I’m sharing how to paint oak cabinets and hide the grain! I’ve been hard at work prepping the cabinets for paint, and I’m sharing the whole process with you today!
I’m sharing how to paint oak cabinets and hide the grain to give a smooth finish! After we purchased our new home I knew that I wanted to give the cabinets a makeover by painting them – and I’ve discovered a great method to do that successfully!
Thank you to my sponsor Sherwin Williams for providing the paint for my kitchen makeover!
Affiliate links are used for your convenience. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my links.
We are in week 5 of the One Room Challenge, and there is only 1 week left to complete this makeover! This week the pressure is on to wrap up all my projects for the reveal. Time sure does fly when you only have 6 weeks to remodel a kitchen!
WEEK 1 | WEEK 2 | WEEK 3 | WEEK 4 | WEEK 5 | WEEK 6
Painting Cabinets Yourself Saves Money
When asking around for a ballpark figure for hiring professional painters to paint kitchen cabinets, I was pretty shocked at the numbers! It ranged from $2K to $3K, and you’d be displaced from the kitchen for some time.
Since we didn’t have that much room in our renovation budget, I knew I’d have to take matters into my own hands and paint them myself. I’m no stranger to painting furniture and cabinets so I was confident I could complete this project myself.
RELATED: WEATHERED WOOD PAINTED BED MAKEOVER
Last year I painted our kitchen cabinets in our last home and had good results, and it totally changed the whole look and feel of our kitchen! When you combine painted cabinets with some new modern hardware, you get magic! I knew that some hard work and paint would totally transform our kitchen.
- Tack cloth
- 80 Grit Sandpaper or Sanding Blocks
- Find Grit Sandpaper or Sanding Blocks
- Krud Kutter
- Towel or Rag
- Spackling Compound
- Putty Knife
- Foam Paint roller
- Painter’s Tape
- Oil Based Primer
- Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel
How To Paint Oak Cabinets And Hide The Grain
When I first did some research about how to paint oak cabinets white, I found quite a few good resources. One of my favorite tutorials I found is from Nina Hendrick – and she has some amazing tips and tricks in her post that I have been using!
I really wanted to paint the cabinets white while hiding the grain and achieving a beautiful smooth that would last. In order to do that there are a few steps involved including sanding, filling the grain, sanding again, priming, sanding (are you seeing a trend here?), priming, and 2-3 coats of paint. It’s not a quick and easy process, but the results are worth it!
Remove All The Doors And Hinges And Label Them
First I started by removing the doors from the cabinets and labeling the hinges and doors. I placed a small piece of painter’s tape inside each opening behind where the hinge goes and labeled it with “T” for top (uppers) and a number for the order of the cabinets.
Then I placed painter’s tape over the hinge screws, keeping the small screws in place (for easy access when putting the hinges back on) and labeled them in the same way. I learned that labeling hinges can be a huge time saver in the end – and I learned that the hard way!
In our last kitchen I didn’t label any of the old 1960’s exposed hinges because I gave them a good cleaning to bring back some shine. In the end I had a really hard time getting some of the hinges to fit on some of the doors, because some of them were “bent” in a certain way that would only fit on one certain cabinet door. UGH. It was a frustrating process, so I vowed to label everything this time!
Cleaning And Sanding
Then I cleaned the bases and doors with Krud Kutter to remove any dirt and residue, and de-gloss the surface. This is an important step to help your paint adhere to the surface! You don’t want any dust or grease spots to keep your paint from sticking to your doors, because then you’ll have peeling paint later.
Next I sanded the bases and doors with an 80 grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface. You can use a handheld sander or just a standard sanding block for this step.
I personally prefer sanding blocks because they get into the corners easily and I don’t have to deal with the loud noise and my arm feeling like it is going numb 😉 I didn’t wipe off the sanding dust and just left it on the surface for my next step.
Filling In The Grain
After sanding I used a putty knife to add this spackling to the wood to fill in the wood grain. I added light coats scraping against the flow of the grain to get it into all the wood grain crevices. After I had a thin layer I would lightly scrape most of it off with the putty knife so I could see the filled grain peeking through.
The spackling goes on pink and is dry when it turns white, so you know when it’s time to move on to the next step – which is sanding off the excess spackling. After sanding it down lightly I would rub my hand over the surface to feel if it was smooth before using tack cloth to clean the surface.
If I felt some rough spots when rubbing my hand over the surface I would sand that spot again until it felt smooth. You want a smooth surface for a clean looking cabinet! Then make sure to use your tack cloth a couple times to make sure the surface is free of dust. This step is important because you don’t want dust to get mixed in with your primer and paint which will make it gritty and not smooth.
Priming Is Important
Next it is time for primer! Primer really sticks to the surface and creates a barrier, so this step is so important! You want to add at least 1-2 coats of oil based primer (at lease 2 coats if you are painting them white) to make sure you have a great base for your paint. It is ideal to sand in between coats of primer for a smooth surface.
It is easier to paint your cabinet doors when they are on risers like these ones. I have used little Dixie cups in the past, however they only last for a few uses before they start bending and have to be thrown out.
I applied the primer with a brush and 6 inch foam roller, making sure to roll over the brushed sections on the flat areas to create a smooth surface. During this step it is important to check for drips or “pooling” in the corners and smooth it with your paintbrush. After the second coat of primer has dried it is finally time to paint!
Now is the best part – painting cabinets! I love painting so much, so when this step finally came along I was so happy! I used a paint brush to apply the Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel Paint from Sherwin Williams onto the cabinet bases and cabinet doors.
For the cabinet doors I used a paint brush to apply it to the grooves and places where a roller wouldn’t reach first, and then went over the flat areas with a 6 inch foam roller. You’ll want to check again for drips and paint “pooling” in the corners before you let it dry.
I found that this urethane trim enamel paint went on super smooth, and had amazing coverage! After 2 coats it looks amazing – I am SO impressed with this paint! The paint colors I used from Sherwin Williams were Pure White on the upper cabinets, and Pewter Green on the lower cabinets. These colors work SO well together and I’m so excited with how it turned out!
This One Room Challenge has been just that – a big challenge that took lots of time and energy – but the results are AMAZING! It’s such a rush to finally see the results after working so hard on a kitchen remodel. Stay tuned for my final reveal!