Restoration Tips and Tricks

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets For Painting

The first steps to properly painting kitchen cabinets are the most important steps. What you do with prep work will determine your outcome.

Cleaning and sanding is a step you do not want to skip. Would you serve a beautiful home cooked meal on dirty plates? Would you take your car to get repainted by a place advertising there’s no need to wash your car before repainting it? The answer is an astonishing Hell NO!

Steps to Prepping

1. Cleaning, Furniture and especially kitchen cabinets get nasty gross. Between dust dirty hands and fingers. You need more that a baby wipe to clean that up. Make sure the cleaner you are using doesn’t leave a residue. That residue will stay on the wood and may react to your paint adhering. I use 50/50 denatured alcohol and water with a scotch pad.

TIP: The best way to test if you cleaner leaves a residue is spray it on glass do not wipe, let dry. Once dry rub your hands on the glass and see if there is a residue.

Cleaning Supplies

2. Sanding, Sanding creates small scuff marks on the existing finish so your paint has something to adhere to.

Defects Found After Sanding

In addition scuffing also helps removing imperfections. Naturally stained wood hides a lot of imperfections. Once you paint wood a solid color those imperfections jump out. Scuffing will help.

See our list here for recommend products. 

Here are some failed painting projects from improper prep work
Unknown Reaction After Painting
Bleed Through After Painting
Paint Pealing (improper prep work)

So if you are still with me and really want to know how to paint your kitchen or furniture you can download my eBooks on the proper way to do it. We get more in-depth on prepping and priming. Even how to eliminate bleed through. This ebook was written by me with 20 years experience in refinishing and my BFF Pro Kitchen Painter Jessica.

Take a look at a recent kitchen done by Kaleidoscope Interiors


Hope this has swayed you towards some good hard work. If it has turned you away give your money to a small business, but do your research and make sure they are a reputable company. They should have a Facebook page, instagram, website. Ask them what their refinishing process is. If their process isn’t exactly like mine it doesn’t mean they don’t do quality work it just means they have a system that works for them. Their system should include cleaning and sanding in some form.

Thank you for reading,

Tara Lou

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Tara Lou
<p>19 years ago, I started my path in furniture by preserving antique furniture, and restoring furniture after home disasters. More recently I have started working with clients to revive their furniture to todays fashions. When I’m not chipping my nails flipping furniture I am out with my kids hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening or hiking.</p>

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