Paint Your Dark Cabinets……..don’t be afraid because The Purple Painted Lady is here to help you!
Here is a photo from our customer Loretta McKinley who painted her dark black cabinets with Coco Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan and used dark wax.
Below are a couple of links to full length tutorial and intense information for painting your cabinets. The videos are literally like taking a workshop with The purple Painted Lady, but …..instead they are free.
After having my shop for 8 years and have helped literally, thousands of people transform their dark cabinets to something lighter, brighter and fresh…. all of us at The Purple Painted Lady are here to help you too!
I know the feeling – it is almost like depression when you walk into a room of your home that is dark and that you do not like. How long are you going to live like that? There is no reason to not change it because:
- it’s affordable! For an average size kitchen, you can purchase your product and tools to transform it for under $300!
- it’s okay to paint wood…especially if you do not like it! Life is short…eat the cake! But more importantly, painted cabinets are more appealing during resale.
- you will be happier living in your space….and why shouldn’t you like where you live?
TIPS to think about before beginning any cabinet painting project:
• Become familiar with your painting technique. If painting cabinets is new to you, consider painting a small piece of furniture first to get used to applying both the paint and wax. It can also be helpful to have a small scrap piece of wood available in your workspace as a surface on which to test each step of your process before proceeding to the cabinets.
• If you are painting with a custom color, be sure to mix enough paint for the entire job.
• Paint in the way the cabinet doors are constructed. If the doors are typical five-piece construction, paint the center panel first and then proceed to the rails and stiles, using the brush to create a nice line where the rail joins the stile. Use even brush strokes and don’t overload the brush with paint. When painting the rails and stiles, start painting on the outer edges and work your way in towards the center panel to avoid excess paint pooling where the panel joins the other components.
• To help ensure a consistent look, complete each step of your finish across all of your cabinets before proceeding to the next.
Now, we have a bunch of posts here on our website sharing tips and tricks and instructions on how to paint your cabinets, but this week we decided to share some real life video! So, catch us on our YOUTUBE channel while we paint the cabinets shown below with Old White Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.
Video ONE (this contains the nest tools to be using, how to prep properly, and first coat application)
Video TWO (this contains tips for applying a second coat and your first coat of wax) Jump to the 14 minute marker to skip some of the review if you are not a patient person. LOL
PAINTING OVER THERMAFOIL?:
We have a wonderful technical director at Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan headquarters. She shared with us,
“The subject of painting over Thermo-Foil or other types of foil-finished cabinets comes up often. I know some of you do it and it may look good for awhile, but I really have to discourage you from doing so. These foil finishes are very sensitive to heat and moisture which can cause the foil to peel away, taking any paint finish with it. Also, paints of any kind will not bond to these materials and can eventually chip and scratch from normal wear and tear. I spoke last month at the Surface & Panel Symposium in Milwaukee which was attended by prominant printers, foilers, and cabinet manufacturers in the US and Canada. I made a point of asking various ones if their surfaces could be painted and their answer was a resounding NO. The good news is they are working on a paintable version to address the needs of the design community. The bad news … engineered cabinets with foil finishes is the future. They are being produced in various wood patterns, colors, and texture, and they truly amaze the eye and the hand. While we have been used to seeing foil finishes in white or beige applied as a sheet over solid doors, I saw it being applied to the individual components … center panels, rails, and stiles … for the more classic 5-piece constructed doors. They are making great strides in the stability of these finishes so heat and moisture problems will be a thing of the past. I believe it will be in our best interest to stress to customers that Chalk Paint® is a wonderful option … for wood and the occasional laminate cabinets.
KITCHEN CABINET PROJECT STEPS Using Annie Sloan Products
This is a high level of the order on what to do…so, make sure to still read the individual instructions for paint and wax for detailed info!
1. Remove cabinet doors and number them. (Some people will paint the doors while still hanging. I don’t…but you can if you want to)
2. Remove hardware (Have an old home? – I leave the hardware in that cabinet’s cavity in a plastic bag so to know which door it goes to- keeping screws with their original hardware and doors is helpful.) Numbering cabinets can be helpful too.
3. CLEAN! Lightly Sand ONLY if you already have product or “stuff” on your cabinet that causes bumps or serious imperfections that you do not like. Spray Krud Kutter on a rag and wipe down doors –- THEN=> Using a fresh rag that is moisten with fresh water….wipe the doors thoroughly down again! <= THAT IS AN IMPORTANT STEP …allow dry time -maybe 30 minutes? Use a Scotch Brite pad if excessively dirty OR have loose paint. Denatured Alcohol or TSP can also be used, but thoroughly rinse with clean water afterward (always rinse with fresh water no matter your cleaner.)
4. IF changing the hole orientation with new hardware – Fill holes from old hardware with wood filler and sand once it is dry.
5. Drill new hole locations.
6. If you need to use shellac…use new Zinsser Bullseye Clears Shellac (spray or brush/rub on) on and allow dry time- 2 thin, uniform coats are best. If you used wood filler you will probably HAVE TO shellac the doors. Lightly sand with 200 grit. Do not break through shellac. NOTE! Most times you do NOT need to use shellac! => So, do a test by applying Chalk Paint® without shellac on one door that is seen the least,….if you have no bleeding of tannin- skip this “sealing” step. If you get bleeding after 1st coat of chalk paint®- apply shellac over paint once dry. NEVER apply shellac over wax! I like to apply shellac with a rag- NOT a brush.
7. NOW the fun part…..PAINT! We love to use the Annie Sloan 2” Flat Brush. (https://shop.thepurplepaintedlady.com/Chalk-Paint-Flat-Brush-Large-by-Annie-Sloan_p_174.html) If painting the backs of the door- which I always do even with just one coat- paint backs first, and finish them all the way to completion using your top coat. Always “practice painting” and apply wax on the back of the doors before starting the fronts- which are the most important side of the doors, right? Want a smoother finish- thin your paint with a little water. Maybe 20%? (Paint most likely 2 coats…could be three depending on color and technique) Apply first coat and wait 24 hours…..if possible.
APPLYING THE SECOND COAT: I will often use my Fine Mist Spray Bottle (https://shop.thepurplepaintedlady.com/Fine-Mist-Sprayers-10-oz-Clear–Great-To-Use-When-Applying-a-Wash_p_883.html) filled with water. I lightly mist the dried paint and then immediately apply my second coat. This light mist of water acts like a slip coat and makes painting the second coat easier and smoother. Always allow ample dry time. Always end painting a section with a clean finishing stroke from end to end.
8. Again…the number of coats is dependent on desired look – LIGHT sanding the surface after 2nd coat with 220 or higher grit sandpaper will create a smoother finish -ONLY IF DESIRED…but this is not required. Stay away from the edges if you do not want to break thru the paint to show base cabinet.
9. WANT A WORN DISTRESSED LOOK? Distress edges and corners of cabinets with sandpaper …then blow dust off! I do this outside in the garage or outside if nice weather.
10. Top coat the cabinets using Clear Wax (2 coats is optimal – (follow our wax instructions!!!) Make sure you can glide your hand on the wax surface after removing excess wax. If using Dark Wax or making a glaze – apply after 1st or 2nd coat of clear wax. Try using Annie’s FINE Sanding Pad on the wax surface after it has cured to get a shinier finish- use with GENTLE pressure. Dark Wax is the last step of your whole project. Unless you are using Metallic Gilding Wax to embellish details- then the gilding goes on last.
INTERESTED IN USING A SPRAYER FOR YOUR CHALK PAINT® in Liters?:
If using a Fuji Q4 Platinum sprayer – here are a few things learned be a fellow stockist:
1. They used a 1.3 mm tip and have changed to a 1.8 mm tip since they found it works much better. Because the paint is a lot thicker you will definitely need different tips than you were using with the paint that was packaged in quarts”
2. Warming the paint helps and thinning with warm water also works. Thinning about 10%.
3. Having my shop and doors heated to about 70 degrees makes a difference.
4. Also playing around with the sprayers spray pattern settings was needed.
Winter is here and so are the days of static electricity and dryness. This not only causes us to get a shock when we slide our feet across a carpet, but we get that dry tight skin feeling…and also……. “I’ve painted my kitchen cabinets and now the paint has cracked around the center panel.” Here is a post to understand why this happens and how to help prevent it!
Hop on over to HERE to read my post about the effects of winter and humid summers on painted cabinets,.
Here is a topic you may not really think about – Kitchen Cabinets-(or wood panels) and the effects of dry winter air and also – the reverse- humidity over summer has on them. It is not a widespread issue, and in fact- most people will not have this problem~ but I want to address it and talk about how to avoid it.
Most importantly- keep in mind- that this issue that may happen during the winter months- will not be an issue once the warmer and more humid air returns.
Ok- on with my post:
First- when buying a classic 5 piece constructed cabinet door- if you can inquire if the wood used has been kiln dried- that should be your preference. The center panel of a classic 5 piece constructed cabinet door is designed to float and is not glued to the stiles or rails. This is to allow for normal shrinkage and expansion of the woods, and it also prevents the center panel from cracking. The amount of humidity in your home will influence shrinkage and expansion. So, let me just preface that depending on where you live in the world and the type of weather you experience ~ humidifiers and dehumidifiers in your home are important.
You may have seen a cabinet door where the paint may have cracked slightly.
Depending on where you live in the United States, during the winter months- the lack of humidity – causing dry air is an issue. Hot, humid summers can be just as much of an issue too. (although I am fantasizing about warm weather at the moment since it is cold here in NY.)
The winter weather – causes the dry winter air to leech moisture out of anything leaving your skin as dry and cracked as a salt flat and your sinuses as parched as the Sahara in summer.
The dry air also contributes to that jarring static shock that practically propels you across the room every time you pet the cat.
Having significant differences in humidity levels in your home through the four seasons, over time- will effect everything. In my old 1880’s home, when we bought the house back in 2003, it had one of those very old oil furnaces. The furnace looked like an octopus and was very inefficient. It also, did not have a humidifier. After we had it removed and installed a gas, high efficiency furnace that had a built in humidifier – my husband set the humidifier to 50%. This caused many things to improve. Our skin was not nearly as dry, I would no longer get shocked when I pet my dog. But the evidence of the years of dry air through winter, and sticky humid summers remained. One example of this is left visible in some of the wood doors. The closet door in my kitchen entrance in fact has a crack down the center of one panel where it bowed slightly due to humidity making it swell.
Some of the doors on the second level of the house- have these cracks too. The wood panels would expand and contract depending due to the level of humidity, and sometimes- that causes cracks over time. Think about it, in NY during the winter- humidity could be as low as 20%. In the summer, there are unbearable times we experience humidity that is 90% or higher. That expansion and contraction effects wood, and the paint on top of it.
So, the wood kitchen cabinets that are painted may show the signs of this situation. The paint is not the problem, but rather evidence that there is this issue.
Again- it is not totally the way you heat your home, but rather the lack of a humidifier- which puts moisture back into the dry winter air – which most of the newest gas furnaces do have.
This same issue can be the result of not having a dehumidifier over the hot, moist summer months.
I would recommend that you proactively manage this as best as possible. Consider getting a Relative Humidity Monitor and measure the level of humidity in your home. I think you can pick one up for $11 at any of the big box stores. There are more expensive ones, but our is just a basic elementary dial indicator and it works fine. It is important that you understand humidity levels should be kept at a reasonable rate (between 40 or 60%.)
This Old House, the television show and magazine has a great post where Norm explains why this happens….again the focus is that no moisture because of heat and winter weather is the culprit. Click HERE to read it.
Rose Wilde, another Annie Sloan stockist here in the United States advised, “One way to prevent this from happening is to score the paint and glaze along that line before and after the paint drys. This way you have the separation that will not be as much of an issue down the road.”
I read on-line from Thomas Richard at “TRS Designs” Pro;
“Your kitchen designer should be advising you of this fact, but he/she should not be discouraging you.
What they are describing is, in fact, quite normal and will occur on all cabinet lines from the least to the most expensive. Real wood, like most materials, will expand and contract with changes in humidity levels. Since cabinetry doors are comprised of multiple pieces of wood, with the grain running in different directions, these boards expand and contract at different rates. This movement is called humidification and can be quite extreme, depending on several factors, the major ones being your local climate and the actual HVAC system in your home. When you paint a real wood door, the paint hardens and then when the wood moves, the paint can develop visible lines or cracks at the seams of the cabinet doors. These ‘cracks’ may be more noticeable on “stile and rail’ type doors. Miter doorstyles will experience this too, but because the miter joint is usually more noticeable anyway, it tends to be easier to accept visually.
These ‘cracks’ are actually present on all cabinetry, but with stained cabinets, and their visible woodgrain, you just can’t see them as readily, but they are there. Just drag your fingernail across some cabinetry joints and you will find some.
If you really like the look of paint, but would like to virtually eliminate the ‘cracking’ you can either try to control the humidity levels in your house all year round, OR you could consider a cabinet door made from painted MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). I personally prefer the strength and solidness of real wood, and I also accept that it is a living material, so the little cracks don’t bother me… In fact, they are proof that you have real wood cabinetry! Sorry if I ran on a little bit, but I wanted to try and be thorough.”
Another person recommended, “if you already have the cabinets your best solution is to sand the joints bare again and apply a very thin bead of painters caulk w/ silicone. It will shrink a little as it drys and should be barely noticeable once painted while still allowing for some minor expansion and contraction. It’s not an ideal situation, but it should be better then the cracked paint.”
The answer I received from Brandy Budzaj Siemens who is another stockist here in the USA and who owns Vintage Style and Designs was, “I was a kitchen designer prior to this. I always had a disclaimer in my contracts of solid wood painted cabinets, that is is LIKELY to happen. It’s the wood and Mother Nature. Solid wood moves. The paint (any) will crack. It should be less noticeable when the humidity comes back.”
Our Technical Director from our US Distributor wrote us, ”
It’s that time of year again in the colder regions of North America … “I’ve painted my kitchen cabinets and now the paint has cracked around the center panel.” It’s not the paint failing … it’s the wood moving. This is unavoidable in any solid wood cabinet … wood is a living, breathing thing designed to expand and contract at different rates with changes in humidty. A painted finish, no matter how good or how carefully applied, just can’t keep up. To minimize this effect and prevent any damage to the actual cabinet door, keep the following in mind:
– The center panel is designed to “float” within the rails and stiles … never seal this expansion joint with caulk as this can cause serious damage.
– Maintain a clean expansion joint while painting … paint the center panel first, and then start painting on the outer edges and work your way in to avoid any heavy buildup of paint … and clean out any excess paint with your brush.
So, there is a suggestion in itself- to leave it alone since if the cabinet has expanded- – we will soon be in a season where in is going to contract.”
I feel the most important part of this post I want to share with you is that dry air and then the opposite- being humidity take their toll on wood. Managing humidity levels in your home is important. Then this issue is no longer a problem.