One of ReLoving’s most commented on Facebook posts has been customer Kara’s transformation of her kitchen cupboards with Country Chic’s Vanilla Frosting and a top coat of water based varnish.
Many of us can relate to needing to update cupboard doors in our kitchen’s and/or bathrooms. It is often a daunting task so we thought a little step-by-step flow chart should help you through it.
You can paint them where they are. Tape around areas you don’t want painted and remove hardware. If you are handy, it is best to remove them from the hinges and lay them flat and placed on wood blocks. If you are doing both sides you will just go through the flowchart twice – once for each side.
You have paint your hardware or pick out your new hardware in advance to see if you need to fill the existing holes before painting.
Next, no matter what material your cupboards are made of, you need to first do a quick 5-10 second sand all over. This isn’t to get the varnish off, but to see if there is any food and grease stuck on. Food will show through light colour paints as an ugly stain and grease will repel water-based painted from adhering.
Wash down with a vinegar water mix to get rid of dirt, dust and grease. If they are really, really greasy, use TSP. Fusion makes an environmentally friendly version. TSP itself can be a resist to paint adhering so if you use it you then need to wipe it off really well.
If the cupboards are laminate or melamine material (slippery, non-porous) you need to first use a coat of Fusion’s Ultra Grip (or Country Chic’s Primer). Or, if you are painting them white anyway, you can use Kilz primer. Get the one with shellac. Keep in mind that the Ultra Grip is non-toxic whereas primer is very smelly and gives me a headache. Not good!
We recommend application with a 3″ microfibre (fuzzy) roller for the smoothest finish. Keep a 1-2″ brush in the other hand for finicky spots such as indented corners. We prefer the Country Chic short handled brush with bristles that slant to a fine tip on one end. Paint it wet on wet to avoid lines. e.g. Paint an indention/panel edge with the brush first, then roll over the entire surface immediately. A light touch gives the smoothest finish.
The other time I use a primer is when the cupboards are really dirty or we are painting them a light colour and they have places where the varnish is rubbed or sanded off. Raw wood may leak tannins through the paint and cause an uneven yellow appearance. A primer with shellac will seal the tannins, dirt and even smells such as smoke or spices.
If we are planning on distressing through to the wood we use straight shellac to seal the surface. Shellac is clear. When used as a sealer you then distress through to the wood without the white primer in the way. We use the Country Chic sponge ($2.95) which is an excellent way to apply shellac to vertical surfaces. Because shellac is not a water wash-up we just throw the sponge away when finished. Using a roller with shellac may cause bubbling so we avoid it.
Shellac dries in 15 minutes, primer usually in two hours and Ultra Grip requires a 12-hour cure time. The painting now begins.
If you are painting dark cupboards a light colour plan on 3-4 coats for a solid coverage. Dark paint will usually require two coats to ensure full coverage. One pint will cover 75 square feet – the equivalent of two coats on a large dresser. One quart will cover 150 square feet and is more economical. Be sure to ask for a Loyalty Card at ReLoving – when you buy 10 paints you get one free. (It’s like a 10% discount.)
Give the paint a couple of hours to dry between coats to ensure that you aren’t pulling up on the damp paint surface which would cause texturizing.
When you are all finished painting you may stop at this point as both Country Chic and Fusion Mineral paints have non-porous finishes (unlike some chalk-style paints that are porous). The thing is, the vintage matte finishes can hold on to the dirt and grease and be hard to wipe off so we recommend a top coat of a water-based varnish. Why we would not recommend a wax finish is because wax will eventually wipe off with frequent cleaning and you will have to re-wax every few months or so.
Varnish will seal in moisture so it is best to give the paint 2-3 days drying time before varnishing. We recommend you use the Saman Flat Varnish with a 10% sheen and apply it with a brush. Use a wide, smooth bristled brush. A new brush is best as varnish tends to pull out old paint you didn’t know was in your brush and transfer it to your current masterpiece.
All paints have a curing time. Country Chic and Fusion paints cure in one month. That means the surface will get harder and harder every day. You can use your cupboards but be gentle or be prepared for possible touch-ups.
For tips on painting smooth surfaces, using varnishes and more please look through our other blogs posts. The Introduction to Furniture Painting workshop will answer questions you have and give you the opportunity to play with paints to discover the brand you prefer for you project as well as colours and colour combinations. Register for this 2-hour class here now.
Be sure to take before and after pictures and share them with ReLoving! Happy painting.
At ReLoving, we paint every day and like to share with you what we learn along the way.
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