Sep 26, 2014

how to sand kitchen cabinets to prep for priming (post #2)

Happy Friday folks!  Back at it with my kitchen cabinet transformation "how to."

In the first post I explained how I removed the cabinet doors and drawer handles so next up was getting the finish ready for primer. My research suggested that there are products out there to help you avoid sanding.  I really want these cabinets to hold up so sanding them down to get the finish roughed up was a must for me.  I was dreading this. Big time. 


SECOND STEP // Sand your cabinets to prepare for priming & painting

Before you start sanding... if your cabinets have holes or cracks that need to be filled you will want to use wood filler and let it dry.  Mine didn't. Yay.

I set up a makeshift table on the back deck and took all the pieces outside to sand.  I used my orbital sander with 150 grit sand paper and then 220 grit sand paper on the front, back, and edges of each piece.  I would strongly recommend using an orbital sander.  Mine was around $50 and I love it.  It sits on my special "Becky only" shelf in the garage. It would have been AHmazing if I only has to use the orbital sander BUT my cabinets have a panel and the sander wouldn't fit in the groove so I also used medium and fine grit sanding blocks to make sure all parts got scuffed up really well.  Lucky you if you have flat front cabinets!

You don't need to completely take the finish off - just try to get rid of all the glossy parts and of course any grime on the cabinets from cooking.  You can see in this picture how the cabinets have a kind of dull look to them. It took me a whopping 7 hours to sand my 30 doors and drawer fronts.


Once all the doors were sanded I moved them back inside.  I didn't wipe them clean because I knew they were going to get dusty (like the rest of the house) when I sanded the cabinet frames.

I really debated whether I should move all the dishes down to the basement so they wouldn't get dusty.  It would have taken for-e-ver. After taking them down I probably would have noticed they were dirty and ended up cleaning them anyway so I just left them in place and sanded.  This part took me another 3 hours.



You are going to be SO happy to be done sanding. I felt like my whole body was vibrating for hours after I finished.  I was really excited to start priming and painting but I knew I needed to spend some time cleaning first.

Our family wouldn't make it through this project (it took me about 2 weeks) without being able to use the kitchen.  So... I dusted and mopped and then spent TWO long DAYS washing every plate, cup, serving dish, pantry item, utensil, pot, and piece of plastic-ware we own.  Then I had to move into the dining room and clean the table, chairs, frames, lighting, and all the books.  Oh, and there was a cabinet full of office supplies too.  This was absolutely -- hands down -- the worst part of this whole cabinet transformation process.  Prepare yourself for the dust!!





THIRD STEP // Clean the dust from your cabinets

Once everything in the house was cleaned up I used liquid deglosser to wipe all parts of the cabinets down.  I used Crown Liquid Deglosser that I got at Lowes for less than $10.  Pretty much just pour some on a rag and wipe everything clean. If you missed any glossy spots during the sanding this should take care of it.  Not hard but took me a couple hours because I have lots of cabinets.  I'm sure you could use a wet or even dry rag and wipe down your cabinets but as I mentioned I'm trying to do everything possible to make these cabinets extra durable.  When it came to priming and painting the cabinets were perfect.  I didn't encounter one rough or dirty area.  I'm gonna go ahead and say it was worth the extra time and money.



If you want to keep track we're up to 14 hours now but things are about to seem much more productive.  Priming is next!

Sep 24, 2014

how i painted my kitchen cabinets white (post #1)


I have read about a hundred "how to paint your kitchen cabinets" posts. Guess what? Every single person did it a different way. Ugh.  I really wanted a comprehensive explanation of process, supplies, and time.  I also wanted to know more about the durability of painted cabinets but didn't find much real-life, we-have-kids-who-kick-stuff, the-kitchen-is-a-super-high-traffic-area experience.

So I'm just going to share how I decided to paint our cabinets.  I will definitely be updating here with how the paint holds up (hint: good so far!).  Before I get to the painting process, let's start with before pictures.




We bought our house in 2010 and the kitchen was my favorite room.  I love the space in the kitchen, the bar area, the number of cabinets, and the view of the back yard.  I hated pretty much everything else but we put up a little paint and hung some curtains and lived with it for a while long time.  I'm glad we did because 4 years ago painting the cabinets would have been too big a challenge for me.  Time has made me more patient and more committed to doing things the right way the first time.

I'm sure in the archives of this blog I have pictures of us tiling the room and painting the walls (a couple times).  This used to be a place I shared family photos and casual updates on our home renovation adventures so those posts won't be too helpful but you can search if you are looking for a laugh.

About a year after we moved in we relocated some garage cabinets to the kitchen to make a buffet/desk area.  We have no pantry so the extra cabinet space was awesome.  Unfortunately this was pre-Pinterest, back when finding information about painting furniture was not as easy.  Knowing I couldn't match the cabinets I chose to paint the buffet black and I used oil based paint.  We had so many problems with paint bubbling and the finished paint was glossy and sticky and gross.  So I knew this was another area I wanted to address when painting the cabinets.


Four years after buying the house we found ourselves with a semi-updated kitchen but I was never going to grow to love those light wood cabinets.  No such thing as a perfect time for a huge mess so one Monday morning I just went at it.  My husband was a little surprised when he came home.  Just a little though.  I looove a good project.

So let's get started... if you want to come back and follow the progress I will tell you the cabinets cost less than $100 and took about 60 hours (yikes!).

FIRST STEP // Remove all your cabinet doors and drawer fronts.



This took me longer than I thought, about 2 hours (I had 30+ cabinet doors/drawer fronts).  There were a few cabinet doors (on a corner cabinet) and some drawer fronts (those pull down ones under the sink) that I couldn't figure out how to remove.  It was a little more work to paint them but they turned out just fine.

I put all my cabinet hardware in a bag and didn't pay attention to which hinge went to which door.  I read a lot that said you should number each piece of hardware so you know exactly where it goes.  That way when you re-hang them they will be straight.  I didn't do this because my hinges don't have any adjustment spots on them.  Didn't think it would matter BUT I do think it made them a little harder to hang back up so my advice would be to do it!  Maybe draw a diagram of your kitchen on poster board and tape the hinges to the poster board where they belong?  I didn't have to worry about numbering my doors and drawer fronts because they are all different sizes.  

The next step is sanding and I'll be back with that in a few days so check back!

Sep 23, 2014

Neutral No-Sew Fabric Banner


I saw this idea floating around on Pinterest and knew it was perfect for the fall/winter mantle I have planned.  It took me about an hour from start to finish but would take longer without a rotary cutter and mat.  This project cost me about $4 for shimmery gold and silver fabric that I had to run out and buy.  The rest of the fabric is scraps and I always have plenty of string.

I knew I wanted all neutrals so I just dug through my stash for all the white, tan, ivory, and gold fabric.  My fabric pieces hang down about 10" from the string.  For a similar look you want you your fabric pieces to be about 22" long.

I folded my fabric to make the cutting go faster.  This piece just happened to be about 22" long so I folded it over to be 11-ish inches long and cut the strip 2" wide.  I did alternating widths on all my strips so they are 1", 1.5" and 2".  There are about 100 strips of fabric on my banner.



After all your strips are cut just knot them on to a string and you are done!  I found they look best with one side of the fabric hanging in front and the other side in back.  I didn't worry too much about them being perfectly even in length and tied them on in a random order.




My mantle isn't looking super stylish these days but I'm recovering from surgery so all those cards from family and friends cheer me up whenever I walk by.

In the next couple weeks I want to figure out a way to attach a power strip to the inside of my "fireplace" so that I can get some white twinkle lights going on top.  My fall and winter Pinterest boards are full of gorgeous neutral holiday decorating ideas.  I am awful at building a "look" over time because I want it done right this second but I know I can do it cheaper (and prettier!) if I think it over a while first.  Hopefully next time you visit I'll be a little closer to the holiday feel I am wanting.