How to Paint a Beadboard Cabinet to a Gloss Finish

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Beadboard, sometimes referred to as Shaker-style panels, consists of parallel lines running vertically up the visible sides and doors of a cabinet. The lines can be cut into the surface of the wood, or narrow rounded beads that raise up from the surface of the wood or a combination of both. Beadboard paints much the same way as flat panels, but some extra care should be taken to ensure that paint flows evenly into the beads and spaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill/driver
  • Aerosol enamel primer
  • 220-grit sanding sponge
  • Tack cloth
  • Aerosol enamel paint
  • Angled sponge brush
  • Remove the doors from the cabinet using a drill/driver. Place the door across a pair of sawhorses, and remove the hinges from the door.

  • Spray the back and sides of the door with aerosol enamel primer. While the door is drying, spray inside the cabinet until its wet with primer.

  • Spray the face of the door, the face and sides of the cabinet with aerosol enamel primer. Hold the can 8 inches from the wood, tilted at 15 degrees. Spray a band of primer across the surface of the wood so that the spray covers or enters any profiles, depressions or beads to cover them.

  • Tilt the can the opposite direction and spray another overlapping band to cover the opposite side of the beads, depressions or profile lines. Continue on in this manner until the face and sides of the cabinet are covered. Allow the primer to dry according to manufacturer's directions printed on the can.

  • Sand everything smooth using a 220-grit sanding sponge. Sand lightly to prevent sanding through the primer. Use short strokes parallel with the beads and grain of the wood, and wipe all the dust and debris from the surface of the wood using a tack cloth when finished.

  • Spray a small amount of high-gloss enamel paint into a small can. Dip the tip of an angled sponge brush into the paint. Drag the knife-like tip of the brush along narrow depressions and beads to ensure that paint gets inside the tight spaces. Apply paint to the sponge brush as needed and do each bead line, cut or depression until they're all saturated with paint.

  • Hold a can of high-gloss aerosol enamel paint inside the cabinet. Spray lightly to coat the inside of the cabinet with paint. Spray the back of the door and the face of the cabinet with the high-gloss aerosol paint until everything has an even, consistent wet coat of paint to finish. Allow the paint to dry on the back of the door, flip it over and repeat spraying it on the face. Wait overnight for the paint to dry before hanging the door or cabinet.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can add another coat of paint if desired. You can also brush the enamel paint onto the cabinet if you desire, but your results may not be as smooth as when using the aerosol paint.
  • Wear safety glasses and breathing protection when using paint or finishing products.

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