How to Paint Cabinets Antique White

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Painting cabinets white or off-white can freshen the look of an outdated kitchen. Give your freshly-painted cabinets an antique finish for a cottage-style space. New antiqued cabinets cost thousands of dollars. With one weekend of work, however, you can get the same look for $100 or less.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Permanent marker
  • 2 plastic containers with lids
  • Sandpaper (medium-grade and fine)
  • Hand-held sander (optional)
  • Rags
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dark brown stain or brown paint
  • White or off-white, oil-based paint for kitchens
  • Remove cabinet doors and drawers with a screwdriver, along with any cabinet hardware. Write "kitchen cabinet screws and hinges" on a plastic container in permanent marker. Mark another plastic container as "cabinet pulls and handles." Place the appropriate hardware in each container. Tape any areas in the kitchen that require protection before sanding and painting.

  • Sand the cabinets in order to help the paint adhere better to the surface. Place the kitchen cabinet doors on a flat surface in a well-ventilated work area. Sand a small area on the front of one cabinet door with medium-coarse sandpaper. If the the top coat of paint or varnish comes off easily, continue in this manner for each door. If the door has many layers of paint or varnish, use a hand-held sander to strip the cabinet doors. Repeat this step for the cabinet bases in the kitchen.

  • Wipe the cabinet doors and cabinet backs with a damp, clean rag to eliminate any sanding dust from the wood's surface. Wipe the wood twice, if necessary, to make certain the cabinets are clean. Allow the wood to dry completely before moving on.

  • Rub a dark brown stain into the grain of the wood on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Follow the stain manufacturer's instructions thoroughly. Alternately, apply one or two coats of dark brown paint. Allow the cabinet doors to dry completely. Repeat this step for the cabinet and drawer bases in the kitchen.

  • Paint one coat of white paint on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Allow the paint to dry completely. Lightly sand the dry doors and drawer fronts. Wipe the drawer fronts and cabinet doors with a damp cloth until they're free of dust and let them dry. Apply a second coat of paint and allow it to dry completely. Repeat this step for the cabinet and drawer bases.

  • Sand the painted cabinet doors and drawers either by hand or with a hand-held sander and a medium-grade sandpaper. Sand random spots and areas that would naturally wear with age, such as around handles edges and corners. Sand down to the brown layer in these areas. Repeat this step on the cabinet and drawer bases.

  • Clean the cabinet pieces with a damp rag until they're free of dust. Re-install the cabinet doors and all other hardware. Look over the cabinets and add any random sanding in areas that need extra "antiquing."

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