My Top 7 Tips for Painting Cabinets List

Thank you for requesting my cabinet painting tips!

The two questions I get asked the most are: “Do you have to sand your cabinets before painting them”? and the #2 question is, “Why is the paint peeling off my cabinets”? My answer to #1 is YES! And my answer to #2 is: because you didn’t do #1.  But there are a few other tricks and tips I’d like to share as well. This way you don’t make the same mistakes I made when I first got started.

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Tip #1: ALWAYS do your Prep 1-2-3

Prepping your cabinets is probably the single most important step. Almost all cabinets have a glossy finish. The paint will not stick it. You have to give them a little “Tooth” that means grip so the primer sticks to it. Use a sanding block or a 180- 220 grit sand paper and knock down the gloss. You can also use a deglosser, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Then clean them with a TSP. Always prime before painting.


Tip #2 Number your cabinet doors.

Believe me when I tell you, the doors will not go back on just any frame. I figured that out the hard way. Take a piece of tape and label the doors before you take them down and don’t forget to label the inside cabinet so you know where to put them back.  For example, T-1 for top 1 and B-1 for Bottom 1-2-3 and so one.

If you’re painting both sides of the cabinet then use a sharpie and label the door on the top corner for the top cabinets and bottom corner for the bottom cabinets, no one will ever see them once they are on. Just remember not to paint over them.

Be sure to number!

Tip #3 Put the screws in a zip lock bag

I know this might sound a little silly, but we have lost screws more than once. It’s like that sock in the dryer, you know had it but somehow it’s know missing. If you put them in a zip lock bag and tape it to the inside cabinet, you won’t go crazy finding the right size screw later.

Keep track of your screws!

Tip #4: Sponge Roller

To ensure that you get a smooth finish, use a sponge roller to apply the primer and the paint. They are available HERE.

Sponge Roller

Tip #5: Bumper Pads

At the end of every cabinet job, we put these on all our doors. It will help prevent the doors from making a noise when you shut them and they also help save your paint finish so that the cabinet doors are not rubbing against the frame. They are very inexpensive and available HERE.

Bumper Pads

Tip #6: Painter Pyramids

These painter’s pyramids are the best thing since bubble gum. They’re great for elevating the doors so you can paint the sides without having them stick to the paper. It makes it so much easier when rolling the sides with your sponge roller. You can purchase them HERE.

Painter’s Pyramid

Tip #7: Angled brush

I use this angled brush to cut into the panels. The bristles are soft and won’t leave brush marks. I love this brush. This brush is also a great brush when using chalk paint. You can get it HERE.

Angled Brush


Quick Cabinet Painting Video


If you have any questions please feel free to join my FB group Ask Cheryl Phan. I’m always happy to help.

Happy painting, Cheryl

Please share this list with your DIYer Friends! Thank you!

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