How to Do It: Cabinet Painting Pros

A cabinet painting (sometimes called a “cabinet photo”) is a tiny, single-page, dry-strate painting, usually no larger than about two by four feet (1.2 meters), but often far smaller. From the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, wealthy European collectors of fine art would often keep these paintings in an opulent cabinet, which was a rather private and smaller room (sometimes very small even in very large mansions). The paintings themselves would be on canvas or in some cases wood. These paintings would have been “painted” with oils from various sources. Today, acrylic paints are more commonly used for these older paintings, though historically oil paints were more common.

In today’s cabinet painting world, the canvas is covered in a protective, water-resistant, thick matte or gloss varnish. This varnish, if applied with a brush, can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. The reason that the canvas must be protected, of course, is that oil paint dries very quickly, especially in places where it is not painted directly. A matte finish keeps the paint thinner so that it will not crack or drip. The idea is to protect the painting from damage caused by moisture. If you must paint your cabinet surfaces directly, then a semi-gloss paint finish that will not allow the paint to “soak” into the wood is recommended.

While traditionally, a cabinet painting was either done by hand using a brush or, more rarely, by a machine using a rotary brush, modern painting techniques have produced a wide variety of alternatives. For instance, spray guns or air guns have become common equipment in many painting studios. These types of painting methods are somewhat less expensive and, as a result, there is an alternative for the painter who does not want to pay for professional grade equipment. Still, the use of either method requires some basic supplies: a paint mixer, air compressor or electric paint sprayer, and brushes for the application.

Other areas that may require cabinet painting are those cabinets that are painted with a colored finish. These finishes include wood tone, wine, or mineral. Because these colors tend to dry very quickly, painting the cabinet with a wood tone is often necessary to complete the project within a reasonable period of time. Painting with a wood tone is best left to professionals because it tends to bleed and chip. Mineral or wine tones, on the other hand, should be tackled by the average handy homeowner.

Many people wonder how exactly they should go about cabinet painting. The first step, obviously, is to remove the existing cabinets and any hardware. The next step is to assess the cabinets based on their condition. If the cabinets appear to be in great shape, then cabinet painting most likely is a simple do-it-yourself project. However, in some cases, such as when refurbishing or replacing old kitchen cabinets, it is necessary to have them refinished or repainted to restore them to near-new condition. In this case, it is best to consult with a kitchen professional cabinet refinishing company to determine the best route for you to take.

No matter what route you decide to take, the best time to tackle cabinet painting is after completing either a refacing project or remodeling. There are many reasons why refinishing or replacing kitchen cabinetry is the best route to go, and one of the biggest benefits is that it can save you a significant amount of money. In addition to saving money, it is also a fast process that yields beautiful results. Regardless, of which option you choose, the best part is that you will end up with beautiful, new cabinetry.