Painting SemiHandmade Kitchen Cabinets

This post is brought to you by BEHR®. Color that is True to Hue. If you feel it, you can find it. Visit truetohue.behr.com.

painting semihandmade kitchen cabinetsWhile our construction crew is working on the plumbing and the drywall in the A-frame kitchen, I went on the hunt with BEHR® Paints and found my perfect shade of green, and as it turns out the color is “Chard” (MQ6-49). With that yummy dark green in hand, I got to work painting the Semihandmade doors and drawer fronts for the cabinets. Hands down the topic I get emailed the most questions about is how exactly I painted our kitchen cabinets in our Los Angeles home. So now that I am doing it all over again in the a-frame, I’m sharing the process this time around.

A while back I posted the kitchen plans and the first thing in order was finding the right shade of green. I used Semihandmade doors and drawer fronts on Ikea bases (like in our home kitchen) and I chose the DIY slab design so I could paint them myself (and of course save some pennies which is always a good idea when you just got a whopper of an estimate for a much needed new roof). I wanted a dark green that wasn’t too saturated, one that felt inspired by nature and was similar to a green in some of my favorite house plants like the monstera leaf above.

I picked up a few sample jars of BEHR MARQUEE® Interior Paint in various shades of green to test them out before committing. 1: Chard (MQ6-49) 2: Equestrian Green (S410-7) 3: Emerald Forest (MQ4-49) 4: Trailing Vine (S390-7) 5: Emerald Forest (again)

kitchen-progressHOW TO FIND THE PERFECT COLOR: Color changes so much from one environment to the next and tiny paint swatches don’t tell you a whole lot. I like to use foam core boards as giant paint swatches and then place them where the paint will actually live to help decide on which hue. Every time I do this I end up choosing a color that wasn’t what I initially thought I’d pick but it turns out works the best in the space (It definitely has saved me from repainting something in the past). For example, I LOVE the cooler tones in Equestrian Green (it’s the color I painted these tables and it also matches my headboard. It’s basically my favorite green) but in this space the warmer, darker green complements all the rock and warms up the grey tile floor so it ended up being my favorite for the cabinets.

spray-painting-cabinets-suppliesOk, now that you have your color all picked out it’s time to get down to business. I am in no way a professional spray painter so just keep that in mind, but I am sharing the steps and tools I used because the end product turned out great (even better than when I got some done by a “professional”) and it is WAY easier then one might think.

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
I used this paint sprayer
This size Air Compressor
Face Mask
Paint Strainer
Saw Horses
Very Fine grit sandpaper (like 400)

It is also important to get a good quality paint. BEHR MARQUEE is a paint and primer in one and has one-coat coverage*, making the job even easier. I used the eggshell enamel which also cleans well, as it’s Behr’s more durable paint.

* One-coat hide has a few limitations, which you can read more about here.

Step 1: I set up as many cabinet doors as I can on the sawhorses with enough space between (about a foot or so) to allow room to paint the edges.

Step 2: Set up the compressor and paint sprayer according to the directions. My spray gun has a max PSI of 40 and I had the compressor set at 35 which was ideal.

Step 3: Place the strainer inside the cup of the HVLP sprayer and pour paint slowly through the strainer.

Step 4: Add a little water. Quality paint is THICK and for a sprayer you might want to add some water to make sure it passes through easily. I mixed in a enough to get the paint almost to a whole milk consistency (just a touch thicker).

how to paint kitchen cabinetsStep 5: Start spraying! If it is your first time I recommend using a scrap piece of something to test out the sprayer first so you can get the feel of it. For me, I just started with all the backs of the doors first so that if I make a mistake it isn’t that big of a deal. By the time you get to painting the fronts you’ll be a pro.

A few tips on spraying… Make even passes, and when you go to spray, pull the trigger and start spraying before you reach the door. You don’t want your gun pointing at the piece you want to paint before the paint starts coming out. That is how you can get too much paint in one place. Instead start the gun pointing just off to the side, then make your pass and release the trigger once you’ve moved the sprayer past the other side of the door.

I liked to do all the edges first and then go back and forth on the flat part but that is just my preference.

spray-painting-cabinets-processStep 6: Move painted pieces off to the side to dry while you continue rotating in new pieces to paint. Once you have all of one side painted make sure to clean out the paint sprayer while you wait for the doors to dry. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT. You don’t want the paint to dry inside the sprayer so clean it out (I used a hose and sprayed water through the sprayer until it ran clear). Also take off the spray nozzle and make sure no paint has dried out in there.

Step 7: Repeat all the steps all over again on the other side, once you’ve given the doors plenty of time to dry. If you desire to do more than one coat (I didn’t need to this time, but did with my first kitchen, just lightly sand with a very fine grit paper between coats)

chard-cabinetsAnd VOILA! Here is a peek at my finished doors. I put them in the bathroom against our tile, here at our LA house, to get an idea of how they will look once they have a finished kitchen to call their home at the A-Frame. Can’t wait to see them in there!

Check out the kitchen design plans and progress here and the rest of the a-frame cabin renovation here. 

Also, congrats to Sam Pilkington who won the $300 home depot gift card giveaway! 

This post is brought to you by Behr Marquee, Behr’s most advanced paint. Change can be this beautiful, and this easy.

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  • Ooh! I love love the color against the white tile! It looks gorgeous. Also, your paint clothes are way cuter than mine ? adorable as always Sarah!

  • Sara, I love your dress! Where is it from? Thanks!

    • It’s from showmeyourmumu.com. My husband always makes fun of me because I never change my clothes when I tackle a big messy project. More than a few pieces have been ruined but this one remained un-stained! Haha

  • This looks great! Can’t wait to see the end result.

  • Hi Sarah,

    Do you think you can use this same method for interior doors? Would love to save some money and do ourselves! I have heard to do it inside though, to prevent any kind of dust,dirt etc. Did you have any issues with that since you did yours outside? Thanks!

    • Hi, I think it would work. Yes, it is better to do it indoors. If you have a garage and you can keep the door open, I feel like that would be ideal. Our backyard has a tall wall all around it and isn’t very large so on a calm day it works fine. The only problem was a few bugs that landed in the paint but even they didn’t really leave a mark. The paint dries quickly. x

  • […] (2×6 in Calcite) // Cabinets from Ikea // Doors and Drawers coming from SemiHandmade (see the process of me painting them here) // […]

  • So did you pick Chard for cabinet color? I have same stone fireplace in our living room and had green cabinets from Lowes picked out but was nervous to pull the trigger. Not sure I’m confident enough to paint my own.

  • Christina Cruz

    Hi! I have a question about your kitchen, it turned out beautiful! I am in the process of renovating mine and I would love to have quartzite incorporated into the kitchen, but stone slabs are costly (i checked out the stone row in Vanuys!) Is it too many trends or different shades of white if I have the below elements. I would hate for it to be a hot trend mess!
    – Countertops: Prefabricated White
    – Upper cabinets: White
    – Lower cabinets: light gray
    – long subway tile with gray grout (Herringbone layout)
    -Island: Quartzite stone: White Macaubus or Luna
    – hardware brass

  • Francesca

    Hi Sarah, I’ve been following you for a while and love your blog! I was thinking about painting my SH cabinets myself in pigeon, I have yet to find a kitchen I like more than yours, that color is just perfect, however, I remember you saying you had to place 3 coats. Would it be wise to look into a similar color from a different company? If you had to do it again would you stick with Farrow and Ball?

  • Francesca

    I was thinking about painting half of my cabinets SH DIY and the other half ordering the SH antique white supermatte. Will it look cohesive? Thoughts? Thanks!

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