DIY Projects

How To Paint Cabinets and Install Hardware The Right Way

DIY Shaker Cabinet Door Update

Did you catch my tutorial on how I made these awesome shaker style cabinet doors for under $20?

Then you’re in the right place!

This is step two of the process.

Now that my gorgeous new cabinet doors are built and cured, they’re ready to be painted and installed.

I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous about painting them with a brush.

I usually use a sprayer but I’m in the process of organizing the garage and I can’t exactly get to it right now.

(I know, a kitchen update AND a garage organization project at the same time? I’m a madwoman.)

But as I began painting, I actually think I like this way better.

raised cabinets

I used the fancy schmancy technique of rising the cabinet doors off the floor by balancing them on jars of canned veggies and fruit.

You can use anything you have around the house, you just need to make sure they’re at least 6 inches off the floor.

Nothing is worse than paint “gluing” your doors to the floor and ruining all your hard work.

DIY Shaker Cabinet Shopping List

Dust cabinet

The cabinet doors had some leftover dust from all the sanding I did during the building process, so I gave them a good rubdown with a microfiber cloth.

It’s also a good idea to clean them with a pre-painting cleaner like TSP to ensure there is no grease or oil hiding out on the surface.

It’s not completely necessary since you’ve already sanded down the door face, but it doesn’t hurt at all.

Better safe than sorry.

Painting shaker cabinets

Now here’s where things get technical.

In order to get the best paint job with the minimal amount of streaks and brush strokes, you’ve got to follow this exact order.

Start by painting with a brush around the inside edges of the door frame.

Paint inside panel

Next, roll on a thin layer of paint in the middle.

This smooths out your brush lines around the edges.

It’s just like painting walls, where you’d cut in, then roll over.

Paint edges

Back to the brush again!

Paint the edges all the way around being careful not to let the paint glob up.

Those globs will drip and look uneven and unprofessional when the doors dry.

roll frame

And now we’re back to the roller again.

Roll on a layer of paint onto the shaker frame front.

After the layer of paint has dried, start over and do another coat.

If you’re using a good thick paint with primer, two coats should be all you’ll need, but no worries if you need to pop on one more for safety.

Then you’ll paint on two coats of Polycrylic (not polyurathane, it yellows on white paint) according to the instructions on the can.

Let that dry for 48 hours before installing the hardware and putting the doors back up.

This is a great time to give your cabinets a fresh coat of paint, too.

cabinet door hardware template

Speaking of hardware, let me introduce you to my secret weapon.

Reality check, eyeballing doesn’t work.

You’ll never, and I mean NEVER get it even.

I found this great plastic template from my local hardware store for around $5 and it was well-worth the money.

Every single knob or handle will be perfectly lined up, making you look like a freakin’ pro.

You can find these templates near the cabinet pulls at your store, or you can buy one here.

Tape over drill area to prevent splitting

Tip Time!

Pop a little strip of painters tape over the spot you’ll be drilling the hole to prevent any wood splitting.

The worst thing ever is to do all that work, then have your wood split and have to spend an hour fixing it.

You’ll just use the template to mark your drill spot with an extra fine tipped pen or marker.

Extra extra fine.

The holes on the one I bought were teeny tiny.

Drill holes

Next up, remove the template and drill your hole.

Check with your cabinet pulls to see what size hole you need.

If you bought new ones, the package should tell you.

If you’re reusing old ones, you can compare the screw with the drill bit for the best fit.

Go one size small than you think you should, then test the screw.

You can always make the hole bigger, but you can never make the hole smaller.

DIY Shaker Cabinet Shopping List

And that’s it my friends!

You are now officially ready to add your hinges, put the cabinets back up, and put on your knobs.

Once you’re finished, stand back and be amazed that you actually did that.

Take a picture and post it.

You deserve to brag!

Affordable cabinet pulls

Speaking of bragging, what do you think about my door and drawer pulls?

Look expensive, huh?

They actually aren’t! I found this awesome company on Amazon that offers all kinds of sizes for amazing prices.

They look just like the ones in designer homes but were a third of the price.

Want to follow along with my low-cost kitchen renovation?

Check out these other posts I shared during the process.

DIY Shaker Cabinet Door Update (Phase One)

Open Shelving Kitchen Pantry And Coffee Bar

Create Open Shelving With Existing Upper Cabinets

Coming Soon: How To Install Tile Backsplash On A Budget AND My Kitchen Reveal!

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  1. Jane Croucher

    Great page! I never even new these templates existed, now I’ve ordered one so thank you so much!

    • Brad Gandy

      You’re so welcome, Jane! Welcome to the site. Please stay as long as you’d like, and we’re always happy to help.

  2. Hello Lela, I totally admire the idea of painting the cabinets at home and installing the hardware. Now I am also going to paint the headboard of my bed. And will also install the knobs in the drawers.

  3. Sandra gandy

    wow! they look amazing. great job.

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