Beginner’s Guide to Spray Painting Kitchen Cabinets

If you’ve ever looked into getting new kitchen cabinets, you may have balked at the price. By the end of such an extensive renovation, you will have spent a few thousand dollars to achieve the new design that you want.

Beginner’s Guide to Spray Painting Kitchen Cabinets

(Pixabay / u_jup1hbno)

Before you choose to go that route, you should first give your cabinets a good look to find out if they are still in good shape. If they are, you can paint them for a fraction of the price it would cost to purchase and install completely new cabinetry. Spray painting your old cabinets will not only make them look like new, but it can add a fresh, new look to your kitchen as there is a plethora of colors now available for you to choose from.

There is a learning curve at the beginning of the process when you’re learning to use the paint spray gun effectively, but once you have the technique mastered, it should be smooth sailing from there on out. The key to sleek, drip-free cabinets is patience, patience, patience. This adage rings true where painting cabinets is concerned: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. The slower and more carefully you do this job, the better your end result will be.

Do I Have to Use a Spray Gun?

The short answer to this question is no—you can use paint cans. The long answer, however, is that using spray paint cans is wasteful and much more expensive. The cans simply don’t cover the same amount of real estate as using canned paint that is run through a sprayer, and your color choices are more limited. If at all possible, you should rent or buy either a small sprayer that holds 1.5 quarts of paint or the type of sprayer that sucks up paint directly from the paint can. This method will yield far better results than a can of spray paint.


The prep work takes the most time, but it is vital if you want a superior final product. First, remove all of the cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. Make sure to label each element, so you’ll know how to put your kitchen back together.

Thoroughly wash and dry everything and cover/tape off anything that you don’t want to get painted. Lightly sand off the original sheen from the cabinet doors, drawers, and boxes, and patch any cracks or dents with wood putty. Give everything one last wash to remove any grease or gunk before letting it dry again and starting the priming process.


Apply a stain-killing primer using a paintbrush. You don’t have to be particular with brush strokes as the primer will be covered later by the coat of paint. The primer will dry out in one or two hours. Sand the doors to remove any obvious signs of brushstrokes. If your doors are made of coarse grain wood, you can fill up the grain with spackling compound. Wait for the compound to dry and sand it.


After the prime coat has dried completely, you can start with your first coating. Do not rush your work as paint tends to splatter and drip when you rush. Repeat the process one more time, leaving at least four hours for the paint to dry between coats.


After making sure that all surfaces of the cabinets and drawers are thoroughly dry, you can reassemble the doors, drawers, and hardware.

If you take your time and correct any errors along the way, you should have some swanky cabinets that look brand new by the end of this project. Nobody will even know that you did all the work yourself for a fraction of the price of new cabinets.