Cabinet Painting With No Sanding Or Priming?!

July 13, 2020 4 min read

The whole time we were talking and envisioning this space, I had blue on my mind. After careful consideration of the space and what colors it was begging for,  I had to draw up a new game plan. I landed on black, white, grey, Moroccan accents and some pops of colors on counters and tables. Yay, right? Yes and no. 

There is definitely a need for black curtains for blocking out sun and heat, this is a must. In theory, its a no brainer. In my heart, I wanted to add as little dark accents as possible. We need to keep it bright and airy and darker shades can make an RV feel like a cave. If I were designing a kitchen in my home, I would have placed a dark charcoal or grey on the lowers and a bright ivory or white on the uppers. I was frozen in the thought of painting a huge chunk of cabinets in Tri-Corn Black. The fridge cabinet was an all or nothing chunk and so was the pantry area on the other side of it. I was stuck. I had no grey shades in my free paint supply, so I decided to improvise, my 16 year old son actually had the idea. We grabbed the Sherwin Williams "extra white" and Tricorn black and mixed them together. 

Risky, I know. I was nervous but it turned out really pretty. And to be honest I've had such a hard time finding a true gray, even when painting our home. I learned that grays have either a blue undertone or a brown undertone, and all this time I was looking for a black shade. Who knew it didn't exist? I'm still not sold on that theory. 

I took all the cabinet doors down and labeled the backs with painters tape telling me where they went. You think they are all the same and I promise they aren't. I collected all the screws in a cup because those are all the same. If you wiped down all the cabinets with Krud Kutter, to cut all the grease and dirt and then wiped with baby wipes just to be sure nothing was left on them. I made sure the wipe was clean before I was ready to paint. I made sure to use semi-gloss or satin on all the cabinets because I like a glossy cabinet for a little bit of drama for the modern feel of the RV. There was a ton of cobwebs and cat hair in the corners of the RV, gross! 

Once I was sure there was no gunk on any of the cabinets, I took an angled two inch brush and a straight edge to protect the other areas of the walls and put a light thin coat across all the cabinet bases paying attention to the way the grain ran. In the places the faux wood veneers met each other, I would change the direction my brush ran. I made sure the coat was thin so it would dry fast and I would be able to see where it would have issues sticking. Veneer is hard to get paint to stick to, the biggest mistake I've made in the past was trying to layer paint too quickly or add too thick of layers. The hardest part is waiting! You really want the thin layers to cure and harden so that means, you gotta wait a couple hours between coats. This wasn't super hard for the doors because I took them home and set up a drive-by paint station on my kitchen counter. I would add a thin layer, put my brush in a cup in the fridge to keep it wet and the next time I walked by I would add another layer. This part was so satisfying.  It was like a little dose of ASMR every time I went to the kitchen and they kept getting prettier all day. It was a like watering a garden that grew in a day. So gratifying! 

Because I was worried about how much of the special paint I had, I decided to add contact paper to the backs of the cabinet doors rather than paint them. They turned out super cute even though I wasn't in love with the pattern, but it was free and didn't add to my budget!

After the cabinet doors were painted and "dry" I glazed them with General Finishes clear top coat.  We used General Finishes for all our cabinets at home and it is a million percent true that without the clear coat, they will chip no matter your method. At home, our kitchen cabinets are General Finishes, Snow White on the uppers and Queenstown Gray on the lowers, and both were glazed with the top coat. We absolutely loved the look of the gray, so much that we used it for our master bath. Unfortunately, life got busy and we never made it to the final step of clear top coat and its completely chipping and showing wear, and its a year newer than the kitchen that is very high traffic. Lesson learned! My personal experience with this glaze is letting it cure for a as long as possible is the way to go. To protect the cabinets just a bit more, I added these Dollar Tree pink gem stone stickers to the base and the door so they bump the stickers softly instead of putting paint on paint and sticking to each other. Until they cure this is the best way to keep them from hitting each other and pulling paint off either side. And they do give a little sparkle without being obnoxious. 

I used the special DIY paint on the cabinets in the living space and the fridge and pantry. Because I have a top secret plan for the back splash, I decided I did need a Tricorn black counter, and a contrast of bright white on the upper. It is sort of risky, but I am hoping it will pay off! 

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Aubrey Market is about size positivity and size inclusion. We are actively changing the landscape of women's boutique size outlooks and not apologizing. In an effort to celebrate all women's bodies, sizes, shapes and curves, we've rejected generic size labels. All of our pieces have garment measurements along with fabric content in the pieces description. Instead of Small, Large, Plus Size, etc labels that don't translate universally we have our inventory sorted showing number size range, as a more realistic way to shop. 

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