Now this is a story all about how
My kitchen got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became a painter of a town called…
Oh wait, that doesn’t rhyme. Well, luckily I’m not trying to follow in the footsteps of Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. I do however want to share how giving your kitchen an affordable makeover shouldn’t be scary at all. Read on for details.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child
First of all, I do hope you appreciate the neighboring of Will Smith lyrics and a Julia Child quote.
While it’s possible you have to be in my age group to do so, I think they’re both timeless celebrities. Now back to that what-the-hell-attitude Julia mentions. She’s referencing cooking but I think the same applies for many home projects. Now I’m kind of making a hypocrite of myself because I looked at my roughed up kitchen cabinets for a couple of years before deciding to tackle the project myself. Sometimes confidence comes from finally finding the right product. For me that product was Fusion Mineral paint.
Before I discuss product further, let me give you a brief history of my kitchen. The kitchen you see above was in someone else’s house before. Yup. It’s actually a salvaged kitchen from one of my contractor father’s customers. The original kitchen to my 1950s house looked like this:
This image was taken shortly after we moved in and when I was pregnant with my first child. It really didn’t get much better than this although we did install the dishwasher rather than continue to use it as a surface for coat collection. The layout of the original kitchen wasn’t the most user friendly. The appliances were spread out in opposite corners and there was so much unused space. So when my father offered us a new-to-us kitchen a few years later, we jumped at the opportunity. Granite counter tops people! Those definitely would not have been in our budget had we decided to renovate the kitchen with new material.
Quick side note, had I known then what I know now about painting I never would have gotten rid of the table shown in the picture. Feeling a little sad about it now…
Fast forward to this summer, let me show you what 3 kids plus lots of cooking plus birthday parties and holiday gatherings does to white cabinets over the years.
You get worn away paint, dirty looking corners, and knobs that look and feel like they should be retired. Cosmetics aside, structurally the cabinets were still in fantastic shape and the style still suits my taste. In no way did I want new cabinets I just wanted to pamper them a bit and hopefully extend their life. Answer? Fusion Mineral!
I had used this product on my antique bedroom furniture (cue future post) a year ago and was so impressed with the minimal prep needed. Could it also be used on my kitchen cabinets? After much research and debating plus back and forth about color, I decided to take the plunge just before my kids went back to school. Enough stories, here was my process:
- Fusion Mineral Lamp White – I used almost 6 jars but bought extra for future touch ups if needed. Each jar covers about 75 sq ft
- Fusion Mineral Ultra Grip – may not be needed
- Fusion Mineral TSP
- Fusion Mineral Tough Coat
- Angled paint brush like this one
- StaalMeester 2012 brush for door recesses
- Saw horses – you could even use chairs
- Lego Duplo Blocks – for raising doors for painting sides and fronts all at once. You could also use painter’s pyramids
- Microfiber Roller and Tray – used for large surfaces of cabinets only. I did not use these on the doors although you could do so.
- Rags and sponges
- Basic tools for removing hardware
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Dropcloth – optional
- Research your cabinet material to determine what supplies you need. Super slick surfaces will most likely require Ultra Grip. My doors did not need it. You may require a primer or sealer if going from a dark color to a lighter color or if your wood has knots/stains that you want to cover. I’ve seen a shellac based primer from Zinsser recommended on other pages.
- Remove cabinet doors and hardware as needed. If your hinges are on the inside like mine, you can leave those on the door unless you plan to paint both sides. I kept all screws and parts in labeled containers. For example, knobs and their screws in one container and hinge screws in another.
- Thoroughly clean all areas to be painted with a degreaser. This is essential! Even if you think your kitchen is super clean, you still have at least a light coating of grease on your surfaces. Grease equals poor paint adhesion so don’t risk it. Most degreasers will require rinsing but Fusion Mineral’s does not. Time saver! Woohoo!
- Lightly sand with fine grit paper, and I do mean lightly. Your goal is only to scuff up the surface to provide some grip for the paint. You do NOT have to remove all paint. Sanding took me no time at all.
- Vacuum and wipe away dust from sanding
- Set up your painting area. Thankfully Fusion Mineral has a zero VOC formulation so painting indoors is no problem. I used my garage and my husband’s saw horses. If you don’t have them, you can get creative. Cover some chairs and place the doors between them using the painting pyramids underneath or Lego Duplo Blocks like I did. Just make sure you have room to easily move around each door while painting. Easy peasy!
- Apply the first coat. Beware! The first coat can look super scary! Seriously, you may have a small panic attack causing a frantic text to your husband. I’ve heard that can happen…anywho, be sure to apply thin coats. Multiple thin coats are better than fewer thick coats. I believe I heard the creator of Fusion Mineral say those exact words actually. Thinner coats will also minimize brush strokes. You can view further tips on that here. Because I was going from white to a very light gray, I only needed two coats on my cabinets.
- Wait at least 4 hours between coats. Grab a cup of coffee and relax!
- Optional – you may want to do a very very light sand between coats if you have any drips or unsightly brush strokes. I only had to do this on a few doors.
- After the final coat, wait 12 hours before applying Tough Coat. Fusion Mineral does have a built-in top coat but high traffic areas like kitchens benefit from further protection. Applying this coat is very simple and MUCH quicker than applying the paint. I used half of an automotive sponge for this step. Lightly dampen the sponge with water then squirt on the tough coat. You want the sponge to be saturated with product but not drippy. Then, moving quickly and with clean strokes wipe over your surfaces. You want to avoid going back over any areas you’ve already covered as the product dries quickly. I suggest practicing on something first to determine how much product and how much pressure you need to get a smooth finish. Once you get the hang of it, this step really goes quite quickly.
- If you aren’t repainting the hardware, all you have to do now is wait a few days before rehanging your beautiful new cabinets! Humidity and temperature can of course affect dry time so use your discretion as to how long you wait before rehanging. Actual cure time is a few weeks so do be sure to treat your newly painted cabinets gently for that time. After that? Kick them, throw pasta on them, whatever you want! Kidding. I’m kidding. But alas, life and spills do happen.
My Finished Product!
I’ll share hardware painting tips in a follow up post to come.
This whole process took me just over two weeks working every day. Honestly I thought it would take me much longer! Fusion Mineral products are so easy to work with, and I am incredibly happy with the results. Still feeling overwhelmed? Have questions? Please share in the comments. I’ll be happy to help!