ORC Week 3: Painting our Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Well, we are halfway through the One Room Challenge and I’ve officially finished painting all the upper cabinet doors and have started on the lower doors and let me just say – this is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

Maybe some people can paint their cabinet doors in a weekend but I am absolutely not one of those people. So far prepping, priming and painting my 12 upper doors has taken about 12 hours and 8 days over the last two weeks.

Why is it taking so long? I am definitely making sure to take my time and get the most professional finish I can – that means I am washing and sanding the doors, putting on two coats of primer and waiting (not so patiently) for the full 16  hours between coats. Yes, 16 HOURS. Thank you Benjamin Moore for the slowest drying paint ever.

Actually, it’s okay Ben, I forgive you – so far the finish of this paint looks pretty amazing. Here are all our upper doors curing in our guest bedroom:

Doors curing

I still have to paint all the lower doors and drawer fronts and the cabinet frames that are in place in the kitchen. Oh yeah, and I’ll have to paint the new cabinets & doors that we ordered whenever they show up. I feel like I will be painting for the rest of my life. Okay, yes, I’m being overdramatic. I’m sorry.

To be honest, I may have found a way to speed up the process and paint both the front and the back of the doors/fronts in the same day. For my uppers, I sprayed them out in our driveway and then moved them in the garage on to 2x4s to dry.

spray painting

I couldn’t flip the doors over before the 16 hours was up because the still kinda tacky paint would stick to the 2x4s and come off (oops)

cabinet doors drying

BUT if I cover the 2x4s with old pillowcases the tacky paint doesn’t seem to stick and there are no marks from the fabric on the dry door – Success! Hopefully this means I can do the lower doors (and eventually the new doors) in fewer days than it took me to do the uppers.

Especially if I get help from the neighbourhood cats…


…Just kidding. Cats are so not helpful.


If you are thinking of painting cabinet doors there are so many great tutorials – my personal favourites are from A Beautiful Mess, Young House Love and Evolution of Style. If you’re planning to paint your cabinet doors I highly recommend you read those posts first. I have never done a project like this before and they were very helpful.

For our doors I’ve been using the following:

  • Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer
  • Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Intense White for our upper cabinets
  • Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Day’s End for our lower cabinets
  • Wagner Double Duty Control Pro paint sprayer
  • Mouse sander with 120 grit sandpaper (to scuff up the doors before priming)
  • 400 grit sandpaper (used by hand between coats)
  • A gazillion tack cloths
  • Worx All Natural Hand Cleaner (ah-mah-zing)
  • Disposable painters suit (only realized I should use one of these AFTER I covered myself with a fine mist of white paint)
  • Eye protection & a mask to keep paint mist out of my eyes and lungs

While I’ve been doing all that painting, Chris has made amazing progress getting a started on all the wiring we need for a new lights. So far this seems to mean a lot of holes in the wall. I’m trying not to panic, but I’m pretty sure we’re entering the chaos stage of this project.

wall holes



Thanks for following along with us on this challenge! We’re definitely having a lot of fun. Don’t forget to check out all the other amazing projects on Calling it Home!


10 thoughts on “ORC Week 3: Painting our Kitchen Cabinet Doors”

  1. Painting cabinets is certainly a daunting task! Looks like you are making great progress! Looking forward to the reveal. I have no doubt it will be awesome!!

  2. Thanks for the shout out on the cabinet painting tutorial! Painting cabinets is a labor of love (and total chaos), isn’t it? 😉 Try nailing some small finishing nails into your 2x4s – then the tackiness isn’t an issue. Or those painting pyramids – great tools to have in the arsenal! Looking forward to seeing everything come together – it’s totally worth it!

  3. What a great job!! Here’s my odd question — why type/brand of tack cloth do you use? I’m also using Advance paint, and I don’t want to ruin it with leftover residue. Appreciate your advice.

    1. Hi Marian! I used two different brands of tack cloths – Bennett and Trimaco Super Tuff. I ran them across the doors very lightly and they both picked up all the dust without leaving any residue. The only big difference I found was that my hands were stickier with the super tuff and I left more finger prints on the bottom (dry) side of the doors – but these I just buffed off with an old tshirt. Are you going to use a paint sprayer? If so, I’ll warn you that the Advance paint does not look good when you first spray it on, but it really is self levelling and looks a lot better after a few hours lol – I seriously freaked out when I first started!

  4. Love the cabinet doors as well as the back door. Am so going to do this! What colors did you use? Undercoat as well as the top coat? And is the “undercoat” simply one coat of latex? Thanks

    1. Thanks Arthur! We used Bullseye 1-2-3 primer and Benjamin Moore advance paint. The uppers are “Intense White” and the lowers are “Days End” 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top