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48 Hour Retro: Refacing the Cabinets and Creating a Backsplash

A '50s-themed backsplash and cabinets are installed.

More in Kitchen

kitchen transformed into 50s retro design
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Prepare the Cabinets

Apply laminate panel (Image 1) over the existing cabinets doors and drawers.
Prep the doors by sanding with a palm or belt (orbital) sander with a 60-grit pad to rough up the surface.

Safety Alert: Whenever you sand anything, be sure to wear a dust mask and eye protection.

Use a tack cloth (Image 2) to remove all the dust. This is necessary for the adhesive to stick.

Step 2: Apply Laminate to the Cabinets

Apply laminate panels to the cabinet faces by first applying a thick even coat of adhesive on the cabinet face, especially along the edges. Then, on the back of the laminate panel, spray the adhesive perpendicular.

Note: Be sure to spray a thick, even coat of adhesive -- especially along the edges -- and be sure to wear a respirator.

Let the glue set up for about five to 10 minutes until the surface feels tacky.

Since you are working with both the old cabinet door and the new laminate at the same time, a great trick is to use dowels on top of the cabinet face in order to move the laminate around without having it adhere quickly before it's in the proper position.

Lay the laminate sheet on the dowels and carefully line up the edges. Once it's in place, apply pressure in the center and pull the dowels out starting in the middle and working toward the ends. Use a rolling pin to press the laminate on securely.

Step 3: Prepare the Paint for the Metallic Backsplash

Before getting started, protect cabinets and counters with plastic (figure D).
Strain latex-based metallic paint before putting it into the high-volume, low-pressure sprayer (figure E) so that you don't get any contaminate on the wall.

Note: A high-volume, low-pressure sprayer can be rented for $50 or less per day.

Tips: Before you start painting, there are a few things you should do first:

- If you have any cracks in the laminate of your old backsplash, take some Bondo an fill in the cracks.
- Prep the surface before spraying by priming or lightly sanding.

Safety Alert: Wear protective gear -- goggles, gloves, protective suit and a respirator!

Now you're ready to paint!

Step 4: Apply Coats of Paint as Needed and Seal

Make smooth even passes, lightly feathering the trigger at the end of each pass. Apply a thin coat, and then let it dry completely to the touch.

Apply as many coats as you need and finish with a clear coat sealer if you like.

While the paint and sealer for the backsplash is drying, you can attach the newly laminated cabinet doors. Once the backsplash has dried and the cabinet doors have been reattached, it's time to paint (Image 1) the walls.

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