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How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets in a Two-Tone Finish

Renew old cabinets and add depth to your kitchen with a two-tone paint and finish treatment.

More in Painting

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Step 1: Clean the Cabinets

Mix 1/4 cup of tri-sodium phosphate solution (TSP) with a gallon of water in a two-gallon bucket. Wearing gloves, thoroughly clean (degrease) the front of the cabinets, drawers and frames. Using fresh water and a sponge, wipe off TSP residue. (Tri-sodium phosphate can be found in the paint section of the hardware store.)

Step 2: Remove Cabinets and Drawers

Unscrew hinges from the cabinet doors and pull out the drawers. The hinges can be kept on the face frame if you are planning to paint over them. Larger cabinets and drawers that are difficult to remove may be kept in their original position.

Step 3: Label Cabinets and Drawers

Number or name the backside each cabinet and drawer and somewhere inside the cabinet or drawer so you’ll know where they go when it’s time to put them back in place.

Step 4: Sand

Lightly sand cabinets and drawer fronts with 220 grit sandpaper. This helps the paint adhere to the surface. Wipe off the dust.

Step 5: Protect Work Area

Cover work areas, tape off walls, ceiling and inside shelf of cabinets. Painter’s paper attached with blue painter’s tape provides more coverage. Tape off the center panels on the cabinet doors.

Step 6: Apply a Basecoat

If your cabinets have dents that need to be filled, touch up using bonding primer Using a mini-roller, apply your base coat on all drawers, frames, fronts and backs of doors (we used CB086 Zero VOC paint). Do not paint the front center panel of the cabinets. Paint in direction of the grain with a high quality paint brush. Let paint dry. Apply a second coat if necessary.

Step 7: Paint Center Panel

Tape around the center panels to prevent colors from running together. Using the mini-roller, base coat the on all the front door panels (we used CB150 Zero VOC paint). Paint in direction of the grain. Let paint dry. Apply second coat if necessary. Carefully remove tape.

Step 8: Accent Trim

Accent any trim areas with metallic paint using an artist’s brush.

Step 9: Glaze Application

To get the finished looked, we mixed six ounces of Coffee Bean glazing cream for every one quart of Furniture & Cabinetry glazing cream. Using the mini-roller and or paint brush, apply Coffee Bean glaze all over cabinet faces and frame. While wet, apply the Van Dyke Brown glazing cream (straight out of the bottle) with a 2-inch chip brush into the edges, corners and recesses. Bunch the cheesecloth into a pom-pom shape and lightly sweep the glaze in the direction of the grain, or use the flat side of a 4-inch chip brush to soften the layer of the glaze. Let dry.

Tip: Before glazing, run your fingers through the chip brush to remove loose hairs.

Step 10: Hardware

Install knobs or handles to cabinets and drawers. This step is optional but highly recommended to keep cabinets clean of fingerprints and dirt. Use a stencil to pencil in screw holes for accurate and fast installation.

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Resources

  • Platinum Series Zero-VOC Base Coat – Colors: CB086 and CB150 from Modern Masters
    Warm Silver Metallic Paint Collection from Modern Masters
    Platinum Series Furniture & Cabinetry Glazing Cream
    Platinum Series Glazing Cream in Van Dyke Brown and Coffee Bean

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