One of the simplest and most affordable ways to instantly update a kitchen is by painting the kitchen cabinets. It will give you a whole new look without breaking the bank and for pretty low effort work. Transforming a sea of golden oak cabinets into a beautiful modern kitchen is easier than you might think. Milk paint is a popular product that’s been used on kitchen cabinets with much success for several years now.
Before painting your cabinets, you might be wondering how to get the best lasting finish. Can you apply paint directly to the existing finish? Or is it best to strip all the cabinet doors and faces down to bare wood? Today’s post will share everything you need to know!
Milk Paint vs Chalk Paint
Both milk paint and chalk paint are fast drying, easy to use, and eco-friendly. Milk paint is a thinner product and comes in a powder form that needs to be mixed. Chalk paint is a thicker consistency and comes mixed. They both stick to a variety of surfaces from wood to masonry to metal and glass.
Milk paint tends to have more of an antique finish with unpredictable distressing because it cracks and flakes more easily, but it does usually cost less.
Chalk paint on the other hand is a more consistent finish and doesn’t look as distressed because it covers evenly.
They are both good options for DIY projects, but today, we are focusing on milk paint.
Milk Paint Cabinets
First off, all paint adheres best to bare wood, whether it’s latex or milk paint. Milk paint is self-priming and forms a long-lasting bond to the wood. With that said, stripping down all kitchen cabinets is a big task and can be challenging and require hours and hours of sanding. If you still want to use milk paint but aren’t enthused about the stripping down, I will share ideas for that as well.
How Do You Paint Cabinets with Milk Paint?
1.Clean Cabinet Doors and Faces
You want to begin with a clean surface by removing all the dirt and grime that has built up on your cabinets over the years. A solution of denatured alcohol and water in a spray bottle will do the trick combined with an old rag or sponge.
2. Sand Down Your Wood
Start with a lower grit sandpaper and work your way up to a higher grit. Depending on the condition of your cabinets you may need more sanding than others to get a smooth finish. This step will most definitely take the most time, but it’s what gives you the best lasting finish. Do not skimp on sanding, you will regret it later when your cabinets are chipping!
Using either an electric sander or by hand, start with a 60 or 80 grit paper and do a good pass on all your doors and cabinet faces. The electric sander will work faster and take off more of the existing finish so I would recommend using that, but if you are wanting to speed up your project and not spend hours sanding, going by hand and doing a quick rough up is fine. Work your way up to a 100 grit sandpaper and then if you want a really smooth finish you can go up to 120.
I sanded our cabinets down but we stained them rather than painted and this is the electric sander we used. We clocked HOURS on this thing, I’m talking like 40+ hours, and it has held up wonderfully.
3.Clean Off the Saw Dust
Another not so exciting step but super important. Using an air compressor or a rag get rid of all the sawdust. Finish with a tac cloth (it’s slightly sticky) to get all the tiny particles.
4.Mix Milk Paint
Mix the powder paint color of your choice with a bonding agent. Milk paint manufacturers also sell bonding agents that help it adhere to painted surfaces, such as this Extra Bond agent. Apply the mixture to your wood with a bristle brush. Milk paint has more texture than latex paint and there may be some lumps in the paint. This is ok, just strain them out before applying the paint. It may take longer to dry painting on a surface that was varnished or painted than painting on bare wood. If you apply a second coat, you can just apply the paint, not the combined mix with the bonding agent.
5.Apply a Top Coat
Just as any painted surface, it’s best if you finish with a top coat to protect it from chips. Milk paint especially has a matte finish so it’s prone to staining and scuffs and marks will easily show – even if it’s from greasy hands grabbing the door. There are a variety of top coat finishes to choose from and each will result in a different finish so you’ll want to sample test your top coat before deciding. If you went with a white paint color, sometimes a top coat can cause it to yellow over time depending on the top coat chosen.
And that’s how you get milk paint cabinets! Overall, milk paint is a durable product that is perfect for kitchen cabinets, vanities, and other wood furniture and it comes in a variety of colors.
via Designer Trapped
What is the Best Milk Paint to Use?
I hope this post was helpful if you are thinking about painting your cabinets with milk paint! It’s really a simple process that gives amazing results.
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