How to Spray Paint Cabinets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Spray painting kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to update the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank. Whether you want to change the color of your cabinets or give them a fresh coat of paint, spray painting is a quick and easy way to achieve a professional-looking finish. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to spray paint your cabinets, including preparation, tools and materials, and the painting process itself.

Before you start painting, it’s important to understand the basics of spray painting. Spray painting involves using a spray gun to apply paint to a surface, rather than using a brush or roller. Spray painting can be a bit more challenging than traditional painting methods, but with a little practice, you can achieve great results. Spray painting allows you to achieve a smooth, even finish, and it’s much faster than traditional painting methods. With the right tools and materials, you can easily spray paint your cabinets in a weekend.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper preparation is key to achieving a professional-looking finish when spray painting your cabinets.
  • Choosing the right tools and materials, including a high-quality spray gun and paint, is essential to achieving the best results.
  • With a little practice, spray painting your cabinets can be a quick and easy way to update the look of your kitchen.

Understanding the Basics of Spray Painting

Spray painting is a popular and effective method for painting cabinets. It allows for a smooth, even finish that is difficult to achieve with a brush or roller. Before starting your spray painting project, it is important to understand the basics of spray painting.

Choosing the Right Spray Paint

When it comes to spray painting cabinets, you have a few options for the type of paint to use. Oil-based paints are durable and long-lasting but can take a long time to dry. Latex paints are water-based and dry quickly, but may not be as durable as oil-based paints. You can also choose between a gloss, semi-gloss, or matte finish.

Preparing the Surface

Before you start spray painting, it is important to prepare the surface of your cabinets. This involves cleaning, sanding, and filling any holes or imperfections. You may also need to remove any hardware from the cabinets.

Setting Up Your Workspace

Spray painting can be messy, so it is important to set up your workspace properly. You should work in a well-ventilated area, such as a garage or outdoor space. Cover any surrounding surfaces with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect them from overspray.

Using the Spray Paint

When using spray paint, it is important to hold the can or gun at the correct distance from the surface. This will vary depending on the type of spray paint you are using, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. You should also apply the paint in thin, even coats to avoid drips and runs.

Clean Up

After you have finished spray painting, it is important to clean up properly. This involves cleaning your spray gun or cans and disposing of any unused paint properly. You should also remove any masking tape or drop cloths from the surrounding surfaces.

Overall, spray painting cabinets can be a DIY home improvement project that can give your cabinets a fresh new look. By understanding the basics of spray painting, you can achieve a professional-looking paint job that will last for years to come.

Preparation Before Painting

Before you start painting your cabinets, you need to prepare your work area and the cabinets themselves. Proper preparation will ensure that the paint adheres well and that the finished product looks smooth and professional. Here are the steps you should follow:

Cleaning and Degreasing

The first step is to clean the cabinets thoroughly. Use a TSP solution to remove any grease, dirt, or grime from the surface. TSP is a powerful cleaner that can cut through even the toughest stains. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and protective gear when working with TSP.


Once the cabinets are clean and dry, it’s time to sand them. Sanding will create a rough surface for the paint to adhere to. Use a fine-grit sandpaper or an orbital sander to sand the cabinets. Pay special attention to any bare wood or wood grain, as these areas may need extra sanding.

Vacuum and Tack Cloth

After sanding, vacuum the cabinets to remove any dust or debris. Use a tack cloth to wipe down the surface and remove any remaining dust. A tack cloth is a sticky cloth that will pick up any dust or debris left behind by the vacuum.

Wood Filler and Putty Knife

Inspect the cabinets for any holes or imperfections. Use wood filler to fill in any holes or cracks. Use a putty knife to apply the wood filler and smooth it out. Allow the wood filler to dry completely before sanding again.

Disassemble and Numbering

If possible, disassemble the cabinets and number the doors, drawers, and frames. Use a chart to keep track of which piece goes where. This will make it easier to paint each piece and reassemble the cabinets later.

Tape and Plastic Sheeting

Tape off everything you don’t want to paint. Use painter’s tape to tape off any hardware, hinges, or other parts you don’t want to paint. Cover the countertops and floor with plastic sheeting, drop cloths, or rosin paper to protect them from paint drips.

Safety Precautions

Finally, take safety precautions before starting to paint. Wear safety glasses, a dust mask, and a respirator to protect yourself from paint fumes and dust. Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.

Choosing the Right Tools and Materials

When it comes to spray painting your kitchen cabinets, choosing the right tools and materials is crucial to achieving a professional-looking finish. Here are some key items to consider:

Paint Sprayer

Investing in a good quality paint sprayer is essential for achieving an even and smooth finish. HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) sprayers are popular choices because they use less paint and produce less overspray than other types of sprayers. However, they can be more expensive. It’s important to choose a sprayer that is suitable for the type of paint you will be using.


While spray painting is the most efficient method for painting cabinets, rollers can be useful for touch-ups and hard-to-reach areas. Be sure to choose a high-quality roller that is appropriate for the type of paint you are using.


When choosing paint for your kitchen cabinets, consider the type of finish you want. Semi-gloss and satin finishes are popular choices because they are durable and easy to clean. Latex paint is a good option for cabinets because it dries quickly and is easy to clean up. Oil-based paint and stain are also options, but they require more time to dry and can be more difficult to clean up.


Using a stain-blocking primer is important for ensuring that the paint adheres properly and that there is no bleed-through from the wood. Rust-Oleum is a popular brand for primers and offers a variety of options for different types of surfaces.

Other Materials

In addition to the above, you will also need masking tape, plastic drop cloths, sandpaper, and cleaning supplies. Be sure to choose materials that are appropriate for the type of paint you are using and that will provide even coverage.

By choosing the right tools and materials, you can ensure that your kitchen cabinets will look beautiful and professional for years to come.

Spray Painting Your Cabinets

Spray painting your cabinets can be a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh new look without replacing your cabinets entirely. Here are some tips to help you achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish.

Preparing Your Cabinets

Before you start spray painting your cabinets, make sure to remove all the cabinet doors and hardware. You can also remove the shelves if possible to make the painting process easier. Use painter’s tape and masking paper to protect surfaces you don’t want to paint.

Applying the Paint

When spray painting your cabinets, it’s important to apply thin coats of paint to avoid drips and brush marks. Start with a light coat and let it dry completely before applying the next coat. If you want to achieve a textured finish, you can add a few drops of water to the paint.


After each coat of paint has dried, use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface. This will help smooth out any imperfections and create a better surface for the next coat of paint. Be sure to wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth after sanding to remove any dust.

Using White Vinegar

If you want to remove any grease or grime from your cabinets before painting, you can use a solution of white vinegar and water. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and spray the solution onto the cabinets. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean cloth.

By following these tips, you can achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish when spray painting your cabinets. Remember to take your time and apply thin coats of paint to avoid drips and brush marks.

Reassembling Your Cabinets

Once the paint has dried, it’s time to reassemble your cabinets. This step is crucial to ensure that your cabinets look and function properly. Here are some tips to help you reassemble your cabinets with ease:

Cabinet Hardware

Before you start reassembling your cabinets, make sure you have all the necessary hardware. Check to see if any of the hardware needs to be replaced or updated. If you’re not sure what hardware you need, take a picture of the hardware on your cabinets and bring it to your local home improvement store. They can help you find the right hardware for your cabinets.


When reassembling your cabinets, treat them like furniture. Be gentle and careful when handling the pieces. Use a soft cloth or towel to protect the painted surfaces from scratches or dents. If you need to move the cabinets, use a dolly or hand truck to avoid damaging the paint or the cabinets themselves.


Once your cabinets are fully reassembled, step back and admire your work. You’ve given your kitchen a fresh new look without having to replace your cabinets. With proper care and maintenance, your newly painted cabinets should last for years to come.

Remember, reassembling your cabinets is just as important as painting them. Take your time and be patient to ensure that your cabinets look and function properly.

Caring for Your Newly Painted Cabinets

Once you’ve successfully painted your cabinets, it’s important to take proper care of them to ensure they stay looking their best for years to come. Here are some tips for caring for your newly painted cabinets:

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

When cleaning your cabinets, avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the paint. Instead, use a mild soap and water solution, or a cleaner specifically designed for painted surfaces. Be sure to test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t damage the paint.

Protect the Surface

To prevent scratches and other damage, use coasters and placemats when setting down glasses, plates, and other items. You can also add felt pads to the bottom of objects that are regularly placed on your cabinets, such as vases or decorative items.

Handle with Care

When opening and closing your cabinets, be gentle and avoid slamming them shut. This can cause the paint to chip or crack over time. If you have children or pets who may accidentally damage the cabinets, consider adding childproof locks or other protective measures.

Keep Them Dry

Excessive moisture can cause damage to your cabinets, so be sure to wipe up any spills or splatters as soon as possible. If you have a kitchen sink or dishwasher that is prone to leaks, consider adding a waterproof mat or tray underneath to catch any water.

Consider the Material

The type of material your cabinets are made of can also affect how you care for them. If you have laminate cabinets, for example, you may need to take extra care to avoid scratching the surface. If you have metal cabinets, you may need to use a specific type of cleaner to prevent rust or other damage.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your newly painted cabinets stay looking great for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of paint is used to spray kitchen cabinets?

Latex enamel paint is the most commonly used paint for spraying kitchen cabinets. It is durable, easy to clean, and available in a wide range of colors. You can also use oil-based paint, but it takes longer to dry and requires more ventilation.

Is it better to spray or brush paint kitchen cabinets?

Spraying is generally considered a better option than brushing when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets. It gives a smoother finish, and the paint dries faster. However, spraying requires more equipment and preparation than brushing.

Can you use canned spray paint for kitchen cabinets?

While it is possible to use canned spray paint for kitchen cabinets, it is not recommended. The finish is not as smooth as with a professional spray gun, and it takes longer to cover the surface. Additionally, canned spray paint can be more expensive than buying paint in bulk.

What do you need to spray paint cabinets?

To spray paint cabinets, you will need a paint sprayer, paint, primer, sandpaper, painter’s tape, and drop cloths. You may also need a mask and protective eyewear, as well as a fan or ventilation system to ensure proper air circulation.

How do you properly prepare cabinets for spray painting?

To properly prepare cabinets for spray painting, you should remove all hardware and clean the surfaces thoroughly. Sand the surfaces to remove any gloss, and fill any gaps or holes with spackling compound. Apply a stain-blocking primer to prevent any stains or tannins from bleeding through the paint. Finally, mask off any areas that you do not want to paint.

What are the best tips for spray painting cabinets?

Some tips for spray painting cabinets include using long, even strokes, keeping the sprayer at a consistent distance from the surface, and overlapping each pass slightly. It is also important to apply multiple thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Finally, be sure to clean the sprayer thoroughly after each use to prevent clogs or damage.