How To Paint Cabinets Smooth

If you're looking to give your kitchen a fresh new look, painting your cabinets is a great way to do it. But, let's be honest, painting cabinets is not an easy task. It can be time-consuming, messy, and if not done correctly, the end result can look less than smooth.

However, with proper preparation and technique, you can achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish on your cabinets.

First and foremost, it's important to prepare your cabinets properly before painting. This means cleaning them thoroughly, removing any hardware, and sanding them down to create a smooth surface that the paint can adhere to.

Choosing the right paint and brushes is also crucial to achieving a smooth finish. By following these steps and applying the paint properly, you'll have beautifully painted cabinets that will give your kitchen that fresh new look you've been dreaming of.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper preparation and technique are crucial for a smooth, professional-looking finish when painting cabinets.
  • Sanding cabinets with fine-grit sandpaper to remove imperfections is important.
  • Choosing a high-quality paint with a high gloss or semi-gloss finish is recommended.
  • Using a fine-bristled brush for an even finish, and applying paint properly in the direction of the wood grain can help achieve a smooth result.

Prepare Your Cabinets for Painting

Before you start painting, make sure you're sanding and cleaning your cabinets thoroughly to ensure a smooth finish. Begin by sanding your cabinets with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or imperfections on the surface. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid creating scratches or marks that'll show through the paint. Use a sanding block or an orbital sander for larger surfaces to make the job easier and faster.

After sanding, it's important to clean your cabinets to remove any dust or debris that might interfere with the adhesion of the paint. Use a cleaning solution that's appropriate for the type of cabinet material you have, such as a degreaser for kitchen cabinets or a mild soap and water for bathroom cabinets. Wipe down the cabinets with a clean cloth and let them dry completely before starting to paint.

With your cabinets now properly prepared, you can move on to choosing the right paint and brushes for the job.

Choose the Right Paint and Brushes

When choosing the right paint for your cabinets, make sure to select a high-quality paint that will give you a smooth and durable finish. A high-quality paint will also be easier to work with and provide better coverage.

Additionally, choosing the right brush is just as important as the paint itself. Make sure to choose a brush that's appropriate for the type of paint you're using and the surface you're painting on.

Select a High-Quality Paint

To get smooth cabinets, you'll wanna use a high-quality paint that has a smooth finish. This is crucial in achieving a professional-looking result that's free from brush marks and other imperfections.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a paint for your cabinets:

  • Type of paint - Choose a paint specifically formulated for cabinets. Avoid using wall paint as it may not adhere well to the cabinet surface.

  • Sheen level - Opt for a paint with a high gloss or semi-gloss finish. These types of paint reflect more light and make cabinets look brighter and smoother.

  • Color selection - Lighter colors tend to show fewer imperfections, so consider using a light shade for your cabinets.

  • Drying time - Look for a paint that dries quickly to avoid dust particles and debris from sticking to the surface.

When you've picked the right paint for your cabinets, it's time to move on to the next step - choosing the right brush.

Choose the Right Brush for Your Cabinets

You'll need a brush that has fine bristles for achieving a flawless finish on your cabinet surface. A high-quality brush will help you apply the paint evenly and smoothly, creating a professional-looking finish that will last for years. Look for a brush with synthetic bristles, as these are more durable and easier to clean than natural bristles.

To choose the right brush for your cabinets, consider the size and shape of the brush, as well as the type of paint you'll be using. A 2- or 2.5-inch brush is ideal for most cabinet painting projects, while a tapered brush can help you reach tight corners and edges. When selecting a brush, pay attention to the bristle stiffness and flexibility. A stiff brush will leave more brush strokes, while a flexible brush will create a smoother finish. Brush maintenance is also important, as a well-maintained brush will last longer and perform better. Clean your brush thoroughly after each use and store it in a dry place to prevent bristle damage.

As important as choosing the right brush is, it's only one step in achieving a perfect cabinet surface. You also need to know how to apply the paint properly.

Apply the Paint Properly

Smooth and flawless cabinets are achieved by applying the paint properly, using a high-quality brush or roller. Proper brush technique is key to ensuring that the paint goes on smoothly and evenly.

Start by brushing in the direction of the wood grain, and avoid overloading the brush with too much paint. This will prevent drips and ensure that the paint doesn't pool in certain areas. When using a roller, use a light touch and roll in one direction to avoid creating unwanted texture on the surface of the cabinets.

Another important aspect of proper paint application is sanding techniques. Before painting, sand the cabinets with a fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. After the first coat of paint has dried, lightly sand the surface again to remove any bumps or imperfections.

Don't forget to wipe down the cabinets with a tack cloth before applying the second coat of paint to remove any dust or debris.

Now that you've applied the first coat of paint properly, it's time to apply a second coat for an even smoother finish.

Apply a Second Coat of Paint

Now that the first coat is dry, it's time to add another layer for a flawless finish. Before applying the second coat of paint, make sure to check the paint drying times indicated on the can. This will give you an idea of how long you need to wait before applying the second coat.

If you apply the second coat too soon, it may cause the paint to peel or crack. On the other hand, if you wait too long, you may have to sand the surface to ensure proper adhesion.

When applying the second coat of paint, use the same technique as the first coat, but be sure to use a light touch. Remember to sand the surface lightly between coats to remove any bumps or rough spots. This will help to create a smoother surface for a better-looking finish.

Once you're done applying the second coat, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step of reattaching cabinet doors and hardware. With this technique, you'll be able to achieve a clean, professional-looking finish that will last for years to come.

Reattach Cabinet Doors and Hardware

Once the second coat is fully dry, it's time to reattach the doors and hardware to your newly painted cabinets. Here are some helpful tips to ensure a smooth and successful reinstallation:

  1. Adjust the hinges: Before reattaching the doors, check if the hinges need to be adjusted. Loose hinges can cause misalignment, which can lead to difficulty in opening and closing the cabinets. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws and ensure that the doors are level and flush with the cabinet frames.

  2. Remove the hardware: If you removed the hardware before painting, make sure to reinstall them in the same position. Use a drill to make pilot holes and screw in the hardware, being careful not to overtighten or strip the screws.

  3. Test the doors: Once the doors and hardware are reinstalled, test them by opening and closing the cabinets. Ensure that the doors swing smoothly and that the hardware is secure.

  4. Do final touch-ups: If you notice any missed spots or imperfections, use a small brush to touch up the paint before fully closing the doors. This will ensure that your cabinets look flawless and professionally painted.

By following these simple steps, you can easily reattach your cabinet doors and hardware after painting. With a little patience and attention to detail, your newly painted cabinets will look stunning and last for years to come.


Congratulations! You've successfully painted your cabinets and achieved a smooth finish. However, before you sit back and admire your work, there are a few more steps to complete.

First, remove any painter's tape and clean up any drips or smudges. Then, allow the paint to fully dry and cure before using your cabinets. This will ensure that the paint is fully set and won't chip or peel easily.

Finally, take a moment to appreciate the transformation that you've accomplished. Your cabinets now have a fresh, modern look that'll enhance the overall appearance of your kitchen or bathroom. With a little patience and attention to detail, you've mastered the art of painting cabinets smoothly. Well done!

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