Painting Cabinet Face Frames and Panels

Painting Cabinet Face Frames and Panels

Read through this and feel welcome to ask any questions at any time (before, during or after). Our goal is to build a successful cabinet painting business where client and us win through a mutual collaboration process.

Regardless of how fussy you paint the shells, our spraying will make it all look fantastic. Cabinet doors and drawers are the most visual part of kitchen cabinets, which is why we spray them for you. Painting the shells is time consuming but its pretty simple in comparison. Anyone that is a pretty decent painter should have no problem collaborating with me.

"If" you choose to collaborate, below is the general idea on what is required on your end.

Without getting too technical with cabinet terminology, the idea of this tutorial is to give my clients the general outline with some tips on how to collaborate with us in order for us to achieve the best outcome (win win).

Here is how you save a lot of money.

  • You remove and replace everything you want sprayed. I will pick up and deliver, you do this rest.

Preparation and allowing time for things to dry is important.  Most of what you are doing is not very visible, but you still need to do basic steps in order for the paint to stick, and it doesn't  look like a mess.

Tools and material you need:

  • stable step ladder or stool
  • medium grit sanding sponge
  • 2 or more 10 mill high density sleeves (the roller) for the side panels
  • 2 or more mini rollers for the face frames
  • 2 or more brushes for the detail and cutting in
  • paint tray(s)
  • rags
  • DAP Drydex and DAP 230 caulking
  • vacuum
  • drop-sheet
  • screwdriver
  • painters tape
  • De-greaser only where needed
  • primer and paint to be determined

Time expected to paint your face frames, trim and panels is 3 to 4 days. That is about the same amount of time it takes me to spray everything.

Realistically, you could have new looking kitchen cabinets in 3 or 4 days!

Step One.

The Face Frames and panels are what you need to be painting. This part is a relatively simple job but it is time consuming, which is why you are doing it and not me. This saves you a heap of money if you are able to do this yourself!

Paint all outside shell of your cabinets which are attached to your walls. This includes the sides of your cabinets behind your fridge and stove and possible crown or trim.


  1. After the cabinet doors and drawers are removed and I have them, thoroughly clean all area's of grease and grime. Pay particular attention to the sections around the stove. Sometimes de-greasers are necessary. You want to be sure there is no grease on the wood because paint doesn't like grease.
  2. Lightly sand and scuff  everything using a medium grit sanding sponge.  Sand so you see the old finish "forming dust". This is the indication that you are below the old sheen and into the surface enough for the bonding primer to adhere.  NOTE: if the sponge shows grease, then you should stop sanding and deal with the grease. Don't expect to sand grease off. Its much faster de-greasing.  You do not need to keep sanding the older finish to a point you are into bare wood. The idea is to prepare the wood for the bonding primer to stick, not to sand down to bare wood. 
  3. Dust and vacuum everything including cracks well. We want the dust out of cracks so the primer followed by filler will stick inside it all and look smooth and pro at final coat.
  4. Prime everything you want painted by hand using the appropriate brush and fine nap rollers. You may want to tape off certain areas. The primer you choose must be a high quality bonding primer. Some primers take longer to dry than others. I generally use one of three products which I will recommend for you.
  5. Once you are certain the primer is dry, fill in all visible cracks and damages you see after priming. I generally use caulking for seams and cracks and drydex for nicks on flat area's. caulking is an art in itself, a wet rag is a good time to have handy so you can wipe any extra off.  Let the filler dry for 24 hours or when sure its all dry. NOTE: After the first priming, you will see cracks and damages better. If you see anything missed that REQUIRES MORE ATTENTION TO DETAIL, repeat all 5 steps until you know the Face Frames look ready for finish coat. Preparation is most important so make sure you you do this well.
  6. FINISH COAT!: Use matching high quality Satin or Semi finish paint used for the cabinet doors. Coats vary on technique and aesthetics.

Before Doors Removed


Cabinet Frame Before Painting


​Painting Guys Kitchen Cabinet - frames before


​Painting Guys Kitchen Cabinet - Frame Faces Painted

After with cabinet doors installed. Repaint Completed!

​Painting Guys Kitchen Cabinet - Repainted Doors back on