Thursday, April 7, 2011

DIY - Painting Knotty Pine Cabinets

This is a project that ended up being a lot more time consuming than originally thought, so goes the life of diy remodeling I suppose.  Like I mentioned before here, I have been very surprised at the number of people who enjoy the knotty pine look of our cabinets and had many question my idea of painting them.  But ultimately for us they just were not our style and a fresh white coat of paint needed to happen.

So, the first step in our project was to remove all the doors and hardware, simple enough.  The first little issue that arose was the weather.  My plan was to paint all of the cabinets outside but of course it was raining the weekend we had to get it done.  So we just set up a drop cloth in the kitchen and laid all of the doors out on the floor.

Our next step was to apply a good coat of oil based primer.   You really have to use an oil based primer for knotty pine in order to get a good coverage on the dark knots.  The primer actually didn't take very long to dry and we were off to painting.  I chose to use a water based no voc paint in eggshell finish.  After  one coat of paint we realized we had issues.  Streaking issues and hole issues to be exact - this is after we also realized that all new holes would need to be drilled for our new hardware, more on that later.

Whoops, I think we might have jumped the gun on the painting and forgotten some crucial steps.  Luckily we had some wood putty handy (from all of the other numerous holes we have found in this house - which I think my dear husband will be writing on soon).  We filled in the holes, sanded those cabinets down and primed again and painted them twice.  It took forever and was a little frustrating when we realized we had to pretty much start over but, we love the end result.  They look five million times better and I absolutely do not regret our decision.  So, if you are thinking of painting your wood or knotty pine cabinets, here are the steps I would follow:

1. Remove your cabinet doors and all hardware
2. Fill in all the holes with wood putty!!!
3. Sand those babies
4. Give them a good coat of an oil based primer
5. Next is two coats of any paint of your choice
6. Give your cabinets a good 24 hours to dry, at least
7. Re-hang your cabinet doors
8. Admire your lovely fresh and clean cabinets

We still need to add the rest of our hardware, hopefully that will happen this weekend!

Chatham snuck in on this one.
Looking at the journey these cabinets have been through and seeing them now all fresh and white and new, it reminds me of the journey we take in life with Christ.  Like our cabinets, we all have issues and we have sin.  The amazing grace of Jesus can cover a multitude of sins.  By the precious blood of Christ we are made white as snow, new.  It's pretty cool that now when I look at our cabinets I am reminded of the redeeming and cleansing love of our Savior.  You can even see God in cabinets, who knew?

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool".  Isaiah 1:18


  1. Just stumbled onto here, as I am trying to work up the courage to paint my knotty pine cabinets! Nice job on yours, thanks for your testimony at the end. It makes me happy to hear of people's faith, keep up the good work!

  2. So glad you found us! You can do it - it's so worth it!

  3. So, I realize this was posted quite a while ago, but I was googling "can I paint knotty pine cabinets" and came across your site. My question is, have any of the knot holes bled through the paint? We had this problem with a pine armoire I had as a teenager and I'm so afraid of that happening in our kitchen. However, I do not want to paint them a dark color. I want white. Anyway, if you could let me know how its looking now that it's a year later, I'd be most appreciative! :-)

    1. Hi Jessica! So I was really nervous about the knots bleeding through as well but after a year, it looks the exact same as it did when I first painted them. I really think the key is a good oil based primer. Don't got for anything water based when painting something like knotty pine. Do a couple of coats of primer and a couple of coats of paint. I just used an eggshell finish - a lot of people don't like that finish on cabinets but if you have a lot of imperfections to hide then it's a great choice. It will still wipe up pretty well - although not the absolute most durable finish. I have a 20 month old and he hasn't ruined them yet though :). I also painted a wall in our house that was knotty pine and it's still awesome looking as well. Hope this helps!!

    2. Does it still look good?

    3. Its been 5 years and I have still not had any knots bleed through the paint and the surface still wipes up well. I have been so pleased with it! Hope that helps!

  4. Did you happen to paint the inside of the cabinets too, or just the doors and the faces of the cabinets?