How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit

Everything you need to know on how to paint kitchen cabinets white using the Rustoleum cabinet transformation kit. This kit is easy to use and is beginners friendly for painting kitchen cabinets without sanding.

Avoid making common painting mistakes and learn how to paint laminate cabinets white with a lasting smoothing finish.

Read on to learn tips and tricks on how to painting kitchen cabinets with the Rustoleum cabinet transformation kit!

how to paint kitchen cabinets
After!

Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation is Easy for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I have always loved the look of white cabinets, but I didn’t have the budget to replace the existing outdated laminate cabinets in my kitchen.

So, I browsed the home improvement store and researched online on how to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding.

This was my first big DIY project, so the Rustoleum transformation kit was a great option for painting kitchen cabinets as a beginner.

At the time I didn’t know much about paint, so this kit made me feel confident that I could take on this big project.

how to paint kitchen cabinets

Avoid a Major Home Renovation by Painting Kitchen Cabinets

After watching several home improvement shows, I thought it would be easy and affordable to take on these big projects.

When I moved into my first home, I had all these big plans to rip out walls, remove tile, and replace counter tops.

I did a few smaller diy projects around my home and noticed that the price of home improvement started to add up quickly.

So, I realized it was not realistic to spend the money to replace the cabinets or counters and decided painting kitchen cabinets was the best option.

rustoleum cabinet transformations
Before

Before You to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White..

Even though I read the instructions, I made a few mistakes while painting kitchen cabinets with the Rustoleum cabinet transformation kit.

Painting cabinets with a cabinet kit is easy, but can be a tedious process.

To simplify this project and end up with a smooth finish, read the common mistakes listed below before you paint kitchen cabinets white!

how to paint kitchen cabinets

PDF Printable Guide to Painting Kitchen Cabients

Everything you need to know on how paint kitchen cabinets is now simplified into a PDF guide.

All of the instructions to achieve a smooth painted cabinets are in this post, but it is a long read.

This guide helps simplify this post into a PDF that you can access anytime you want on your phone!

how to paint kitchen cabinets white

Items Needed for Painting Kitchen Cabinets:

rustoleum cabinet transformations
My Painted Cabinets!

Common Mistakes When Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Make sure to read the common painting mistakes listed below before you start painting cabinets.

Learn from my mistakes, so your cabinets come out better than mine did.

We share everything you need to know to paint cabinets the right way, so they last!

Mistake 1 – Panic When Applying the First Coat of Paint

The first coat of paint has been applied to your kitchen cabinets and you begin to panic.

You start to instantly regret your decision and think you ruined your cabinets.

Don’t be alarmed if the first couple of coats look terrible (as seen below)!

I almost cried when I finished applying the first coat of the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit because I thought I made a huge mistake by painting my cabinets.

After a few more coats of paint the cabinets will look much better and the brush strokes look less noticeable.

A high density foam roller will help achieve smooth painted cabinets while evening out the brush strokes on the cabinets.

rustoleum cabinet transformations
After 2 coats of paint

Mistake 2 – How to Avoid Brush Strokes on Painted Cabinets

I made the mistake of only purchasing a brush to apply the Rustoleum kitchen cabinet paint and it took me forever!

If I used a high density foam paint roller and a Wooster angled brush I could have saved myself so much time and money.

I probably would have been able to skip buying an extra cabinet kit to finish the project too.

A high density foam roller creates smooth painted cabinets that will last!

I could have got away with only purchasing 2 instead of 3 kits to paint my cabinets and save a ton of time, if I used this roller.

A friend of mine took my advice to use a high density roller and painter pyramids.

She saved a ton of time using the pyramids and roller, and only needed a max of 3 coats of paint.

Mistake 3 – Using the Incorrect Roller to Paint Laminate Cabinets

You purchased a roller and an angled brush, but you purchased a roller used to paint walls.

Make sure to purchase a roller made for smooth surfaces or your cabinets will have a weird texture from using the incorrect roller.

Purchase a high density foam roller that is meant for smooth painted cabinets.

Since I only used a paint brush for the entire project, it took me a total of 8 coats of paint, and almost 3 Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kits.

Mistake 4 – Not Prepping Before Painting Kitchen Cabients

Cover your counter tops and floors with drop cloths because paint will splatter!

I skipped this step because I thought the paint would easily peel off (wrong), and I was thinking of replacing the counter tops.

I didn’t end up replacing the counter tops because of the expense.

So, it ended up taking me forever to clean up paint splatters from the counters and floor.

Next time I would use cardboard, newspaper, or a drop cloth under cabinets and for the floors for an easier clean up.

Mistake 5 – Remove Doors and Drawers

To save time you decided it would be easier to leave the cabinet doors on instead of removing them. WRONG!!

This is a common mistake when painting cabinets because you are eager to start painting.

I made the mistake of leaving my cabinet doors on because I was being lazy.

This did not save me anytime, in fact this took a lot of time and I ended up getting paint on the hardware.

rustoleum cabinet transformations
Painted White Cabinets Turned Yellow

Since I left the cabinet doors on while painting, the clear coat gathered around the grooves of the cabinet and dripped down the sides.

This caused the cabinets to turn a slight yellow in some areas, as you can see in the below picture.

I highly recommend removing the cabinet doors!

Tips and Tricks to fix your cabinets, if you painted cabinets chip!

Cabinet Paint Alternative

If you are looking for an alternative to a cabinet kit, I used another good paint to update a bathroom vanity and desk.

Cabinet kits are definitely helpful for beginners, but there are other options that can get you just as good of results for less money.

If you do not want the extra work, you can even use this to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding.

This paint went on super smooth, is moisture resistant, and did not require a clear coat.

rustoleum cabinet transformations

Will My Painted Cabinets Chip?

How to Fix Chipped Cabinet Doors

Yes, they probably will chip eventually because the kitchen is a busy place in your home.

Well it’s a busy place for me because I eat too many snacks and I have 2 toddler boys that enjoy running laps around the kitchen.

Don’t worry though because a small chip can easily be fixed with these tips and tricks.

I have a few small chips around my hardware because I used babyproofing clips that went over the hardware.

The clips scratched against the paint and over time caused small chips.

I recommend using baby proofing hooks that go inside your cabinet doors to prevent nicks in the paint.

Included in The Rust-oleum Cabinet Kit:

  • How to DVD
  • Instruction pamphlet
  • Deglosser
  • Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Paint – Bond Coat (Tintable paint)
  • Rags
  • Scrub pads
  • Stir sticks
  • Protective Top Coat
  • Decorative Glazing cloths
  • Decorative Glaze (I skipped this optional step)

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit

The Rust-oleum kit makes it easy to paint laminate kitchen cabinets white without sanding.

Before you start your project, make sure to read the common mistakes when painting cabinets listed above!

Even though I read the instructions and took my time with this project, I still made these mistakes when painting cabinets that I regret.

Label Cabinet Doors and Drawers

First prep your work area with drop cloths, painters tape, and remove all cabinets doors and drawers.

Label all cabinet doors and drawers with a post-it note, so you can easily hang the cabinets back up.

Also, label a plastic cup or bag to insert all of the hardware for each cabinet or drawer.

Then remove the cabinets and place all hardware in the label that matches the cup or bag.

Prepping Cabinets

Wipe down all surfaces of the cabinet, doors, and drawers with a damp soapy sponge.

After removing the soapy water from your cabinets, you can apply the deglosser.

The deglosser should be wiped on all surfaces that are going to be painted.

Then clean the cabinets with damp soapy water again before painting.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White Without Sanding

If you are not using the deglosser included in the Rust-Oleum cabinet transformation kit, this is a good alternative.

You can paint kitchen cabinets without sanding, and they will hold up really well.

Just make sure to prep cabinets properly, so the paint will adhere correctly.

Either the deglosser or Krud Kutter will lightly etch the cabinet surface, so you can Krud Kutter.

Why Can I Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding?

The Rust-Oleum cabinet transformation kit was designed, so you do not have to sand your cabinets.

I did not sand my cabinets before painting them with the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Kit, and they are holding up nicely.

Krud Kutter removes grease, mildew, stains, and lightly etches the cabinet surface to prep for painting.

My cabinets held up great, but I did get a couple small chips from baby proofing.

Here are a few tips and tricks to fix your cabinets, if your painted cabinets chip!

Applying Wood Filler Before Painting Kitchen Cabinets

If you have cabinets with wood grain, you can paint over it and have the wood grain show through or cover the grain with wood filler.

The wood grain filler should be applied to the grain on cabinets just like you would apply spackle to a wall.

Lightly smooth the Wood Grain Filler, over the surface then scrape away any excess.

Once the filler has dried, lightly sand the surface to prep for painting.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White

Once the cabinets have been cleaned and dried, you can brush or roll on the first coat of the Rustoleum Cabinet transformation paint (bond coat).

First apply the Rustoleum cabinet transformation paint with an angled brush into all areas that the roller cannot reach.

Then use this roller to blend the bond coat over the entire surface for a super smooth finish.

rustoleum cabinet transformations
Roller for cabinets

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets with Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation

Wait at least a couple hours in between each coat of Rustoleum cabinet transformation paint, so it soaks into the cabinets.

I applied all paint to the front surface of the cabinets before flipping the cabinets and working on the back.

One of the common mistakes when painting is not letting the cabinet paint fully cure.

The Rustoleum cabinet transformation paint (bond coat) might feel dry to the touch, but cabinets are not fully cured.

how to paint kitchen cabinets
Save time with painter’s pyramids!

So, I recommend waiting at least 12 hours before flipping the cabinets over to paint the other side.

If you do not wait this long because you want to get this project done, you can use painter’s pyramids.

Painter pyramids prop up cabinet doors, so you can paint both sides of the cabinet even if it is not dry.

Inside View of Painted Cabinets

I chose not to paint inside the cabinets because I thought it looked fine as is with the natural wood tone.

Even if it didn’t look that great, I think I would have been too lazy to paint the inside of all of the cabinets.

how to paint kitchen cabinets white

How to Paint Laminates Cabinets with Top Coat

After the painted kitchen cabinets have completely dried, you can begin applying the final protective top coat.

To apply the protective top coat, I used an angled brush for a smooth painted kitchen cabinet.

I noticed a slight yellowing after painting cabinets because I applied the clear coat too thick.

So, make sure to use a thin layer of clear coat on your painted cabinets.

Think of painting your cabinets like you would paint your fingernails.

You do not want a thick layer of nail polish and clear coat on your nails or they will be smudged instantly.

How to Fill in Wood Grain on Cabinets

Laminate cabinets with wood grain can either be painted right over the grain or fill the grain.

If you don’t mind the look of the grain, you can simply just paint the cabinets and the gain will show through.

Luckily my laminate cabinets did not have wood grain, so I was able to paint my cabinets without filling them.

I don’t care for the look of grain, so if my cabinets had wood grain I would have filled them in using a Wood Grain Filler.

Home Bar Design ideas

Do Not Forget to Replace Cabinet Bumpers!

After I finished applying the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit, I placed bumpers on the back of cabinet doors and the doors.

The cabinet bumpers protect the cabinets, while allowing the doors and drawers to close softer.

Do not forget to replace cabinet bumpers after finishing your project!

Updating Hardware for Cabinets and Drawers

Updating existing handles and hinges can make a huge difference in your kitchen!

Make sure to measure before purchasing new hardware.

how to paint kitchen cabinets
After!

How to Prevent White Cabinets from Turning Yellow

The clear coat included in the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit is made to prevent yellowing, so do not skip this step.

Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformation kit clear coat is an Acrylic/Urethane resin that will not yellow, if applied correctly.

Do not apply a thick layer of clear coat or you will not have smooth painted cabinets.

A thick layer of clear coat will dry in the grooves of the cabinet doors, and may leave drips.

The drips of clear coat will dry a light yellow on the white cabinets.

Also, make sure to remove your cabinet doors and drawers before applying the clear coat to your cabinets for a much smoother finish.

The Best Cabinet Paint!

My Rustoleum cabinet transformation came out great and exceeding my expectations, but I found a great alternative.

If you do not want to use a kit for painting kitchen cabinets then here is the best cabinet paint for the project!

How to Clean Painted Cabinets

Grease and smoke from cooking may make white cabinets appear slightly yellow.

Do not use abrasive cleaners or brushes to clean painted cabinets.

To clean the cabinets simply use dish soap mixed with water and a cloth or sponge.

A toothbrush can also be helpful to clean the grooves of the cabinet doors.

Gently wipe down each cabinet door one by one with the soapy water then dry each cabinet after it has been cleaned.

Items Required to Clean Painted Cabinets:

How My Painted Kitchen Cabinets Are Holding Up

It has been 3 years since I painted my cabinets, and they are still holding up great.

My cabinets still look good, even with a toddler that “fixes” the cabinets with a toy drill and drives cars along the cabinets.

There were a couple of small nicks in the paint, so I followed these tips to touch up the paint.

I am really happy with how my cabinets turned out, and I highly recommend this Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit.

If you want to see tips and tricks directly from the manufacture then you can find them here! There are more in depth information on the Rust-Oleum website, so make sure to use some of their tips as well.

Backsplash – Oyster Gray Grout

Here is our current project! We purchased this back splash on clearance a couple years ago at Home Depot.

Finally we are getting around to adding this back splash to our kitchen.

We just finished grouting the backsplash in Oyster Gray grout!

rustoleum cabinet transformations

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

Here are some of the Rustoleum Transformations completed by our readers.

rustoleum cabinet transformations
Before
rustoleum cabinet transformations
After
rustoleum cabinet transformations
Before
rustoleum cabinet transformations
After
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47 thoughts on “How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit”

  1. Pingback: The Cost Savings of DIY Projects – ROCK SOLID RUSTIC

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Cabinet Paint - Alternative to Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit - rock solid rustic

    1. Hi! I did not paint inside of the cabinets. I painted the inside of the doors and the cabinet frame. I just updated this post with a picture of the inside of my cabinets, so you can get a better idea of how it looks. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Lacey

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  4. Not sure if this is a silly question but how did you tint the bond coat or does it already come tinted? Sid you purchase this kit from a home depot and then have the bond coat tinted there? I am slightly confused on this step. Thanks!

    1. Hello! I purchased my cabinet kits at Home Depot a few years back. The Rustoleum cabinet kits that I purchased required that the bond coat be tinted at the store. However, there is a newer version of this kit that is already tinted and can be purchased online. Here is a link to the kit that is already tinted: https://amzn.to/2Vs9GGq Let me know if you have any other questions :)- Lacey

    2. Patricia Krogh

      I picked one of the colors shown on the box and had Home Depot tint it to that color. I haven’t used my kit yet but looking forward to it. This site has answered several of my questions.

      1. Hi Patricia,

        I’m so happy to hear that you found our site helpful! We’d love to see how your transformation turns out, if you’d like to share before/after photos. Let us know if you have any other questions 🙂
        -Lacey

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  7. Melissa Walling

    We are about to do this to our kitchen and i have read that sometimes the top finishing cost can leave the pure white cabinet with a yellow tint. Have you noticed that at all?

    1. Hi Melissa! I painted our cabinets 3 years ago, and I just now started to notice a slight yellowing. I only notice the yellowing in areas that I applied the clear coat too thick. Try applying a thinner layer of clear coat to prevent the cabinets from yellowing. We typically respond within 24 hours or less, so let us know if you have any questions. Good luck with your cabinet project!
      -Lacey

  8. I’m new at painting cabinets. I appreciate your clear instructions and suggestions to help make this an easier task. This may seem like a silly question but when painting the frame of the cabinets and the cabinet box did you go through the same steps to prepare them for painting – washing down drying, sanding, etc…

    1. Hi Sandy! I’m glad you found the instructions helpful. Yes, make sure to clean the frame of the cabinets and doors. Any area of the cabinet that is going to be painted should be cleaned and dried, so the paint sticks properly. Let me know if you get any other questions 🙂
      – Lacey

    1. The bond coat is step #2, the decorative glaze is step #3, and the protective top coat is step #4. So, the bond coat is consider the cabinet paint and the decorative glaze is an option step (I did not use the decorative glaze for my cabinets). Are you looking to use an alternative to the bond coat? If so, I recommend either of these options: https://amzn.to/36j5spH or https://amzn.to/2WClSWJ. We also, have a post about these cabinet paints on our site title, My Favorite Cabinet Paint Alternatives.
      Let us know if you have any more questions!
      -Lacey

    1. Hi! Yes, you can swap our the bond coat for an alternative. These paints do not require a top coat, but if you would like to add extra protection to your project the protective top coat will work well with these other options.

      I recommend either of these options: https://amzn.to/36j5spH or https://amzn.to/2WClSWJ. We also, have a post about these cabinet paints on our site title, My Favorite Cabinet Paint Alternatives.
      Let us know if you have any more questions!
      -Lacey

    1. Hi Donna,

      I did not sand my cabinets. I first cleaned my cabinets with soap and water then I used the deglosser that came in the kit or you could use Krud Kutter. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
      -Lacey

  9. Does this work on laminate cabinets? Your before pics look just like the builder grade cabinets I have but I’m not sure they are real wood. The cabinet doors seem to be wood but not the rest of the cabinet.

    1. Hi! Yes, Rusto-Oleum Cabinet Transformation will work on wood and laminate cabinets. The bond coat included in the kit allows for adhesion on both of these surfaces. Let me know if you have additional questions.
      -Lacey

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  11. I also used the Rust-Oleum cabinet refinishing kit but we painted the cabinets black. Found out if you apply the top coat too thick that it dries white. So we had to sand those areas and repaint. Cabinets turned out great and it was so easy to do!

  12. OMG this really helped me…I’m in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets with the rustoleum transformation kit … I so appreciate your “mistakes list” and the addition items to buy to make the project easier. I did watch the YouTube video from Rustoleum so, I didn’t make a lot of those mistakes but I was stressing on the application coverage. I’m going to buy the high density foam for sure. This is was great read and thank you for being honest with all the mistakes and short cuts you made so it doesn’t happen to others like, me.

  13. Thank you for going into detail about literally everything! My favorite part was reading your most common mistakes so I didn’t have to make them! My cabinets came out perfect and I’m so happy I came across this site before I started.

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  15. I want to paint my camper cabinets which are a dark color and I want to paint it a lighter color. Any suggestions using Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations?

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Make sure to thoroughly clean your cabinets and degloss them. This will help the paint better adhere to the cabinets. I also, recommend using a good quality brush and a high density foam roller (this is linked in my post). The roller is meant for smooth surfaces and will help prevent brush strokes, while quickly covering the cabinets. I prefer to brush on the paint first in all areas that the roller will not be able to reach then I go back over all areas to smooth the paint. It might take you a few coats of paint to complete your cabinets since they are dark, so do not panic if the first coat looks terrible. It will start to look better after 2 coats of paint. Once the cabinets are completely dried and you are satisfied with the look of them, you can apply a thin layer of clear coat. Do not apply a thick coat of clear coat or this will cause the cabinets to yellow and you may notice some drips of clear coat on the cabinets. I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions during your project!
      -Lacey

  16. This is so awesome! I’ve been trying to figure out how I want to update my kitchen cabinets. I have never done anything like this before and I’m nervous to try it, but with all of your tips, I know I can do it! Will definitely be looking over this when I move forward.

    1. Hi Sharon,
      It’s funny that you just asked this question because I am actually in the middle of creating a printable PDF file to simplify this post. I should be able to get this done in the next few days. The current post on my website, cannot be printed without the images.
      Let me know if you have any questions with your project!
      -Lacey

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