How to Paint Cabinets Using Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation

rust-oleum cabinet kit
Before Painting Cabinets – Scroll to the Bottom for the AFTER!

Rust-Oleum is a well known, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with their transformation cabinet kit to paint smooth laminate cabinets and help me avoid painting mistakes.

I have always loved the look of white cabinets, but I didn’t have the budget to replace the existing outdated laminate cabinets in my kitchen.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 started researching the best options for beginners to paint laminate kitchen cabinets.

I did not have a lot of painting experience when I started this project, so I did a lot of reading on painting cabinets with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit.

Why I Used Rust-Oleum to Paint My Cabinets

After reading a lot of information on painting laminate cabinets, I found that the Rust-Oleum kit is the best option for beginners.

The cabinet kit was easy to work with and the instructions were very easy to understand.

Even though I read the instructions included in the cabinet kit, I made a few mistakes while painting my kitchen cabinets.

Make sure to read the mistakes when painting mistakes cabinets, listed below before you start painting your cabinets.

tips for smooth painted cabinets
Learn how to fix chipped cabinets!

I thought the pure white would really pop off the existing counter tops and brighten up the space, which it definitely did.

It only took a weekend and a couple hundred dollars to totally transform my kitchen!

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

Even with a toddler that “fixes” things with a toy drill and drive cars along the cabinet doors.

I am sharing all of the tips and tricks that I learned along the way during my Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation.

Do not make the same mistakes that I did while painting laminate cabinets!

Items Required:

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

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

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

cabinet kit alternative
Learn more here!

Common Mistakes when Painting Cabinets!

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

Learn from our mistakes, so your cabinets come out better.

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

The Best Cabinet Paint!

I have painted several pieces of furniture, bathroom vanities, and kitchen cabinets.

So, I learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way and the best paint to use for cabinets!

Mistake 1 – Panic When Applying the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Kit

The first coat has been applied you begin to panic, and instantly regret your decision.

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.

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

mistakes when painting cabinets
After 2 coats of paint has been applied to the cabinets

Mistake 2 – How to Avoid Brush Strokes on Painted Cabinets

You only purchased a brush to apply the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit. I

made this mistake and it took me a lot longer to apply the paint.

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

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.**

How to paint cabinets
Make sure to choose the correct paint brushes and rollers when painting cabinets!

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 Protecting Surrounding Areas

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.

easy spray paint project

Easy Spray Paint Projects!

These spray paint projects are beginner friendly, so do not be afraid to try these spray paint ideas using stone paint or Behr chalk paint on items such as Califia farm bottles, vases, mason jars, and more!

Mistake 5 – Not Removing the Cabinet Doors

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

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.

how to prevent white cabinets from turning yellow
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 your painted cabinets chip!

How to Use Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit

The Rust-oleum Cabinet Kit Includes:

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

First begin by wiping down all surfaces of the cabinets with a damp soapy sponge.

Then apply the deglosser with the white rag that is included in the kit to all surfaces that are to be painted.

smooth painted cabinets
Before Painting Cabinets

Then wipe down the cabinets with damp soapy water again.

If you are not using the deglosser that is included in the Rust-Oleum cabinet transformation kit, this is a really good alternative to prep your cabinets.

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

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

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

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

Label Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Make sure to label all cabinet doors and drawers with a post it note.

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.

how to paint cabinets the right way
Label Hardware from Cabinets

How to apply the Rust-Oleum Bond Coat

Once the cabinets have dried, you can begin applying the first coat of paint.

First apply the paint with an angled brush into all areas that the roller cannot cover then cover the entire surface with a roller for smooth painted cabinets.

smooth painted cabinets
Painting the first coat of paint to my laminate cabinets with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit

How to Apply the Second Coat of Bond Coat

Wait at least a couple hours in between each coat.

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

The cabinets might feel dry to the touch, but they are not fully cured.

So, I would wait 12-24 hours before flipping the cabinets over to paint the other side.

If you would rather not wait this long because you want to get this project done, I recommend painter’s pyramids.

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

painters pyramids

Painter’s Pyramids

Painter pyramids save so much time and prevent paint smudges to leave you with smooth painted cabinets.

After painting the front side of the cabinet door, flip the cabinet door over and rest onto painter pyramids.

Closer Look Inside my Cabinets

I choose not to paint inside the cabinets because I thought it looked fine as is.

I painted all surrounding areas of the cabinets and doors. See below:

how to paint inside cabinets
Here is a look inside of my cabinet to see where I painted the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit.

How to Apply Top Coat to Painted Lamanite Cabinets

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

To apply the proactive top coat, I used an angled brush for a smooth painted cabinets.

I noticed a slight yellowing on my cabinets in areas that I applied the clear coat because I applied the clear coat too thick.

So, do not use a very thick layer of clear coat, only a thin layer is needed.

How to paint kitchen cabinets with rustoleum

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 Wood Grain Filler.

If you want smooth painted cabinets then I recommend using the wood filler.

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

Lightly smooth the putty over the surface then scrape away any excess.

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

how to fill in wood grain on cabinets
Here is our favorite Wood Grain Filler for Laminate Cabinets!

Do Not Forget to Replace Cabinet Bumpers!

After I finished applying the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit, I placed bumpers on the back of the 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!

painted cabinets
After painting laminate cabinets before sure to add Cabinet Bumpers for a softer close.

Updating Hardware for Cabinets and Drawers

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

Make sure to measure your hardware before purchasing new hardware.

See below for ideas to change the entire feel of your kitchen:

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.

I’m a paint fanatic and I literally painted my house top to bottom, which includes the ceiling. I also painted my vanity, kitchen cabinets, and furniture.
It’s safe to say I am also particular with my products (after a lot of trial and error) so I listed my favorite ones here.

How to Clean Painted Laminate Cabinets

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

Do not use any abrasive cleaners or brushes to clean the 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.

how to clean painted cabinets

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 drive cars along the cabinets.

There was 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.

You really can’t go wrong with any product made by Rust-Oleum!

how to paint kitchen cabinets
After Painting the Kitchen Cabinets!

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!

oyster gray grout
Installing mini subway tile

We typically respond with 24 hours or less, if you should have any questions or concerns during project!

You Need to Know Your Style!

I can browse the bathmat isle for at least 20 minutes at Home Goods trying to carefully select the correct mat.

I have a lot to consider in this isle and my husband doesn’t understand the thought process that goes into selecting such a simple item.

How to Paint a Vanity

I upgraded my bathroom vanity and mirror frame under $100! View our post to see how they both turned out.

My Favorite Paint Products

I’m a paint fanatic and I literally painted my house top to bottom, which includes the ceiling. I also painted my vanity, kitchen cabinets, and furniture.

It’s safe to say I am also particular with my products (after a lot of trial and error) so I listed my favorite ones here.

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31 thoughts on “How to Paint Cabinets Using Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation

    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

  1. 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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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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