Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I’m echoing YHL’s droopy but spirited happy dance following cabinet-painting completion.  This project now tops my “most time-consuming” project ever.  Blowing my reupholstered wingback chair project right out of the water.  But it was COMPLETELY worth all the time and energy it took.  My kitchen looks totally different now– in an amazingly awesome kind of way.

Oh, and I fully understand why it seems to cost an arm and a leg to pay someone else to paint cabinets for you– it’s not for the feint of heart, or for someone who struggles to finish projects.

Here’s what I needed:

  • Sandwich baggies – FREE
  • Phillips Screwdriver – FREE
  • Electric Drill – FREE
  • TSP – FREE (a good thing to own)
  • Palm Sander – FREE, purchased for my farmhouse table build, but only about $30 to buy
  • 120 or 150 grit Sandpaper – $3.97
  • Primer* – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance Primer)
  • Paint – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance paint, Satin sheen, color: Distant Gray)
  • Quality paint brush – FREE (I used a 1″ Purdy brush.  I like 1″ better than 2″ personally, but a 2″ brush is usually recommended)
  • Paint tray – FREE
  • Small roller – FREE, purchased for my newly-painted front door
  • Roller pads** – $7  (Microfiber)
  • Bumper guards for cabinet doors – $4
  • Install guide for hardware – $7
  • Hardware – $110.46 (purchased on eBay $95.40 & the two long ones at Lowes $15.06)

TOTAL $228.43

* I was incredibly disappointed with the primer I purchased.  I couldn’t find the Zinsser Smart Prime in any stores near me, so I opted to go with the more-expensive primer that shared the same name as my paint.  Learn from me– use a Zinsser primer.  I had stain bleed-through and ended up (after my second coat of top coat), using a Zinsser primer that I had in my shed to spot treat certain spots and then putting a third coat of top coat on top of that.  Save time– use the right primer.

** These roller pads were recommended to me by my Benjamin Moore paint guy.  I hated them.  Perhaps it was just because my cabinets were so smooth, but the roller didn’t, well, “roll” much.  So I ended up globbing a bunch of paint on the roller and pushing it around with the roller.  Thankfully the BM Advance paint is “open” for a long time and does a really good job at self-leveling.

Here is what I started with.

Day 1: Took all the cabinet doors off and pulled all the drawers out.  As you’re taking the hardware off, put it in an individual baggie for each door.  Number the baggie and put the appropriate number on painters tape on your cabinet door.  You’ll thank me later– unless you only have a few doors that are not easy to confuse.  I also sanded, de-greased (TSP), and laid all my cabinets out for painting.  Don’t try to do this all in one day, unless you have help.

Sand the doors evenly, enough to take the waxy/shiny finish off, but not too much.  You just need someone for the paint to adhere to.  I used a palm sander, but with almost 40 doors/drawers to work on, it took me HOURS to sand them all.  Be thorough– you don’t want your paint to peel later.  I was also too lazy to remove all the things out of cabinets, so I just placed butcher paper over the openings before I sanded.  Ridiculous, but effective.

Day 2: Paint primer on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.  Start with your brush, paint around edges the roller can’t get into, then use the roller over everything you can.  The paint is good, but the fewest brush strokes is best.

Day 3: Turn cabinet doors over and paint front side of doors & drawers.

Day 4: Turn over and paint first coat of topcoat on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.

Day 5: Second coat of topcoat on backside of doors and cabinet frames in kitchen.

Day 6: Let dry

Day 7-8: No time to paint 😦 busy evenings

Day 9: Turn cabinet doors over, paint first coat of topcoat on cabinet doors & drawers

Day 10: Second coat of topcoat on the front side of the cabinet doors and drawers.

Day 11-13: Let dry

Day 14: Install doors & drawers, drill for hardware holes, and repair any nicks with paint

Day 17: Install hardware.

My kitchen looks about a million times better now, and since I was silly enough to undertake this project in the middle of the winter, I now have half of my home back (for two weeks it was littered with butcher paper and half-painted cabinet doors).  The transformation makes all the HOURS of prep and painting worth it.

In that token… here is a breakdown of my time…

  • Taking doors off: 1.5 hours
  • Sanding doors: 3 hours
  • De-greasing: 1  hour
  • Laying out doors/drawers: 1 hour
  • Painting cabinets (primer/paint/kitchen wall color/touch ups): 30 hours
  • Installing doors/drawers: 2 hours
  • Drilling hardware holes: 1.5 hours
  • Installing hardware: 2 hours

Total: 42 hours.  Yep, in two weeks, I basically worked a 22 hr/wk job on top of my day job.

Worth it?  You bet.

Here’s another before and after.

Have you been up to any cabinet painting lately?


How to remove & install a bathroom faucet (pedestal sink)

I’ve never liked the faucet in my upstairs bathroom, and when I bought my house, it didn’t have a stopper.  I was always afraid of dropping stuff down there!  Plus, I’ve had issues with water leaking, so I thought this would be the perfect time to solve that mystery too.

Here’s what you need:

  • A faucet kit (including drain assembly)
  • A wrench
  • Vice Grips/locking pliers
  • Plumbers Putty
  • A small bucket or paint tray to catch the water
  • Old towel

What to do:

This is a GREAT VIDEO to watch before you start.

1. Turn the water valves off.  (Turn the knobs as far to the right as you can)

2. Disconnect the water lines from the old faucet.  Disconnect the mounting nuts that hold the old faucet to the underside of the sink.

3. Remove old faucet from the sink.  Clean around the area and use a screwdriver (if necessary) to scrape carefully any residue/old caulk off.

4. Put new faucet into the holes in counter.  Reattach the mounting nuts to hold it tightly to the counter.

5. Reattach the water lines to the faucet hookups.

**If you’re also replacing the Pop-up drain assembly, continue with the directions.  Otherwise, turn the water back on and check for leaks.

6. Unscrew the tailpiece that connects the P-trap with the pipe coming from the drain.  See a great explanation of all of these directions HERE.

7. Unscrew the connector between the pip connecting the drain and the drain.  Pull the gasket (rubber) down.  Then you should be able to put the piece upward to loosen the drain connection to the basin in sink. Be prepared for all kinds of hair and gunk in there. GROSS.

8. Remove all old pieces.

9. Get out the plumbers putty and roll a snake.  Wrap it around the underside of the drain piece and set into the sink.  This creates somewhat of a seal, and it doesn’t matter if some seeps up while you’re pushing it down.

10. Then connect the new pipe, gasket, and washer underneath the sink.  Connect back up with the P-trap.

I got this picture from DIY Advice

11. Drop the stopper into the drain (facing the correct direction) so you can insert the pivot rod (rod with the ball on it) into the stopper.

12. Connect the pivot rod and the lift rod with the Clevis strap (yeah, if I didn’t have the diagram above, I would have no idea the proper names for these things…)

Then turn on your water for at least 15 seconds and look for any leaks.

Giani Granite: How to paint your counters

My kitchen was re-done about four years ago (three years before I moved in), and basically included all builder-grade fixtures.  I have tons of counter space, but the counters were a marbled, salmon-pink color.  And combined with the orange-oak cabinets, my kitchen was really very “blah”.

I’ve always loved the look of granite, but I knew that I would probably have to sell all of my arms and legs to cover putting in real granite counters– not to mention that for my house, and my neighborhood, that much granite would be a silly investment (that I wouldn’t be able to earn back).  So I looked around for solutions.  Anything had to be better than the ugly salmon color.

And then I found Giani Granite online.  I was sold.  I did my research, looked at all the facebook pictures happy users have uploaded to decide what color I wanted, and drove out to Walmart to buy my kit(s).  I chose the Bombay Black kit.

This was my inspiration:

Here’s what you need:

  • Giani Granite kit(s) – each kit covers 35 sq ft (I bought two kits because I needed to cover almost 40 sq ft) $140 ($70 for each kit)
  • Painters tape – FREE
  • Butcher paper – FREE
  • An artist’s paintbrush (just a small brush to paint in the corners) – FREE
  • Tin foil – FREE
  • Paper plates – FREE

COST: $140

What to do:

1. Clean your counters WELL.  Use a mild soap and scrubby sponge to get EVERYTHING off your counters.  Then, wash them again with just water at least three times to make sure all the soap and everything else is gone.  Also, if you have caulk anywhere touching your counters, remove it all.

2.  Spend some time taping around your counters and sink.  Use the butcher paper to protect your cabinets/backsplash.  Use AT LEAST THREE lines of painters tape above the counters/backsplash to make applying giani easier.  I only used two lines in most places and had to wipe paint off my tiles several times.  No fun.

3. Paint on your primer layer.  Use the foam brush included to get around the edges, but use the roller as much as you can–smoother finish.   One coat of primer should be fine.  Don’t worry too much about lines, they’ll be covered up with the paint.

4. Let your primer dry overnight.

5. Get out your sponge(s) and cut them up.  See a good way to cut them up from the Giani directions HERE (click “View, print, or download Giani Instructions).

6. Pour your paint onto the paper plates and use the black practice sheet to try them out.

**The paint colors are numbered for the order you should use them in.  My inspiration picture suggested that I use my paints in a different order: Bronze, White, Black.  So that’s what I did.  Different combinations get you different results.

7. Start painting your counters.  Work in three-foot sections at a time.  Paint all three colors and then move onto the next counter section.  Using the colors on top of each other before they can dry creates this really cool marbled look in the paint.

8. I let my counters dry first, but you could do this right away.  Use the painters brush to get into the hard-to-reach corners and edges.  I found that using the brush was the only way to get paint all the way up to my tile backsplash.

9. Let the counter dry (I waited overnight, but I think the directions say to wait four hours).

10. Paint on the shiny top coat.  This was my favorite step.  The shiny coat is what makes the counters look so similar to granite.  Watch THIS video before you start.  It’s gives a great explanation on how to paint the top coat on (it dries super fast!) without ending up with dull patches.  I used this method and didn’t have ANY dull, dry patches when I was done.

11. Paint on your second coat of shiny top coat and let it dry.

12. Once the final top coat is dry to the touch, you can remove the painters tape CAREFULLY.  Use an X-Acto knife (or razor blade) to score between the paint and the tape, otherwise you could peel up your newly-painted counters!


Giani says to let the counters dry for two, full days before you put anything on them or use them, and then to wait two weeks before you can use them like normal.

Here is my before & after!

What have you been working on lately?

I’m linking up with My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia ‘s link up party HERE.

Painting the front door

I was looking through my pictures and realized that I never shared my newly-painted front door!

Such an easy process that makes a huge difference.  I still get compliments on my front door.

Tape off any windows or hardware you don’t want paint on.

As I was trying to figure out what color the edges were supposed to be painted, I learned that  when the door is partially opened, the side that points outside should be the outside color, and the edge that can be seen from inside, should be the inside color of the door.

The color I used was Full Sun by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection from Lowes.  I saw the color used by Younghouselove and couldn’t resist.  I love yellow!

I also went with their paint brand recommendation (or perhaps the recommendation made by the Paint Pro at Lowes when they asked) of Valspar Duramax Exterior in a semi gloss finish.

Wipe down the door with TSP to get rid of any grease or oil on the surface.

Then use a foam roller and lightly coat the door.  Thin and even coats will lessen the possibilities for ugly drips.

This is after my first coat–which is pretty good considering the red color that I started with.  In total, I think I put four coats of paint on, waiting about an hour in between coats.

And here is how my front door looks now.

It definitely pops against the navy house color that I had done this last summer.

Subway Tile Backsplash

I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting here.  Between a trip to NY for New Years (!), catching up at work, and saving my pennies for my next big project, I’ve been amazingly busy.

But, last week the tile for my backsplash project came in the mail (does it seem silly that Home Depot doesn’t have white 3×6″ subway tile in stock to anyone else?) and I was so giddy about getting started that I actually dreamed about it.

Yep, I was that excited about it.

What you need:

  • Tile & edge tile (measure the area you’re planning to tile and figure out your square footage– THIS is a great explanation on how to do that.
  • Adhesive (or thinset)  I used Omni-Grip and purchased the larger 4-gallon bucket from HD.  I used more than half of it.
  • Grout.  I used Custom Building Products in Bright White from HD.
  • Grout float
  • Square notch trowel (the size of the notched depends on the size of the tile you’re using)
  • Wet saw (if you have any intricate corners or switches to work around, you’ll definitely need one of these, but you can rent them for a day)  If you only have straight cuts to make, you can probably get along with a Snap Cutter
  • Level
  • Tape & butcher paper (or plastic)

Here is a true “before” picture.  This was taken a couple of months ago for my one-year “House-versary”

And this is what it looked like once I ripped the awful laminate “backsplash” that was already up.  You can just barely see it in the picture, but it was gross.  Super thin with really ugly metal quarter round at the top and by the counter.  Plus, it wasn’t sealed correctly and it was always teeming with ants.  GROSS.

What to do:

1. wash the backsplash area with TSP, to get rid of any oils, grease, or whatnot off the wall.  Better safe than sorry.

2. If you’ll be tiling behind an oven/range, then cut a board (or scrap) to a few inches shorter than the opening.  Using your level, nail it securely (but not so tight you can’t remove it later) to the wall.

3. Figure out where your edge pieces need to go, use the level to measure a straight line guide on the wall.

4. Lay out your tile pattern with your edge pieces and start making your first cuts.

5. Use the notched trowel to put adhesive on the wall where you want to lay the tile.  I used the un-notched side to get it on the wall initially, then switched to the notched side to keep the layer of adhesive even.

This is a great video for technique.

6. Lay on each tile and push in securely to make sure it’s stuck.  And make sure that you use spacers between your bottom tile and counter.  Subway tiles are amazing and self-space themselves, but if you’re using a tile that doesn’t self-space, make sure you buy spacers and use them to keep even grout lines.

7. I found it easiest (and most encouraging) to keep placing as many whole tiles as I could before I started cutting weirdly-sized pieces.  Just make sure you leave enough room for the cut pieces to add in later.

Keep going around the room until you’re done.

Then just grout according to the instructions on the box (mix, wait, apply, wait, wash off, buff, done!)

And now I have shiny, beautiful tile.


  • If you’re buying multiple packages of tile (in one color), make sure you mix the boxes before you start to discourage discoloration lines from one color batch to the next.
  • Buy AT LEAST 15% more tile than you need for square footage.  If you have to order it to be shipped to you, expect that some will break in transit, others will break when you try to cut them.  I needed 38 sq. ft, I purchased 50 sq ft, I only had about 3-4 sq. ft of tile left.
  • Turn off the power to your electrical outlets–I shocked myself at least a dozen times when I got too close.
  • Don’t put too much adhesive on the back of the tiles.  Too little adhesive and the tiles won’t stick, too much and it will come through the crack in between the tiles.
  • Borrow, rent, or purchase a wet saw.  They’re amazing.  And a huge time saver for difficult, but necessary cuts.

I’m linking up with My Repurposed Life, to see all the links, go HERE.

I was “caught” by My Repurposed Life.  Check out some other great tutorials/project there!

Magnetic scrabble tiles

I saw this idea online and thought it was genius.  And super simple.


  • Scrabble tiles (I bought a use game at a thrift store, but you can also buy spare tiles for fairly cheap on eBay) COST: $1.50
  • Magnets (strong ones will probably work better) COST: $4.00
  • Glue gun with glue sticks  COST: FREE (already owned one)

Total Cost: $5.50

This is one of the easiest things I’ve made.  All you have to do is hot glue the magnets to the back of the scrabble tile.  DONE.  Seriously.

This would make a really fun gift idea, or just something fun for your own fridge.

House Tour: Living Room

I’m starting a house tour of the changes some of the rooms in my house have had.

Here is what the living room looked like before I bought it (with the previous owners stuff).

(Sorry the picture is so terrible.  Apparently this is the ONLY picture of the living room that I took before!)

And here is what it looks like today:

And then I realized I didn’t take pictures of the entryway table, so please excuse the picture taken at night.

Source List:

Couches: Ashley Furniture (I think they’re Ashley.  I bought them from a roommate who was moving across the country)

Rug: Ikea, rug name is Persby (I LOVE this rug.  It’s a high-pile rug that is SUPER cozy.  I’ve never been able to find it online, or I’d include the link) $200

Coffee Table(s): Ikea

Curtains: DIY (HERE)

Bowl on coffee table: Ikea

Balls on coffee table: from Michaels

Entryway table: bought at an antique shop & painted.  Similar to THIS one on Amazon.

Mail basket: Ikea

White vase: Ikea

Bird: antique shop

Yellow bowl: antique shop

Mirror: Goodwill (with a coat of grey paint)

Striped canvas art with painters tape

This is SUCH a simple piece of art, but it looks fabulous.

HERE is my original inspiration from Pinterest.


  • Painters tape (I’ve heard that the green frog tape works best) I already had some of this on hand, so it was free)  The stuff I used was 1/2″ wide.
  • Two/three (including white) paint colors (I used what I already have, but a cheap option are the sample paint pots you can get at Home Depot for less than $3)
  • Canvas (I bought mine at Michaels with a 40% off coupon) COST: 15.00



1. Paint your entire canvas with the white paint.

2. Tape off your canvas.  Use your finger and/or the edge of a credit card to make sure that every edge of the tape is secured to the canvas.

3. Paint white paint (again) on every edge where the tape meets the canvas.  (What this does is create a seal between the edge of the tape and the canvas.)

4. Paint your colors on in the places the canvas shows.  Try to use dabbing motions around the tape edges instead of sweeping motions.  Don’t put too much paint on your paintbrush when painting the tape edges either.

5. As soon as you’re done painting the colors, remove the tape.

6. Let art dry & then hang.

And a close up of some of my edges.

Linking up with Home Stories A to Z’s Tutorials & Tips Link Party.  Check it out!

DIY Black & White Striped Curtains

I loved this idea, but finding fabric with big, chunky horizontal stripes is next to impossible.  So I decided to make my own.

Although I did cheat a tiny bit and bought curtain panels from Ikea to work off of.


  • White curtain panels. COST: $19.99 for a pair
  • Black twin sheets (1 sheet per panel you’re making–at least). COST: $5.00 each I got my sheets from Walmart
  • Stitch Witchery (fusible web) COST: $2.99
  • Rotary cutter & mat (This isn’t necessary, but the cuts are SO much easier on a rotary cutter)

TOTAL COST: $32.98 per window (two panels).

I loved the big, chunky stripes, so I went with 14″ stripes.


1. Measure your white curtain width & length for reference.  Use some simple math to figure out how thick you want your stripes.  I made mine 14″ wide.  So 14″ white, 14″ black, 14″ white, 14″ black, etc…

2. Take one of the black sheets and cut all the edge seams off as close to the edge as possible.

3. Lay the black sheet on the floor and cut out 15-16″ stripes (the extra inch is so you’ll have a 1/2-1″ of fabric to fold over for a nice edge)  NOTE: I cut my stripes to the correct width (across) in addition to the 14″ height and ran into trouble–I think perhaps because I didn’t use enough pins, when I was sewing there were several times when I didn’t quite have enough fabric to make it all the way across the white panel & I had to sew additional fabric onto the black stripes.  My recommendation is to cut the 14″ stripes, but don’t cut the width until you’re at the sewing machine ready to sew that section.

4. Iron the edges on all of your black stripes.  This is a great tip for getting evenly-ironed edges

5. Lay out your white panels & pin the black stripes on.  Be generous with the pins.  I learned that the hard way.

6. Sew on the black stripes to the panels. (Or sew the edges of the black sheets and then use stitch witchery to iron the black stripes onto the panels.)  Sew as close to the edge of the black fabric as you can.

7. Iron everything & hang. (I waited to hem mine because I added a liner several days later)

**If your panels are meant to be more than decorative, you’ll probably need to add a liner to them–I (again) used cheap white sheets from Walmart ($5).  I cut the sheets to fit the size of the back (with an additional 1/2″ to sew an edge), sewed all the edges of the white sheet, and then used the stitch witchery fusible web to attach the white sheet to the back of my panel. (The lining also gets rid of the black thread used to sew on the stripes).

The Ikea panels usually come with some fusible web too; this is a great method for hemming curtains without a seam.

NOTE: This project wasn’t overly difficult, but it was time consuming.  I spent almost an entire day making 4 panels, but they’re totally worth it.  Exactly the effect I was going for.

Melted Crayon Canvas Art

I saw this and had to make it.

HERE is the link to it on Pinterest.


  • A glue gun that you can ruin (one that takes the larger size of glue sticks–not the mini ones). COST: $4.00
  • Crayons (with the paper peeled off) COST: $2.00 (I bought two boxes, I only needed one box, 64 count)
  • Canvas. COST: $15.00
  • Long, skinny ballpoint pen (like this one, but without the cap on)

TOTAL COST: $21.00

Here’s what you do:

1. Do this outside (or in a garage).  The melting point of crayons is much MUCH faster than that of glue sticks.  That being said, they splatter a little as you’re learning how it all works.

2. Sit in a chair with the canvas leaning back on your knees (like below).

3. Practice with the glue gun before you start on the canvas.  Use a similar color to whatever color you want to start with.

4. First, drop the crayon into the glue gun shaft, and then, holding the top of pen, “push” the crayon through the gun.  Then pull the pen back out. (Because the crayons are smaller than the glue sticks, they don’t activate the “trigger”, and the best way to get the crayon to come out of the gun is to push it through–like you’re loading a cannon).

5. Repeat across the canvas.  You can vary the angle of the canvas against your knees to get different patterns of drips.  The crayon comes out in an almost water-like consistency.

**Yellow was really difficult for me to achieve.  Once you start feeding the crayons through the gun they melt in there (and on the sides of the gun too), so the colors do naturally mix a little as you go.  You won’t need as many crayons as you think you will, but you will use several crayons as martyrs, as you’re trying to switch between colors).

Here’s how mine turned out

And here is a close-up of the texture that the dried crayons make on the canvas (one of my favorite parts!)

I’m linking up to Home Stories A2Z today.