Mrs. Farmer Jones

How to Repaint and Re-purpose Kitchen Cabinets

Repaint & Re-Purpose you old kitchen cabinets!

Have you recently redone your kitchen? Or do you have a family member that took out old cabinets in their house, and you want to repaint and re-purpose them? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER!

My father-in-law to be (for shorthand, I’ll simplify him as FIL) usually finds projects for me around the farm that he or Cale doesn’t have the time to do, but they want done. 

Not only is this the second time these cabinets are being re-purposed, but it’s the THIRD time! These cabinets were originally used in Cale’s grandparents house when they built their house, and then again when my FIL & MIL moved into the farmhouse in the early 80s, (they re-did the kitchen and used these cabinets.) Since then, my MIL & FIL have re-done their kitchen and instead of trashing the cabinets, they moved them into the basement and have been using them as storage. Now that they aren’t needed in the basement, they are going to be perfect to store tools in the shed!

Long story not-so-short, this cabinet is in amazing shape, and I wanted to make sure that it would stay that way.

Now, I haven’t done this before, and I’m not saying my way is the only way to do this, but I am happy to share how I successfully transformed this cabinet!

Lets start with the before shot:

The "BEFORE" picture
The “BEFORE” picture
The "BEFORE" picture
The “BEFORE” picture

As you can see, these cabinets weren’t painted on all sides, and they were painted with a semi-gloss olive green paint. The guys wanted them to be New Holland Blue. Since the green paint is dark, and the paint I got is actually a glossy enamel, I needed to sand the cabinets.


I have a Dewalt 5-inch Random Orbital Sander that is a type of palm sander. Do not feel like you have to go out and buy this exact sander!! Whatever brand or type of palm sander you have will work great. I did not sand by hand because that would take FOREVER. But if you have time, and like to sand by hand, then go for it! 

I used 80 grit sandpaper– you want to make sure to get off the glossy-ness of the previous paint, so the new paint will stick!

I found out that this cabinet had 3 layers of paint on it. I also noticed how hard it was to open and close the doors, so I sanded around the frame of the doors extra to make it shut smoother. 

Then, I used 120 grit sandpaper. 

**For those of you who don’t know, The lower the number of sandpaper, the rougher the sandpaper. So, you start out with the lower number (in my case 80 grit), and move to the larger numbers to get a smoother finish. However smooth you want your project to be, will depend on what sandpaper grit you will need to use. I usually use 220 grit as my finishing sandpaper. 

Since these cabinets are going in the farm shop- I didn’t sand with the 220 grit, I thought that it was smooth enough at the 120 grit.


Sanding Stage


The next part of this project is to get it all cleaned up for the painting. I vacuumed out all the cupboards, inside and out, to make sure I don’t get any of the sanded particles stuck under the paint. I also take a wet shop towel and wipe them down to really make sure I don’t leave behind any dust.

As you can see in the pictures, I didn’t sand off all the paint. I just wanted to make sure I got off the shiney-ness, so the new glossy paint would stick and look smooth. 


First coat

These pictures are after the first coat of paint! I used cheap foam brushes because the cupboard is just going in the shop, and it’ll get dirty and dusty when the guys use them. 

I didn’t take off the doors of the cupboards when I painted them for two reasons:

  1. When it was painted green, they didn’t take off the doors, and just painted over the hinges. Therefore, I just painted over them to save time!
  2. Again, the cupboard is just going in the shop, and they didn’t need to be perfect!


I’m definitely not a patient person!! But you need to wait around 24 hours before adding a second coat of paint! 


Now is when you get out a new foam brush- they’re cheap, so there is no need to try and save them. Go ahead and paint a second coat!


Now you get to hang it up! I love the way that this turned out, it’s perfect for the farm shop, and it’s exactly the color the guys wanted!


For those who are wondering, this is the paint I used. I got it at our local Orschelns farm store, and the guys wanted it to match their New Holland Tractors! (Ford=New Holland) This is actually enamel, and its glossy which made for showing all of the blemishes! 

A tip for those whose cupboards aren’t painted and just stained… I would still recommend sanding, and then if you want to do a primer coat, that could save you from doing a second coat of your final color.


Have you had any luck repainting and re-purposing cabinets/cupboards?? If so, feel free to leave me a comment!!


If you like what you see on my blog, please share with your family and friends!

About katward02

A farmer's wife in southwest Iowa. I love to cook, eat, craft, and sometimes clean. We try to live a simple life on the farm, and enjoy everyday that we are blessed to live.

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