Sarah Hearts

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

December 29, 2014

Learn the tips and tricks of painting kitchen cabinets the right way!

Several months ago I shared how we were going to embark on a DIY kitchen update. Well here we are, a few months later and in the thick of it. After tons of travel in the fall we needed to hold off on the project until mid November. Two and a half weeks before Thanksgiving to be exact. And yes, we hosted Thanksgiving too (more on that later). So today I’m sharing our kitchen update and how we’re in the process of transforming our old kitchen with a little—ok, a lot—of elbow grease.

See how this 1960's galley kitchen was transformed by painting the cabinets a bright white.

Let’s start with a little refresher. Here’s our kitchen before. Dark brown stained cabinets with warm yellow walls AND a yellow ceiling. Our tiny galley windowless kitchen felt narrow and dark.

And here’s what it looks like now… still very much in process, but it’s already a huge transformation.

Learn the tips and tricks of painting kitchen cabinets the right way!

Our house was built in 1967 and the cabinets were surprisingly in pretty good shape so we opted to paint them. Since we were losing the space that was previously below the stove, we made up for it by creating a larger, 36″ wide lower cabinet to the left of the range. We hired a cabinet maker to build and install this cabinet and another narrow one to go on either side of the range. After a bit of research, we found that ready-made cabinets aren’t available in the same dimensions and door style as ours so we needed to have customs ones made.

Though I still dream of white shaker cabinets, we opted to modify our current kitchen rather than shell out a ton of money for new cabinets and granite countertops. Our priority and most of our budget went towards a new range because our previous cooktop/wall oven combo wasn’t cutting it. It was over 40 years old! We also replaced the stainless sink with a gigantic white sink and new faucet, which you’ll see a peek of in the photos below. I’ll share more about those in later post.

See how this old galley kitchen was transformed by painting the cabinets white. Post includes everything you need to know about how to paint your own cabinets.

Here’s what I used to paint the cabinets:

- Sherwin-Williams All Surface Enamel Oil Primer
- Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel, in Pure White (satin)
- 4 inch foam mini paint roller
- Disposable foam brushes, for the edges and corners when using the primer
- Angled brush
- 60 grit sandpaper sheets (used about 25 sheets)
- 220 grit sandpaper sheets (used about 50 sheets)
- Power sheet sander

Here’s how to paint kitchen cabinets:

1. Remove everything from the kitchen. Seems obvious but if you don’t everything will be covered in a thick layer of dust.

This post goes over everything you need to refinish and paint your kitchen cabinets yourself.

2. Use 60 grit sandpaper and a power sander to remove the stain and varnish from your cabinets. This includes doors, drawer fronts, and the cabinet frames. You don’t need to sand them all the way down to the original wood finish, but you want to sand enough so the stain/varnish is removed. Then vacuum everything you sanded. Yep, everything, including the interior of cabinets because the dust gets everywhere.

Use oil-based primer for the best adhesion when painting your kitchen cabinets. Click through for more tips on DIY cabinet makeovers.

3.  Use the All Surface Enamel Oil Primer to prime the cabinet doors, drawers and frames. Use the foam roller wherever you can and use the brush only where it’s necessary (like corners and edges). The foam roller creates a very smooth service. I like using a separate foam roller and disposable paint tray for this step so I can just throw it away when I’m done and not have to mess with mineral spirits to clean it up. But if you get some of the oil based primer on your hands, you can use nail polish remover to get it off.

4. Wait at least 3 days for the primer to dry. The oil based primer is a bit sticky, and if you’re in a humid place like Florida, it takes some time to dry. I found it needed a full 3 days to dry.

5. Use 220 grit sandpaper to lightly sand all the primed doors, cabinets, and frames. Yes, this seems counter-intuitive but it’s a necessary step to get the paint to adhere to the wood. Once everything is sanded, vacuum or wipe down everything. Swiffer cloths are great for getting the dust off the doors. My sandpaper kept getting clogged even though the primer felt dry. But because we were in a time crunch, I kept going and used a new sheet of sandpaper on every door/drawer.

6. Paint the first coat of ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel on all the doors, drawer fronts, and frames. I painted the door fronts one day, let them dry for 24 hours, then flipped them over and painted the edges and backs. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours.

7. Sand everything again using one sheet of 220 grit sandpaper per door/drawer. Then wipe and vacuum everything off again. Why? Because you really want the paint to stick! You don’t need to sand much, you’re just scoring the painted surface so the next coat of paint has something to grab onto.

Learn how to paint kitchen cabinets the right way! This post is loaded with great tips.

8. Paint the second coat on everything. Same process and step 6. Let everything dry for 24 hours.

9. May not be necessary but since I was started with very dark cabinets and going to pure white, I had to paint a third, and sometimes even a fourth coat on everything. I opted to not sand between these coats because I didn’t want to remove too much.

10. Allow the doors and drawers to dry for 1 week before putting them back up. This part is so important! If you don’t, you run the risk of having your doors stick to your freshly painted cabinets and the paint peeling up. You’ll also most likely need to caulk along the ceiling and the cabinet molding to close up any visible gaps. This is kinda tedious but it makes the room look so much more finished.

Though it took a ton of work and many hours I’m so so happy with the results. This was my first time using Sherwin-Williams paints and I’m really happy with the results. The combination of the Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel paint and the foam rollers means there is very little texture on the cabinets—which is a good thing!

Along the way I painted the yellow walls a slightly warm, light gray color and I’m in love. I used Sherwin-Williams Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex in matte and it went on like a dream. It covered so well—I didn’t use a primer and only had to do two coats. The walls are now a lovely matte finish. No more of that shinny semi-gloss! I also pained the ceiling, which was also the same yellow, pure white using the Emerald paint. I plan to paint over the wood paneling on the ceiling once we install the new pendant light fixture.

Loving this gray wall color in this kitchen. It's Sherwin Williams Sedate Gray.

I really had my heart set on open shelving if we completely redid the kitchen so I didn’t want to miss out on that feature just because we were keeping our old cabinets. I removed the doors from the first upper cabinet, patched the holes, and painted the inside of that cabinet (using the same process as outlined above). Now my collection of white dinnerware and colorful Pantone dishes is accessible and pretty. I think down the road I may wallpaper the inside wall of the cabinet.

Love this open shelving looks! It was created by just removing the existing cabinet doors and patching the holes.

The next thing on our list is the countertops, backsplash, and new light fixture. I’ll be sure to update date you on the process and share any tricks I learn along the way. Oh and don’t mind those open lower cabinet doors in the photo below. All the holes for the hinges need to be redrilled and realigned but that will happen after the holidays.

Here's a helpful tutorial on how to paint your kitchen cabinets. I'd love to do this to my kitchen!

Have you tackled painting your kitchen cabinets? If so, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

All paint used was provided by Sherwin-Williams. All thoughts an opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help me keep Sarah Hearts going!

New Year’s Sunset Champagne Cocktail

December 23, 2014

Not a big champagne fan? This New Year's try this version that combines fresh orange juice, gin, and grenadine with the bubbly.

I’m actually a big fan of champagne but I know many people aren’t huge fans of the bubbly. So if you’re hosting a New Year’s party next week or if you’re just hanging out at home try this version that combines champagne with my favorite orange juice, gin (my liquor of choice), and grenadine for a New Year’s cocktail that definitely has some punch (yep, pun intended).

Love these adorable paper coasters by The Flair Exchange. So cute for a New Year's Party.

Pop Fizz Clink! Swap traditional champagne for this bright punch version this New Year's Eve.

Glasses: West Elm | Confetti and Coasters: The Flair Exchange

New Year’s Sunset
Servings 2 glasses


  • 4 oz. champagne
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Natalie’s Orange Juice
  • Splash of grenadine


Fill two small glasses with large ice cubes (I use this ice tray) or crushed ice, whatever your preference. In a larger glass, pour the champagne, gin, orange juice and a splash of grenadine. Stir to combine and divide evenly between the two glasses.

This recipe can be scaled to make a large batch. Simply double or quadruple the recipe and combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher. Serve in glasses over ice.

Note: If you want to make a nonalcoholic version, omit the gin and swap the champagne for ginger ale.

This recipe was originally created for Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that help me make delicious recipes like this one.

Links to Love

December 19, 2014

Loving these simple DIY Christmas decor projects! Click though for links to each tutorial.

Less than a week until Christmas!! I’ll be spending this weekend wrapping up a ton of projects before we head out of town for the next 2 weeks. And I’ll do it all while sipping tons and tons of hot cocoa of course!

If you’re still in need of some holiday decor here are a few of my favorites from this week:

1. Bottlebrush tree cake toppers. And you wouldn’t believe these babies started out green and covered in fake snow now would you?

2. This holly berry gift wrapping is genius. So simple and just oh-so-cute.

3. No space for a tree? It’s not too late to make a 3D geometric paper tree.

4. Raid your ribbon stash and create this bow garland in no time.

I’m also loving:

This tutorial on how to wrap a wine bottle (hostess gifts anyone?).

This recipe for no-churn candy cane ice cream.

This simple, fresh take on a traditional boxwood wreath.

These fresh rosemary gift toppers would make for a lovely presentation.

Holiday Coloring Contest

December 18, 2014

Download this festive printable coloring page created by Sarah Hearts for Vivint.

Holidays remind me of home. Whether it’s making the trip down south to my home town, visiting family across the country or hosting friends in our own home, the holidays remind me of home, community, and traditions.

And what holiday wouldn’t be complete with traditions? Every family has their favorite things to do during this season and Vivint wants to help fill your holiday with warm memories too. That’s why I partnered with Vivint to create this fun coloring page for their Holiday Coloring Contest. This is a great opportunity for you to gather, create and possibly win! Together with your children, create your own version of this winter wonderland and you could win a cash gift card!

Get out the crayons and get started!

Bring together your family for a fun time of creating and you could win a $20 cash gift card!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Download the official coloring entry form.
  2. Color away and create your vision of a holiday wonderland.
  3. Scan or take a picture of your completed coloring page and send it to to be officially entered.

First place winners in each age division (Under 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12) will receive a $20 cash gift card. All submitted and approved entries will be uploaded to our official Pinterest entry board . A winner will be selected on January 5, 2015. Winners will be announced on Pinterest, so be sure to check back often.

Official terms and conditions

Happy holidays everyone! May they be merry and bright!

Holiday Meet + Make

December 17, 2014

Love crafting and making new friends? Join Sarah Hearts at the next Meet + Make! Sign up for her mailing list so you know when tickets are on sale—they go fast!

So I just realized that I said that the October’s Meet + Make was my favorite one to date, but last week’s seriously takes the cake! Holiday crafting is just so much fun! So today I’m excited to share some amazing photos by Ly Sué of LH Photography of the event so you can see just how awesome it was.

Meet + Make, a craft workshop hosted by Sarah Hearts, looks like so much fun!

Here’s a peek at what was in the bags! Get details about each bag sponsor here.

Loving all these handmade goodies that were in the Meet + Make swag bags!

Peppermint pinwheel sugar cookies. Yum!

My friends Jordan, Courtney, and I baked up dozens upon dozen of Christmas cookies. My favorite? The peppermint ganache filled chocolate thumbprints. So so rich and delicious!

Chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies. So good!

Salted dark chocolate tartlets. A perfect and decadent treat for the holidays.

These salted dark chocolate tartlets weren’t bad either.

Meet + Make is a craft workshop hosted by Sarah Hearts in Orlando.

Holiday swirl sugar cookies. So cute!

Sarah of Sarah Hearts and Marcela of West Elm Orlando at Meet + Make

Marcela, West Elm Orlando‘s in-home stylist, is the lovely lady that helps transform the store into a workshop ready space for all 50 of us!

And if you’re wondering my dress is from Boden (and now on super sale!) and my necklace is from Bauble Bar (similar).

Meet + Make is a quarterly craft workshop hosted by Sarah Hearts in Orlando. Sign up for her mailing list so you know about the next one!

Sarah created stencils for each attendee using her Silhouette Cameo. They used glass paint to create festive, custom designs.

Silhouette provided stencil material and cutting blades for my Cameo to create the custom stencils. I created modern Christmas tree, dot and monogram stencils for the attendees to use. The stencil material is sticky on one side and is the perfect material to use on porcelain because it stays in place. We used makeup wedges to apply the glass paint within the stencils. This created nice, crisp lines and vibrant designs.

These monogram stenciled platters would make the cutest gifts.

I have to go to the next Meet + Make at West Elm Orlando. This looks like so much fun!

Pro tip: use makeup wedges instead of buying foam pouncers from the craft store. They are cheaper and work great for stenciling.

Creative designs painted and stencils on porcelain serving platters. These would make great gifts!

One of my favorite things about Meet + Make is seeing how everyone uses the same materials to create such unique projects! And this one was no exception—there were so many beautiful, creative platters!

Love these adorable porcelain serving plates! They were created using stencils made with a Silhouette Cameo and glass paint.

All photos by LH Photography

Want to join in on the fun? Don’t miss the next Meet + Make! Sign-up for my mailing list so you’ll be among the first to know when tickets go on sale. And when they’re on sale they go fast—in less than a day!