Kitchen Cabinet

EASY Kitchen Cabinet Revival Course

It's a fact that a dark wood kitchen cabinet will not reflect light within small or big kitchens alike.

If like me you have a real love of wood but also a need to have a light, bright and airy kitchen then this article is all the information you'll need accomplish the task.

What we are aiming for is to lighten the overall tone of the wood of each kitchen cabinet considerably while still being able to see the grain of the wood showing through.

We are going to be using the a white wood stain which will give you the option of different types of decorative finishes by the way you use the stain...

  • by applying one layer only and wiping away the excess you will end up with a terrific even semi opaque modern look.
  • If you apply one layer and don't wipe away any excess the result will be a much more opaque look.
  • Apply a second layer and wipe off only in certain areas - for example to decrease tone around handles or knobs and outer edge of cabinet to give you a fashionable distressed look

(If you want to paint your kitchen cabinet instead of staining please follow the link at the end of this page to access our "how to" article...)

We want to accomplish this job in the easiest and quickest way possible while still ending up with a beautiful professional finish - in fact we wouldn't mind if family and friends thought we had gone to all the expense of buying a new kitchen when it only cost a few dollars / bob!

Later you when tell them the truth, that you did it all by yourself you are propably going to find yourself unindated with requests - well once you have successfully done your own kitchen - you could do it in their kitchen too - it might even turn into a nice little business...!

Kitchen Cabinet Focus

So, if you are tired of every dark wood kitchen cabinet facing you as you stand in your kitchen then you could be just hours away from accomplishing a complete kitchen cabinet makeover.

Here is an easy step-by-step course with everything you need to know to make this gem of a home improvement project work for your kitchen and for your home.

What You Will Need

  • A Sunny Dry Day - for quick drying
  • Ventilation - leave windows & doors open
  • Protective Gloves - while sanding
  • Safety Eye Goggles - while sanding
  • Mouth and Nose Mask - while sanding
  • A Sander - for the flat surfaces
  • Medium Grit Sand Paper - for nooks and cranies
  • Vacumn Cleaner - to remove all old surface dust
  • Damp Cloth - to wipe down sanded surfaces
  • Newspaper for the kitchen floor
  • Semi Opaque White Wood Stain
  • Nylon-Polyester Paint Brush
  • Clean Dry Cloth - to wipe away excess stain
  • Sanding Sealer - stops final gloss coat being overly absorbed into the wood surface
  • Semi Gloss - protects your artwork

Before you start

Check your list to make sure that you have everything, especially the safety gear - these are an investment and can be used again and again.

Make sure that you have plenty of time to work at your own pace...

and most important of all - to give yourself a break and your kitchen cabinet surfaces plenty of time to set - don't forget to order in a pizza for dinner.

Step Nº.1

We can't start without this all important first step... the dry sunny day. Kitchen windows and your kitchen door will need to be open if you are going to do this project in your kitchen without removing the kitchen doors - we need to keep a healthy airflow.

An option is to remove the cupboards and drawer faces and do the work in your garage or workshop. It's not much good just doing it outside in case the weather changes or the neighbors cat decides to sit on your freshly painted surfaces...

If you do remove all the surfaces you can't put them back today - you will have to wait until they are really really set before you handle them

Step Nº.2

Once you have decided where you are going to work lets get right down to it - get the safety gear out and start sanding the flat level surface of each kitchen cabinet.

Now if you have a handy sander this isn't going to take very long and yes, this is the easy part...

If you have a sander with a point (like an iron) you may be able to get into some of the nooks and cranies of any relief in your kitchen cabinet doors - otherwise - it's time to get out the sand paper and some elbow grease.

Once you get into your rhythem, it really doesn't take that long to sand back your kitchen cabinet doors and then you are in the enviable situation of virtually being able to do whatever you want with them.

Step Nº.3

Hoover all of the fine dust created by sanding the surface of your cupboards - from the cupboards, floor and all about... Wipe the actual cupboards down with a clean damp cloth - READY!

Step Nº.4

Apply an even coat of the white wood stain - let the wood soak it up for about 30+ seconds then immediately wipe off any excess with your clean dry cloth as you go along.

TIP: It is always important when painting wood to paint in the same direction as the grain.

Step Nº.5

You already see a lighter brighter kitchen and the temptation is to try to finish the work non-stop so... we are including this as a step - i.e. leave it to really really dry - about 4+ hours, - do something else, have a cup of tea, watch a home improvement movie - TRY to be patient.

kitchen cabinet


Here is a picture of a tired looking bespoke wooden kitchen cabinet, in the area marked Nº.1 you can see the difference once it has been sanded.

In the area marked Nº.2 you can see the wonderful revival effect of one coat of the white wood stain - while still being able to see the grain of the wood. So much lighter and brighter it's amazing.



Step Nº.6

Final Decision time...

  • are you going to go for the semi opaque look (since your asking... - this is the lighter finish that I like!)
    OR
  • a stronger opaque finish with a second even layer
    OR
  • are you going to paint a second layer and only wipe off in the most used areas of a kitchen cupboard to give your kitchen units a more fashionable distressed look.

If you decide to add another layer for more intensity of shade then do it now BUT again let it dry completely...

Step Nº.7

It's important to seal the stain.

A sanding sealer will protect the stain AND will provide a smooth surface for your final semi-gloss coat.

The stain soaks into your wood surface and the sealer effectively will seal that surface so that the final coat of semi gloss or high gloss goes on smoothly and doesn't try to soak into the wood as well.

Step Nº.8

The Home run... everything is dry, you like the effect that you have created it's time to really seal it in with a semi-gloss or hi-gloss to really bring your kitchen cabinet finish to life.

Remember - keep the window open and door as well if you can. Apply your gloss evenly in long smooth strokes, don't try to touch it up when it is drying it will become tacky and won't smooth out - it's not like paint, you have to give it one good coat and then walk away, tidy up your materials, wash the brushes and order the pizza.

Congratulations - you have done it!

You wake up to a new day and a new kitchen, you can hardly believe the difference, it's like a totally new modern kitchen has been fitted, and on top of that your kitchen really seems much bigger now that you have kitchen cabinet surfaces that are light and bright and that actually help bounce the light around your kitchen.

They are usable the next day but please try to be gentle with them over the first couple of days - they should be completely cured within 24 hours - i.e. rock hard.

Enjoy your new Kitchen Cabinet

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