Whitewashed kitchen cabinets are a fresh, rustic take on painted white cabinets. Homeowners who have some experience painting or refinishing a few minor projects have all of the skills they need to complete this job without outside help.
Step 1: Remove all of the hardware pulls from the kitchen cabinets using a screwdriver as necessary. Remove the hinges that secure the kitchen doors as well. Label each piece of hardware with its location for easy reinstallation.
Step 2: Clean the kitchen cabinets and doors with a degreasing cleanser. Spend some time on this step to ensure that the cabinets are fully clean before continuing.
Step 3: Apply a paint stripper to the kitchen cabinets and doors. Keep in mind that it is often easiest to strip doors when they are lying flat, so consider setting up some saw horses to strip the doors. Wait until the paint stripper starts to show signs of working, about 10-15 minutes, before proceeding.
TIP: When using paint stripper or any other harsh chemical, be sure to protect yourself by wearing gloves and eye protection. Also make sure that your kitchen is well ventilated; you may also want to wear a respirator to protect your lungs.
Step 4: Scrape away the paint with a plastic putty knife. Discard the paint into a sealable bucket for easy disposal according to the regulations of your area. Continue applying paint stripper until most of the finish has been removed.
Step 5: Clean away any small bits of finish using steel wool. Wipe down the kitchen cabinets with a rag, then let them dry completely before continuing.
Step 6: Lightly sand all the areas that will be whitewashed until they are smooth and ready for stain. Use a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.
Step 7: Apply the whitewash stain with a clean cloth, going with the grain of the wood. You can apply the stain all over the kitchen cabinets for a uniform appearance, or you can avoid applying whitewash to corners and other areas that would naturally show wear for a shabby cottage effect. Allow the stain to settle for at least 4 hours before continuing.
Step 8: Apply another coat of whitewash stain if desired. Touch up any areas that are unintentionally uneven. Wait 24 hours before proceeding.
Step 9: Apply a coat of varnish using a paint brush to seal in the whitewash.
TIP: Although this step is not strictly necessary, the varnish will protect the whitewash and make it easy to clean. However, if the rustic aesthetic is more important than durability for your kitchen, skip this step.
Step 10: Reattach the whitewashed kitchen cabinet doors and drawers using the hardware that was removed during the first step.