How to Paint Maple Kitchen Cabinets: Guide with Video Follow Along

Hello DIY enthusiasts! I'm Ryan Cunningham, and today I'm excited to share a comprehensive guide on how to paint kitchen cabinets. My son Keegan and I recently tackled a maple kitchen cabinet painting project, and we filmed the entire process to help you achieve professional results at home. Check out the embedded video for a detailed follow-along.

Before diving into the steps, let's talk about the materials and tools we used. Our project involved Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer and Benjamin Moore Advance for the topcoat. We used the Wagner Flexio 5000 sprayer, which required us to thin the primer and topcoat by 20% for optimal atomization. All the materials, except for the paint, can be purchased at I've included links to each item throughout this post. Now, let's get started!

Step 1: Remove and Number All Cabinet Doors and Drawers

The first step in our process was to remove all the cabinet doors and drawers. It's essential to number each piece to ensure they go back in the correct place. This simple step can save you a lot of frustration later on. Use a small piece of painter's tape and a marker to label each door and drawer.

Step 2: Prep Everything

Preparation is key to a successful paint job. Here's how we prepped our kitchen:

  1. Vacuum Floors: Start by thoroughly vacuuming the floors to remove any dust and debris.
  2. Cover Floors with Tape and Paper: Use painter's tape and paper to cover the floors around your work area. This will protect them from paint splatters and spills.
  3. Cover Insides of Cabinet Boxes with Plastic: Use plastic sheeting to cover the insides of the cabinet boxes. Secure it with painter's tape to ensure it stays in place. This step prevents paint from getting inside the cabinets, keeping your kitchen tidy.

Step 3: Sand All Doors, Drawers, and Boxes

Next, it's time to sand. Sanding is crucial as it helps the primer and paint adhere better to the surface. We sanded all the doors, drawers, and cabinet boxes. After sanding, vacuum everything again to remove any dust created during the sanding process.

Step 4: Prime the Cabinets

For the primer, we used Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer. We chose this primer because of its excellent adhesion properties.

  1. Thin the Primer: Before spraying, we thinned the primer by 20% to achieve good atomization with our Wagner Flexio 5000 sprayer. Thinning helps the primer flow better and provides a smoother finish.
  2. Spray the Primer: Using the Wagner Flexio 5000, we applied a thin, even coat of primer to all surfaces. The Flexio 5000 is a versatile and easy-to-use sprayer that gives a professional finish. You can find it here.

Step 5: Sand & Caulk

Before we move onto the top coat, everything needs to be sanded, vacuumed and caulked. 

  1. Sand All Primer: Lightly sand everything you primed with a fine grit sanding sponge
  2. Vacuum Everything: You need to make sure you have a dust free environment. Get out the shop vac again and vacuum everything, including floors. 
  3. Caulk All Gaps and Cracks: Caulking all of your gaps and cracks ensures a professional looking finish. Use a dripless caulk gun and a high quality caulk. Use a wet rag to wipe all caulking smooth. 

Step 5: Apply the Topcoat

For the topcoat, we used Benjamin Moore Advance. This paint is perfect for cabinets because of its durability and smooth finish.

  1. Thin the Topcoat: Like the primer, we thinned the topcoat by 20% for better atomization.
  2. Spray the Topcoat: Using the same Wagner Flexio 5000 sprayer, we applied the topcoat in thin, even layers. We applied two coats for the best coverage and finish. For this step, consider setting up a large spray shelter to keep overspray contained and bugs out of your finish.
  3. Allow To Dry, Sand, Vac, and Spray 2nd Coat

Step 6: Reassemble the Cabinets

After the paint has fully dried, it's time to reassemble the cabinets. Refer to the numbering system you used earlier to ensure each door and drawer returns to its correct position.

Essential Tools and Supplies

To make your cabinet painting project easier, here are some tools and supplies we used, all available at

  1. The Original Cabinet Brush: This is a brush I designed, perfect for painting or touching up cabinets.
  2. Wagner Flexio 5000: Our go-to sprayer for this project.
  3. The Kitchen Cabinet Spray Set: This set includes everything you need for a professional finish and saves you 10% over buying the tools separately!
  4. Large Spray Shelter: Essential for keeping overspray contained.
  5. Adjustable Dust Barrier Poles: These poles help create a dust-free work area.

Final Thoughts

Painting kitchen cabinets can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, materials, and a little patience, you can achieve professional results. Remember to take your time with preparation, as it makes a significant difference in the final outcome. If you need more detailed instructions or want to see our process in action, don't forget to watch the video where Keegan and I walk you through each step.

Thank you for joining us on this DIY journey. Happy painting!