Thursday, June 16, 2016

Customizing Kitchen Cabinets (Take Two)

When we moved into our home, 3 summers ago, I set off to repaint my entire kitchen (inside and out). We had inherited a very grimy and dark kitchen, and I knew right away that I wanted to transform it into a bright and cheery room. It took a lot of hard work, and sweat equity, but 2 weeks later our kitchen went from dingy to bright. 

When it came to the curio cabinets, I wanted something more fun than just plain paint, so I decide to add contact paper to the back of the cabinet. I found the cutest polka dot patterned paper that matched my Polish Pottery, so I was in heaven!

Curio Wall
This is the story of how sometimes projects don't quite go as expected! 

Fast forward to 3 years later and I got to restart this project from square one. When I originally set our to painting the entire kitchen, we were also tackling many other projects. We were both burned out by then, so to skip on time and labor I figured I'd skip the areas that will get papered. Well, it was not a good decision! Despite the wood being super smooth, I guess it was still textured enough to hinder the paper from fully adhering. So about 2 years post-application, the paper started peeling off the backs. *INSERT VERY SAD FACE HERE*.

In order to staunch the fall, 2 years ago I applied some super glue to the edges. It did an ok job at fighting gravity, but it did not help with the overall curling and peeling. Well, not much could be done, I had to come to grip with reality. The paper had to come down, paint had to go up and new paper had to follow suit. So I got to work and started the disassembly project.  I scraped any paper remnant with a glass scraper, to ensure a clean and smooth surface.

The saddest part was not me having to rework an older project, it was having to say goodbye to this super adorable polka dot paper that I had fallen in love with. It matched my Polish Pottery to a T! Oh well, live and learn they say.  This is what the cabinets looked like after I stripped the paper off. 

Left cabinet with peeling paper, right cabinet prepped for paint.
As you can tell, I had not been careful when I first painted, since I knew that the mess would end up covered. I never gave much thought at how much smoother a surface paint would provide...

I did not worry about priming the cabinet this time (I did when I painted them originally) since my goal was only to provide a smooth surface for the paper to adhere properly. So I just painted 2 coats (cured 24hrs in between coats) of oil based enamel. I used Sherwin Williams semi-gloss in 'White Duck'.

I could have just left it at that and just be happy with the paint, but my kitchen is old and has had some rough times. The paper also covers some of the blemishes that the paint alone cannot.

Before I papered, I made sure to let the paint cure for a full 48 hours. Then I cut the paper to size and gave it a test-run to ensure proper fit BEFORE beginning to adhere it. 

Testing the fit
I then slowly peeled off the back of the paper and worked my way smoothing down any air bubbles 

Since the 3 cabinets are all the same size, I used the peeled off paper backs as templates to help me cut the rest of the pieces.

I always keep the paper a bit larger than the area I am applying it to, and I then trim off the excess with an exacto knife. Ok, this is truly a surgical scalpel...but that's what happens when your DH is a medic. ^__^

Someone needs a manicure...and lotion!
 And that's pretty much it, repeated for the 3 cabinets that hold all my pretty dishes in my kitchen. In case you are interested in this paper, it is Con-tact Brand and the pattern is called 'Lagoon Mist', I purchased it on Amazon and it was about $8 per roll. I used two rolls for this project. And here is the finished product. I don't like this paper as much as my polka dotted one, as it is a much more subtle sea foam green, but I do like that it sits smoothly on my cabinets. 

Off to my next project! * __ * 

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