painting foiled (laminate) kitchen cupboard doors

4 Nov 2005
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United Kingdom
Recently I looked into renovating my kitchen and in particular was trying to find a cheap and effective way of making my kitchen cabinets like new again. They are a kind of off white cream, not sure if due to age whether they are that colour or if they were always that colour, but they looked dirty and not new.

I looked into replacing the doors but soon found it was going to cost a couple of hundred pounds at least (I have 18 cupboard doors). Not to mention then finding all the odd sizes.

So I looked into researching paints, specifically mdf/melamine paints.

Firstly shall explain a bit about the doors for those that may not know. Kitchen doors come in various materials, metal, wooden, mdf, laminate (melamine) and foiled (a process whereby plastic is heat moulded onto chipboard or mdf).

I took a while to ponder the difference between melamine and foiled doors, melamine is just the brand name for the plastic they use, foiled doors are also plastic therefore I came to the conclusion that melamine paint would work just as well on foiled doors.

So I popped down to the local B&Q, purchased the following;

Ronseal mdf and melamine paint one coat. (I chose brilliant white).

non shedding paint brushes (small) - a little more expensive than the bog standard brushes but worth the extra pennies.

small foam roller - best for glosses and to provide a smooth finish.

A spray bottle of read mixed sugar soap (bright yellow liquid inside you will be able to easily find it in store).

240 grit sandpaper - as advised on the back of the ronseal pot.

In addition I used the following which I already had at home;

white spirit

lint free cloths in the form of an old skirt lol

masking tape

flat screwdriver

old chopstick to stir paint with


I also purchased some new knobs for the doors and after much searching on the internet found a suitable style, foudn some in pewter for a reasonable price. (advice- buy your handles or knobs online, much cheaper than getting them from major DIY stores).

Here is how I made my doors look like new and when I mean new I mean you cannot tell they have been painted, they look like brand new doors.

1 - Remove door and handle or knob.

2 - Place newspaper on floor.

3 - Place door face up flat on the floor ontop of newspaper.

4 - spray door liberally with sugar soap, wait half a minute then scrub clean with sponge, then rinse well with water, dry with lint free cloth.

5 - Grab your sandpaper and lightly sand the surface, aim for a dull finish, when you can longer see a 'shine' then that is enough. Sand too much and you will rub all the plastic away!

6 - blow off all the dust then remove dusty newpaper from underneath and replace with fresh.

7 - wipe surface of door with lint free cloth which has some white spirit on ( this remove last traces of dust and de greases surface again), dry off with clean lint free cloth.

8 - open pot of paint with flat end of screwdriver, you should hear a pop, then stir the paint well with a clean thin rod or an old piece of dowel or shopstick.

9 - pour some paint into a small tray and load up your small foam roller.

10- roller the flat surface, no need to plaster the paint on as it glides well. If you have a moulded door (with recesses etc) then use roller on flat parts.

11- grab non shedding brush and dip the tips into the paint, not the whole bristles as you will overload the brush. With light sweeping strokes paint the small parts and with a small decorative brush paint the recess parts and sides.

12- leave the door in a well ventilated area away from dust and still flat.

13- wait for the door to dry, drying times vary on humidity,ventialtion and temp. I would say several hours, to test lightly prod an area that isn't visible (side of door) with your fingernail, if a small mark appears then the paint isn't fully dry yet.

14 - Once dry replace the knobs and replace door, stand back and admire.

I have to say I was amazed how well this paint worked, no brush marks as the paint takes care of that by expanding and finish is slight gloss but not the over the top mirror shine that tends to look rather poop as does if it is too dull.

So I advise this method, providing you prep the doors well the paint will work miracles.

Moggie ( female aged 29 with a brain). x
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