Do It Yourself Knowledge

Because life ain't cheap…

Cabinet Door Refinish – Adding Trim

Posted by diynovice on March 10, 2009

In the never-ending quest to convert the house from brass fixtures to satin-nickel fixtures, I knew someday, I’d have to replace the brass cabinet door hinges in the laundry room. Well, I never liked how the doors looked in the first place, so, I decided to add some molding and new hardware to liven them up.
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Time: 5 hours
Cost: $20 (depending on how many you are doing)
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Tools required: Drill, screwdriver, jig saw, paint brush, tape measure

1. The cabinet doors were removed and lightly sanded to remove the some of the visible, sloppy brush strokes.
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2. Hobby wood can be bought from Lowes and the Home Depot. They are pre-cut sizes, ranging from ¼” to ½” thick. I bought ¼” thick popular, in 3 in by 48 in sections. The wood was laid out on the cabinet door.
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3. Tick marks were made at the edges of the molding and they were cut using a hand held jig saw.
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4. On the back side of the board, screw holes were drilled, and countersunk. The screws will be used to keep the molding flush with the cabinet door and will prevent warping.
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5. Using Liquid Nail, the border trim was glued on, the door flipped over, and a heavy load was applied (I used two 60 lb bag of concrete and my toolbox.) The screws are then added.
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6. The doors were let to dry for about 30 minutes. Then, I check to make sure there were no noticeable gaps. Finally, the screws were covered using wood putty.
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7. Now, the gaps between the moldings were filled with the wood putty and sanded flush to help soften the appearance of a seam.
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8. The doors were painted, new hardware was added, and then the doors were re-installed. I used new satin-nickel door hinges, but they were the same style as the old brass hinges, so they fit the hinge install holes. You may have to do some searching to find where your hinges came from, but most likely, they are from Home Depot or Lowes.  My hinges came from Home Depot.
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After all of that work, here is the before and after pictures:
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10 Responses to “Cabinet Door Refinish – Adding Trim”

  1. Hayley said

    Nicely done! You want to make us some doors for our shelves above the washer/dryer? Or help me? 🙂

  2. Mark said

    This is brilliant! We were just trying to figure out if this sort of treatment would be an option in our kitchen. You mentioned this project was in a laundry room. Do you think the end result was high quality enough to be in your kitchen? I’d REALLY love to see some close up pics of the seams where the trim pieces came together, etc. Thanks!!

  3. diynovice said

    Hey Hayley, I would love to help, but, not till after June 🙂

    Mark, this was in my laundry room. Since I’ve never done this before, I wouldn’t say the end result is good enough for a kitchen, but, if I improved my woodworking skills, I’m sure it could be done. The seams between the molding would be the hardest hide. If you have never done any woodworking, I wouldn’t recommend tackling the kitchen. Practice first. I will send you some close-up photos of the joints, and how they look now.

  4. m4891 said

    Yes, please post close-up shots. I’m planning the same treatment on my kitchen cabinets and was wondering if caulk may be a better alternative for hiding seams??

    Much thanks

  5. Cliff said

    To hide the seams best start by using a miter box, either a power one with an 80 or preferably higher count tooth blade or manual one with a very fine tooth saw. By having a very smooth and square cut you can make your joints very tight. After all of your pieces are cut to length attach them securly to the door making sure that all of the joints are tight together, no gaps bigger than 1/64 to 1/32 of an inch, this is hard but worth it for the final product. After everything is secure and dry use wood filler/putty instead of caulk to fill the seams. After the wood filler is dry sand it flush with surface of the door, this will provide a seamless surface to paint over and you will be very happy with the professional look you achieve. Also to achieve a very smooth painted finish use a power or pneumatic paint sprayer and put on 2 or more thin coats of paint after priming and allowing each coat to dry fully and sanding with 400 grit paper between coats.

    • Cheryl said

      Cliff, is there a better way to attach the boards? Is it necessary to drill holes for the liquid nails? Can you use a few nails to secure the boards and then fill the nail holes with putty? Does glaze stick to putty? Lots of questions, sorry. I am interested in doing this to my kitchen cabinets, shaker style.

  6. Cail said

    I know this is an older posting- but thanks for taking the time to share! I’m ready to do the same to my old cabinets, and seeing how nice it turned out for you is great motivation.

  7. ann said

    I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing for our bath and kitchen cabinets. However, with 29 doors, I think perhaps I should just order new doors or repaint what I have. Looks very time consuming. Thank you for sharing!

  8. VegasDude said

    OMG.. I LOVE these kinda stories…. I replaced ALL of my tan/beige/UGLY electric outlets, light switches, cable/phone plates, etc.. with WHITE !!.. Like Night and DAY… Now slowly, anything that is Brass/UGLY to Chrome… Started with a hideous brass ceiling fan aka .CRINGE !!… room by room.. WOW.. What a transformation… !! Like from Ghetto to Showplace !!.. and Sorry.. but your “before” laundry room cabinets were the epitome of Ghetto.. lol.. Awesome work.. I SALUTE YOU !!.. I read somewhere that “Brass” would be making a comeback.. NOPE.. NOT HAPPENING at my place… I know people that have no problem with their 80’s Brass/Oak decor.. makes me throw up a little in my mouth.. :0).. Oh YEAH.. I absolutely HATE 80’s Oak too.. I’d be refinishing EVERY last board..

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    Cabinet Door Refinish – Adding Trim

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