Step 2: Smooth Dings or Divots

Smooth Dings or Divots Kitchen cabinets
Photograph: Kolin Smith
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Using a putty knife, fill any dings or divots with wood putty. Also, fill any old hardware holes if you plan on changing out the knobs and pulls.

Using 100-grit sandpaper, sand the putty smooth and rough up the cabinets' finish. Sand with the grain, and apply enough pressure to push the paper into any crevices, nicks, or dents without rounding over the edges. Screw cup hooks into the edge of the doors and drawers—on the top edge of upper cabinets and on the bottom edge of lower cabinets and drawers.
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    Tools List

    • putty knife
      Putty Knife to fill holes and dings

    • drill
      Drill/Driver

    • paintbrush
      2½-Inch Nylon-Polyester Paintbrush with chisel-tip bristles (have two, for switching from primer to paint)

    • paint sprayer
      Airless Paint Sprayer (optional; rents for $75 a day)

    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver

    Shopping List

    1. Paint Oil-based or 100 percent acrylic latex paint specially formulated for cabinetry applications or high-traffic areas. You will need about a gallon per coat on a bank of four upper and lower cabinets.

    2. Primer to fill the wood grain and to create a smooth surface for the final coat. Look for ones labeled "high build" and "sandable." If your cabinets are laminates, not wood, get a "sealer" primer for smooth surfaces that can't be sanded.

    3. Rosin Paper to cover and protect countertops

    4. 0.5 mm Plastic to cover the backsplash and surrounding areas 5. Painter's Tape

    6. Scrubbing Sponge

    7. TSP Substitute or Degreaser to remove built-up residue

    8. Wood Putty to fill old hardware holes

    9. 100-Grit and 220-Grit Sandpaper

    10. Tack Cloths to wipe the sanding dust off the cabinets between coats

    11. Fine-Grit Sanding Sponge to smooth the primer on the trim

    12. Cup Hooks to hang the doors while they dry