Refinishing your cabinets may mean that the color of the existing hinges no longer matches, and while you can always replace the hinges, it's less expensive to paint them. There is another, more important advantage: The hinges fit the existing holes, so you won't have to drill new holes or fill the old holes. Use spray enamel for the hinges because, if you prepare the hinges properly, it's less likely to chip and peel when you open and close the doors than paint.
Getting Started: Hinge Removal
Unscrew the hinges from the cabinet doors and remove the doors; then unscrew the hinges from the cabinets themselves using a screwdriver. The easiest way to paint hinges is when they are off the cabinets.
Put all the screws in a safe place, since you'll probably want to paint them as well as the hinges. Using a zippered plastic storage bag to store the screws may work well. Be sure to label the bag so you don't forget what the screws are for.
Safely Paint Cabinet Hinges
Paint the hinges in a well-ventilated workspace free of dust and moisture. Avoid open flames, such as gas heaters, while you're spray painting hinges. Be sure to keep any children or pets away from the area while you are
Dealing With Existing Paint
If the hinges of your cabinets are already painted, you may want to strip the old paint. To do this easily, immerse each hinge in paint stripper while wearing rubber gloves. Leave it for a minute, then take it out and wash it off under a stream of water. Remove stubborn paint with steel wool and dry it off.
Removing Grease and Sanding Hinges
Whether your hinges were already painted or not, you will need to clean them before proceeding. Wipe the hinges down with denatured alcohol to remove any grease or grime. Concentrate on the parts that are visible when the hinges are installed.
Sand the visible parts of the hinges with 220-grit sandpaper to scuff up the existing finish or — if the hinges are unfinished — the bare metal. This ensures better paint adhesion.
Painting Cabinet Hinges
Set the hinges flat on a a sheet of old newspaper with the parts you want to paint facing up. If you plan to paint both sides, the most visible sides should be face-up.
Put on a respirator and spray a coat of metal primer on all the hinges, using an aerosol can. Let the primer dry for 30 minutes to an hour; then turn the hinges over — if you're painting both sides — and spray the other side.
Spray the hinges again with metal enamel. If you're painting both sides, spray the undersides first; wait an hour for the paint to dry; then spray the top sides. Line up all the screws on the newspaper and spray the heads to make them the same color.
Allow Paint to Dry
Wait one to two hours for the paint to dry; then spray a single coat of clear lacquer. The lacquer adds extra gloss, and it protects the paint from chipping. Let the lacquer cure overnight before installing the hinges on the cabinet.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.