How to Refinish Metal Kitchen Cabinets

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Things You'll Need

  • Electric sander or fine-gauge sandpaper

  • Paintbrushes

  • Paint stripper

  • Rubber gloves

  • Rustproof primer

  • Rustproof paint (spray paint if you wish to take the cabinets off the wall and outdoors)

  • Screwdriver

  • Power drill

  • Plastic putty knife

Metal kitchen cabinets of the 1940s

Most metal kitchen cabinets have long since gone out of style. Don't despair, however, if brand-new cabinets are not possible within your budget. Some elbow grease and a few basic supplies from your local hardware or home-and-garden store will soon have those cabinets looking stylish and new, and you won't need to break the bank to make it happen.

Step 1

Remove the cabinet hardware and the doors from the metal cabinets using either a screwdriver or a power drill. If you are planning to spray paint the cabinets, use the power drill to remove the cabinetry from the walls.

Step 2

Wear rubber gloves and apply paint stripper using old rags. Allow the stripper to remain on the cabinets for about 30 minutes or per package instructions. Scrape away the excess paint and stripper using a plastic putty knife so as not to scratch the cabinets.

Step 3

Metal kitchen cabinets can be upgraded.

Sand the cabinets very gently using a power sander or fine-gauge sandpaper if any stubborn areas of paint remain on them.

Step 4

Apply rustproof primer to the metal cabinets. If you are painting with a brush rather than spraying, make sure that lines are even and not overlapping, as this will show up once the paint is dry.

Step 5

Apply rustproof enamel paint in the color you have chosen. Whether painting with a brush or spray painting, allow a full 24 hours for the metal cabinets to dry before attaching new hardware or reattaching cabinets and/or doors.

references & resources

Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, N.H. She has authored five books and hundreds of articles and short stories. Her work has appeared various publications, including "Parenting," "Writer’s Digest," "Vacations" and "Discovery Travel." She studied at the University of Maine and later pursued her writing studies through numerous classes and workshops.