Today I’m sharing my experience painting my kitchen cabinets with Sherwin Williams Emerald Trim Enamel paint. If you’re keeping track, this is the third time I’ve painted my kitchen cabinets! What I really want is to renovate, but my renovation funds were very wisely invested in our 2017 Camaro 😉 (No regrets). And then, just as we saved up a little more money, our exterior renovation exploded into a much more expensive project. That’s okay, because I’ve definitely had a lot of fun experimenting and tackling different DIY projects in my little kitchen!
Hubby and I painted the vinyl floors charcoal, installed open shelving – but years later built asymmetrical cubbies just because. We painted the cabinets turquoise and then teal (and then nabbed TWO print magazine features!). But I was craving a little change again so I stripped the cabinets back to wood. Now they’re sporting the most beautiful color: it’s sort of blue, sort of aqua, sort of grey – it’s just gorgeous. It really feels light and airy. This might be my favorite color of all, although all of the colors have been my favorite at the time. I’ve enjoyed having fun in this space and flexing my creativity!
Click the link above to see every version of this DIY kitchen makeover – going all the way back to the before! It surprised even me to see how many changes I have made over the years…
What Paint Brands Did I Use?
For the first version, I used Zinsser Primer with Premier Paint (held up SO well!!), for the second version I used Behr Cabinet & Trim Enamel (that was disappointing because it didn’t hold up to wear), and this time I used all Sherwin Williams brand primer/paint.
Sherwin Williams provided the paint for my Mom’s dining room and living room makeover and we LOVED it! It was a welcome upgrade because the Sherwin Williams paint has incredible coverage – way better than Behr, which was my go-to for the last couple of years. But I really didn’t know what I was missing! Honestly, I thought it was good quality paint but it’s watery compared to Sherwin Williams. But, just to make sure I was unbiased, I decided to BUY my own Sherwin Williams paint for this cabinet makeover to make sure I loved it when I spent my own money. And let me tell you, I definitely did spend my money!
The paint is expensive but the coverage was just as incredible as the paint we used on Mom’s walls and, and after months of use, the finish is just perfection. I’m so thrilled! Although I had a bit of trouble with the primer, I LOVE the paint! Today I’ll show you how I primed and painted the cabinets – along with a couple of new products that made the job even easier (why didn’t I buy these earlier?).
Here’s What I Used:
- Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil Based Primer
- Sherwin Williams Emerald Trim Enamel Paint (color: Watery; finish: Satin)
- Proform Technologies Picasso Oval Sash Paint Brush
- Painter’s Pyramids
- Small Plastic Container
- Drop Cloths (I use old vapor barrier)
- Painter’s Tape (to secure drop cloths)
Here’s How I Painted My Cabinets with Sherwin Williams Emerald Trim Enamel Paint:
After stripping all of the primer and varnish from my cabinets, I brought them inside and made sure to let them acclimate for a few days (it was a bit humid outside). When we painted the cabinets the first time, we did it on a warmer day and the wood had swelled. That first winter, the solid wood doors shrank a bit and revealed some unpainted wood I needed to touch up. No biggie, but if possible let wood acclimate before painting.
Then I placed a wood plank across my sink for extra work surface area (#genius lol).
I painted in the kitchen because it was too cold by this point to work in the garage. I used old vapor barrier to protect my surfaces and then finally invested in these:
I wish I’d bought these painter’s pyramids many cabinet makeovers ago! I will admit, they slide around a bit on the plastic and are really light and easy to knock over, but they do help and I recommend them. I just wish they were heavier and more solid somehow. I started with the backs of the cabinets and applied my primer. My local Sherwin Williams store recommended this:
I was told it was the most durable primer for this project and would be perfect for my cabinets. Unfortunately, it took a few days to dry.
I painted the cabinets in the evening and by the next afternoon (almost 24 hours later – well beyond the dry to touch and re-coat times), they still left paint marks on my hands when I went to touch them:
That evening, still tacky, I gingerly flipped them over anyway to get started on the fronts. I scraped one and you can see how easily the primer still came off, 24 hours later:
After another 24 hours, the first side I had painted was a bit more dry but still not 100%, so I distracted myself by priming and painting the cabinet boxes. I didn’t strip those, I just sanded and primed and painted again.
After priming one coat on either side, I had to wait a total of five days before the primer was dry enough to paint. At this point I was worried because I didn’t do two coats (I didn’t want to wait 5 days again – I was hungry and wanted to cook). But I went ahead and painted and luckily the paint dried really quickly. I was able to quickly do my two coats on either side.
I like to decant some paint into a clean plastic container for ease of use (I used to use those Handy Paint Pail things, but this is easier and free). For my raised profile door fronts, I paint the grooves first, then the middle, then the outside:
I also stole this lovely paint brush from my Mom which is really nice quality! I normally buy good quality brushes, but this was really good! Using my paint sprayer for the turquoise version of these cabinets worked really well, but between this self-leveling paint and the good quality brush, the end result is really smooth and brushstroke-free.
I let the cabinets cure for a few days on the counter and then installed them.
Is Sherwin Williams Emerald Trim Enamel Paint Good Quality?
I babied the cabinets the first week, careful not to scrape or scrub the paint. I never noticed any issues with the paint, but I have learned that paint, in general, really takes up to a month to actually actually cure. Today, the finish is rock solid. It’s been a few months since I first painted the cabinets with Sherwin Williams Emerald Trim Enamel. I wanted to wait before sharing this post so I could really speak to how the finish cures and wears.
This Sherwin Williams Emerald Trim Enamel paint is exceptional quality. It really does level out and smooth as it dries! There were brush strokes visible right after I painted them, but they really did disappear! In the past, I chose a semi-gloss finish but this time I chose a satin and I love the velvety finish. The finish looks amazingly smooth, has held up to wear and tear, and it cured perfectly – no issues, even with only one coat of troublesome primer. I’ve since scrubbed it clean very vigorously and no problems.
I am in love with the color too (Sherwin Williams Watery), which I clearly couldn’t wait to show you! It’s so light and airy, but without feeling like a baby’s room – this is a muted aqua, without being muddied by grey. It’s clean and bright, but soft and muted. It’s so, so perfect.
Click the link above to see more photos of my kitchen sporting its beachy new hue!
Why Did My Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil Based Primer Take So Long to Dry?
When I had problems with my primer, I called the store right away and the salesperson who recommended the primer then informed me that it will take longer to dry inside than outside, because it’s designed for exterior applications. I asked why and he said, “I don’t know… the sun?” So I went on a Googling mission and chatted about this in Instagram stories. Some people did say that some paint requires sunlight to dry, but I also learned that it could have been poor air circulation. Apparently you need to change the air periodically because it will saturate with paint solvents which can slow down the drying time of an oil based product. I did have our whole home air exchanger going at the time, but that pales in comparison to working outside on a project so my best guess is just that because it was designed for exterior applications it was saturating the air too much?
In any case, the employee who helped me was right: the primer is an excellent base and it did eventually dry. I just wish I’d known it would take so long because I hadn’t budgeted that into my plan.
Links to Past Cabinet Refinishing Posts and Tutorials:
Here are some other tutorials to help you update your bathroom or kitchen cabinets!
- How to Strip Wood Cabinets Back to Bare Wood
- How to Paint Cabinets with a Paint Sprayer
- How to Refinish Cabinets with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations
- How to Strip and Re-Varnish Wood Cabinets
- Comparing Different Cabinet Refinishing Methods
P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!