I washed the cabinet down carefully with a vinegar/water mix. Then I quickly hand-sanded the entire cabinet where I planned to paint. I wiped off the sanding dust with the damp cloth from the vinegar/water mix.
I decided to forgo using primer and try straight painting like I am constantly reading about others doing. This was a hard thing for me to do . . . not only because of my perfectionism and previous experience but also from my paint training.
I had just bought a jar of BB Frosch chalk powder so I mixed up a cup of Benjamin Moore Aura Matte paint in Benjamin Moore color Chelsea Gray according to the BB Frosch directions on the jar and began painting.
Given my past experiences, training, and perfectionism, this was SUPER HARD for me to accept. I just didn't get it . . . and still don't understand this concept. However, I made myself continue on and follow her advise.
After 72 hours had passed, I very gently sanded the rough areas. The rough areas occurred due to hand-painting, I believe, as it the small areas took time and the paint dries rather quickly and formed dry lumps in the paint container and on the brush. Had I of taken the time part way through painting to clean the brush out and the container and get fresh paint, this probably wouldn't have happened. Lesson learned.
With the gentle sanding, however, it was obvious which areas bonded well and which areas did not. I just kept going and only touched up one obvious area. I used my new favourite top coat, Varathane Nano Defense Matte. It dries super fast and so you have to move super fast in application. I used my favourite Dulux paint brush and worked quickly, applying as thickly as was possible without creating runs and pools. I waited 2 hours between coats and only applied two coats in total. This product was intended for hardwood floors and is a fast cure. I used it on my wood countertops and LOVE the results.
I was able to install the hardware and put the doors on the cabinet only 24 hours later, thanks to this top coat's fast cure.
I cleaned it with my usual vinegar/water mix and then began stripping it with Citri-Strip. After stripping it and cleaning that up well to remove any leftover Citri-Strip, I sanded the top with my rotary sander first and then my mouse sander and then finishing up with hand sanding. It sounds like a lot of work but it really wasn't.
I applied the gel stain with a sponge brush fairly thickly like painting and then I used a dry brush and vigorously/gently (I know that sounds dumb but thats exactly what I did) brushed it following the grain pattern.
After the third and final coat, it then had to set for 72 hours to cure before I could clear coat it. You guessed it, I used Varathane NanoDefense Matte and used just 2 coats.
I drilled pilot holes before screwing them together using regular drywall black screws. There was only one stud in the wall that I could screw to so I used those heavy duty plastic anchors to screw the other screws into the wall. These two shelves cost me under $20 in boards to make.
I then came up with this plan. You see, I really only have 2 large cupboards and both are corners. So in these two cabinets had to be my dinnerware, mixing bowls, and pots/pans and frying pans. It was definitely squishy and irrititating. I decided to display my dinnerware and thus have 'functional decor'. In the hutch itself, I put my canned goods (and will add other things as I get cleaning out my pantry). This freed up space in my cabinets and my pantry. Now I can have my bowls, etc in easy reach where my dinnerware was and the pots/pans and frying pans can go in the pantry where my canned goods were. I'm rather proud of myself for coming up with this idea! LOL