White Melamine Cabinets Painted Red (Caromal Colours)

Last month I started working on a guest bedroom project for a designer’s client.  The plan was to glaze the bedroom walls (my job, that I’ll share later) and paint, only,   the attached bathroom walls.

While working on the bedroom walls,  I couldn’t help but notice the bath cabinets –

Melamine.  You’ve seen them, right?

same thing, just with decorative edge –

I posted, last year, a link to a video I did  showing me demo painting over a piece of laminate.  Watching that video again makes me realize I REALLY need to update it so that it is better quality 🙂

Anyway,  I suggested to the ID (Interior Designer) that we update the cabinets.  The next day I dragged along a few cabinet sample doors –

The one on the right was a sample using Caromal Colours  (CC) Pumpkin basecoat over a melamine panel.   The door on the left was on old oak door that I’d used CC Candy Apple Red on top and CC Mustard on the bottom half.    The idea was to take the cabinets red.     They liked the samples/color so it was a go.

Removed hardware, taped, then sprayed with Simply Green and wiped dry

Started brushing on Caromal Colours textured basecoat Candy Apple Red (heh heh, I see I was running on RedBull that day 🙂  )

Yuk, doesn’t it look scary?

That’s it, after the first coat.  Took one hour to get to this point

After it dried, I began layer 2.  This is a great photo example of what I mean by layer 2.   Alot of times, if you are applying the CC paints in a brushed method, it may not completely cover after the first coat , as you can see in this photo.  The second layer remedies that, quickly and using little paint.  I like to use a scrubbing movement with my brush, moving my brush in a circular pattern, going quickly across my surface, then before heading back for more paint I’ll drag my brush over that part I just did and brush over it in an up/down movement so that it removes any wild pattern.

The key is to

A)  Not use too much paint on the second layer.  You don’t need alot, really all you’re doing is filling IN the lean areas.

B) Keep a little bowl of water handy and every  so often dip the tips of your painted bristles into the water.  Shake it off then head back onto your surface.  This little bit of water helps melt the paint and it spreads like butter.

I barely used any product for this cabinet – maybe 1/5 of a jar?  And that second coat took about 25 minutes.   I did not do the inside of the doors though –

Already it looks a thousand times better, don’t you think?

Now, the light sanding begins.  Why sand?  because it makes the surface feel way better, and you can remove any crunches, or heavier marks etc… or you can sand the edges and distress.    Notice how the sanding dulls the color – dont’ worry that will go away when you apply the Toner-

Sanding done,  took 5 minutes and 2 small pieces of 220 sand paper-

Brushing on the Toner-

Brush on and wipe off however you like.  On this cabinet I only lightly blotted it off, then used a dry brush to lightly brush across the surface again, to remove any blotty marks.  This leaves more toner ON the surface, which we wanted so the red would be nice and rich.  I completed the Toning in 30 minutes-

Some closeups-

When it dried I wiped on 3 coats of Minwax Wipe-on Poly (satin/oil).



soapy water or Simply Green

1 Chip brush  (paint,toner)

1 throw away Chip Brush for oil based topcoat


approx  1/5  qt of Caromal Colours textured basecoat Candy Apple Red

minimal Caromal Colours Toner

minimal Minwax Wipe-on Poly


approx 2 1/2 hours  start to finish


under 20 bucks (that includes shipping cost using my coupon code PattyH 🙂  )

Love it.  Oh, notice the formica counter that used to be plain white?  Umm, I up sold that as well – AND    (drum roll)  – used Caromal Colours Textured Basecoat Wisteria as my basecoat!   (that post to come). Caromal’s textured basecoats are an easy way to update your formica as well  –


If this post was informative and helpful in your ‘how-to’ searches, a simple, but huge, way to thank me  is this:   if you decide to use these products, use my code, PattyH in the coupon code area.   This code is needed in order for me to receive credit for the order,  if you forget to use it I lose.  You don’t pay more by using my code – and if you order online you won’t pay tax (outside PA).

If you want to place an order, click on the  store button below. 

ENTER PattyH (case sensitive) in the coupon code to receive a discount off shipping.


Sharing the fun with these great link parties today –  take some time and check out all the creatively fun posts at-

12 responses to “White Melamine Cabinets Painted Red (Caromal Colours)

  1. Patty, that is amazing! The fact that you can paint that stuff is so cool! I just got my paints in the mail yesterday and I can’t wait to get started on some stuff!!!

  2. Nice transformation Patty!

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  5. Looks much better with the dark red.

  6. Great transformation! I even like the choice of the red, it is more of a weathered, barn wood red. Very nice, indeed.

  7. My daughter just bought a little old and shabby house (it has a nice bathroom). We go over to clean tomorrow (it smells like wet clothes and burned pans). THEN we are going to study your blog like it’s a test and see what we can come up with to prettify this house. It’s in a nice neighborhood and has a large yard with a good fence and a new roof. That and it’s $29K price tag made it super affordable…but if we weren’t up to updating thru creative painting, we would not have looked twice. (The cabinets are all metal….so the sky is the limit). It does have a mudroom, a laundry room and a room she is going to fill with bookcases so she can have a real library! My house is all done and this is the perfect project for the next few years….we are really looking forward to it!

    • wow, all metal cabbies! and lol to the ‘wet clothes and burned pans’ 🙂 Your daughter’s house sounds like the perfect project for using your creativity on – to update finishes and make it feel like a whole new space. Let me know if you have any specific questions you can’t find the answer to – good luck! patty

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