“DIY Cabinet Refacing” was written by a paid contributor. All photos by Kate Hollingsworth.
For a long time now, I’ve wanted to change the look of my kitchen, and this DIY cabinet refacing project will be the first of many kitchen improvements I’ll be doing this year. I used to love the traditional country-style white cabinets, but after living with them for almost 20 years, I was ready for something different. However, as my kitchen still functioned well and I only had a small budget, I couldn’t justify a complete gut job. Instead, I refaced my existing kitchen cabinets with the help of Flex Glue. I am so incredibly happy with the results – read on, and I’ll show you how to reface kitchen cabinets in just a few steps!
● 1x16mm thick MDF sheet (2440x1200)
● 1x3mm thick MDF sheet (1200x900)
● 3x18mm thick pine DAR (2.4m)
● 1 Flex Glue 10oz cartridge, white
● Caulk gun
● Painters tape
Note: Use caution when working with power tools and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Before using Flex Seal products, read all directions and take proper safety precautions, such as being in a well-ventilated area and wearing protective gear while applying.
Start off by removing the old cabinet doors and drawer fronts. I removed the doors by unscrewing their hinges. The drawer fronts are held on by screws inside the drawers, but they are easy to remove.
If you’ve ever wondered how to reface kitchen cabinets, it’s as easy as cutting and gluing! I used pre-primed 18mm pine DAR (dressed all round) timber because it matched the thickness of my existing face frame. If you can’t find dressed timber that matches the size you need, you can also rip strips from a sheet of MDF and use that for your face frame. Cut your timber to length and then squeeze a line of Flex Glue along the entire length.
Press the timber into place along the existing old cabinet frames and hold for 30 seconds until the Flex Glue grabs tightly.
I used some painters tape to make sure none of the pieces slipped down overnight, but I think that was total overkill as Flex Glue is plenty strong enough to defy the force of gravity!
The next step to DIY kitchen cabinet refacing is to make new doors. Cut your 16mm thick MDF sheet into appropriately sized doors and drawer fronts for your cabinets. You want there to be a 3-4mm gap between the door/drawer and the frame all the way around, as well as a 3-4mm gap between the two doors. Do a dry fit to check that you have the right amount of gap, and trim a little off if necessary. Label each door with a piece of tape so you know which one goes where for a perfect fit.
Rip strips of 3mm thick MDF to use as trim. I chose to make the strips 40mm wide. Next, glue the trim to the doors and drawer fronts using Flex Glue. Press down firmly for a few seconds until the glue grabs hold.
Flexpert Tip: The thinner the trim, the more modern the look.
Once the glue is fully dried (24-48 hours) you can sand off any overhang or imperfections along the sides. Then, apply a coat of wood filler between each trim joint and along the sides of each door/drawer. Sand for a smooth finish.
Now, you’ll need to seal the raw MDF doors and drawer fronts with a good primer. Once dry, lightly sand with a sanding sponge for a smooth finish. Then apply two coats of enamel paint – I made the bold choice to paint my cabinets black, but of course, you can choose whichever color fits your style!
To install the drawer fronts, simply glue them to the drawers with Flex Glue. Then use playing cards as spacers to get the spacing even all the way around the drawer. Allow 24-48 hours for Flex Glue to dry before opening the drawers.
For the final touches, I added my cabinet doors back on and screwed in some gorgeous brass drawer handles. I’m still waiting for the cabinet door handles to be delivered, and will add them on as soon as they come in!
I am so happy with how my DIY kitchen cabinet refacing project turned out! I love everything about it - the moody black cabinets, the contrasting brass handles, the simple shaker-style trim, the inset doors and drawers…everything! If you want a new look in your kitchen without the added cost of a full cabinet replacement, grab some Flex Glue and give this one a try!
By Kate Hollingsworth
Based in Perth, Australia, Kate is a self-taught interior specialist with over 20 years of DIY knowledge. She’s also a Content Creator on IG, where she shares tutorials, before and afters, and easy-to-follow stories empowering women to attempt home DIYs.