Cabinet door painting: which edge first?

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Established Member
10 Oct 2008
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St. Ives, Cornwall
I am painting some cabinet doors and always have a problem. I've done all the prep, primer, etc.
I tend to paint the backs and let them dry then I paint the front and the edges.
The problem is that there is always a little over-run from the edges to the back no matter how careful I am.
I wipe off any over-run but, inevitably, the solvent in the paint dulls the finish on the back where I wiped it.
Does anyone have any tips please?
Spraying will prevent runs, unless you really go wrong.
If you don't want to spray, another good method I have used is to use a fine gloss roller, either mohair or the Rota black fine sponge to get even coverage, then if required ( depends on the paint) tip off once with a Purdy or similar brush.

I do back and edges, then front and edges. I know it's double edges but you can go really easy on the final pass this way.

I do the back first, then put the doors back down, on raised blocks. High enough, so that when I paint the top and edges, I run my brush/roller on the back near the edge, to smooth off any run/drip.
If you are painting by hand with roller and brushes - are you sure it’s running, and not just corner build up ? For some (probably very technical) reason, if you roller up to an edge, you end up with a bead of paint on the corner, usually worse in my experience the smaller the arris.
You have to make sure you are knocking it back when sanding between coats, and also it might make sense to paint the edges, then wipe a dryish paintbrush from the panels face towards the edge on all edges, which should pull off the beading paint. You aren’t painting here, just pulling off the excess. You want to work quite quickly and efficiently, so as not to over work the now drying paint. Then paint whichever face you are doing first (suggest back) with a roller, taking special care not to run the roller over the arris.

If you are still getting issues, you will have to mask up when doing the front face, a very precisely applied bit of masking, running exactly down the front arris will help, and afterwards if there is a very slight step or weirdness on the front arris you will usually be able to rub your finger over it to remove it when dry..

My method for painting cabinet doors, is to place a couple of long panel pins, or thin gauge screws into the base of each door. where a couple of small holes won't be noticed. I then paint the bottom edge and the back with it flat on the bench. I stand it upright to paint the front and the two side edges,
The top edge is the last to be painted. I use a painting glove in the hand that doesn't hold the brush. I check for runs and brush over accordingly. The backs are often dry enough to lean the doors against an upright to fully dry. If not I often improvise with panel pins or even tooth-picks so that they lean lightly against a small point

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