To refinish an old kitchen cabinet, clean the cabinet, repair any holes and cracks, sand and prime the cabinet, sand the cabinet again, paint the cabinet, and apply polyurethane. Be sure to obtain paint color with good appearance.
Cleaning the cabinet facilitates adherence of the new paint onto the cabinet. To clean the cabinet, first unscrew and remove the doors, drawers, knobs and handles. Empty the inside of the cabinet by removing the shelves, wet a piece of cloth with mineral spirits, and wipe off all dirt, grease and debris from the cabinet surface. Once the cabinet is clean, repair the surface by filling in any holes and cracks with wood filler, and roughen the cabinet surface by sanding it with a 200-grit fine sandpaper to further enhance paint adherence. Clear the surface of the dust generated from sanding by wiping it with a clean cloth.
Once the surface is clear of dust, apply paint primer to the surface, and allow the surface to dry before sanding it again. Wipe off the dust. Apply a coat of paint, and allow the coat to dry before applying a second coat. Allow the second coat to dry, and protect the cabinet from future damaging elements by coating it with polyurethane finish. Finally, replace the hardware with a new one.