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Decorative DIY Kitchen Cabinet Knobs

Sam Hanly enjoys DIY projects in the home. She is an artist who enjoys adding a personal touch!

Kitchen Refacing Project

Designing and creating new knobs is step one in this kitchen refinishing project.

Whimsical floral kitchen knobs.

Whimsical floral kitchen knobs.

A Job Well Done

Making new kitchen knobs breathes life back into old kitchen cabinets, and makes them seem new again.

This project uses eco-friendly materials, is inexpensive, and is a lot of fun to work on.

Eco-Friendly Cabinet Knobs

Simple, unfinished wooden cabinet knobs and drawer pulls are easy to find. They are the blank canvass to be decorated in any way to suit the decor of any room, any style, and any taste.

This project used all water-based and non-toxic materials to paint cheerful knobs for kitchen cabinets.

Sealing With Clear Wood Sealer

Paint sealer in long, smooth strokes along the grain of the wood.

Paint sealer in long, smooth strokes along the grain of the wood.

Paint the entire knob including the edges.

Paint the entire knob including the edges.

Seal and Gesso

Unfinished wood must be sealed to protect and preserve the wood. Water-based acrylic sealers are painted on with a paintbrush. Two coats are recommended.

These pictures depict the application of a first coat of clear sealer. The entire knob must be sealed, so paint sealer on the bottom first and later, after it dries, on the top. As shown in the photograph, do not neglect the edges of the knobs. Do finish on the face of the knob with long strokes that follow the grain of the wood.

These knobs will be painted white, so the second coat of sealer used is gesso. Gesso is a water-based wood sealer that has a white tinge, and may help the opacity of the white paint that will be applied later.

A Smooth White Finish

Knobs look smooth, clean and opaque.

Knobs look smooth, clean and opaque.

Paint and Sand

Artist acrylic paints are high-quality, water-based, and non-toxic paints that are easy to work with yet have a professional finish. Never mix them with oils or turpentine; clean-up is done with soap and warm water.

The entire knob must be painted. These knobs were given two coats all around including the edges, with a third coat painted on the faces of the knobs. To paint the face of the knob, use single, long strokes from one edge to the opposite edge. Follow the grain of the wood for a smooth finish.

The end result is a bright, opaque background upon which to paint designs.

Between coats, crafters use fine sandpaper to gently rub away any bumps or rough edges, if desired.


Practice on Paper First

This is close to the chosen design.

This is close to the chosen design.

Four dot colors.

Four dot colors.

Using a compass to draw a circle the exact size of the knob face.

Using a compass to draw a circle the exact size of the knob face.

A protractor measures the angles to make them even.

A protractor measures the angles to make them even.

Blue lines are the five angles to space the five petals.

Blue lines are the five angles to space the five petals.

Mark knob with a pencil at the five blue lines.

Mark knob with a pencil at the five blue lines.

Paint Designs on Paper First

Designs should always be planned on paper before painting on the knobs themselves.

The first picture shows an early design idea. The final pattern consisted of a dot in the middle in one color, five long petals or lines in a second color, and five short petals in a third color. With 24 knobs needed for the kitchen and four different colors, the knobs were divided into groups of six. (Six with a yellow dot in the middle, six with blue, six with red, and six with green.) It was easy to mix and match the petal colors so that each knob is unique, yet they all go together nicely.

Painting the flowers on the knobs freehand would lend itself to uneven patterns and mistakes. Therefore, a compass was used to draw a circle on paper the same circumference as the knobs.

360/5 = 72. A protractor made it possible to measure 72 degrees 5 times around the circle, making the angles between the long petal lines even.

By placing the knob over the circle with blue lines, it was easy to mark the edge of the knob with a pencil in five places to guide the painting of the lines.

Yellow Center Flowers

The six yellow dot flowers.

The six yellow dot flowers.

Painting Flower Design

The flowers were painted on with the same artist acrylic paint as the white paint. Pour a little paint onto a small paper plate or clean styrofoam meat tray. Pour a little water in an empty yogurt tub. Do not thin the paint, just dip the brushes into the water and blot dry with a soft rag before dipping the brush into the paint.

Touch the brush with paint on it to paper before painting on the knobs. This prevents too much paint getting on the knob.

Keep a little white paint handy and a smallest paint brush to touch up any mistakes.

Two coats of paint gives the nicest finish on the flower design. Two coats will look opaque but not too thick.

Use good quality, soft paintbrushes. Poor quality and rougher paintbrushes give a less smooth finish to the knob.

The knobs in the photograph are painted but have not been varnished yet.

Gloss Varnish

Finish the entire knob.

Finish the entire knob.

A Glossy Finish

Kitchen knobs must be varnished to preserve them. Water-based, acrylic varnishes should be used over acrylic paints. Never thin these varnishes with turpentine, and for the this project, do not thin at all. Liquitex is one brand that makes artist-quality, water-based finishes.

These knobs were varnished in much the same way they were painted. To varnish, pour some glossy finish on a plate or tray, and a little water in a yogurt tub to keep the paintbrush damp. Use the same brush to varnish as to seal, or use a slightly wider brush to varnish to get more surface area covered with each stroke.

The entire knob should be varnished, including the edges and the bottom. Do not neglect the bottom even though it will be against the cabinet; the finish will help prevent moisture from getting through when wiping cabinets clean.

Use long, smooth strokes that follow the grain of the wood. Two coats are best for optimal coverage, gloss, and protection. It is necessary to let the first coat dry thoroughly before painting on the second coat of varnish.

This varnish seals in the paint so that the knobs can be wiped clean, when necessary. Once dry, this varnish is water-resistant.

The photograph depicts finished knobs that are ready to be attached to kitchen cabinets.


Celestial Knobs

Sun and moon, finished and ready to be attached to cabinets or cupboards.

Sun and moon, finished and ready to be attached to cabinets or cupboards.

Epilogue / Author's Note

I couldn't resist. I kept 2 of the 24 knobs separate and painted a celestial design on them. The sun and moon will be on a cupboard in the kitchen that is separate from the rest.

These are varnished and ready for their new home.

Comments

Samantha Hanly (author) from Vermont on October 07, 2010:

@MsCookM: Quite doable; I took photos as I made these for my kitchen. Glad you liked the hub!

MsCookM on October 07, 2010:

These are actually doable projects. I never thought kitchen decorating can be so easy and inexpensive. Thanks!

Samantha Hanly (author) from Vermont on September 11, 2010:

@irenemaria, Thanks! Now if I could just finish replacing the old knobs with the painted ones, the kitchen would look so much nicer! Lol.

irenemaria from Sweden on September 11, 2010:

What a nice work! I am also fond of details.

Christa Dovel from The Rocky Mountains, North America on February 27, 2010:

Fun project! I think it would be a great way to let kids spruce up their room too.

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