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How to Mask Off the Inside of Cabinets for Painting with a Sprayer

Kitchen with blue cabinets


Painting the inside of cabinets can be challenging, especially when using a sprayer. However, you can achieve professional-looking results with the right techniques and careful preparation. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of masking off the inside of cabinets for painting with a sprayer. By following these guidelines, you can protect the cabinet interiors from overspray and ensure a clean and flawless finish.

Materials Needed

Before we delve into the process, let’s gather the necessary materials to mask off the inside of cabinets effectively:

  • Painter’s tape: Choose a high-quality painter’s tape that adheres well and leaves clean edges when removed.
  • Plastic sheeting or drop cloths: Use lightweight plastic sheeting or drop cloths to cover the surrounding areas and protect them from overspray.
  • Plastic or paper masking: Consider using plastic or paper masking to cover the interior surfaces of the cabinets that you want to protect.
  • Utility knife or scissors: These tools will be essential for cutting tape, plastic sheeting, or masking materials.
  • Cleaning supplies: Ensure you have appropriate cleaning supplies to prepare the cabinet surfaces for painting.
  • Paint sprayer: Use a paint sprayer suitable for the type of paint you intend to use.

Now that we have our materials ready let’s move on to the step-by-step process of masking off the inside of cabinets for painting with a sprayer.

Step 1: Empty the Cabinets and Clean the Surfaces

Start by emptying the cabinets completely. Remove any items, including shelves and drawers, to ensure easy access to the interior surfaces. This will allow you to clean the cabinets more effectively.

Next, clean the surfaces thoroughly. Use a mild detergent or a mixture of water and vinegar to remove any grease, dirt, or residue that may affect the paint adhesion. Wipe down the surfaces with a clean cloth and let them dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

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Step 2: Plan the Masking Strategy

Before applying any tape or protective materials, plan your masking strategy. Consider which areas of the cabinet interiors you want to paint and which ones you want to keep untouched. Visualize the final result and determine the boundaries of your painting project.

It’s essential to pay attention to areas such as cabinet doors, shelves, and any other elements that will be visible when the cabinets are open. Decide whether you want to paint these areas or leave them in their original state. This planning phase will ensure you achieve the desired outcome without surprises.

Step 3: Apply Painter’s Tape

Begin by applying painter’s tape along the edges of the cabinet interiors that you want to protect. Make sure the tape adheres firmly and creates a tight seal between the surfaces and the tape. This will prevent any paint from seeping through and ensure clean lines.

If the cabinets have intricate details or moldings, take your time to carefully apply the tape, ensuring that it follows the contours of the surfaces. Use a utility knife or scissors to cut the tape cleanly and precisely.

Step 4: Cover the Surrounding Area

Cover the surrounding area with plastic sheeting or drop cloths to protect it from overspray. Lay the plastic sheeting or drop cloths on the floor, countertops, or any adjacent surfaces that may be exposed to paint. Secure the edges with painter’s tape to keep them in place during the painting process.

Ensure that the plastic sheeting or drop cloths extend beyond the cabinets’ boundaries to create a generous buffer zone. This will safeguard against any accidental overspray that might occur during the spraying process.

Step 5: Mask the Interior Surfaces

To protect the interior surfaces of the cabinets, use plastic or paper masking materials. Cut the materials to fit the dimensions of the areas you want to cover and tape them securely in place. Take care to overlap the edges of the tape to create a seamless barrier that prevents the paint from reaching the interior surfaces.

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Ensure the masking materials are tightly secured and cover all the surfaces you wish to shield. Double-check the corners and edges to ensure there are no gaps or exposed areas.

Step 6: Prepare the Paint Sprayer

Once you have completed the masking process, it’s time to prepare your paint sprayer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the sprayer properly and ensure that it is clean and free of any residual paint from previous use.

Prepare the paint according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, taking into account the appropriate thinning ratio if required. Test the spray pattern on a piece of cardboard or scrap material to ensure that the sprayer is functioning correctly and producing the desired result.

Step 7: Apply the Paint

It’s time to start painting with the cabinets properly masked and the paint sprayer ready. Begin by spraying the interior surfaces of the cabinets in a smooth and controlled manner. Maintain a consistent distance between the sprayer and the surface to achieve an even coat of paint.

Start with light passes, gradually building up the paint coverage. Avoid over-saturating the surfaces to prevent drips or runs. Allow the paint to dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before applying additional coats if necessary.

Step 8: Remove the Masking Materials

Once the paint has dried completely, remove the masking materials. Start by carefully peeling off the painter’s tape, ensuring a slow and steady motion to avoid any damage to the painted surfaces. If any tape residue remains, gently remove it using a mild adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol.

Remove the plastic or paper masking materials, taking care not to scratch or scrape the painted surfaces. Dispose of them properly, keeping in mind any local recycling guidelines.


By following these steps and taking the time to properly mask off the inside of cabinets for painting with a sprayer, you can achieve professional-looking results and protect the surrounding areas from overspray. Remember to plan your masking strategy carefully, clean the surfaces thoroughly, and use high-quality materials for masking and painting. With patience and attention to detail, you can transform the interior of your cabinets and give them a fresh, new look. Happy painting!