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Super Handyman: Try these tips to get a cabinet upgrade without busting your budget

You can give your kitchen cabinets an upgrade without throwing your budget out the window. Just try some of our super ideas, and you’ll be amazed!

Clean all of the cabinets with mineral-spirits paint thinner to remove all grease and oils.

You can do a lot of different things to a cabinet door or drawer front:

You can pick out a stencil and paint a design on the front of each door. Or do it freehand.

Use a decal or stick-on design, or cut out your art and decoupage it onto the door.

Wallpaper the door front. You even can cut out part of the wallpaper and paste it onto the door.

Paint the door, or at least part of it. You also could use chalkboard paint and redecorate your doors anytime you want.

Add depth to your doors by attaching wooden frames to them. These also can be painted to match, and will look just like you added custom trim work.

If you’re a bit more gutsy, you can remove the center of each door and install glass, mirrors or wire mesh.

Apply gold leaf to some parts of the door. It will give your cabinets a really unusual look.

Apply a protective coat of clear polyurethane to your work of art to help it last longer.

Your imagination is your guide to budget decorating, so get inspired and have some fun while doing it!


Q: Under the sink in my master bathroom, there are gaps around the water-supply lines. They’re on an interior wall, so I wasn’t sure if it needed to be insulated. What do you think? – H.T.

A: If you have some expanding foam left over from a project, we suggest filling the gaps. It might not add insulation but will prevent bugs from settling into your wall cavity.


Q: You always recommend chemical drain openers as a last resort. Why is that? – N.E.

A: They tend to be more of a short-term solution and usually don’t really clear up the problem. It’s much better to get into the drain with a snake and really get rid of the clog. Another issue with chemicals is that, once you use them, you have to be really careful about doing anything else, even snaking out the drain, because they can get on your hands – or worse – and cause burns on your skin.


Q: I need to replace a window screen. Should I use metal or plastic? – H.J.

A: Metal is tougher than fiberglass screens but it can be harder to work with. The fiberglass screens also come in a few colors and even solar shades that help block the sun. They may need to be restretched.

Of course, you will want to match what you already have, so that may make the decision for you. If you’ve never done this before, fiberglass might be your best choice.

A Super hint

It’s said that a tightly wound extension cord can overheat and cause problems, so why not turn that extra-long cord into two shorter cords? If you need both for a project, then use them, but if you don’t, then you don’t have to worry about that extra length getting in your way. Just install new plugs on the ends, and you’re ready to go.


We get a lot of questions about repairing dings and scratches on appliances. Krylon’s Appliance Touch-Up Tubes are a super-easy way to take care of these. The rollerball tip gives you excellent control, and there is a brush for versatility. It dries quickly and works on refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers and other metal appliance surfaces. You can find it at and at your favorite hardware store or home center.

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.

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