Masking Cabinet Interiors Against Overspray

Cabinetmakers describe how they mask off cabinets to protect interiors while spraying exteriors. November 11, 2006

Does anyone out there spray the inside of the sides, then assemble, then spray the outsides? If so, how do you mask the interiors from overspray?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor S:
Normally, we use pre-finished for our interiors. When we have a cabinet with glass doors or open and it needs finishing on the inside, we finish the sides, back, and floor flat, and inside top if it's a wall cabinet. If the cabinet has a middle shelf, I attach sticks to the bottom and stand it up to finish both sides at one time. After assembly, I use 2" tape perfectly along the seam where the unfinished face frame edge meets the cabinet and up both sides off the cabinet interior. From there, I use nice flat cardboard and cut out a square the inside dimension of the cabinet and set it inside and tape along the inside to seal the cardboard up. Wall cabinets are a little trickier to do this way because you have to cut an access hole in the cardboard to get the tape along the inside to seal it up. Then just tape the square back into place. After you do it many times, it becomes second nature. We get our cardboard from several of our plywood, drawer, door distributors from shipping and save every good piece for masking. The cab is now ready to spray the face frame!

From contributor L:
I've done it many times. Kind of a pain, but as the previous poster said, it becomes second nature. I have never done this with frameless, only framed cabinets. I'll first put a piece of tape on the bottom floor of the cabinet, butting up to my face frame. I make my frames stick up 1/16" from the floor to give me a good line to follow. Then I use rolled paper that is 23" wide. I cut two pieces the height of the inside of the cabinet minus 1/2". I have a work bench sprayed with shellac. I'll lay the paper down on the bench and apply the tape to the paper overlapping 50-50 on the paper and the bench. Then peel the tape and paper off the bench. The shellacked bench doesn't reduce the stickiness of the tape, as long as there is no dust. Reaching through the back of the cabinet, apply your paper to the back side of the face frame. Do this with the second piece of paper on the other side of the face frame inside the cabinet (of course). Then tape the two overlapping pieces of paper. Then finish taping the rest of the perimeter of the cabinet. Then put the cabinet back on. On lowers, you need to tape off the top. On uppers, you are done and ready to spray. Sounds complicated, but is pretty straightforward in reality. I've tried using a single piece of paper on smaller cabinets, but always find it's easier with two pieces. You can cut the paper in half for smaller cabinets. I also spray my cabinets upside down so I can get the bottoms sprayed (uppers) or sealed (lowers).

From contributor R:
Why don't you just spray the whole thing in the flat? We finish everything that way, before assembly. Face framed or frameless, we finish the pieces flat, flip them over and do the other side. Seems way faster than all that taping.

From contributor J:
Then when you assemble finished ends, how do you attach the finished end? I spray the finished interior parts, then assemble them, then mask the interiors.

From contributor R:
When we assemble a cabinet with a finished end, we glue and clamp it, no screws, nails or staples. Our construction is blind dado (these get masked when finishing the inside). For face framed cabinets, the box is finished and assembled. The unfinished face frame is pocket screwed, dry, to the box, then flush trimmed. Then it gets removed and sent to the finish department.