How to Tape & Paint in the Tight Spaces Above Kitchen Cabinets

Amateur do-it-yourselfers generally have little trouble painting the wide, open walls in their home. However, when they have to navigate into small, tight areas, the finish coat tends to suffer, and the results are often disappointing. If you need to paint in the tight spaces above your kitchen cabinets, you will need to use painter's tape to cover surfaces adjacent to the wall to prevent messes and encourage straight, professional-looking paint lines.

Read the safety guide printed on the side of the ladder.
  1. Cover the kitchen cabinets with masking paper. Tape down the edges of the masking paper using painter's tape.
  2. Access the areas above the kitchen cabinets by scaling a stepladder or a step stool.
  3. Cover surfaces adjacent to the tight spaces above the cabinets, including the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling line, with painter's tape.
  4. Pour 1 gallon of paint into the 2-gallon painter's pail.
  5. Apply paint to the tight spaces above the kitchen cabinets using a long-handled latex paintbrush.

Things You Will Need

  • Masking paper
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths
  • Stepladder or step stool
  • 2-gallon painter's pail
  • Long-handled latex paintbrush


  • Long-handled paintbrushes are ideal for painting tight, hard-to-reach spaces. However, they can be difficult to control. Be sure to thoroughly cover adjacent areas with painter's tape to prevent unintentional messes.
  • If you are having trouble reaching the tight spaces to apply tape, you can put one foot on the cabinets while maintaining most of your weight on the ladder. This will allow you closer access, so you can fit your arm into the small area above your cabinets. However, be sure the cabinets are covered with masking paper, first, and do not stand on the cabinets with both feet.


  • Do not use ordinary masking tape in place of blue painter's tape.
  • If you need to use a stepladder to access the tight spaces above your kitchen cabinets, be sure to read the safety guide printed on the side of the ladder before you begin work.

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.

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