I have joined the chalk paint movement. Check out our kitchen before… outdated oak cabinets that really took away from the modern look of our house.
Hank was trying to pose for the picture!
I love white cabinets- they make a kitchen look so fresh and clean! And I’m on summer break… so why not tackle a giant project!?
Follow these steps on how to chalk paint cabinets! I chose to use CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk Paint in Simply White and her Satin Finish. In researching different types of chalk paint, I really liked that her paint is non-toxic (NO VOC’s, acrylic co-polymers, solvents, formaldehyde, ammonia, ethylene glycol or toxic heavy metals). It also is only chalk +clay in a water based solution (some chalk paints still have latex in them and a low number of VOC’s). Everyone seems to have their favorite chalk paint brand so I’ll try not to be bias. Regardless of what brand you use, chalk paints are self-priming so that cuts out a step in your painting process! The prices of different brands are comparable; a quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is only about $4 to $6 more than CeCe’s. If you have a personal favorite, please leave a comment. I would love to try it out!
These are the supplies I started with: a hand sander, rubber gloves, tack cloth, paint, and an angled brush
1. Prepare: Take off your cabinet doors and any hardware you have. Take out the drawers. I used my handy dandy pink power screwdriver. Tape off the floor and where your cabinets meet the countertops and walls. I used Frog Tape.
2. Clean your cabinets. Clean your cabinets well. Use any household cleaner to degrease them. My cabinets had a LOT of buildup in some areas. I don’t think they had ever been cleaned over the years. When we moved in last year, I wiped them down but did not give them a good scrubbing. A small amount of dawn dish soap, a wet rag, and also a couple of Clorox wipes worked for me. Apparently there were two doors that I didn’t clean as thoroughly, so after I painted there were hidden little brown grease spots that showed through the white paint. They didn’t show up until the paint dried. It is very difficult to sand them down and re-clean them so this is a VERY important step. Make sure they are dry with no residue before continuing. In the close up picture below, you can see that my cabinets were really in need of some tender love and care. 3. Everything I read said that it is a waste of time to sand before painting with chalk paint. Chalk paint can be used on virtually any clean surface. Could it really be that easy? (Take note: The first time I ever used chalk paint was on an entire kitchen. That means you can do it too!) For my first section, I went ahead and sanded the surface (Shhhh!) and then sanded in between coats. Because you know, I didn’t think it could really be that easy. It took a long time and more paint, created a mess of chalk dust, and did not change the result. For the rest of the cabinets, I ONLY sanded down “problem areas” before painting and I did NOT sand in between coats of paint. **BUT if you currently have hardware on your cabinets and will be changing the hardware, you will need to fill the holes before painting. 4. Paint your first and second coat.
This was my first section after one coat of paint. This paint is thick and has GREAT coverage! I tried a foam roller for cabinets out for this large area, but since the chalk paint dries SO fast, it wasn’t really a wet area so the angled brush worked much better.
This is what the first section looked like after the second coat. Woohoo! Making progress!
Note from this photo: No, I did not paint inside the cabinets. I’m the only one that will see them and it would take a lot of time and paint. You can if you want! It just wasn’t worth it to me. Also, that meant that I did not have to take everything out of the cabinets and create an even more giant mess. I can always go back and do this later if I change my mind.
Also note: In order for me to function in my house during this project, I finished half of the cabinets completely before moving onto the other half. Most people would want to do it all at once, but I simply did not have the space or surface to put more drawers and doors. It was WAY too hot to use the garage, otherwise that would have been a different story. Also, I cook a lot and wanted to be able to use the kitchen without getting stressed during the more than week-long project.
5. After the second coat, make any touch ups you need to make with a small brush. When it is completely dry, use a FINE/FINISHING sanding block (the one I used is pictured below) to gently sand the flat surfaces. Do not sand the corners and edges- just give the middle flat surface a little finishing.
6. For the satin finish, I used the foam roller mentioned and pictured above for the large areas and a brush for the small areas. Paint a thin first coat and let it dry overnight before painting the second coat. The satin finish goes on clear and is a very durable finish after two coats! On the CeCe website, it gives detailed instructions on how you can dilute the finish. I chose not to dilute it since the kitchen gets such heavy use. Let the second coat dry overnight.
7. Put your doors and hardware back on. Notice that our cabinets did not have hardware before. But I desperately wanted shiny new silver hardware, but I knew it would be out of our budget to install it in the whole kitchen. Luckily, I stumbled upon Live Love DIY blog. Virginia posted the link to where she found hers, D. Lawless Hardware, with a 10% off promo code. I LOVED the look of her kitchen and adored the hardware she bought. SO I bought the exact hinges, drawer pulls, and handles. There is free shipping over $50 and with her 10% off code, I bought enough for my entire kitchen for $120. WOW! There was a really heavy box on my doorstep within a few short days!! Virginia didn’t use chalk paint for her cabinets, but she has a great tutorial on how she did hers too!
Had to break out the big drill for this part!
Funny story… when we began installing the hardware, I got out all the supplies and was coaching my hubby and his friend. I quickly took our dog outside, and when I came back they had drilled holes in the center of the doors.
I ran in “WHHHHATTT is going on?” They were so sweet to help me with the hardware, but I had to pull up photos online to convince them that people don’t put handles in the middle of doors and helped them measure. Taylor said, “You shouldn’t have left us unsupervised!” Hahaha I spent a lot of time filling in holes with wood filler. If you have spots that need fixing (little spots in your cabinets before you paint or after you paint and if your husband might possibly maybe messed up the drilling) this was a great product and it’s white!
The holes were deep- all the way through the wood- I filled them easily, sanded it down, painted over the spots, and re-finished them. You can’t even tell so all is well!
Time: This project took me 11 days, but I only worked on it a few hours a day and I did the kitchen piece by piece instead of all at once.
Amount of paint: just a little over 2 quarts
Amount of satin finish it took: 1 and a half 18oz containers
Price for this renovation: $300
What do you think? Have you tried something else on your cabinets? I’d love to hear your feedback or answer any questions you have!