How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

As promised last week in my post Painting Kitchen Cabinets, today I'm sharing another easier option for you. If taking the cabinet doors off, prepping and priming, painting, and protecting your cabinets sounds too overwhelming then this might be the option for you. With this option, you do not have to remove the doors not do you have to prime and I'm going to show you how to paint kitchen cabinets with chalk paint.

Chalk painted cabinets in Kitchen 1 and Kitchen 2

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

I helped freshen up two kitchens with original cabinets using this method. More pictures of Kitchen 2 here at A Quick And Inexpensive Kitchen Update.

Step 1 - Prep the cabinets

No need to remove the cabinet doors with this method - just remove the knobs. Unless you want to paint the knobs too but more about that later in this post.

The first step is to give the doors a good clean. If you don't have a grease or wax build up then a bucket of good old fashion dish soap and water will do the trick. Otherwise cleaning them with a degreaser is a must. There are Green options available and my personal preference is Natura Safe Sand Deglosser.

Step 2 - Type of paintbrushes to use

Already we're on to the fun part, painting but first let's talk brushes. These are my Go To Options.

Chalk painting cabinets using either a synthetic fiber flat or pure bristle brush

For a smooth silky finish then you will need a synthetic fiber flat brush like the one on the bottom. For a textured finish, you can use a pure bristle brush like the one on the top.

Step 3 - Choosing a chalk paint

Time to pull out the chalk paint. I have tried three different brands and like them equally.  For me, it depends on color choice and availability. I've used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™, Country Chic Paint, and Americana Decor Chalky Paint.

With any of these paints, you do not have to prime the cabinets first. However, having said that some wood like mahogany and cherry are prone to the wood tannin's bleeding through the paint. The best way to prevent this from happening is to apply a stain-blocking primer first. You can brush it on or roll it on.

The bonus with chalk paint is that by the time you're finished applying the first coat on all the cabinets, they will be dry enough to apply the second coat. Most often all you will need is two coats for complete coverage.

For a smooth finish, you should lightly sand between coats with a 220-grit sanding block and be sure to remove the dust using a tack cloth.

Step 4 - Protective Coat

Now it's time to talk protective finishes. To wax or not to wax, that is the question.

Clear Wax

Applying a clear wax finish over chalk paint

All three of the chalk paint products I mentioned above offer clear wax for use with their paint. I happened to have the natural wax pictured above in my workshop. All three companies offer their own wax brushes as well.

In a kitchen with loads of wear and tear on the cabinets and moisture in the air, it is recommended you use a clear coat finish instead. The choice is yours which direction you take. With wax, you will have to reapply every few years.

How to apply clear wax

To apply the clear wax scoop some out onto a paper plate. Work one door at a time and rub the tip of your wax brush into the wax and apply a light but even coats until the entire surface has been covered.

I use a circular motion to get the wax deep into the grain of the wood. Let the wax absorb between 15-30 minutes. Wipe the excess wax with a white lint-free rag.

Buff the wax to a matte finish. I'm not going to lie, this step takes some elbow grease. But I have a little secret to share with you.

Wax Buffing Tip

Use a horsehair shoeshine brush - works like a charm!

Clear Coat

Applying Tough Coat over chalk painted cabinets

This is my go-to protective finish for kitchen or bathroom cabinets, tabletops, or children's furniture where they are exposed to moisture and/or receive a lot of abuse use. The key when using this product is to stir it well (not shake) before applying and often during the application. It will give you a non-yellowing, brushstroke free finish. I've also used it in my paint sprayer for a factory-like finish.

Step 5 - Hardware

If your cabinet pulls or knobs are still in good condition but you want to change them up a bit without the expense of replacing them, then chalk paint them. Yes, you can chalk paint metal!

Painting cabinet hardware with chalk paint

I applied two coats of chalk paint, distressed them with fine sandpaper and applied clear wax using a clean white lint-free rag.

Which is your preference for painting cabinets, latex or chalk paint?