Painting your kitchen cabinets is one of the most exciting and terrifying projects you can recommend to a new homeowner.
In the case of my husband and I, I was excited and he was terrified! My husband was in love with our original kitchen. He is night dweller, born on Halloween, and prefers all things dark. The dark cherry wood cabinets and black granite counters that came with our house originally suited him just fine.
For me, however; they did not. Neither did hours of meticulous steps. Thankfully I discovered the easiest way you can paint your kitchen cabinets! This easy method will save you time and money making the job simpler than most expect! You can change the entire look of your kitchen with ease using chalk paint to bring new life to old kitchen cabinets!
A World of Options and Advice
Pinterest had me dreaming of kitchens draped in white. The crisp and clean look, the brightness, the appearance of being bigger. How could someone not want to paint their kitchen white? So the pleading with my husband began. When he caved his only stipulation was that he wanted me to not dive in until I had done my research and was sure I could do a professional job. No problem! Back to Pinterest I went!
There were so many different articles! Some women swore by oil based paint. Others by latex based. Some women claimed nothing did the job like a roller. Meanwhile, some would only use a brush. How was I to know which way was best? More importantly, which way was easiest to paint kitchen cabinets? Being as hard-headed as they come, so I decided to make my own way!
Although I knew I needed a durable paint, I didn’t want the smell and wait of oil based paint. The idea of spending hours priming and sanding all my cabinets also didn’t make me jump for joy. This lead me to chalk paint! Chalk paint is a low odor, fast drying, easy cleanup paint made from chalk! The best part? When you paint with chalk paint you do not need a primer! There is also no need to sand your project down to the original wood!
The most popular chalk paint is made by Annie Sloan. If the internet agrees on one thing it is it’s love for Annie Sloan. However; this brand is quite pricey as it is considered the “designer name” in chalk paint. Since this was my first time working with this no prime, no sand, paint I decided not to splurge on the premium prices.
Instead I happened across Rust-oleum Chalked for about a quarter of the cost. This paint is available on Amazon Prime for about $17 per can! Chalked comes in many colors so there is something sure to work for all projects, For our kitcen cabinets we went with a great white color. This crisp but warm “Linen White” was exactly what I was looking for!
- (2) Cans of Rust-oleum Chalked Paint– BUY NOW FOR ONLY $18/CAN ON AMAZON!
- (2) High Quality 2″ Paint Brushes — THIS QUALITY BRUSH IS LESS THAN $4 ON AMAZON!
- (1) Painter’s Tape — DON’T SKIMP ON PAINTER’S TAPE! THIS OPTION IS LESS THAN $7!
- (1) Screwdriver
- (1) Drop Cloth
- (1) Bottle of Degreaser (I used Dawn Dish detergent mixed with water!)
- (1) Pack Fine Sand Paper — GRAB A FIVE PACK FOR LESS THAN $6
- (1) Can of Polycrylic — ONLY $17/CAN ON AMAZON!
Prepping Your Kitchen Cabinets:
I have to confess, I am as lazy as they come when I DIY! When I DIY I try to find ways to take projects that work and make them easier. If I can get the same great result with half the work, why would I do it any other way? This is what ultimately made me decide to paint my kitchen cabinets using chalk paint. With chalk paint there is no need to prime or sand your project down to bare wood! This was a lifesaver considering the thick cherry wood stain on my cabinets!
All our kitchen cabinets needed were a good cleaning with a degreaser. Degreaser can be made at home by mixing Dawn dish detergent and water in a spray bottle. After making my mixture I removed the old cabinet pulls that were on each door and drawer. I decided to upgrade to handles and pulls in an antique silver instead of putting the old hardware back on. Then I worked on wiping down my kitchen cabinets as thoroughly as possible. I allowed the kitchen cabinets to dry overnight. When I woke up the next morning I taped the cabinets off from the walls and counters.
Although most bloggers recommend you take the doors off you cabinets I did not. Our kitchen cabinets were built with hidden hardware that attaches to the back of the door. I was not worried about painting around them as I knew any small mistakes wouldn’t show. If you have door hardware that shows, I highly recommend you remove your doors before you begin painting.
Starting to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint:
While painting I used a high quality brush with good bristles and a nice handle. Our kitchen cabinets have details built into the wood so I knew a paint roller was not a good option for me. I used my brush to paint long strokes through the details first. Then I used the brush to make long steady strokes from top to bottom on the flat sections of the doors. Once the doors were finished I used similar long strokes, from top to bottom, to paint the cabinet frames. Once I made one full loop around my kitchen the paint was dry enough for a second coat.
After the second coat dried I used extra fine sandpaper on all surfaces of the kitchen cabinets. Many people choose to distress their cabinets in this step. However; I chose to go for a solid look and only lightly sanded the top layer of my paint. Next, I took a cheesecloth and wiped the cabinets to clean them of any chalk dust.
If you over sand your paint, don’t fear! Chalk paint makes it easy to spot touch-up your kitchen cabinet paint! Just add another layer to the area, allow it to dry, and re-sand!
Once your cabinets are sanded to your desired smoothness, you are ready for your Polycrylic topcoat! Polycrylic is to your kitchen cabinets as your top coat is to your nails. It is the tough clear coat that protects your paint from messes and cleanings.
Apply a thin coat of your Polycrylic in the same way you painted on your chalk paint. Allow your first coat to dry about an hour. Once dry, apply a second thin coat. After another hour of drying you may choose to do another round with your sandpaper. My cabinets were still smooth enough that I didn’t see the need.
Give Your Kitchen Cabinets Some Time:
Do not reassemble your kitchen cabinets yet! Allow at least one full day for your cabinets to cure. This will make your paint and Polycrylic combination much stronger. Once your paint is fully dry you can reassemble your cabinet hardware.
Viola! You have now painted your kitchen cabinets with chalk paint!
- To stretch my paint, I added a little water to my chalk paint before applying my second layer. Slightly thinning the paint allowed my second coat to go on easier and faster! The added water prevented brush marks as well!
- I opted for Polycrylic in a Satin finish so that I would have a surface that was both cleanable and fairly matte. Remember that the more matte you go, the harder your cabinets will be to clean. The glossier you go, the more light your cabinets will reflect which could cause a glare!
- The viscosity, or thickness, of the chalk paint was thick enough that I was able to enjoy the ease of painting directly out of the can! You can wipe your brush on the edges of the can without having to worry about a mess!
We hope you enjoy your new kitchen! Be well and be happy!