How To Chalk Paint Kitchen Cabinets

chalk paint kitchen cabinets

Image courtesy: Tommy Yon

Your kitchen looks shabby and you want to do something that will change its appearance but don’t know what. Somebody wisely suggests chalk painting your cabinets–an idea that you like. This idea particularly appeals to you because it means giving your cabinets a makeover without spending too much money?

Well, it is possible, thanks to chalk paint. If you can chalk paint kitchen cabinets yourself, you’ll make a great saving both in time and money. To begin, ensure that you have your basic supplies, such as: a hand sander, paint, tack cloth, an angled brush and rubber gloves. With these ready for use, you’re all set.

Read how to make chalk paint here. 

Here are the steps involved in chalk painting your cabinets:

Prepare to chalk paint kitchen cabinets

Before you can use chalk paint with its prime objective of saving time, you still have to prepare the cabinet for painting. Here’s how:

  • Use a lint-free rag to wipe your cabinets and ensure that any gunk has gone.
  • Take off any hinges on your cabinets so that you can paint the doors easily.
  • Remove all drawers, using a power screwdriver.
  • Tape the floor at the point where the cabinets join up with the walls and countertops.

Locate a dust-free part of your house to work in: Work in a clean and zero-dust area where you can lay out your cabinet doors. You can either put them on a few tables joined together or put them on the floor on brown paper.

Free your cabinets of dirt and grease: To get rid of any grease, gunk, dust or dirt, clean your cabinets with household cleaner. Ensure they are absolutely dry before you move on to the next step.

Get rid of dust: Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust in your cabinets and from the cracks in their doors. If you still find some dust remaining, use a damp cloth to wipe it off.

Sand your cabinets: First, sand the surface of your cabinets. Then, sand between coats. If there are any blemishes on the surface of the cabinets, sand them down in particular before you paint. You can go with an exceptionally fine sanding block or a 320 grit sand paper. Sanding will throw up a lot of dust, so it’s advisable to wear a dust mask and goggles when you sand. Remember to sand not just the doors of the cabinets but also the drawer facades. When sanding these areas, so it really well in areas where the pulls or knobs will be re-fixed because these areas are highly vulnerable to wear and tear.

Give your cabinets a first coat and then a second

Using chalkboard paint for cabinets really helps because it dries so quickly that there aren’t dry areas, making using the angular brush a really good experience. Despite the fact that it dries fast, it will give you enough time to spread out the paint, so you won’t leave any brush strokes. If you see any in your first coat, they’ll disappear by the second one. You might want to paint a third coat. After this, use fine grit sandpaper and smoothen out the paint. This will give you a velvety soft finish. Take care not to over sand.

For a distressed look

If you want to give your cabinets a distressed look, sand the edges of the cabinets using a light hand. When you use chalk paint, you’ll realize just how well it distresses, so begin with a light coat and then add on as much distressing as you wish. If you mess up the painting, all you need to do is to touch-up the area with a little chalk paint, allow it to dry completely and resume sanding. You’ll notice how this effort gives your cabinets superb texture.

Give it a sheen

Do you see any dust? Wipe it all off now and give your cabinets a coat of wax. A light coat of wax is enough for your cabinets as this goes a long way. After the cabinets are waxed and the gloss shows up on your cabinets, buff it away using a wax cloth as this encourages the cabinets to shine more.

Time for touch-ups: Now that you’ve painted the third coat, wait for it to be completely dry. Next, if there’s reason to touch-up any part of the cabinet, do it using a small brush. When this dries, using a really fine sanding block and sand away the flat surfaces of your cabinets. Be careful not to sand the edges and corners, only the central flat surface.

Give it a satin finish: To give your cabinets a satin finish, use a foam roller for the large tracts and a brush to do the small pieces. Start by painting a first coat. Make it thin and allow it to dry overnight. After this, paint the second coat. Once your second coat is done, the satin finish will be very obvious. Allow this coat to dry till next morning.

Replace all hardware and doors

With all the hard work of painting fully done, it’s time to replace the hardware and doors. If there are any spots that need to be addressed, do it now.


  • Chalk paint doesn’t need sanding, prepping or primer–it will stick to any surface.
  • Chalk paint is thick, so it covers a surface well and can be used to come up with a variety of textures.
  • It does not smell very much and dries exceptionally fast.
  • It is robust and durable.
  • It can be used for exteriors.
  • It is very economical as you don’t need to use a lot.
  • It distressed very well and looks really good when sprayed, rolled or brushed.


  • Because it adheres very fast and it’s thick, it can get immovable if you want to apply another coat.
  • It’s expensive even though you don’t need to use too much of it.

By following the above-mentioned steps, you can gift yourself a spanking new kitchen with gleaming cabinets.

Author: John Clax

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