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How-To: Kitchen Cabinet Chalk Paint Makeover

How-To: Chalk Paint Cabinet Update

They’re done!  They’re finally done!

Our kitchen cabinets are refinished, upgraded and absolutely stunning.  The entire project included decorative molding, hidden hinges, undermount lighting, soft close drawer slides, shelves, organizational systems, hardware and of course… painting over the oak.  I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint because I love the antique look and it doesn’t require stripping the original finish.  However, don’t be fooled, this technique WILL NOT save you time!  For the base coat, I used Coco, then applied Old White on top.  I chose a simple color palette, but Annie Sloan has plenty of bold options to choose from.

To begin, remove doors and drawers and clean your surface.  Apply two thin coats of your base, painting in long, even strokes.  I start with the inside corners, followed by the inside panel, and then the outer frame of each cabinet.  Allow your paint to dry thoroughly, then sand with a fine grit sandpaper.  Once the top coat is applied, you’ll want the base to show through the edges, so make sure not to sand the edges too much!  Do sand all flat surfaces thoroughly.  The smoother your base coat, the better your end result will be.

The next step is to apply two thin coats of your top color, again, painting in long, even strokes.  When this is dry, sand the flat surfaces, being careful not to let the base show through.  If you sand too much in one area, you can always go back and paint over it.  Once the flat surfaces are smooth, carefully sand the edges until your base color is revealed.  Determine how much antiquing you want and sand accordingly.  Clean off excess dust with a slightly damp rag.

The final step is to apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax with a soft rag.  I find a circular motion works best.  You’ll want to apply 3 coats of wax in all, but it needs to dry and cure, so wait 2 WEEKS between coats.  If you’d like an even more antique look, you can apply a coat of Annie Sloan Dark Wax.

Hang the doors back on your cabinet base, reinsert your drawers and voila!  After a looooong process, you’ll have a stunning cabinet makeover.  I cannot describe how professional and expensive it looks.  However, I’m serious when I say it was incredibly time consuming and I don’t recommend Chalk Paint for the faint of heart!  You may want to practice on a small piece of furniture before tackling a major project.  I’ll post pictures of the completely renovated kitchen soon, but here’s a look at the process…

Project Cost:

  • $500 for paint and wax
  • $150 for hinges
  • $150 for drawer slides
  • $300 for organizational systems
  • $100 for new shelves
  • $100 for new pulls
  • $300 for undermount lighting
  • $1,600 TOTAL

Project Value:

  • $15,000-$30,000 TOTAL for comparable new cabinets


  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in dark tone and light tone- it’s expensive and you’ll use A LOT
  • Annie Sloan soft wax
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Soft rags
  • Paint brushes
  • Drop cloths
  • Clear plastic bumpers for cabinets


  • Draw a sketch of your cabinets and number each door and drawer.  Write the number in an inconspicuous spot on the coordinating door or drawer.
  • Sand carefully!  Make sure not to sand the edges of your base.  If you sand too much, you can always touch up with more paint
  • Apply paint in thin, even coats.  It’ll make sanding easier and create a more professional-looking result
  • Prop up cabinets on cans of food.  It’ll be easier to paint the edges and they won’t stick to your drop cloth
  • Wait 2 weeks between coats of wax to make sure it’s fully cured

7 thoughts on “How-To: Kitchen Cabinet Chalk Paint Makeover

  1. Pingback: Shabby Chic Kitchen Renovation, BEFORE and AFTER | Hammer-and-Heels

  2. Cabinets look great, love the color. ? What was the purpose of the layers i.e coco/old white were they distressed i coldnt tell in the pics. I’m considering doing mine also…so much work.

  3. Pingback: New Year, New Kitchen | Hammer-and-Heels

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