How To Paint Cabinets with Chalk Paint

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Well I did it. I painted my Laundry Room cabinets with chalk paint. With almost no knowledge of how it would turn out when I embarked on this journey. All I had was a picture from Pinterest, and a personality that refuses to look at directions before putting together Ikea furniture.

After a bumpy start – and plenty of messages on Instagram begging me to abort the mission and hire a professional, things took a positive turn and I started to see that using chalk paint on cabinets was everything I hoped it would be.

Benefits of Using Chalk Paint on Cabinets

One of the biggest benefits that I had read about using chalk paint was that you didn’t have to sand the surface that you are painting in order to successfully paint. While this is possible, I did find that lightly sanding the surface of my cabinets (which were painted originally with oil based paint) did help the chalk paint stick better and allowed me to paint with fewer coats.

But the sanding was really minimal. I had envisioned needing to rent a sander from Home Depot and in the process feeling like a real contractor, but that wasn’t needed. I got these sanding sponges and just rubbed them on the cabinet surfaces like I would if I were trying to clean them and that was all the sanding required.

Just enough sanding to buff the surfaces of the cabinet so the chalk paint has a little grit to stick to.

Another benefit to chalk paint is that it is a quick drying paint, so your paint project moves really quickly.

Painting my laundry room cabinets with chalk paint only took me 2 days. I probably could have done it in 1 day if I hadn’t also been in charge of keeping 2 small kids alive and simultaneously preparing for a hurricane.

Chalk paint is also fantastic because it is allows for minimal prep and leaves almost no mess. Chalk paint has a very low risk of dripping and is really easy to wipe off most surfaces before it dries. I didn’t tarp up any of my laundry room while I painted and I don’t have a single spot where the chalk paint dripped or ended up where I didn’t want it to be.

How to Prep Cabinets for Chalk Paint

Like I said before, the prep is fairly minimal for this project. To start, you should clean the surfaces you are going to paint. Wiping them down with a damp cloth will be fine. You just want to make sure that all dirt, dust and other build up wiped away.

Before you start painting, I do recommend lightly sanding the cabinet surfaces (as much as you may not want to). It only added about 20 minutes of time to my project and it made the paint go a lot farther. I had enough paint left over at the end of my project that I could use it for another piece of furniture that was on my list to rehab.

The last thing you need to do is to remove the cabinets from their hinges. Having your cabinet panels on a flat surface will help you get an even coat of paint on the cabinet. It will also make it easier to paint all of the cabinet doors quickly and spot any streakiness that can happen with chalk paint.

If you don’t know how to take off your cabinet hinges – check out this cabinet door removal tutorial.

Chalk Paint Supplies

I think the biggest thing to splurge on is the chalk paint brush. Chalk paint does best with a special type of brush, and it was the most expensive part of this project, but it was worth it.

Since I am still learning all there is to know about chalk paint, I did find that when I could see visible brush strokes on the cabinet doors, I used a small 4 inch microfiber roller to smooth things out after painting on each coat with the chalk paint brush.

I did try a foam roller, which I saw recommended for chalk paint, but I did not find that it did any better than the microfiber roller. And the foam roller soaked up so much paint that it felt like a big waste. With the chalk paint brush and microfiber roller I covered 1/3 of my cabinets with one can of paint and with the foam roller, the paint only went half as far.

Aside from the brushes, I do recommend that you gets a tarp or plastic sheet to lay your cabinet doors on while you paint them. I covered my breakfast table with a plastic table cloth just to have a place to let the doors dry.

And now all you need is paint!

My Laundry Room Chalk Paint Project

I had decided that my laundry room needed some color and we didn’t have it in the budget to pay someone for a paint job.

The shade I used was Americana Decor in shade “Vintage”. It looks like a sage green in the paint jar, but when it dries it has a brighter blue that pops from it. I loved it.

This brand of chalk paint was really easy to use, provided great coverage and it really went a long way. I purchased 4 cans of the Chalk Paint and only used 3 of them to cover all of my cabinets with 3 coats.

The biggest tip that I would share is to lightly sand your cabinets between each coat of chalk paint. Chalk paint isn’t super forgiving when it comes to showing brush strokes, so using one of the sanding sponges is really helpful in getting a smoother finish.

When you are done painting with the color you pick, you will need to use a sealant or wax paint. I used the wax paint from the same brand (Americana Decor Creme Wax in “Clear”)

I also wanted to update our cabinet knobs. They were a black/rust color and I wanted a gold or brass finish to go with this new color.

Instead of buying new knobs, I bought a $6 can of spray paint and got the look I was going for!

I used Rustoleum Metallic Gold MATTE for my final finish, but I did test out the Rustoleum Metallic Gold Finish to see how it looked, and that was a nice option just a little too flashy for what I was going for.

The difference between the matte and non-matte finish of the gold spray-paint.

If you wanted to purchase new knobs with a similar look – these are some great options that won’t break the bank.

This was a really easy project and I love the way it upgraded my laundry room!

Shop the supplies here.

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