Painting Cabinetry with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan

The simplest way to paint cabinetry with Chalk Paint® decorative paint is to paint them in place. Chalk Paint® does an excellent job on the actual cabinets, and it can also be used to paint the hardware. There may be times when you choose to remove the doors and drawer facings for painting. Use this simple marking system to ensure that every component is returned to its original position:

• Make a schematic drawing of the cabinetry, assigning a unique identifying number to each door and drawer location.

• Take the doors off and remove the hinges and pulls. Use a piece of safe release painters’ tape to mark the back of each door with its corresponding location number on the schematic drawing.

• Most drawers will have a separate drawer facing that is attached to the drawer box with screws. Remove the drawer facing and mark it with the appropriate location number. Be sure to indicate which edge is the top.

• Each hinge and pull and its corresponding screws should be placed in a plastic bag and its location number marked on the outside of the bag (i.e., “hinge for door 8, top location”). Store all the bags in a central location.
• If you are painting the interiors of the cabinetry, remove all shelves and support clips and mark each location accordingly.

Good preparation and a clean surface are critical to painting a finish that you will enjoy for years to come. When painting cabinets, you will typically be dealing with existing paints, stains, varnish, lacquer, wax, polish, or even manufactured surfaces such as laminate or melamine. When painting with Chalk Paint®, preparing these surfaces is easy. Most times just a good cleaning will do, but there will be rare times when an extra step or two may be required.

Painting over raw wood
• Begin by lightly sanding the surface with fine grit sandpaper to smooth any rough spots or edges. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain.

• Fill any cracks or gouges with wood filler or spackling, let dry, and sand smooth with fine grit sandpaper.

• Seal knot holes or open grains with one or two coats of shellac, a non-toxic primer/sealer, to block any stains or tannins from bleeding up through the paint layers. Lightly sand after the last coat with fine grit sandpaper.

Painting over previously finished cabinets
• Smooth any layers of thick uneven paint or varnish with medium grit sandpaper. When heavy layers cannot be rubbed back with sandpaper alone, a paint stripper may be needed. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

• Ensure that the cabinets are clean and free of any kitchen debris. Heavy waxy, greasy, or oily residues should be wiped away first with a soft cloth moistened with mineral spirits. Use an eco-TSP substitute or grease-cutting soap and warm water and scrub the surface with a Scotch Brite pad. Use a soft brush to work into open grains. Avoid saturating the surface. Rinse thoroughly with a clean rag and warm water and leave to dry completely. Your surface should look dry and dull.

• Fill any holes with wood filler or spackling, let dry, and sand smooth with fine grit sandpaper.

• Seal any wood that has open grain with one or two coats of shellac to prevent the tannins contained in the wood grain from bleeding up through your new paint layers. Shellac should be applied over a clean, dry, and sound surface. Be sure to remove any wax first.

Painting over a laminate or melamine
• Ensure that the cabinets are clean and free of any kitchen debris. Heavy waxy, greasy, or oily residues should be wiped away first with a soft cloth moistened with mineral spirits. Use an eco-TSP substitute or grease-cutting soap and warm water and scrub the surface with a Scotch Brite pad. Rinse thoroughly with a clean rag and warm water and leave to dry completely.

• Sand the surface with fine grit sandpaper to break the surface tension. Sand every surface that will be painted completely and thoroughly. Wipe off the sanding residue.

• Apply one very thin coat of Chalk Paint® in your color choice (dilute with approximately 10% water to help achieve a thin coating) and leave to dry for 48 hours.

Avoid painting any cabinets that have a vinyl finish (i.e., Thermo-Foil).

For a smoother, more traditional look, paint the cabinet doors in the way they are constructed, always brushing in the direction of the wood grain. For example, when painting a classic 5-piece door, begin by painting the center panel.

Next paint the rails going across the top and bottom of the door. Finish by painting the stiles that run along both sides of the door, using your brush to create a clean line between the rail and stile. Drawers should be painted in the same direction as the wood grain. Hand-painted cabinet finishes do not have to be perfect. Chalk Paint® is meant to give character and interest to cabinetry rather than a perfectly smooth “factory” finish.

Practice your finish first on a small piece of furniture to ensure that you are comfortable with your technique. This is important because you will want a consistent look on all your cabinets. Seal your newly painted cabinets with two or three coats of Soft Wax for protection,allowing each wax coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next. Soft Wax is easy to apply and makes a good bond to the paint for durability. Remember that any protective coating can be susceptible to scratches, stains and watermarks. When these occurrences happen to a wax coating, they are quickly and easily fixed with just a bit more wax rubbed into the marked area.

Cabinets painted with Chalk Paint® and finished with Soft Wax are easily maintained by wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water to clean, and refreshing with a light application of wax when needed.







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