How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint

I have wanted white kitchen cabinets for FOREVER. But all three of the houses that we’ve owned, all came with dark cherry kitchen cabinets. Now don’t get me wrong, cherry is nice! But in our current home, the cherry cabinets really bugged me. Like really BUGGED me! Mainly because we have dark wood floors in our kitchen and the kitchen is on the north side of the house. So the kitchen always felt so dark and not…. happy to me. And I like happy kitchens! {I mean, who doesn’t like to eat, right?!}

Plus, it kinda felt like someone puked WOOD all over my kitchen. Just sayin. {see the before picture}

So I was itching to find a way to paint my kitchen cabinets without footing a huge painting bill or spending half my life sanding away and priming cabinet doors. And I found it! This is the easy way to DIY paint your kitchen cabinets white!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint :: The Easy Way!

How to paint Kitchen Cabinets white with no prep using chalk paint powder.

Ok, let me tell you about my good friend, Heather. Heather started a creative lifestyle blog, Whipperberry, not long after I started this blog. Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 12.29.56 AMHeather and I met back in 2011 when we both attended our first blog conference in Arizona. We were instant friends and we stayed in contact to help each other navigate the crazy blogging world. We’ve been in many Blogging Facebook groups together and shared hotel rooms at conferences and events. So I’ve known Heather for awhile.

Well, a little over a year ago, Heather joined forces with a friend and they have launched a revolutionary DIY product known as BB Frosch Chalk Paint Powder. Heather mentioned the powder on social media and so last fall I texted her and asked if it would work on kitchen cabinets. She replied, “Yes!” And so last March, Heather flew here to Virginia to help me paint my kitchen cabinets white with BBFrosch Chalk Paint Powder and my kitchen will never be the same!

DIY Kitchen Makeover :: painted white cabinets are easier than I thought!

My kitchen is now light and refreshing and a very cheerful place to be. And I love it! And I can’t believe how much easier it was to use Chalk Paint vs traditional latex paint for my cabinets. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you everything you need to know on how to paint kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. Ok, at least everything I know!

DIY Modern farmhouse kitchen

After painting the cabinets white with chalk paint, Davis and I did a few more projects like the back splash {you can find the thermoplastic tiles here}, new mason jar pendant light fixture {so easy! 20 mins + $20. check it out here}, wood cornice, and more. I’ll share all the details about our complete kitchen makeover in another post real soon! Promise. But right now, I know you’re dying to find out how we painted our kitchen cabinets white!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White

DIY Painted Kitchen Cabinets :: NO prep, no sanding, now priming. Yes please!

Chalk paint is like no other paint you’ve ever used. And it will change how you view ALL your furniture, cabinets, and vanities. Trust me. I am itching to paint EVERYTHING in my house now! Chalk paint is so easy to work with and the results are AMAZING! BB Frosch Chalk Paint Powder makes it so that you can turn any Flat Latex paint into chalk paint.

Now I’ve tried other chalk paints because I was curious how they compared to BB Frosch and honestly, they just don’t compare! My good friend, Cindi and I tried one out together and we both were shocked at the difference. The other chalk paint did not distress, it just simply smeared. It was simply awful.

One of the many things I love about chalk paint, is that it dries quickly. And I live in a humid climate. After we finished a coat of paint, we were able to start another coat. There was no waiting between coats. This alone speeds up the time!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint

Supplies

2 – 16oz containers BB Frosch Chalk Paint Powder, Flat Latex Paint {we used 1.5 gallons of Coronado paint by Benjamin Moore in Bistro White}, paint brush, wax brush, squeeze bottle, BB Frosch clear wax, 200 grit sand paper, wax cloth, small container of water {for brushes}, tongue depressor or small stir stick, lint free cloth, painters tape* {optional}.

*We used very little tape because chalk paint wipes off very easily for 24 hours. We easily wiped the spots as we went. Plus we planned to paint the kitchen walls gray, so it didn’t matter if we painted the wall. I think the only thing that we taped was on the wood floor along the quarter round. 

Instructions

{note: The following 3 images are from my Instagram account.}

  1. First, clean your surface. I used a simple degreaser on my cabinets.
  2. Mix your Chalk Paint: In a squeeze bottle, mix 2 heaping tablespoons BB Frösch Chalk Paint Powder with 1 tablespoon water, swish until it has a donut glaze consistency. Add 8oz of latex paint and put the cap on and shake well. How to paint with chalk paint
  3. With a paint brush, apply an even coat of paint. It does not matter if all the brush strokes in going in exactly the right direction, because the paint will level on its own. I felt like I got better coverage going in opposite directions, or hashtagging, as Heather called it. Chalk paint dries quickly, so you should be able to move to the next coat once you finish the first coat.
  4. Second coat, evenly apply paint, but be careful not to overwork the paint as it will activate the first coat.
  5. Third coat, evenly apply another coat, making sure to cover thin spots well. Again, do not overwork the paint because it can activate previous coats. Painting kitchen cabinets with chalk paint
  6. Allow paint to thoroughly dry. Depending on humidity, it can be around 30-60 minutes. {the final coats take a little longer to dry than the first coat} Then using 200 grit sand paper, lightly sand to smooth out the paint. It doesn’t take much sanding to get a velvety smooth finish. So do not over sand!
  7. If you want a distressed look, lightly sand the edges of the cabinets. Again, chalk paint distresses awesomely, so start out light and you can add more distressing if you’d like. If you mess up, you can simply touch up with a little paint, let it dry and sand again. I did a fairly light distressing on my cabinets just to add texture. But if you like the chunky distressed look, you could very easily do that.
  8. Wipe off all the dust and then apply wax. Watch this 15 second video to learn how to wax. Its easier to show you how to wax, then it is to tell you! But I will say, you don’t need as much wax as you think you’ll need. A little goes a LONG way! chalk paint, distressed, and wax kitchen cabinet door.
  9. After you’ve waxed, buff with a wax cloth. The more you buff, the more it shines. :)

Now I wanted to add a picture of Heather and I when we were almost done painting the kitchen, but for some reason, I can’t find it on  my computer anywhere. Its really late so I will keep looking and add it when I find it.

Kitchen Makeover DIY :: how to paint kitchen cabinets white

Frequently Asked Questions

Time

Now I know you’re wondering how long it took to complete our white painted cabinets. Well, when Heather was here for 3 days, we painted almost non-stop and got about 80% done. Then after she left, life happened and it took Davis and I a couple more weeks to finish the last 20%. So I would say, depending on the size of your kitchen and how dedicated you are to painting every day, plan on 1-3 weeks. We probably could have knocked it out in 1 week, but we had a lot going on in our lives at the time and it just wasn’t possible.

Maintenance

WIPING :: I wipe my cabinets a lot. Especially the lower cabinets. White shows all the dirt, so I find myself about once a week wiping down the bottom cabinets in high traffic spots i.e. under the sink, by the dishwasher, and at the bar. So far, the paint and wax hold up fine to my wiping with a rag. I am sure I will need to re-wax every once in awhile though.

STEAM MOP :: The paint has not held up as good on the quarter round where I got it with my steam mop. I have learned to be careful and not touch the quarter round with my steam mop, because the paint and the steam mop don’t like each other.

FOOD :: The paint does well with most foods. Spaghetti sauce on the other hand, is my white chalk paint’s worst nightmare. No matter how quick I wipe it up, spaghetti sauce will always leave an orange spot. Although I have found that the orange does fade over time, but it does not completely disappear*.

WASHABLE MARKERS :: Thanks to my adorable 2 year old, I am experienced with markers on chalk paint. Although washable markers say they are washable, on chalk paint, they MOSTLY wash off. I have found that you have to wipe it off right after it gets colored on for best result and in one pass or it will leave a shadow or some color. I’ve gotten off most washable markers, but the cheap washable markers are worse than name brand for wiping off chalk paint*. Which is true with most household surfaces too. Just stay away from cheap “washable” markers. You can use a Magic Eraser to get most of the spots off. But then you’ll need to wax over the spot. So be careful using a Magic Eraser.

*I believe using polyurethane instead of wax would prevent a lot of the food and marker issues I have. If I were to do it over again, I would probably poly the bottom cabinets or at least the high traffic areas. I think the poly would protect the paint a little better and clean up better. I plan to touch up my bar and then apply poly in the near future. I will update this post when I do.

Touch Ups 

Simply paint over the spot using your finger or a cotton swab. Apply as many coats as needed, but I found 1-2 is all that’s usually needed. Allow to dry and then sand/distress and wax the spot.

Inside Cabinet Doors

I did not paint the inside of my cabinet doors. I plan to, but again, life is kinda crazy right now, so it will have to wait. But it will eventually get done! {fingers crossed}

Casings

I recommend using a small or medium brush when painting or waxing the casings. The casings are fairly narrow and its just easier to use a smaller brush.

DIY painted kitchen cabinets :: She used a no prep, no priming method. Such an easy way to do it!

Well, I hope that answers a lot of your questions on how to paint kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best answering them!

FAQ:

What did you use for your backsplash? They are Prefabricated Thermoplastic Tiles. I love how easy they were to install and they are easy to maintain. I simply wipe them off with cloth. And a huge bonus, they hide dirt and food spatters really well! You can find the tiles at Home Depot and Lowes. But I found them the cheapest on Amazon here.

More DIY’s you’ll Love!

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Linda
Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When not crafting, I can be found chasing my 2 small {but very energetic!} boys or playing with my new baby girl. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥
Linda

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Comments

  1. 51
    Leah

    I love your window valence! Was that a DIY project too? I need something for over my kitchen window and my kitchen looks very similar to yours :)

    1. 51.1

      Thanks! I did make it. I did not do a tutorial for it though. Sorry!

  2. 52
    Monya

    The cabinets look great! I was wondering if you weren’t going for the distressed look, is the sanding after the 3rd coat necessary? I absolutely hate sanding anything…lol and I love the color of your cabinets. I like the solid white with no distress. Thanks!

    1. 52.1

      Technically no, you don’t have to sand after the 3rd coat. The paint does a pretty good job of being smooth, but its not ultra smooth.

  3. 53
    Erin

    Hi! Your cabinets look great! I have library paneling in my living room and would love to paint them. Do you think the same chalk paint technique will work? Do you think I need to sand the paneling first?

    1. 53.1

      Yes, it should work. You may want to lightly sand before painting just to ensure good adhesion.

  4. 54
    Will Thompson

    Hey Linda,
    That’s one of the easiest “how to” I have read in a while. I think most people are scared of using melamine / veneer paint for fear of the unknown so it was refreshing to read your blog and glean your little tips along the way. I live in the UK so I used a chalk I bought from e-bay and added it to a good latex paint – the finish is excellent. De nibbing the final coat is a great idea (although the paint I bought was advertised one coat no primer – yea, right!!) as is waxing after the final coat.
    I have bookmarked your blog and will check back for some more of your tips – Thank you – you helped – a lot ;-)
    Kind regards
    Will

    1. 54.1

      Thank you for stopping by, Will!

  5. 55
    Casey

    What color are walls, I really like that grey!

    1. 55.1

      Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore :)

  6. 56
    JD

    Can you use other colors besides white?

  7. 57
    Penny

    Would you recommend a wax coating AND a poly coating or just the poly?

  8. 58
    Kris

    Looks great. I have the same color cabinets in my kitchen. Been racking my brain on whether to pull the trigger and paint them white. For the final product, did you get a lot of visible brush strokes?

    1. 58.1

      Hi Kris,
      Yes, there were some brush strokes. I am currently in the process of touching up my cabinets {I painted them 3 years ago}. This time I am using a paint sprayer and finishing with polycrylic instead of wax and I am loving the finish. It is a lot smoother, easier, and taking a whole lot less time.

  9. 59
    Kristie

    Hi! Idk if you’ve answered this question in an earlier comment but can you use the chalk paint over already painted cabinets? And that is black high gloss cabinets..😩. Would I need to sand them first?

    1. 59.1

      I would sand first, mainly to rough up the high gloss so that the chalk paint will adhere to it :)

  10. 60
    John

    Did you paint the insides as well, or how did you handle the transition?

    1. 60.1

      Hi John, We did not paint the insides. We are actually planning to do that this winter.

  11. 61
    megan

    did you use chalk paint in the sprayer when you redid the cabinets? which sorayer did you use?

    1. 61.1

      Yes, we used chalk paint in a home right sprayer {this is the one we used: http://amzn.to/2iOJm6v} We added extra water to the paint to thin it for the sprayer.