How to Use Chalk Paint to Paint Builder-Basic Cabinets

PicturePicture Last week we hosted our first Girl's Night Out workshop at Oser Paint and Flooring and it was a lot of fun! We used Rustoleum Chalked Paint to paint vases and make our own flower arrangements, just in time for Mother's Day. Everyone was really excited to learn about the ways you can use matte-finish paint, or "chalk paint," at home. From craft projects like painting vases and even old canning jars to renovation projects on your home, chalk paint is a work horse with so many amazing possibilities. Everyone was most interested in how to use chalk paint to transform builder-basic cabinets. I have painted every cabinet in our house with chalk paint, from the kitchen to the bathrooms! Here's some answers to the questions I get asked most:

What kind of prep will I have to do?

You will need to clean your cabinets to remove dust, make-up, hairspray residue or if you're working in the kitchen, years of built-up grease. I like to use Murphy's Oil soap and water to clean the cabinets first. Let them dry and you're set. With chalk paint, you won't have to do any sanding or priming. The paint adheres to virtually any surface, including wood, laminate, glass, metal and plastic. This is one of the reasons chalk paint is a go-to material for my makeovers; it's fast and gives me a great finish! In the photo above, I've used chalk paint to paint the cabinet but also to paint faux-trim x's on the cabinet mirrors.

Do I have to remove the doors?

This really depends on you and your needs. I do most of my makeovers when my kids, ages 2 and 5, are sleeping or watching "Curious George." I need my projects to be fast with minimal mess so I don't take the doors off and I paint very carefully. If you have the time (and energy), then yes, take the doors off. If you need to transform your kitchen before your kids wake up demanding goldfish crackers, grab your brush and go!

How many coats will it take?

This depends on the color you choose. If you use white, then expect to do two or more coats for the best coverage. If you use a darker color like gray or blue, you'll likely be able to get away with just two coats. Your first coat is going to look awful! Have you ever watched "Cake Boss?" He talks about dirty-icing cakes, or creating the first layer of messy icing. Chalk painting is just like that; your first layer will be your "dirty-icing" and then your second coat will give your fuller coverage.

What is the finish like?

If you want a perfectly smooth factory-finish, chalk paint isn't for you. Your finish with chalk paint is going to have some brush strokes, which lends to the character. It's great if you love farmhouse, coastal or European-styles. You can lightly distress it if you want that effect or layer it for a richer hue. Personally, I love the character and warmth of the matte-finish.

How do you seal it?

Traditionally, you use furniture wax to protect your finish. Rustoleum has a fantastic product called Matte Clear that simplifies the process. You use a brush to paint the Matte Clear over your painted surface. I especially love this product for cabinets because doing multiple coats of wax on cabinets is a major arm workout. I've even used a small, foam roller to roll the Matte Clear on, which is a huge time-saver.

How does it hold up?

Like I said, I've painted all of our cabinets and our family is tough on everything. On pieces that I've waxed, I have to apply new wax maybe once a year or more if it gets a lot of wear. Our media table gets touched by the kids constantly so I was re-waxing that every few months it seemed. Once I sanded it down and applied the Matte Clear though, I haven't had as many problems. It seems like that product is a little tougher. It kind of reminds me of a polycrylic but still gives you the look of traditional wax.

How much will I need and how much does it cost?

If you use white for say, your kitchen, then you'll need at least two quarts. In my kitchen, I used white on the uppers and gray on the base cabinets. There's a few reasons I went with two-tone cabinets: 1. White cabinets on top will open up your space and make it feel lighter. 2. Your base cabinets take a beating. It's better to have a darker color on them, especially if your have kids or pets. 3. It adds a more custom-look to your kitchen, even if you have builder-basic cabinets.

In my kitchen, it took most of a quart to paint the uppers white. In comparison, I had most of a quart left after painting the lowers gray. One thing I love about Rustoleum Chalked Paint is the price point. It is almost half the price of similar paints and again, Matte Clear is so simple. It's honestly one of my favorite products to use. Essentially, you could makeover your kitchen in one weekend for less than $100.

Want to learn more? Our next Girl's Night Out at Oser will be held Thursday, June 16th and we'll be learning all about painting cabinets! Join us to learn more about techniques, trouble-shooting and get hands-on experience before you tackle your makeover. Click the photo below to register online.