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Painting the Cabinets with Chalk Paint- Part 2

Don't be selfish:

It’s finally time to start painting!

This week I mainly focused on painting my kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. My goal was to bring them from the 80’s to today. In case you recently joined us, here’s the link to what we have done to get here:





The final product!
The final product!

I tried to find one post that would highlight exactly my plan of action and show me some results closest to the idea I had in mind, but to no avail.  I settled for using several different blogs and combining their approaches all into one idea. I found chalk paint ideas nearly everywhere (it’s a DIY’ers dream, for sure), however very few bloggers tried to paint their own cabinets with chalk paint. So, I found what I could, and went from there.

First, I used this to learn the do’s and don’t’s of painting kitchen cabinets, which helped me get a good idea of what I was going up against. The numbering of the cabinets saved me a lot of time, because I then just had to play basically a game of Go Fish, cabinet version. The mohair rollers are tried and true and fabulous- they’re a bit more expensive but totally worth it in the long run. The project definitely needs coffee, the right sandpaper is a must, and yes, it will get worse before it gets better.

I am just thankful to have a small kitchen.

The first day I recruited minions, specifically my mom and my sister. My mom paints by nature, but had never worked with chalk paint, so she wanted to see how the results would turn out as well. Every post I found did not do a step-by-step walk through of how to paint the cabinets, so I just combined what I thought were the best ideas.

  1. Chalk paint does not require sanding, stripping, or a base coat- but that does not mean it’s work free.
  2. Use the correct brushes for the job- Get the real wax brush, not just a regular paintbrush
  3. Don’t freak out when the first coat does not look picture perfect.
  4. Dry dry dry! The stuff says it only takes 30 minutes, but paint works differently in different environments. If you live somewhere humid (like I do), be safe and give it an hour.

Painting kitchen cabinets takes time. I thought honestly that choosing chalk paint would speed the process along, but even with a small kitchen, it took me the entire weekend, as noted by a few others.

I used the blogs mentioned to go ahead and dive into the project. Fun fact- when we pulled out the drawers we found Arby’s coupons from 1987. I’m gonna try to see if they’ll work ;). This project will make you hungry, tired, and dirty!!

Day one after removing the doors and painting the cabinets:

Two excited painters
The tired and hungry help. In the background you can see that I chose to leave everything in the cabinets and cover it up with plastic grocery bags- what a better use for them than sitting all bundled up in my pantry!

Day two involved painting and sanding the doors and drawers of the cabinet. I started at 8 AM, took a break around noon or so, and worked until 6 PM. Luckily, I only needed to do 16 doors. Again, small bonus of a small kitchen:

painted cabinets!
painted cabinets!

This was after 2 coats. Honestly you can’t tell from the pictures but even with two coats you still see quite a bit of the wood underneath- I wanted that.

Day three made me sweat the most because I needed to sand and distress, so by the time I came back in the house covered in wood and paint dust, I wanted to just fall asleep in the floor. I used a sanding block to keep my hands from hurting too bad. I used 100 grit sandpaper, despite other bloggers using 280 and up, because I wanted a very specific distressed look. Apparently that look is not popular? I never found exactly what I had in mind.

I wanted a heavy distress- not really antiqued. Hard to find, so hard to repeat.
Finally, after four days, I finished and I LOVE the result.

Painting the cabinets white did wonders for the look of space in my kitchen. Before the entire area felt dark, though there was plenty of natural light. The wood absorbed all that light, rather than reflecting it. My husband noted that it made the entire space feel bigger, yet more home-like. It completely changed the entire space.

A few suggestions:

  1. Use good chalk paint. I chose to use Amy Howard and I’m not sure if I love it. I loved the wax though, it applied easily and gave the perfect matte look to the cabinets.
  2. Watch out for drips! Chalk paint is no joke after it dries.
  3. Do not do this without drop cloths and do not sand inside if you can help it
  4. I may possibly apply a coat of polyurethane, or some other sealant, because I feel that over time it will protect that paint job more than just heavy waxing.

Stay tuned for later this week when I try a new recipe on my grandma! It’ll be a surprise for both her and I!



Don't be selfish:
How-to Home

The Secret To Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

Don't be selfish:

Does anyone out there enjoy cleaning?

If so, I invite them to come help me. Derr and I moved into old Mrs. Perry’s house almost a year ago (really? time flies), and we have come a long way. The little duck dotted wallpaper no longer exists in the bathroom, where the hurricane toilet used to sit now sits an efficient (but annoying) new one, and this week we replaced the 40 year old A/C unit with a much quieter and better system.

We have come a long way.

So today, I sit in a very cool house, currently working on cleaning the kitchen cabinets. I shall mention again how much I hate cleaning.


Cleaning these cabinets is a beast- years of grease, stains, and God knows what else, made layers of filth. The corners of the cabinets were black, while as you can see, the rest of the cabinet is that standard 80’s builder grade look. I doubt anyone ever cleaned the cabinets even to get the dust off, much less use a bit of elbow grease for the actual grease. I tried just my regular vinegar solution cleaner but that fared no match against these cabinets.

I needed something different, because I was not about to dedicate my entire afternoon to scrubbing.

I searched to see if I could find someone claiming to have the “best homemade cleaner” out there for kitchen cabinet grease, and I choose this one. I chose it because the picture showed cabinets that looked very similar to mine, the easiness of the ingredients of the recipe, and the results shown. Also I chose it because I had all the ingredients on hand.

The Results:


All the black edge is grease. Not shadow, grease.


What a difference cleaning makes!


(I know there’s a little bit of a flash, so it’s a bit hard to tell) I really need you guys to be able to feel them– no more sticky nasty corners.

The recipe I used consists of dawn (blue) dish soap and vinegar. You must use Dawn blue, however I already knew this from past experience (I have no idea what they put in the specifically blue kind that makes it different, however no other dish soap, not even another Dawn dish soap, comes close). She adds that you can add borax to the solution if you need a bit more cleaning power (I needed it). I liked it because I don’t love the smell of other cleaners, and I hate to clean. The borax really cut through the grease well.

The Verdict:

Use it. I finished thoroughly cleaning the cabinets in under an hour, including dusting (this could be attributed to my small kitchen too). However, I tried the cleaner on some of the tough stains on my cabinet tops with little success. I suppose the turmeric stains never come out, but I will keep searching for something to clean those soon.

One small thing- borax, though effective, irritates some people’s skin. If you have sensitive skin, I recommend omitting the borax, using baking soda, or wearing gloves.

With the good weather tomorrow, I plan to start painting using a few different pins I found for inspiration. I wanted a very different look for the cabinets and I struggled to find exactly what I was looking for, so I ended up using a blend of a few different things.

Updates will be up later this week. ,







Don't be selfish: