Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Painting Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan

 This post is all about how to paint your kitchen cabinets 
with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan.  
How would I know?
 Because I painted mine over four years ago and loved the result!
When I had a retail shop selling Chalk Paint, I was advising people
 on a weekly basis on how to go about painting 
kitchen cabinetry with Chalk Paint.
This before photo shows my cabinets in Maple with a polyurethane finished.
I washed the cabinets using Pinesol detergent and wiped them dry.
No sanding at all! 
If your cabinets are very shiny then you might give them a light
sanding, but normally this is not part of the process.
As a matter of fact when you sand you could be removing the finish that
helps seal any wood tannins so be sanding you could be exposing yourself
to having stains come through your paint job called bleeding.
If this happens to your cabinets, stop painting and apply Zinsser Clear Shellac.
One light coat of the clear shellac should be applied.  
I did not shellac or sand.
 I just started painting as soon as the cabinets were dry.  
We recommend using an Annie Sloan Paint Brush for this big project.
Get the right tools and along with this great paint and wax
 you will be pleased with  your results.  
So what tools do you need for the job?
A great paint brush! 
These brushes are natural bristle brushes and
 that is what you need, first and foremost.
The paint will load up into these thousands of bristles
 and you won't be going back and forth
between the can of paint and cabinet. 
These brushes have very fine soft bristles which minimized 
the appearance of brush strokes as well, another added advantage!  
The cabinets were painted with two coats of Old White Chalk Paint.
I painted mine while they hung in place, after removing hardware.
After painting the first coat I began right away on the second coat. 
Have a cup of water handy and dip the tip of your brush
 into the water then into the can of Chalk Paint.  
This helps the second coat glide on and not grab onto the first coat.
It also helps smooth out the brush strokes. If it feels like its grabbing, 
just dip your tips into water and paint and you will feel the difference as you paint.
After you cover the cabinets with two coats of Chalk Paint® we 
recommend waiting a day before you wax your cabinets. 
Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax is formulated to go with her paint. 
 It will not yellow as many protective top coats do,
so you rest assured your white will be white forever!
The wax is needed to create a durable finish so this step is a must.
Apply the wax with a wax brush for best results.
A large wax brush is going to get the wax onto your cabinets, 
and into the paint. This is about the amount of wax you should have
 on your wax brush. You will push the wax into the painted surface
 using a good amount of pressure. I go in a circular motion and finish off
 with straight strokes making sure I get the wax into the paint. 
 Then take a soft t-shirt or other lint free cloth and wipe off any excess amount of wax. 
 You can see if you have too much wax on your cabinet by 
running your finger across the surface. If you see a smear mark, 
there is too much wax so wipe it off with a rag. Do not rub briskly
 with a rag, as that is buffing and you could remove the wax entirely
 in sections by brisk rubbing.  Just gently but firmly drag a clean cloth 
across your waxed surface and move on to the next cabinet to wax. 
We wax in sections and wipe off as we go.
 Do not wax the entire kitchen cabinetry and then try to wipe off 
or you will find it very difficult to do so as 
the wax has already started to set up and dry.
 Since I was painting and waxing my cabinets at home alone 
I don't have a photo showing me doing the waxing, but here you can 
see how I am waxing a hutch.  I have a firm grasp on the base of the 
brush so I can push the wax into the painted surface.  
The brush does a great job of going over all ridges and details, 
even your hardware if you choose to paint those.
 Annie Sloan Soft Wax is just that~SOFT!  
It will spread easily and many use too much wax because
 it is easy to overload your brush.  
So just add small amounts by tapping the brush into the can.
  Above you can see our can of wax is getting near empty, 
and the brush is sitting straight up in the can.
When you are finished waxing we recommend washing your brush with 
hot water and Dawn dishwashing detergent.  No soaking.
 Towel off with paper towels and let air dry.
We have been doing this for years with zero bristle loss and great results.
However we don't wash our wax brush after every use, 
we store it in a Nitrile surgical glove to 
keep it moist for the next waxing job 
and it can stay in there for weeks at a time.  
If you want to lightly or heavily distress your cabinets
 you can do so before or after waxing.
Annie likes to do it after waxing as it eliminates any dust from sanded Chalk Paint®.
But then you must reapply more wax after sanding.   
I distress first, after  my paint has dried, 
and before I wax so that way I am only waxing once. 
After distressing I will apply the wax.  
A fine sanding block was used to lightly distress my cabinets.  
Painting your cabinets is a do-able project and one that offers great results.
It took two quarts of Old White Chalk Paint® to do the outside of my doors.
If you are doing the inside of the doors you will use double the amount.
Each can covers about 150 square feet of coverage. 
I used a little more than one can of Clear Wax for the doors. 
 Think about using two coats of wax on the doors or 
drawers that get the most use for added protection.
My kitchen is now over  four years old and I haven't re-waxed them 
yet but I will be doing that soon.  If you are wiping down your cabinets 
you are effectively removing wax 
a tiny bit at a time so re-wax your cabinets accordingly to keep them protected, 
especially the cabinets used most often, like the coffee cup cabinet, 
or the one for the silverware etc.
When the paint and wax have been applied it is time to buff your cabinets.
We use the Ultimate Buffing Brush and give our pieces a beautiful lustre by
running over the waxed surface with the brush.  
Its quick and easy!
You can also buff with clean soft cloths, taking care not to 
scratch your surface with your fingernails as I have done 
when rubbing the cloth quickly back and forth.
Remember to wait at least a day to buff your cabinets.
Paint, Wax, Buff!
 Thats it!
Create the kitchen of your dreams with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan!



  1. Thanks so much for sharing these details, I've been debating to paint our kitchen for years and really have been looking into using Chalk Paint just so I don't have to do the extra step of sanding. Your kitchen looks great!

  2. you're like an angel sent from heaven with a paintbrush. painting kitchen cabinets has to me always sounded like climbing a mountain, but you make me feel like i could do this.

    thanks, amy. wax on.


  3. That is a wonderful tutorial, Amy. Your cabinets look beautiful still. I remember when you painted them. You have sure become a pro at it over the years. Hope your shop is doing well! xo Diana

  4. Hi Amy,
    I also painted my cabinets with ASCP. I mixed 1/2 old white with 1/2 pure white, then did the bottoms with French Linen. I had to prime my "white" cabinets first only because spots of grease kept coming through, but they are fine now. Mine are also topped with a non-yellowing varnish for extra protection. Stop by and take a look, it's been 6 months and I couldn't be happier!

  5. Did you paint and wax the inside of your cabinets as well?

  6. Shannon like I said in the post I used two quarts and only did the fronts. You would need double if you did the insides as its twice as much coverage.

  7. Your cabinets turned out beautifully! What a transformation. Glad to know that two years later the paint is still doing well. I just love the brushes - how gorgeous are they?

  8. That's a great idea. Well done. It looks really good.

  9. Hi Amy; Glad to see your cabinets are holding up well with your chalk paint application. I will be painting my stained cabinets someday - still shy about it and deciding on a color though. My cabinets are custom made, nearly 30 years old now, and are "pine" and it feels like they have a wax finish on them already, on the doors anyway. Would the chalk paint possibly not adhere if this is the case? Maybe I would have to do a major sanding job beforehand to make sure that the wax is removed and then do the shellac?
    Michelle Jamieson /

  10. Amy,
    Does ASCP work on laminated wood cabinets? Our home was built in 1979 and the cabinets are laminate. UGLY.
    We are going to replace them, but in the mean time, I would like to paint them.

    I have been following your ASCP journey, and am so pleased to see your family business thrive!

  11. I wish i had used Annie Sloan on my cabinets... i used latex and it is wearing off in several places. I know if i'd had Annie Sloan there it would be so much easier to touch up too. Really enjoyed this post, and hearing you talk about the paint... and the waxing ...


  12. Thank You! This will be helpful when I go to paint the cabinets in our renovated kitchen. Do you sell the paint in gallons or just in quarts. How much did you use for your cabinets?

    I recently painted an ornate bench with AS Paint in Paris Gray and applied the dark wax waaaayyyy to heavy. Is there anything I can to to correct this? It looks nicotine stained.


  13. HI Abby, To remove excess dark wax just apply some clear wax and remove with a cloth. It will lighten up the dark wax and you should be able to play with how dark your piece is. Hope this helps. You can remove all the wax by rubbing down with a cloth with mineral spirits. Then you would have to reapply wax, and you could choose to just use clear or very little dark wax this time.

  14. Seriously Amy, YOU ARE A ROCK STAR! Between the gorgeous dining room chairs transformation, this amazing kitchen makeover, and your thriving business, well, frankly...I just want to be you! I am so inspired by this (by you) that I am going to commit to a major kitchen overhaul, using ASCP for my cabinets. THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge and experience!

    One Q though....if I'm putting up all new, unfinished cabinetry (most likely maple or alder uppers...and PERHAPS oak for the island) -- will these instructions remain the same? I ask because you mentioned bleed-through could result from sanding off a protective top-coat, and unfinished cabs presumably would not have one. Any thoughts?


  15. Hi Dena, thank you for your high praise!! Now onto the painting stuff: you can paint unfinished wood easily with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Some woods will bleed and most likely the maple will be fine but the oak will bleed. I had one kitchen with Alder cabinets and as I recall it was a similar look to a knotty pine and that might bleed as well. I would do a test area on the cabinets and see if there is any bleeding and if not carry on. If the wood bleeds then stop and seal the cabinet with Zinsser clear shellac. The best way to apply it is to rub it on with a lint free cloth, although messy. Let the shellac thoroughly dry before repainting with Chalk Paint. After you paint if you see you have any break through bleed spots, then spot shellac and repaint just that area. Then finish with the wax. Good Luck, you are going to love them!

  16. Thank you so much Amy for the tutorial. I had the pleasure of meeting your boys when I bought the paint and they were so enthusiastic. I followed your tutorial and I have a brand new kitchen. If you are interested in seeing photos here is the link to my blog:
    Thanks again Amy

  17. Hello Amy
    I am wanting to paint kitchen cabinets in our vacation Home (Park Model) in Arizona.
    My question is this, with the summer temperatures going to over 100 degrees is it wise to wax the cabinets or just paint and varnish over the ASCP instead?

  18. Dear Victorian 1885,
    Is the kitchen unairconditioned? If it is exposed to extreme heat I would not use a wax finish as the wax cannot cure and stabilize. You could apply a polycrylic to minimize the yellowing, but be advised that most finished used instead of Annie's clear wax will cause some yellowing.

  19. Wow! Amazing transformation! I have used Old White for many projects and I feel as if over time the paint yellows. Have you noticed that?? I would love to have the time to paint my kitchen cabinets!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  20. Lisa Marie, you won't see yellowing of the Old White with Clear Wax. Mine are now going on three years and they have not yellowed. Are you using this to finish your projects?

  21. What do you suggest for cabinets with exposed hinges? I really don't want to tackle taking my doors off but what else can I do?

  22. What do you suggest for cabinets with exposed hinges? I really don't want to tackle taking the doors down.

  23. Michelle we paint hinges all the time. As a matter of fact we recommend painting them so they disappear. Chalk Paint will stick to metal as well as wood. Finish it with wax as well.

  24. I am so happy to hear that!! I am trying to talk my new husband into letting me paint our kitchen cabinets and this seems so easy and looks gorgeous!!

  25. Can an ametuer attempt this with good results or do you really need to take a class? Which white is best for a farmhouse kitchen? I saw a pin where white was used on the upper cabinets and gray was used on the lower cabinets. Which color is a nice gray for a smallish kitchen with low ceilings that gets morning sun but not a lot of light.


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