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DIY: Chalk Painted Doors – The Love Affair Continues

Okay, perhaps the other day when I suggested that I had a ‘crush’ on chalk paint I was slightly underestimating things. I am ready today to admit that it is a full blown love affair!

It really began with the fabulous little chalk painted table I bought from my friend Jen at Beckonings Upcycled Furnishings and Home Décor (she has amazing stuff if you are from Vancouver Island and she creates most of it herself!). This table is what got me going:

chalk paint table by beckonings

Next came my own little project with some DIY chalk paint I whipped up using extra paint from our Ensuite revamp. We picked up this little TV Cabinet from our neighbours when they were moving and I had my first real experience painting with chalk paint when I gave it a little makeover. Here are some (fuzzy preblogging) pictures I took part way through that project:

chalk painted TV Cabinet

This project was followed by some chalk painted picture frames… and then onto the Pantry Doors that I posted about the other day. Now my chalk-paint-love has extended into the Laundry Room Revamp. You may remember the inspiration board for the laundry room?

laundry mud room revamp inspiration boardNumber 6 is a little tester that I did of how chalk paint would look on a cabinet door, and I was pleased enough with the results to move forward with it. (Test runs are great – they help prevent epic fails like I wrote about with the Pantry Doors).

MDF bases to melamine cabinet doors


We started out with white melamine covered cabinet doors. The melamine had completely bubbled and peeled away from the MDF base of the door and so we simply cut and pulled off the melamine coating in one big sheet!




melamine stripped off door before shot


We then filled one of the handle holes on each door so that we could make the switch to the glass knobs from the inspiration board. The doors were given a light sand with 150 grit sandpaper. NO PRIMING REQUIRED!




After these simple prep steps I got busy mixing up  my DIY Chalk Paint (same recipe that I used for the Pantry Doors)… but if you want a little reminder, here it is:

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe with Instructions


I admittedly have no experience with the REAL Annie Sloan Chalk Paint since I have never actually used it myself, so I have no frame of reference for comparing the two. But I can tell you that this DIY Chalk Paint is fairly thin and very smooth and goes on easily with a foam brush. It is very fun to paint with and it looks like this as it goes on:

starting chalk paint on MDF doors


After one coat it is still fairly streaky and slightly transparent:

chalk paint on cabinet door after one coat closeup


It dries quite quickly. Sand very lightly and then move on to the second coat.chalk paint on cabinet door after 2 coats

After Coat Number Two has dried adequately,sand lightly again, this time revealing the original colour below the chalk paint. Remember: the idea of chalk paint is to add some character and age. It is not the paint to use if you want a thick glossy modern NEW look to your cabinets or furniture. It is like drinking a nice vintage wine rather than a sleek new vodka cooler. It is meant to look slightly aged and used and to give you the feeling that, if your cabinet or furniture could talk, it would have a few good ol’ tales to tell.

sanded chalk paint on cabinet doors

The final step to add some life and history and vigour to your chalk painted cabinet doors (or furniture piece) is to WAX. This step is super important and is what adds the sheen that helps the piece tell their story.

waxing chalk paint on cabinet doors

I’m not going to pretend to know whether my cheap old Canadian Tire bought wax is anywhere near as good as Annie Sloan’s wax. But I will tell you that I have used it on three pieces of furniture so far and have been happy with the results. Just get yourself a soft clean rag to spread it on with and then get rubbing. Buff it off slightly when you are done. It acts as a great protective layer but also adds sheen and vitality to your piece. Beautiful!

DIY Chalk Paint Laundry Room Cabinet Doors 2


And a few little close-up shots, just to show ya some of the true character these sweet little puppies have.

DIY Chalk Paint Cabinet Doors closeups


I’m LOVING them! And I will be back tomorrow with another little chalk paint project for the Laundry Room… who you calling obsessed??? AND the laundry room is ALMOST DONE! The big reveal is coming very soon:) I can’t wait!

And remember, my housie friends, HOME wasn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!


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    1. Hi Lou,
      No – actually the melamine was still firmly attached on the insides so I left it! Good luck with your project:)

  1. Most all of the videos I’ve watched on “How to use Chalk Paint” say that sanding isn’t needed. Now I’m not sure what I should do..

    1. Hello! If you are not sure of a colour, I always like to buy the tiny sample jar and give it a go. Sometimes the extra effort is worth the time and $$ saved if you aren’t happy with how the colours turns out in your space. Good luck with your project!

  2. Having to quickly put a bedroom together for nephew from Desert Storm used wallpaneling w/wallpaper look. Guys replacing furnace outside south wall last year did not seal connections well so developed water leak in corner. Paper work slightly textured but not peeling just stained. Thinking painting that one wall in the most muted color in paper. Can I use chalk paint on that wall? Thinking chalk paint bed head & dresser same color but using darker wax for contrast. Ceiling & other trim are white.

    1. The purpose of chalk paint is for when you want to be able to distress a piece and show through an underneath finish – like on a headboard or dresser. I would paint the wall first with primer then regular latex paint, I think. You could then use the same color and leftover latex paint to make your own chalk paint for the headboard and dresser. Good luck with your project!

    1. Hi Angie,
      I picked them up a local hardware store that sells knobs and pulls, but I have seen similar ones at build.com and at jlawlesshardware.com. Good luck with your search!

  3. I would love to know the color you used on the table – top of the page?? Love the depth of the color! Thank you =)

    1. Hi Barbara! I bought that table already painted- it is Provence by Annie Sloan. It is very similar to the color bliss by Country Chic Chalk Paint. It is a gorgeous color- lots of depth and a real pop/wow! Good luck with your project!

  4. my only worry is how durable. It will be for kitchen. cabinets I have always used oil and would love to find an alternative . what has been your experience on. heavily used. items

    1. Hi Hope! You have a good point. I think that if you were to chalk paint kitchen cabinets you would want to finish it with a polycrylic to make sure that it stands up to the wear and moisture of a kitchen. I wouldn’t say that many of the items I have chalk painted have had ‘heavy’ wear- the cabinet doors I did are just in the laundry room so they don’t get exposed to very much wear/tear/moisture. I have used oil before as well for cabinetry but I think there are other great new self-leveling paints available in a water based finish as well. But if you do want to go with chalk paint in order to get a distressed look I would recommend a polycrylic top coat instead of was. Good luck with your project!

      1. Thanks for the links Laura – I checked them out… not sure if I want to go with chalk paint for my kitchen or not. But I think using a water based polycrylic would do the trick. I don’t mind a little sheen (and therefore washability) to my cabinets… Great research!

    1. Hi Megan!
      I used leftover paint from our Ensuite- the color is called Ash Blue by Benjamin Moore and I made it into DIY Chalk paint using plaster of paris so that may have changed the color slightly. It is a vibrant teal/turquoise color – I still love it! Thanks for your visit!

  5. Also, I recently had my first “FAIL” with a chalkpaint project 🙁 I painted a french-provincial-style writing desk, and I didn’t sand before applying the chalkpaint, like I always do. It began peeling within a month, the whole top of the desk. There must have been a protective coating overtop of the wood that didn’t allow the paint to adhere (I used a valspar paint that I had on hand) I ended up taking citristrip to it and stripping off the top and taking it right down to the wood, which I’ve now decided to stain, and seal. This desk gets constant use as it’s my computer desk – something perhaps to keep in mind, if it’s a high traffic piece of furniture or area that you’re painting. So while most projects don’t require sanding? This one did.
    Btw, your cabinets look fabulous and I love that you’re not afraid to use colour!

  6. Hi from the Vancouver area! I just found your blog and am lovin’ what I see so far. I just thought I’d quickly leave you a comment regarding waxing – I have done a fair bit of a research (and a lot of projects to test on) and some other blogs mentioned that on lighter colours, the minwax could leave a yellowish residue – on darker colours or brighter colours, I don’t think you can see it but on creams or pale aquas, perhaps you can. I don’t know, I just trusted that those who had tried it would be correct .
    I pick up my wax at Home Depot in the USA for a whopping $5. It’s the Johnson’s (look for a yellow tin) and it works fabulously. As for dark wax, I did some reading on refinishing websites as well as DIY bloggers and the conclusion was that while Annie Sloan’s is, I’m sure, excellent..her prices are pretty – uh – wow – too. I’m a nursing student and my budget doesn’t exist for this, which is why I DIY in the first place – although I also love the creative process 🙂 For dark wax, I ordered mine from amazon and it’s the dark Briwax. (http://www.amazon.com/Briwax-BW-DB-Dark-Brown/dp/B0009ODYSW) <—cheapest that I found, although you can apparently also get it at ACE if you have one near you.

    1. Hi Kimberly!!
      Glad to meet you. Thanks for the wax tips- I am certainly not an expert and it sounds like you have really done your research. I would like to try the dark wax and was thinking of trying it on my yellow TV console to darken it up a little. I have heard that our local Benjamin Moore store will order it in for you but I will also check your amazon link. They ship to Canada? I guess so if that is where you ordered yours from! I wish we had easier access to shopping in the US – the prices on many products are so much better! Sorry to hear about your chalk paint fail- I guess that sometimes there can be some sort of furniture finish it won’t adhere to. I know that when I tried using it on the inside of my melamine cabinets it was a major fail and I had to peel it all off. Then prime, then re-chalk paint. But it worked well with the primer. Thanks so much for your visit and great comments!!

      1. Hi…A tip I learned yesterday for using chalk paint on laquer finish, or melanine, is sand it down slightly with 220 sand paper, then just spray a thin layer of matte (or flat) spray paint. The chalk paint will then adhere to it like a dream. I haven’t tried this as of yet, but got the tip from a lady that is a chalk paint veteran…she does beautiful work.

  7. Krista, I’m inspired! What a beautiful home you have!! 🙂

    Questions for you: have you played with the dark wax over the clear? Also, what brand of paint do you prefer for your recipe?

    Hope you’re well and see you in September!

    1. Hi Zoe!! How great to hear from you:) I haven’t tried dark wax over the clear… would love to try it one day. I am hoping to give the ‘real’ stuff a try one day too (the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) – I think that would be where to get the dark wax. Not sure if Minwax makes it. You could ask Jen (at Wisteria Lane) about the dark wax- she is quite an expert at all of this! I usually use Benjamin Moore paint, because that is what we usually buy and I often use paint leftover from other projects. My friend tried it the other day with some CIL from Walmart and it didn’t work very well, so perhaps the paint quality makes a difference. I’ve used eggshell, satin, semi-gloss finishes and they have all worked. I’m working on a few new chalk painting pieces right now! Hope things are going well for you:)

  8. I love all of your work with chalk paint. I think I have finally gotten my nerve up enough to paint my daughter’s night stand and then who knows what else I will find to paint.

  9. how long do we have to wait after waxing before buffing…..I’ve read elsewhere to let wax sit 24hrs then buff. Is that what you did?

    Love your website!!

    1. Hi Julie!
      I didn’t wait very long at all, maybe ten or fifteen minutes. But I am impatient like that… just used the minwax and rubbed it in… waited a few… rubbed/buffed it off. It seems to have created a nice protected finish on the pieces I have done with the shorter time period. Good luck!!

  10. Can you add some pearls of wisdom regarding chalk painting kitchen cabinets (1980’s style oak) that is varnished? I wonder…
    Your projects look fantastic!

    1. Hi Elaine!
      I think it would work… you could always sand/scuff them up a little first if you wanted to. I have done a few pieces of furniture that are varnished and have NOT sanded or primed first and the chalk paint has adhered well. I think the key is protecting it once you have finished distressing it… with a wax or if in the kitchen you might want to consider a varathane over top of the paint (the wax might not hold up as well to steam/heat in the kitchen). If you check out my chalk painted little yellow table or chalk painted media console you will see the process… and can also see the before pictures of these pieces of furniture – the media console was especially 80s and varnished before I painted it! Good luck!!

    1. Hi Missy,
      It was very fast….there are only four doors. I spread them out on the dining room table. Each coat probably took about ten minutes. I did two coats with dry time in between. Then sanded and waxed them. Not counting dry time I would say that the four doors took about half an hour. Hope that helps!

  11. have you been happy with the way that the wax finish has held up over time? I want to paint my kitchen cabinets with chalk paint but i didn’t know if i should got with a clear polyurethane finish, just for the sake of durability. i do love the look of the wax the most, though!

    1. The wax finish has been absolutely fine in the laundry room, but I think that if/when I chalk paint my kitchen cupboards I will do a poly finish overtop. I agree with you – it would likely be more durable in that setting. The wax does have a fabulous look, doesn’t it! I love what it does to painted furniture pieces as well:)

  12. Love the cabinet doors as well as the back door. Am so going to do this! What colors did you use? Undercoat as well as the top coat? And is the “undercoat” simply one coat of latex? Thanks

    1. Hi Amy,
      I used DIY (made my own) Chalk Paint. The recipe is included in any of my posts about chalkpaint

      For the cabinets there was no primer/undercoat and Minwax as the overcoat. The chalk paint went right onto the melamine. Two coats of chalk paint, a light sanding, finish it up with a thin coat of wax. You can read more details about the process in any of my posts about Chalk Paint.

      For the metal door you need to prime first. Check out my post DIY: A Little More Chalk Paint Love – Our Laundry Room Door Revamp

      Good luck! I would love to see pics when you are done:)

  13. Great tranformation! I love the color. I make my own chalk paint too, and also use the minwax paste wax. It works beautifully. Have a great weekend! ~ Angie

  14. Okay, that’s it! I am officially chalk painting some ugly old wood furniture in my house! Thanks Krista!

    1. Lol! The magic bullet is probably overkill but my plaster is a little old so I was taking extra precautions to dissolve it properly:) (READ:too frugal to buy new plaster!). Krista

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