Looking to learn more about how to chalk paint kitchen cabinets? Here is an easy guide with tons of information and some FAQ.

I learned how to chalk paint kitchen cabinets a few years ago when I remodeled our kitchen.

The result is amazing and it has held up really well with my two big dogs and active family of three teenage girls.

Thank you so much for all of your interest and comments about painting cabinets with chalk paint!

Yesterday’s comment section was full of them.

I’ve also received some emails with several questions about the process and how my cabinets held up.

I’ve never gone into detail about my love affair with chalk paint, how easy it is to use, where to buy it and how it helped me remodel the kitchen.

So let’s talk about how to chalk paint cabinets with some FAQ.

I’m answering questions (if you have any questions about specific things in the house you can find them here) and giving advice with a little confidence building thrown in there too.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

chalk paint kitchen cabinets

What is Chalk Paint?

Technically, chalk paint is a registered trademark of the Annie Sloan brand.

However, there are several companies that make chalk-style paint now so there are a lot of brands to choose from.

Plus, there are DIY recipes for making your own chalk-style paint.

Chalk paint can be used in many ways.

It can be applied as a solid color or sanded down to create a vintage look.

I love using it because it’s easy to use, cleans up well, and looks great with any home decor.

When chalk paint dries, many DIYers topcoat with wax to seal it, protect the color and add a vintage vibe.

However, there are some instances where polyurethane or polycrylic can be used instead.

But we’ll talk about that more later.

What is the Difference between Chalk Paint and Regular Paint?

Chalk paint is different from regular paint in several ways.

  • You can paint over most clean and dry surfaces without pre-sanding.
  • It distresses easily for an aged, vintage look.
  • Chalk paint has a thicker consistency so is a little less messy to apply and covers rough surfaces more smoothly.
  • Since chalk paint is water based, it is SUPER EASY to clean.

chalked paint cans and brushes

How to Use Chalk Paint

I love how chalk paint has a matte look when finished.

And the best part?

It can completely transform a piece without needing to strip or sand it down first.

While chalk paint can be used on different types of surfaces without pre-sanding, I prefer to lightly sand most pieces that have rough spots or to smooth out the finish before painting.

Regardless of pre-sanding, it is important to always wash the piece well before applying chalk paint to remove dirt and grease.

And if you pre-sand a surface, be sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove all the dust before painting.

Chalk paint typically covers in 1-2 coats of paint.

Depending on the look you want, you’ll know how many coats you need as you start working.

chalk paint kitchen cabinets

Is Painting Cabinets a Good Idea?


If your kitchen or bathroom cabinets are in good shape, why spend all that money replacing them when you can give the room a facelift with some paint?

Painting cabinets with chalk paint is a budget-friendly DIY that will transform your kitchen or bathroom.

And because the cost of paint is so small, you’ll have more money in the budget for other items.

Since we saved so much money painting cabinets, we were able to spend more on the countertops.

Chalk Paint Kitchen Cabinets FAQ
Can you even believe what this kitchen looked like before?

Do Painted Kitchen Cabinets Hold Up?

It’s been about 3 years since painting cabinets with chalk paint.

The finish has held up really well.

And I have no regrets painting them!

chalk paint kitchen cabinets

Do Painted Kitchen Cabinets Chip Easily?

If you are concerned about chipping, consider doing light sanding and priming before painting.

My cabinets are made from pickled oak.

I cleaned my cabinets really well with this de-greaser and did not pre-sand any of the cabinetry.

It’s been 3 years since remodeling our kitchen and the paint has not chipped at all.

That said, whenever you paint something, you run the risk of normal wear and tear. Kitchens and bathrooms are high-traffic areas.

I think have to be OK with the fact that things happen, especially when you have an active family and pets.

The good thing about painting cabinets yourself is that you can easily touch them up.

chalk paint kitchen cabinets with hydrangeas

Do You Have to Seal Chalk Paint?

Yes. It is very important to seal chalk paint with a wax or poly topcoat.

Choosing which is better is a matter of preference and depends on the project.

For most projects, I use wax because it protects the color and looks better in my opinion.

However, wax needs to be reapplied as it wears down over time.

Should I Use Wax Or Poly to Top Coat Chalk Paint?

I specifically researched this issue for the kitchen cabinets.

Because it is a high-traffic area, I decided to go with a poly topcoat because I thought it would protect the cabinets a little better.

In deciding to go with a poly finish, I chose polycrylic over polyurethane. They are different because polyurethane is oil-based and polyacrylic is water-based.

The problem with using either is they tend to yellow a bit over time.

So if you are painting cabinets white, that can be an issue.

From my research, it sounded like polycrylic yellowed less and was easier to work with, so I went with that.

I researched products and read reviews about yellowing.

After narrowing it down, I purchased a few different polycrylics and did some test runs to see how much they yellowed over the white chalk paint I was using.

Several of them yellowed more than I wanted. Ultimately, I went with this polycrylic because it had very minimal yellowing.

After 3 years, I am still happy I went with the polycrylic finish and would use it again.

If you decide to try this, test products before applying them to your cabinets.

chalk paint kitchen cabinets

What is the Best Way to Prevent Yellowing?

While mine hasn’t yellowed much, I have heard stories of cabinets that have.

If you are at all concerned about this, I suggest using Kilz primer before chalk painting cabinets.

DIY Tip – Test the inside of a cabinet door or side of the cabinet that you don’t regularly see before going all-in on a project.

How Long Did It Take You To Chalk Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

From start to finish the entire kitchen remodel took about three weeks.

And I not only applied chalk paint on the cabinets but also removed a wallpaper border (which was not easy) and painted the entire kitchen!

And this includes the time I spent applying gel stain to the hood vent.

So think about that for a moment.

I did all that in three weeks.

If I remember correctly, chalk painting kitchen cabinets took maybe a week and that included drying time.

Please Give a Tutorial About How to Paint Cabinets with Chalk Paint.

I detailed the whole process of chalk painting kitchen cabinets here with lots of before and after pics.

Was It Difficult to Chalk Paint Cabinets?

No! In fact, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The hardest part about chalk painting cabinets is building the confidence to do it.

So I suggest chalking painting smaller pieces to get used to the process, build confidence and get a feel for how you want to paint your cabinets.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen with chalk paint kitchen cabinets

What Kind of Brushes Should I Use to Apply Chalk Paint to Cabinets?

What paint brush you use is a matter of preference.

Some prefer the round brushes, while others prefer regular paint brushes like this one.

In general, I grab whatever is handy.

Where Can I Buy Chalk Paint?

To purchase official chalk paint, Annie Sloan is the only source.

But there are several options out there that make similar products.

Home Depot sells a variety of products by Behr and Rust-Oleum

Chalk-style paint products can also be found at most craft supply stores like Michael’s.

They can even be found on Amazon.

So it’s pretty easy to find sources of chalk-style paint.

And if you don’t want to buy?

You can make your own using this recipe.

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Chalk Paint Kitchen Cabinets FAQ

How to Chalk Paint Kitchen Cabinets

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  1. Hi Stacy,

    You inspired me to chalk paint my outdated kitchen cabinets! Your kitchen is beautiful! What color did you use for your cabinets?


    1. Hey Sandra! Thank you so much!!! I am so happy to hear that! I used Old White Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Happy Painting!!!

  2. I love using chalk paint Stacy. Thank you for all the information. Love seeing a picture of your before kitchen.

      1. Hi there, I recently used chalk paint on my entire kitchen. I love Dixie Belle chalk paint. But I hear great things about Annie Sloan too. Your kitchen is beautiful, thanks for sharing.

        1. Thank you so much Darlene! I really appreciate it. Don’t you love it now that its done? To date, my kitchen is my favorite project of all time!

          1. Your kitchen is my dream kitchen…
            I want to paint a harlequin pattern on my beat up wood kitchen floors.. do you think a chalk paint would work or would it be better to use a stain?

          2. THANK YOU!!! What kind of look do you want? Do you like paint or stain better? To me, staining might be more of a process but it would likely hold up a little better over time.

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