Kitchen Cabinet Makeover.


Right now, I’m in the middle of painting our kitchen cabinets. I know this may sound crazy — our cabinets are just about two years old and it’s not like there’s anything wrong with them. But I’ve always LOVED white cabinets, which are, unfortunately, quite expensive! So when I started seeing some kitchen cabinet painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I knew it was perfect for my French Country loving style on a budget.

I’ve painted a bit with the ASCP but because I was painting over something as major as kitchen cabinets, I took a cabinet door to our local ASCP vendor, where the owner graciously spent a couple of hours teaching me the techniques I needed to achieve the look I want.

I’m going to share with you what I learned in a step-by-step tutorial, along with some helpful tips…

Here is the color of my cabinets prior to painting. They are a VERY dark cherry with some mild distressing:


So far, I’ve painted the lower cabinets (uppers will be done after Christmas). Here is a shot of the finished product (more at the end of the post.)

IMG_6908I wanted a very clean, fresh look, so I picked Antique White for my color and used clear wax instead of dark wax, since I didn’t want them to look “dirty”. I love the end result. My kitchen is so much brighter and it even looks and feels larger!

For the project you will need (for your convenience, this post contains affiliate links):

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint color of your choice

Clear wax

Paint brush (I used the medium, inexpensive one from this set)

Wax brush (I use the Annie Sloan brand for this)

Scotch Brite scrub sponge 

Mineral spirits

Several clean towels/rags

Step 1: The fantastic thing about ASCP is it doesn’t require any prep work. I usually just wipe the furniture down with a damp cloth to remove dust. HOWEVER — for kitchen cabinets that had some oil spots in them, I wiped them down with mineral spirits and removed the handles.


Step 2: Paint your first layer of chalk paint on. I paint in all different directions to get lots of different brush strokes in, so that there is more to highlight when you add the wax. You don’t have to be perfect, but do make sure you don’t have any goopy parts where there is too much paint.

After one coat of paint.

After one coat of paint.

Step 3: Wait for it to dry completely before adding a second coat of paint. This doesn’t take too long with the ASCP — about an hour, if that. (Unless you’re painting in the frigid cold.)

After two coats of paint.

After two coats of paint.

Step 4. Because my cabinets are so dark, I painted a third coat on after the second coat dried completely. For the third coat, I made my brush strokes smoother and ran my brush along the drawer in the same direction to give it a more even final coat.

After 3 coats of paint.

After 3 coats of paint.

Step 5: After the last coat of paint has dried completely, you are ready to distress your piece. I wanted a clean look, so I just stuck to distressing the edges. I kept a bowl of water next to me, dipped the Scotch Brite pad into it, shook out the excess water, and rubbed it along the border of the drawer. I gave certain sections a little bit of extra rubbing so that it didn’t look perfectly even.


After you rub and distress one side of the drawer, wipe it with a dry cloth as you go, to pull away the chalk paint from the edges and reveal the wood underneath.IMG_6900Here’s what the drawer looks like once I have distressed the edges:


Step 6: Now you’re ready to wax. The wax is what really makes the piece come together and look like a pro did it. I scooped out a little bit of clear wax and put it on a Styrofoam plate.

This much wax was enough for the drawer and two cabinets.

Then I take my wax brush and rub the wax around, really working it into the brush.IMG_6903

When I applied the wax to the drawer, I worked it in by pushing the brush as I rubbed, using all different motions — circular, back and forth, up and down, etc.


Step 7: Buff the heck out of the piece. I like to work in small sections and wax and buff half the drawer at a time. To buff, you can rub a clean cloth back and forth and all around until the paint starts to shine and it doesn’t feel sticky to the touch anymore. You will know that the piece is buffed enough when it isn’t tacky to the touch anymore.IMG_6905

Once you’ve buffed the piece, you can pop it back in and begin using it right away!  That’s the other thing that’s so fantastic about ASCP — no waiting 24 hours until you can put your house back together.IMG_6906

IMG_6914 IMG_6913 IMG_6912

A few random observations:

It took me a quart-and-a-half to paint this much of my kitchen. I did three coats on everything, and two coats on the back of the cabinet doors.

While the majority of it is freshly painted, I did two of the cabinet doors and a drawer about a month ago (before injuring my ribs). With two littles, they have gotten handprints and sticky food on them but it comes RIGHT off because of the wax finish — even more easily than my the cabinets prior to painting.

The process went really quickly, once I got into the groove. I was usually able to get 2 or three coats of paint on during naptimes, and wax and distress after the kids went to bed. It probably would have gone even faster if I didn’t have to use my left hand for everything! (I’m right handed, which is the side where my broken ribs are.) It took four days to do the lower cabinets in their entirety.


Be sure to check out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint board on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration!



  1. hi there, i found your link thru pinterest. we started painting our cabinets with this paint but i stopped cuz i started second guessing my choice. it’s been over a month now on your cabinets….do you still love them? and how are they wearing? i am worried about the wax coming off due to normal kitchen activity. i am planning on graphite paint with dark wax for a very dark finish.

    i feel like i should have just went with normal paint and a dark stain.

    i think your cabinets look fabulous and am leaning back towards plowing forward with my choice. but i still have concerns.

    thank you for your time, chris severs

    • Hi Chris — I LOVE the cabinets. I finished the entire kitchen about a week ago and will post pictures soon. They have worn beautifully — and we have a toddler who is into everything. The wax makes everything come right off when I wipe dirty fingerprints with a wet cloth. The upkeep is actually much easier — even though the paint is white — than it was when they were just wood cabinets. The lady who helped me due mine said I may want to re-wax every few years, so that is something to take into consideration.

  2. Nice share. I have a wooden polished kitchen cabinet and now all its shine has gone I was wondering to change the kitchen cabinet. After reading your blog that we can paint it also i got a new hope. Thanks. Also visit

  3. On this step (6) … “Then I take my wax brush and rub the paint around, really working it into the brush”
    Are you mixing a little bit of paint in with the wax?

    • I didn’t mix any paint in with the wax — will fix the type-o there! I do know this is a technique some people use, but I just waxed with clear wax. Sorry for the confusion!

  4. It looks great, I want to paint mine, just haven’t gotten the umph yet! Thanks for linking up!

  5. Wow, I’m so impressed with your work that I’m going to paint my kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Thank you for your posting!


  1. […] A couple of months ago, I started painting our kitchen cabinets with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White. (You can read a step-by-step guide of how I did it by clicking here.) […]

  2. […] currently in the middle of painting our kitchen cabinets with Annie Sloan chalk paint, a process which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago — and hope to reveal the finished product […]

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