What Is the Best Chalk Paint for Kitchen Cabinets? – I Reviewed the Best

It is not a small feat to get your kitchen cabinet painted, right? I am not talking about just the physical work of painting (who am I kidding? It does require physical labor!). I am talking about getting the paint that suits your taste – affordable, nontoxic, requires little or no prepping or priming, and easy to apply.

I will tell you a type of paint that checks those boxes. It is known as chalk paint which got its name from the chalky matte-finished when dried. Annie Sloan has the copyright on the word “chalk paint”. She was the first and original creator of chalk paint which has since been named chalky, chalked paint, and other variations that are used by other producers.

Can You Use Chalk Paint on Kitchen Cabinets?

When it comes to painting kitchen cabinets, using chalk paint is a popular choice because it can create a vintage and rustic look.

However, it is important to choose a chalk paint that is specifically designed for cabinets and is durable enough to withstand daily use.

Some popular brands for chalk paint include Annie Sloan, General Finishes, and Rust-Oleum. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying and finishing the paint and to seal the paint with clear wax or polyurethane to protect the finish and make it easier to clean.

What Is the Best Chalk Paint to Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

Without a doubt, when it comes to kitchen cabinets, I’d wholeheartedly recommend Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint. While Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is widely appreciated, I find that the versatility and ultra-matte finish of Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint gives it an edge, especially for kitchen cabinetry.

I’ll delve deeper into why I prefer this product over others later in the article, but for now, rest assured that in my opinion, Rust-Oleum holds the crown in the realm of chalk paint for kitchen renovations.

Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Linen White Chalked Paint & Matte Clear Protective Topcoat

Rust-Oleum 285140 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint 30 oz, Linen White

Why Is Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint the Best Chalk Paint for Your Kitchen?

ROC packs almost all of the chalk paint’s advantages. It is easy to apply. It dries faster than most chalk paints. For comparison, the average drying time for chalk paint is one hour, but for ROC, it dries in about thirty minutes.  It is quite cheap and easy to find. This is one of the edges it has over Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

It can be used on any surface without priming. Single or double later is enough to give a nice finish.  Using Rust-Oleum Matte clear, you can add a protective seal to your chalk paint faster than using wax. A dozen of color is available.

What About Annie Sloan Chalk Paint?

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is the “original” chalk paint as stated above. Being the first is not enough to make it the best chalk paint. Though it is indeed the overall best chalk paint, it perks include those common to all chalk paints.

Sanding or priming is not required before application. Its matte finish is a trademark you wouldn’t find with any other paint. Combining the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint with Other Annie Sloan Products (like brushes and wax) makes the painting job stands out.

Annie Sloan offers forty-five different colors on their official website. The only downside for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that it is not as easy to find as other chalk paint. You can buy it on Annie Sloan official website.

What Are the Perks of Using Chalk Paint for the Kitchen Cabinet?

1. Easy to apply

Forget the rigorous requirements, the dos, and don’ts of painting. Chalk paint is the easiest to apply. You can name any method of painting you know and I will tell you that it will work with chalk paint. Its easy application makes it the best DIY paint for your kitchen cabinet.

2. It is water-based

Having your paint base as a universal solvent makes life easy for you. You can clean your tools and brush them with water before and after painting. Should you want to clean your cabinet before application, you can wipe the surface with a wet cloth and you will still be good with painting. Mistakes do happen. If it does happen, you can easily clean up spilled paint with wet wipes.

3. Mixing

Since it is water-based, you can get the solvent (water) freely. No need to purchase an additional solvent. Another mixing advantage is the color mix. Compared to other types of color, you get a limited amount of color to choose from. Most vendors offer a couple to dozens of colors. Who needs so much color for kitchen cabinets anyway? But if you do, you can go DIY to make a custom color by mixing the stock colors.

4. It is non-toxic

No one wants toxic paint around the kitchen. Any paint with a trace of harmful substance is a no-no around food. Chalk paint is non-toxic (at least the ones I know). With chalk paint, you don’t have to worry much about your little ones coming in contact with the paint. Another plus is that it is free from smell.

5. It is not ashen

People often get the impression that chalk paint will be chalky. The “chalk” in the name comes from the natural matte finish. But this is just one of the many finishes to chalk paint. I like the matte finish look but when I see the sheen finish in my friend’s kitchen, I love it too. You can have it matte, waxed, or glossy. There are limitless possibilities for the finish. You just have to pick the one you like.

6. It doesn’t require groundwork

Guess what, you can start painting with chalk paint without sanding or priming. In places where there is grime or grease, you can degrease with any cleaner of your choice. If it is just dust, you can wash or wipe it off with a wet cloth. In essence, chalk paint is forgiven and can be used on a kitchen cabinet without prepping the surface.

7. You can break the task into small chunks

A herculean job broken into smaller bits is easier done. You can paint your kitchen cabinet in chunks because of the unique property of chalk paint – it does not drip and you can touch it up later. Though it took me less than a day to fully paint my kitchen cabinet, I know of a friend that painted his in nine weeks. He could only paint a small portion on the weekends and guess what, it turned out as great!

8. Touching it up can be quite easy even after years of aging

If you want to touch up a chalk paint cabinet, all you need to do is to get the desired color, clean the surface, and touch it up. Voila!

What Should I Know Before Using Chalk Paint?

  • If one could do it, don’t use two: Better still, if two could do it, why use three? Unlike other types of paint, chalk paint requires fewer strokes to have a perfect paint job. Chalk paint is thick and it does not drip (unless you did not get the mixing measurement right). One or two layers of chalk paint are usually okay to give you a very fine finish.
  • Perfection is not a requirement: Some of the best chalk paint jobs I have seen are done by first-time painters. You don’t have to be perfect with your brush strokes. In effect, the irregularity of your brush strokes will give it a satisfying Pattern. It doesn’t have to be the boring straight line strokes (unless you really want that).
  • Priming and prep is not a requirement: You don’t have to excessively prep the surface of your kitchen cabinet before applying the paint. This is the main benefit of chalk paint.
  • Seal with wax: Wax on – wax off is the easiest way to apply a protective layer to your chalk paint. Apply wax with a soft cloth and remove excess with another soft cloth.
  • Distressing the high traffic spots: These include the handles, corners, and edges. Essentially, your aim is to keep these spots as natural as possible.

What Tools Do I Need When Using Chalk Paint?

Once you’ve got your paint and the wax you will use, you will need some tools to make your work easier. These are :

1. Get your paint: This is quite obvious, but don’t forget to get the right paint, the right quantity, and the exact color or color mix.

2. A brush – After your paint, the next main thing you would need is your brush. This will just make life easier for you when you are applying the paint. If you cannot get the recommended brush, you can get something similar. You would need a brush suited to perfume the painting job. It has to be easy to handle and specifically suited for this job. I recommend the use of Chalk & Wax Paint Brush.

Chalk and Wax Paint Brush Furniture Set- Painting or Waxing - Milk Paint - Dark or Clear Soft Wax - Home Decor Cabinets Stencils Woods - Natural Bristles 1 Small Round and 1 Large Oval Brushes

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3. Water and soap – Get these ready nearby while you paint. Since the paint is water-based, you can correct any mistake by cleaning with water. To clean your tools and brush, water and soap will also get the job done.

4. Container: This depends on you. You can use it to thin your paint or mix the different colors of paint to get a custom color. I also recommend you paint out of smaller paint buckets because they are easy to carry and safer too.

5. Cloths: Soft clothes are used to clean and dry the surface you are painting.
Depending on your need, you might need a sander, sanding paper Tarp or Painter’s Drop Cloth, Paint can opener, Tape, Paint stirrer, Screwdriver to remove hardware, Paper towel, Paper plate, and other painting tools.

Practical Steps to Paint Kitchen Cabinet With Chalk Paint

With these tips at hand, it is high time you started painting. Here are the steps I use

  1. Clean the surfaces: Remember what I told you about priming – it is not required. That’s because I don’t and most people I know don’t. What I do most of the time is wipe the dust off the surface. The first time I used chalk paint, I degrease the whole cabinet and I discovered that I don’t need to do rigorous preparatory work.
  2. Remove all clutter: As with all paintings, the organization makes the job easier. Things you need to remove are objects that could be stained; objects that could obstruct or slow you down and removal of things so that you can reach the hard-to-reach areas easily.
  3. Lose some loose bristles: It is not a pun! And yes, I mean it. I do this even if I have used the brush before. Though I am not aiming at perfection in painting but with good tools, it is much better.
  4. Paint: Apply a coat of paint on your kitchen cabinet. Allow drying. Once it is dry and you are not satisfied with the result, you can apply the second coat. This usually gets the job done. On rare occasions, you might need to add a third coat to finish it off.
  5. An optimal step: I sometimes use 120 grit sandpaper on the edges of the cabinets. This is because the paint might collect at the edge. Never on the surface though. If I don’t do it with the sander, other kitchen users will (primarily my kids).
  6. Add a protective layer: This is also not compulsory though. For me, I prefer sealing the coat with wax. Apart from making it shine and more appealing to the eye, it makes the paint last longer. It also protects it from corroding. Sometimes, I just remove some of the wax and add a new layer to maintain the shine.
  7. Buff the wax-up if you want a luster. If you don’t like the matte finish, you can smoothen the wax to make it have a shining look.
  8. Put the whole cabinet back together. Don’t forget to put back those things you have put out of your way.

How do I clean my chalk-painted kitchen cabinet?

  • The first testament of cleaning is clean immediately it becomes dirty. The second is to clean regularly.
  • For dirt and stains that are mild, a soft damp cloth should be used to wipe off the stain.
  • If the stain remains, you use warm water with soap and a soft cloth to remove it.
  • Should it remain, you can go ahead and use Annie Sloan’s clear wax or mineral spirit on a soft cloth to wipe the stain off. Once done, you might need to re-wax that spot.

Remember, when you clean, do not use harsh products like abrasive cleaners, strong soaps, and scouring powder. Do not use a sponge, solvent-based or petroleum-passed products. Do not use degreaser, bleach, or products that include ammonia.

There you go.

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