messy projects, love lists, and spring!
a year of hats : march (and paint too)

DIY Chalk Paint Cabinet Makeover

I've been wanting to give a little facelift to these cabinets for quite awhile. Especially after we got the dining room aka homeschool room painted (saving that project for another post). At first I picked a green color.... and I really pretty much hated how it looked with the soft yellow in the dining room. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm totally blaming it on winter. Luckily, we had two of those smaller cabinets...... so I started over with a deep teal blue : Cathedral by Behr. The woman at the paint department was swooning over it, telling me her son's room had been painted that color and it looked different throughout the day depending on the light that was coming in.... she totally sold me. Even though I was worried it might be dark... or look odd once I mixed the plaster of paris into it (recipe after the pictures).









I'm really, really happy with the way they came out! The paint is a little gritty, but it adds to the vintage-y look. I'm sure real chalk paint would be more smooth..... but this was a lot cheaper and I could pick ANY color I wanted. I took the photo of the lid to show you that the color didn't really change at all adding the plaster of paris to it. (blob on the left is after, right is before) I was really surprised by this, since this color is so dark and has a deep base. After painting three coats on, I waxed the cabinets with minwax finishing paste. It's messy hard work. Don't let it dry too long. But it looks really great and has a durable finish. In the future I'll look for something more natural. It was pretty stinky!

I tried several DIY recipes online for the chalk paint before landing on one I liked. If it's too thick, it drips once you paint it on the cabinet, and doesn't seem to cover as nicely..... at least in my experience. I liked the look of thin coats. Even though I ended up covering it three times, I had better control of where the paint ended up. I chose a satin finish hoping it would be more cleanable because these are cabinets that get a lot of use. I'm not sure that made a difference? The end result was very matte until I waxed it. But I love the way it looks for sure! (the small one is our homeschool books, the large one is art supplies)



1/3  cup  plaster of paris

1/3  cup  water

1 cup paint (I used satin Behr Ultra)

*whisk the water and paint together. let sit for ten minutes to help the water absorb the plaster of paris. whisk vigorously again. some people blend it? I was worried about air bubbles so I just mixed it by hand. mix the paint in very well. that's it!


I did read that some people did not like the look of using a paint+primer if they were distressing the cabinet. I knew I was not going to do this, so I chose a paint+primer to make sure I covered years of grime on our old cabinets. I did lightly sand everything before I painted too.

I completely splurged on the knew knobs. I bought them with a 20% off coupon here. They were still kind of spendy....... but I ADORE them. And the project was still under $75, so not too bad.


Two old Ikea cabinets. Solid Pine. Previously had a waxed finish.

Behr Ultra Paint Satin Finish in Cathedral (Home Depot $16)

Plaster of Paris (Home Depot - clearance box because it had been opened $2)

Minwax Finishing Paste (Home Depot $10)

Decorative Knobs (Restoration Hardware - $12 each, I got them 20% off on sale)

I haven't painted furniture since I was in high school and my parents let me paint everything in my room black. (Thanks mom & dad!) And while I do love the look of natural wood, this is the perfect sort of project for tired old pieces that need a little makeover. I'm eyeing the bedroom set we bought from the previous owners and thinking of yellow..... or triangles. Decisions, decisions......

Have a happy Monday!