Why I Repainted my Chalk Painted Cabinets

If you are considering using chalk paint on your cabinets, this is a must-read.  Don’t make my mistake!  Learn from why I repainted my chalk-painted cabinets.

Why I Repainted My Chalk Painted Cabinets

When we first moved into our home, I painted our kitchen cabinets with chalk paint.  This is what they looked like before (the first time I painted them):

And here is a photo of how our kitchen cabinets originally looked when we first moved into our home:

Why I Repainted our Chalk Painted Cabinets

The chalk paint itself has held up really well. There was little to no chipping. Chalk paint is amazing for DIY projects because it requires no prep work and eliminates the need for priming.

However, I made one mistake.  Unfortunately, it was a big mistake – so big that I had to repaint the cabinets.

Cabinets Before

I used wax as my sealer.

Why not to use wax on cabinets

It is hard to see in photos, but the clear wax was next to impossible to clean in the kitchen.  Dirt, grease, dust, and grime were getting caught in the crevices, and the wax did not clean up easily.

Why I repainted my chalk painted cabinets

Don't use wax on cabinets

I had to repaint my cabinets.

Painting Cabinets with Amy Howard One Step Paint

I used chalk-type paint again, and I painted right over the previously painted cabinets sealed with wax.  I would recommend using sandpaper and/or a coat (or two) of primer if you paint over cured wax.  However, most likely you are not painting over the wax and will not need a primer. To apply the paint, I used a brush for the crevices and a roller for the flat areas.

Using a foam roller on cabinets

How to Correctly Seal Chalk-Painted Cabinets

I painted everything with two coats of paint (allowing the first coat to completely dry before I added the second coat) and finished with two coats of sealer. I applied the matte sealer the same way I applied the paint, but you can also use a water-based sealer like a polyacrylic (found at any hardware store).

I have already noticed such a difference between the sealer and the wax.  Now when my kids sit at the bar, I don’t have to worry as much. All the dirt they kick up can now be easily wiped away!

Painting Cabinets with Chalk Paint

Painted Kitchen Cabinets with One Step Paint

Chalk Painted Cabinets

If you are considering painting your cabinets with chalk paint, don’t make my mistake (which is why I repainted my chalk-painted cabinets).  

Use a top coat other than wax in the kitchen. 

I know people often love the look of dark wax to provide that more lived-in, distressed look. However, try antiquing your cabinet doors with a dark glaze so you don’t have to use wax as your sealant.

Here’s my supply list for this project: 

Gray Painted Cabinets

Did you know you can also apply chalk paint in a sprayer? I HIGHLY recommend this method when painting cabinetry to avoid brush marks and for a smooth finish.

See how my laundry room cabinets turned out by going HERE and for the spraying chalk paint tutorial.

This post was originally published in April of 2016.

Painting our kitchen cabinets helped me love the space until we could remodel it:

See the full DIY kitchen remodel reveal (and journey) HERE!


Go create something!

Are you new to my blog? Go HERE to see my home tour and HERE to shop for items I use in our home.

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*This post contains affiliate links and is a sponsored post by Amy Howard at Home. I take pride in reviewing only products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers. And while this post is sponsored, all the opinions are my own.

Why I repainted my chalk painted cabinets

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250 thoughts on “Why I Repainted my Chalk Painted Cabinets

      1. I agree with you, I’d go gray on top. And your double cabnet with glass doors, go turquoise. Either dishes or paint the back of the cabnet turquoise color.

          1. What color did you use? I love it! I’m thinking about painting our dark brown cabinets gray.

          2. I had young grandteens that like to kick while sitting at my snavkbar like yours. To keep peace while they’re visiting, I bought a large piece of clear plexiglass. The paint colors shine through, they can kick and no scratches seen. Wiped clean, store cut the size I needed. Everybody’s happy! I mounted it with flat head screwdriver 1 in each corner and 1 on center edges.

      2. Really like the look. How did you get the wax sealer off before repainting?
        Mineral spirits ? Sanding ? The wax would prevent the chalk painting from at sticking good …

        1. Hi Linda – thanks! No, I didn’t remove the wax. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint and clear wax the first time around and researched if I should remove it. I was told that once the wax cured (30 days) it could be painted over. Time will tell if this was a good idea…

          1. The new paint is not a chalk paint it’s a normal a Acrylic paint that you can get any where and the poly is going to make your paint chip off. The reason you were haven’t a hard time cleaning is most like because you put to much wax on them when you Applied it or you didnt properly clean your canbinets before panting them

          2. Hello! Thanks for taking the time to comment. The new paint I used is definitely a chalk-based paint and not a normal paint (I have been to several training sessions led by Amy Howard on how to apply One Step Paint and what it is). I did clean my cabinets before I painted them the first time around, and the paint adhered perfectly. It was the wax coating that I had issues with. Wax coating required constant care in a high traffic (prone to heat) area like a kitchen. I personally would not recommend wax as a sealant in a kitchen.

          1. Hello! I know this is an older post, but I recently chose Selznick gray because of your post for my cabinets! Did you find that this Gray looks green? In your photos it doesn’t.c but on my cabinets it does. 🙁

          2. My selznick never looked green, but my current gray cabinets do have a green tint to them. I do think it’s all about lighting. I’m sorry you don’t love yours!

      3. What color Blue did you use on your door? Love it!! I have a Red Living room and Hallway. I can’t decide what color to paint my kitchen and cabinets.

    1. Hi Sara,

      I am getting ready to chalk paint my cabinets in the bathroom, would you suggest I use the Amy Howard Matte Sealer on them as well and if so, where do I buy it?

      1. Hi Marilyn, I really like the AH matte sealer and you can buy it online using the links in my post. Or, you could just use a water based sealer from any hardware store. Ask for a polycrylic. Good luck!

        1. Hi Marilyn, I just started painting my kitchen cabinets with any Sloan chalk paint. 50-50 mix of pure white and old white. Of course they said to use wax but I went with a water based poly. I am a little unhappy that after only a day they started to yellow. Do you know if I would be able to paint over them with Benjamin Moore in a satin finish?

          1. I didn’t notice any yellowing with my lighter cabinets, but they are a cream vs a white. I’m so sorry you had that issue! Yes, you can probably repaint with a different paint type.

  1. I love the combo of gray and and cream. Why paint the others? Lower cabinets are fine in the gray. I think it looks more sophisticated(?) with the combo. And I LOVE the turquoise(?) door on the pantry. I am so ready to paint mine now. I have the same granite counters with what I thought would be a slight off white cabinet selection. But when the cabinets were installed, they looked more yellowed in tone. I had gray tile floors that I thought would be fine too. But no. The look was not good. So we had to tear out the tile floor and replace with a tile resembling grayish/tan slate. The backsplash was a lighter version of the floor in travertine. And both floor and tile backsplash had swirls of the cream in the cabinets. Perfect. Now to find the perfect hardware for the cabinets.

    1. Cathy, I’m sorry you had so much trouble in the beginning, but it sounds like things are coming together now! I would love to get rid of my black appliances, but we have to live with them for now. Good luck finishing up your kitchen! And I’m on the fence with what to do regarding my cabinets. I do love the lighter cabinets on top! Thanks for your vote!

    2. I agree. I love the gray on the lower cabinets and cream on the upper. This combo is both homey and warm yet sophisticated.

    1. Thanks, Letisha! It is a rug painted on the floor! The floors were in bad shape, and a painted on rug makes for easy cleanup in the kitchen. Hopefully I’ll see you at Haven this year?

  2. I actually paint cabinets for a living. Been doing it for 4 years now and I only use wax to seal. I have never had any problems nor has any of my clients. I also tell them if something happens you can actually easily clean it with wax and it comes right off. I would love to hear how this held up in a a few years.

    1. Hi Brenda! Chalk paint is a type of paint that requires no prep work. You typically don’t have to sand or prime – just wipe down a piece and go! It has great adhesion, and it sticks to most surfaces. You often finish chalk paint with wax, but I would not suggest a wax for cabinets, table/desk tops and floors. Chalk paint is available now almost anywhere – most craft and hardware stores sell it. I hope this helps!

  3. I’ll have to search back for Ive not heard where to buy this chalk paint. Before you do what WE say, I think I’d use the back of CHEAPO wrapping paper and do a quick paint of the gray–a roll and just use blue tape or whatever to hold it up. Do u like the look? Or just get a close gray package of gray construction paper at school supply store. Do you like it all gray? This lets u test it without all the work!!! Or is there another gray toned cream in this line you like so it can have the finish you like?? As for your blue door now I know where I saw this!! Instagram and we loved it. But my mom painted her kitchen annually on the farm so a door you could change for the seasons❤️. Just a thought so you love your kitchen. I do love your handles on the gray. How clever!!!

  4. I’ve had the exact same problem – I love my chalk painted cabinets – but the wax hasn’t been my friend. I’m going to look into the matte sealer. How many cabinets can you seal with the 16 oz. bottle?

    1. I was doing a clients cabinets the same time I was working on my lower cabinets, so I’m not 100% sure how much sealer I went through on my cabinets alone. However, I do think I used one bottle of sealer for every quart of paint I used, so I would guess I used 1.5 bottles. I did my bar area, three sides of lower cabinets, and my stove hood.

  5. We used chalk paint on our bathroom cabinets. Sealed it first with the wax. Then after several days with poly. Looked great at first, but had not held up well at all over a year’s time. Not sure what would hold up better.

    1. Hi Tyffany! What a bummer! I hate to hear that the poly didn’t hold up. I’ve been told that wax can take up to a month to cure, and I wonder if this had anything to do with the poly not holding up? I guess time will tell if my sealer works!

  6. That’s really strange… Maybe because of different brands. I chalk painted and waxed a large bead board island in our kitchen, it lasted 7 years for us with 9 grandchildren around quite often. When we sold our house it still looked beautiful. And had been cleaned with a soapy rag hundreds of times. I would definitely use it again.

  7. I wish I could do my kitchen but my husband doesn’t want to paint the cabinets, he likes the wood. I like the grey at the bottom and would do a little lighter grey on the others. I think the grey would go better with your black appliances….which I like! I have stainless and they stay smudged up all the time plus they have some ugly scratches! I love the turquoise pantry door, gives your kitchen some personality and I think too much grey would be drab. Let us know what you decide!

    1. Hi Dreamer! Thanks for your feedback! Thanks also for making me feel better about my black appliances – which I don’t love. Also, I do love my turquoise door, so she is going to stay. I assume there will come a time where we all are stripping the paint off our cabinets, and you’ll be thankful your husband never let you paint yours! 😉

  8. I agree about the Amy Howard Paint. I painted our kitchen cabinets with the one step white and it was a great success! I did not seal it at all because I have an older Cape Cod style home and I didn’t want the polished look. Do you think the matte would change the look?

    1. Hi Melinda! I’m glad you had great success with Amy Howard paint. The amazing thing about her paint is that you don’t need a sealer. So if you like the look and it functions well for you, don’t worry about adding a sealer! It does had a sheen – which I assume you don’t want?

      1. I really like the gray In y opinion it looks great. The only thing I would have done different was the bottom cabinets a little darker gray and the top cabinets the lighter gray.

  9. Can you use matte sealer over non chalk paint? I recently painted my cabinets with Benjamin Moore gloss paint and wished I had done chalk paint but don’t really want to do them again. I thought doing a sealer would be good to do over top…thoughts?

    1. Hi Sarah! I assume you used a latex paint? You should be able to put a sealer over latex, but I’ve never tried it over a glossy paint. I would ask someone at the paint store about it. I assume you want to do this because you don’t want the glossy look and want to use a matte sealer? I think a water based sealer (polycrylic?) should work, but I can’t promise you that it will since I’ve never personally tried it. Good luck, and I’d love to know what you decide/find out!

  10. I am so glad you wrote this post! I appreciate your honesty and updating everyone on your cabinet painting progress. I get questions from people all the time about using chalk paint and wax to paint their kitchen cabinets, and I always try to steer them away from that option, exactly for the reasons you shared! Now I have a great post to share as a reference. Question for you though–have you ever tried Fusion Mineral Paint? It’s become my go-to brand of paint. I have never tried Amy Howard (have heard good things about it!) but I loove Fusion because it’s not a chalk paint at all. It’s actually acrylic and doesn’t need any sealer to be waterproof and stainproof. I have used it on my boys’ bathroom vanity and we’re going on 10 months strong with no problems! I also just used it on my front door. Just sharing, for future cabinet projects you may want to give it a try 🙂 Thanks again for a great post!

    1. Hi Melanie! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and your suggestions! I have had several people tell me why I should have loved the wax in my kitchen, and I am glad others have had success with it. However, it just didn’t work for me (and unfortunately I steered several friends the wax direction and they also have had my same problems).

      I have heard other bloggers mention Fusion Mineral Paint, but I haven’t tried it – yet! It sounds like it something I need to look into! Thanks again!

  11. I actually love the combination of the two different colors I think it gives it more character. I have been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets for a while now and after seeing this post is think I’m going to go for it. I think I would even like to use the two colors you have here. Would you mind sharing the color you used on the upper cabinets or a color in the Amy Howard paint that would be comparable to it?

    1. Hi Lachelle. I was so happy to read your comment, because I just ordered my paint to finish the kitchen. I decided to keep the lighter uppers. I’m going to use Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in Linen, and it’s a beautiful creamy color. I think it will be very similar to what I have now – which was Annie Sloans Old Ochre. Keep me posted on your kitchen and pace yourself. I try to do sections and give myself a break because it is a project – but SO worth the time! Good luck!

  12. I have years of experience in woodworking and various finishes and I always cringe when I hear someone used wax on their cabinets or, believe it or not, outdoor furniture. It takes a great deal of time and physical effort to properly buff out a wax finish so that it become hard enough to repel dust and I doubt that many people put in that much effort on the enormous job of kitchen cabinets. Even so, wax and the heat of a kitchen don’t mix well and all your hard buffing work will be for naught when the wax softens in the heat.

    Anyway, great post and I hope people learn from your experience and save themselves the extra work! As for your cabinets, your kitchen looks warm and inviting with both cream and grey colors. I believe if you change everything to grey, your kitchen will need some ‘warm’ accessories to subdue the cool tones of the grey. Your kitchen looks like perfection to me!

    1. Hi Daisy! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your expertise. I love your explanation as to why wax doesn’t work well in the kitchen.

      Thanks also for sharing your vote for how to paint the rest of the cabinets. I do think I’m going to keep one wall of upper cabinets in the warm cream. I’ll post about the final kitchen once it’s done. Thanks again for your comment!

  13. I love your cabinets, and think the gray bottoms and linen tops will look really good. When we moved into our house eleven years ago, I was so proud of what are now disparingly called “builders’ grade light oak cabinets”. Now it seems everybody is painting the cabinets white or gray. White seems plain to me, and gray seems dull and depressing. But that’s fashion for you. I have never used wax to seal paint, and I really don’t know what the appeal is. We live in Texas, and when it is hot, we don’t keep our ac on freezing. I can’t see how wax would hold up, and certainly not on patio furniture. I just figured I was way behind the times again. I definitely want to follow your posts.

    1. Hi Jewell! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I always tell people that since they are the ones living in their homes, they need to decorate how they want to decorate. If you love your oak cabinets, then you keep your oak cabinets! Someday when we are all stripping our cabinets, you’ll be sitting back relaxing. 🙂

      And yes, wax in Texas may not always be the best solution!

  14. I am about to start my kitchen cabinets using some chalk paint. I am having a hard time finding a good, durable topcoat that doesn’t yellow (we are painting the cabinets white). I have read reviews on so many products and now I am nervous to order anything! Is this product known for yellowing at all? How many bottles do you think it would take to do the entire kitchen (just an average size kitchen–probably about the size of yours). Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Amber! I would guess you would need between 3-4 bottles if you use Amy Howard’s sealer. However, I don’t think polycrylics (which are water-based) typically yellow. Are you finding reviews that say they do? I have heard lots of people give Varathane good reviews when it comes to not yellowing. Good luck on your cabinets and keep me posted!

      1. I did a similar color scheme…dark charcoal on the bottom and bright white on top. I had lots of problems that I won’t even go into right now, but wanted to comment on using varathane (a Rustoleum product) over latex paint. I used their crystal clear water based poly, but just on the cabinet doors because the door gets more abuse than the surrounding cabinet. Seven months later and the doors are yellowing already. I suppose if I had applied poly to the entire cabinet it wouldn’t be so noticeable because it all would have yellowed! Not sure what I’m going to try to fix it. It doesn’t look horrible and in fact the hubby thinks it’s barely noticeable…like he really knows, right? I suppose it will continue to darken at which point I’ll have to start over. Thanks to all for the ideas and options I now can continue to explore.

        1. I’m so sorry Kris! I’ve actually heard that the Varathane water-based poly is the best on the market and supposedly doesn’t yellow. What a bummer! I assume you already thought of this, but do you think the yellowing wouldn’t be so noticeable if you added the sealer to the rest of the cabinet? Painting cabinets can be so beautiful but also can be SUCH a pain! I’m just hoping my sealer doesn’t yellow over time – I guess I’ll find out! I am sorry for all your problems. Best of luck to you!

  15. I like the combination of cream and grey – it is very sophisticated while still being home-y. I would go ahead and paint the cabinets on the appliance wall grey so the black appliances blend, and leave the one bank of upper cabinets (with the glass in two of them) cream. It looks fantastic – you’ve done a great job!

    1. Hi Yvette! Great minds think alike because that is EXACTLY what I’m planning on doing! I just ordered more gray paint for the appliance wall and cream paint for the smaller wall of uppers.

  16. I love the combination of the two colors. It’s is so professional looking. Plus, I love the color of your door!! It’s another designer look. Great job. Thanks for the tips!

  17. People waste so much money on these products. You can make your own chalk paint with plaster of Paris , paint and water. I use paste wax on furniture but never on cabinets. A matte water based polyurethane works fine and will keep your cabinets easy to clean. It still leaves a rustic, shabby look.

  18. I say go black with the drawer away with the gold. You have other black (cooktop) things going on in the kitchen to tie it together…it would look nice..

  19. I think the contrast between the bottom cabinets and uppers is the was to go. That being said you can still change the uppers. I would suggest a lighter gray to compliment them. But the cream also works.

  20. Thank you, Sara, for the post and explanation. Your kitchen looks beautiful. My husband is the “cook” in our family, and is a bit sloppy, so your post has made my decision to not use wax as a sealer when I paint my cupboards.

    I love your turquoise door. Provides the pop of color needed to set off the grey. Stunning.

  21. Hi Sara,
    You’ve received a lot of comments! I do love having the lighter colored cabinets on top,even if you decide another color, I would stay lighter. I think it would make your kitchen look too dark if you did the top in the same color as the bottom. It’s pretty.


  22. I love the gray in your kitchen. I have an Amy Howard color chart and am not able to identify which color you used. Was it Bergere Blue or Nottaway?

  23. So very pretty! Also, I was wondering about the super cute hand towel!! What brand is that our where did you purchase it? Love!!

  24. I love the color , they look great, I have a question , are the cabinets functional ,can you use one for example a (grocery list)???

    1. Thanks, Leia! This is chalk paint, not chalkboard paint. Although it does have a chalky finish, I added the matte sealer which would really make it hard to write on with chalk. However, I did paint the inside of one of my cabinets with black chalkboard paint, and I have my weekly menu there. It’s so helpful!

  25. I love the two tone!!! Doing almost the same thing to mine as soon as I’m brave enough… Grey on bottom and white on top. I’ve been researching all kinds of painting options for cabinets. Mine are orange oak and never painted before… With the one step paint will I need to sand and prime? I’m still clueless about all this! Also how much paint and sealer did you use? I can’t wait to do mine!

    1. Hi Mindy! No, you don’t need to sand and prime with One Step Paint – it is a chalk-type paint and requires no prep work. It also does not require a sealer of any kind, but I chose to put one on. It depends on your preference! I think for my entire kitchen (I only have done the bottoms so far), I will go through between 3-4 quarts of One Step paint and 3-4 bottles of sealer. Good luck, and I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

    2. I had my cabinets professionally painted in December – from orange oak to deep gray lowers and white uppers. Love the look but hate the paint – Benjamin Moore Advance – that stuff is total crap and is chipping like crazy, already. 10 years ago I painted the birch cabinets in my old house with Behr (high gloss) and that held up well. I did sand though – the pros just used a deglosser. If your cabinets are flat enough that you can sand, I’d bite the bullet and do that before painting. I do do chalk painting, and I started out not priming except over mahogany. Now I just do one thin coat of primer over everything, it’s really quite easy to hit it with the 1-2-3 from Zinsser, and then your light colored chalk paints will cover well with one coat. If your kitchen is small enough that you could do it yourself, and you don’t want a shiny finish, I’d go with chalk paint and polycrylic.

      1. Hi. So if I am painting with chalk paint my first step is to sand, prime then paint? Also, when finished with one or two coats do I sand off the polycrilic? Need clarification. Thanks!

        1. Typically, you should not need to sand or prime when using chalk paint. The fact that it doesn’t require prep work is why it’s so popular. Afterward, you can add a finish if you prefer. Wax is great on furniture, but I prefer a polycrylic (or a similar sealer) on cabinets, table tops and desk tops. I hope this helps!

  26. I used the One Step Paint to paint an old antique cabinet black. I was painting over old gold leaf. I loved the paint, no brush marks and I feel like it covered better than the Annie Sloan product I have used in the past. I read your remark about the matte sealer and thought it would be better for dusting …I tested it on a cabinet door and I’m glad I did – its really shiny and shows every brush stroke. It did make the color more black, but I was surprised how shiny it was for being “matte”. Disappointed now with the sealer. My question is – how long do I have to wait to paint over it with the paint again?

    1. Hi Carol. Yes, the sealer does have a sheen to it and probably does make the brush strokes more visible. I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you, but I assume you can paint over it once it dries. Also, another great thing about Amy Howard’s One Step Paint is that you don’t need a sealer of any kind. If you prefer the paint only look, then you can keep it that way! Good luck!

  27. I’m so glad you posted this. I think wax in a kitchen or bath is just plain dumb. One drop of Windex (ammonia) and the wax is gone, anyway. Heat and humidity make wax soft, so you get your experience.

    ASCP wax stinks, so if someone’s fussing about “natural” and using it? They’re setting themselves up for … a dumb waste of time.

    Love chalk paint. Love washable polyacrylic (doesn’t yellow, unlike -urathane products) and love paint BASE for an invisible, washable, completely matte finish.

    Nice to see someone willing to jump off the band wagon into cleaning reality!

    1. I also am a HUGE chalk paint fan, and I love Annie Sloan’s wax on furniture. However, I agree that wax doesn’t really work in the kitchen or bath – I learned that the hard way! Washable polycrylic is wonderful and very durable and MUCH less maintenance that wax. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Have a great week.

  28. Love the gray. The gray and the brass look beautiful together. I would definitely paint the uppers gray. I do not like the cream and the gray together at all. If you were going to do a second color on the cabinets then I would go white to match the grey and white drapes in the background but I definitely think the gray cabinets with the brass would look beautiful.

  29. Love the cream and gray together! Love the painted rug. Also do you remember what paint brand and color is your turquoise door? I love love that particular color. Thanks.

  30. I just finished painting our bathroom Amy Howard A Good Man is Hard to Fine. {love the name} which is a darker gray. I then added a black glaze, and it turned out beautiful. I have used a lot of different brands of chalk paint, and I make my own, but this was the first time I used Amy Howard. I love her paint, got mine at the local Ace store.
    Your kitchen looks great, and I love the gold hardware!!

  31. The key to waxing cabinets is to set the wax in sunlight and when it gets a little softer wax away it glides ways and easier to buff off. I have had my cabinets painted for 3.5 years with wax and I have never had anything get caught in the wax you can’t even tell they’ve been waxed they’re so soft. Things only get caught in wax if it is not buffed off properly or too much wax is applied. I vote wax all the way. I just wipe down no problem! It looks better too sometime the dealer is streaky and you can tell it’s been painted with poly or sealer wax leaves no lines!

    1. Hi Kassadii! I’m so glad your cabinets have held up so well with the wax. I wish I had your success with the wax in my kitchen. I have several furniture pieces in my home painted with chalk paint (and finished with wax), and I LOVE them. My cabinets were my first (and only) wax fail.

  32. I am considering ASCP in Paris Gray. How does your gray compare? Lighter darker? Love the tips – thanks

  33. I painted my cabinets using a different company’s chalk paint made locally, their instructions were to use the sealer before applying the tinted wax and they have held up perfect, even with my 4 kids. Even though you had to repaint, which is a major chore, I definitely prefer the gray on your lower cabinets!

  34. Hi Sara — this is a very helpful blog, so thank you for posting.

    One question — do you know if you can use her wax with the colors (in order to get an antiqued look) and then paint the lacquer over the wax? I want the antique look that the darker wax gives the colors, but I also wanted the hardened finish for all the reasons you posted. I realized recently that the Annie Sloan lacquer isn’t really made to go over her own wax (according to the specs I read), so I’ve been looking to try something else when your blog popped up in my searches.

    (Great blog, btw.)

    1. Hi Toni! I actually don’t know. I do know that this particular brand of chalk-type paint doesn’t require a sealer, but let me see if you can use their sealer over the wax. I just sent an email to a contact at Amy Howard at Home, and I’ll keep you posted!

    2. Hi Toni, Here’s the answer I received:
      The dark wax is only used in combination with the light wax. Apply light wax, let it come to tack. Lightly apply dark wax, let it come to tack and buff. If she is unhappy with wax application, she can remove with a little mineral spirits and water mixture. It will remove the wax down to the paint, but not the paint.
      If she wants to use a sealer, it must be used prior to waxing. Waxing is always the last step.

  35. You had that issue because of the brand wax you used which can take months to cure 🙁 I use a different brand and have never had a problem and I do this for a living.

  36. I am finishing up painting my kitchen cabinets with ASCP in true white. Let me caution anyone who thinks, as I did, 2 coats and you’re done. The cabinets were pine with a dark stain applied over 30 years ago. Darker stains will bleed through chalk paint. So not only did I end up wih several coats of chalk paint, but had to sand it off and apply shellac to seal the wood and pretty much start over. Also keep in mind chalk paint is meant to be sanded or “distressed”. I used it because of the 2 coats, no prep claim. Hard to sand , in the traditional way, with paint that “wants” to come off. So now I have sanded, shellaced, about 3 coats of Annie Sloan and now finishing with 3 or 4 coats of General’s polyacrylic. I think they really look nice, but MUCH more work than I thought!

    1. What a pain, Tanya! I’m so sorry! I honestly had no idea that stain can bleed through chalk paint. I know this can happen with latex paint, but I haven’t heard anyone talk about it happening with chalk paint. I’m glad you like the end result, but it was definitely a challenge to get there!

  37. So glad I found this page to ask questions. All the woodwork in my house, including kitchen cabinets, is painted water-base high gloss latex, white paint. Every time I wash any of it, no matter what I wash with, it stays sticky. I’ve even tried just plain water and yes, still sticky. I hate it and as a result, around doors and stair rail spindles stay dirty with fingerprints. The stickiness makes the dirt just grab hold. I’ve gone to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sherwin Williams to ask what I can do. They all just give me a blank look and say they’ve never heard of this. I’m now hearing about chalk paint and am excited to try it. Does it get sticky when washed? Does it hold up well. Sounds like a dream product. Love your gray cabinets.

    1. Hi Nancy! I haven’t had any issues with stickiness and chalk paint. I’m so sorry you’ve had that issue! I wonder if it has something to do with a sealer that was used over the latex paint? Chalk paint is great, but it does have a much more farmhouse look. It’s thicker and shows brushstrokes more than latex paint. However, you would not have the stickiness to deal with!

  38. Your kitchen is gorgeous! May I ask what paint you used on your pantry door? I’m so in love with turquoise right now!

  39. I see you have 100+comments but when you showed the hood? I was totally sold. It looks half finished? Not the same color wheel companion type thing? And I do love the drawer pulls with it. Sooo proud of you. Lots of work.

  40. Hi there! Love this website and your kitchen! Would you mind sharing where you found the glass/gold jars that sit on your counter top? Thanks!

  41. Love your cabinets. I like the cream and grey combo. I am planning on painting my oak cabinets. I have a stainless steel refrigerator and my wall oven/microwave is a bisque color. I don’t want to go the expense of replacing the oven; so I thought if I painted the cabinets cream it wouldn’t stand out so much with the stainless frig. Is this paint washable without the sealer on it? And also, how many coats of the sealer did you use?

    1. Hi Donna! Your plan sounds like a good one! This paint doesn’t require a sealer, but it has a very flat finish without one. I used two coats of sealer on my cabinets. Good luck on yours!

  42. The lower cabinets look great. From a decor specialist I say leave the upper cabinets the lighter color. In your kitchen dark on the bottom & light on the top, is PERFECTLY BALANCED & Looks Amazing!! That’s just my opinion. It all looks great and thanks for the new paint idea.

  43. You did a nice job, last winter to keep from going out of my mind i tackled our blazing oak kitchen cabinets and adjoining lavatory oak, Kitchen i did in Annie Sloan Cocco and French Linen in the bathroom. Annie Sloan also uses a soy base sealer, which i used. so far so good quite the transformation, also i like the sealer instead of the wax on lots of the furniture i do. Notice your hardware i would try the sealer on that if you want a gloss like look, more coats higher glossy look. NICE JOB, and folks mark hardware (put mine a plastic numbered cup, designate a area for work, go slow and keep at it. And if you live in western ma give me a shout will come over and give you a hand, retired, and wife tired of me painting all her furniture lmao

  44. Love the combo of the grey and cream cabinets! We were all set to paint our 6 year old maple kitchen cabinets with chalk paint (from the Caromel Coulours line) but my husband and I could not find the time to do it and were a little worried about our ability to do it well, not leave brush lines, etc. Our house is pretty new so i guess we were worried about it looking like a DIY project. So we have hired someone to do it but he will NOT use the chalk paint and will instead have to do all the prep and then use a Benjamin Moore waterborne advanced something or other that he feels comfortable with. I felt fine with the chalk paint but he could not be convinced. I enjoyed reading about your project.

    1. Hi Amy! If I would hire out painting my cabinets, I would prefer they did not use chalk paint. Chalk paint is great for those of us who want to cut a few corners with all the prep work professionals do (and don’t have that kind of time or patience). I am very happy with how my cabinets look, but I also only paid $200 to have my cabinets painted since I DIYed them. I think you’ll be very happy with your professionally painted cabinets! Thanks for the comment.

    2. Had my cabinets painted gray on bottom and with on top with BM Advanced in December and I am very unhappy with it! The pro painter insisted on using BM and I really wish he had not! It’s chipping like crazy – every where in the house, not just on the cabinets. Never seen anything this bad.

  45. I love the gray. I’d go all gray myself just bc you do have the white tile & light walls. It’s a nice contrast. And your kitchen is bright enough to make it all come together beautifully. I can’t wait to do mine now!!

  46. I love painted furniture and I have also painted my kitchen cabinets and I used a sealer rathern wax. I had concerns that it would not hold up.Thanks for an informative post….I thought it was just me! I am living in FL now and I had even more concerns with wax. I am using sealer on everything I paint.

    1. I haven’t had any trouble with wax on most things, but I do suggest a sealer on cabinets and desk/table tops. However, with the warm, humid weather you have in Florida, I would be a little nervous about wax in general like you are. Good luck on all your projects!

  47. If you couldn’t clean the cabinets because of the wax did you do any prep before the new paint application?

  48. Thank you for this, it looks gorgeous so far! I’m about to paint my lower kitchen cabinets with chalk paint and was unsure if I should wax or not. I’ve been using Rustoleum Chalked spray topcoat but that has been for smaller projects that were sprayed outside or in my basement. (I have also had mixed results with that product and have no yet pinpointed the factor contributing to the negative results I have received.)

    I really love the look of two-tone cabinets (that’s what I’m doing as well, in different colors), I hope you decide to keep them. Either way I’m sure your project will end with beautiful results! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I look forward to receiving your newsletter.

    1. Hi Chloe! I did end up keeping the two-tone cabinets, and I am happy with the end result! I would suggest that you use a sealer other than wax on your cabinets. I used a water-based sealer (similar to a polycrylic) the second time around and love how easy it is to clean. It does have a shinier look than the wax, but it is MUCH easier to care for in the kitchen. I’m excited that you signed up for my newsletter, and thank you for taking the time to comment! Enjoy the rest of your week and good luck on your project!

  49. Hi Sara
    I just painted my kitchen cabinets. I used Anny Sloan paint and dark wax. They look nice. My question to you is, can I use the sealer on top of the wax?? Or it is too late now??

  50. Hey. I’ve painted my cabinets with Annie Sloan and they haven’t held up at all. Is it ok to paint over with another type of paint without sanding all of the wax and everything off first? So if I read this correctly you repainted with chalk paint over the Annie Sloan paint?

    I need all the tips and tricks I can get!
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Whitney! I’m so sorry your cabinets haven’t held up well. I painted over my chalk painted/waxed cabinets with another chalk-type paint, but I do wish I had primed them first. The wax makes it harder for the paint to stick, and it does chip when things knock up against the cabinets. I ended up priming some of the more used/high traffic areas, and the paint holds up much better. So I would definitely recommend a quick coat of primer before you repaint. Good luck!!

  51. I have used Annie Sloan on an old rocking chair and my spare bathroom vanity. The rocking chair project was perfect, but the vanity, not so much. The wax gummed up on me. I had to sand it off and then repaint. I asked an Annie Sloan stockist what she thought I did wrong. We figured out that I had left the wax in the garage and it got too hot. She said I should always bring it inside for a couple of hours to solidify. The smell was so bad, I had trouble breathing. Needless to say, I am back to looking for a chalk paint line with no noxious fumes. Maybe your wax was too hot like mine, just a thought.

    1. Pamela – I am so sorry that you had issues with the wax. I painted all my cabinets indoors and store my paint and wax indoors, so heat wasn’t my problem. However, I appreciate you sharing your story because it’s definitely good for other readers to know not to store wax (or the paint) in the garage. Thank you!

  52. Great post and beautiful home! I want to copy everything you do. I painted my cabinets with Annie Sloan chalk paint and used a coat of wax already. Do you think it would be OK to put the sealer you used over the top of the wax or do I need to repaint? Thank you for your ideas and inspiration!

    1. Thank you Heather! I’m sorry I’m just now responding. I would live with your cabinets as-is. You may have better luck with the wax. I’ve had readers tell me they LOVE their wax coating. Unfortunately you can’t put the sealer over the wax – that’s why I had to repaint them. Don’t panic because you may have great luck with the wax! I hope this helps and have a great weekend!

  53. The kitchen came out fantastic…so much so…you’ve inspired me to do the cabinets in our new “older” home.

    How many bottles of the sealer do you recommend buying to use for the cabinets? We have about the same number of cabinets…I was going to buy 2 16 oz bottles. What do you think?

  54. I cannot find the mat sealer at any store locally where I live is there another product I could use that is similar I want something that is washable as well

  55. How long would you guess it took you to paint the lowers and seal them? I’m trying to get a good idea on how long it will take to do mine. Thanks!

  56. Thank you for the information. I like the look of the ASCP wax but found it is only for painted pieces that :sit and look pretty.”
    I really use it infrequently now.
    I have been using General Finishes Flat Out Flat and/or Country Chic Top Coat.
    Love both products. Not only are they more durable and user friendly than the wax , they save a tremendous amount of time; application is easier and less time consuming than the wax.

  57. Would you ever consider doing a project like this using regular paint and turning it into chalk paint? I started re-doing my kitchen years ago and it still isn’t finished. I decided that I wanted to finish in the coming weeks and thought i would chalk paint my cabinets using the beautiful paint I started with by adding plaster of paris. . . What do you think? I of course would seal it with that gorgeous matte sealer.

    1. I know several people who like to make their own chalk paint, but I have never done it. Unfortunately I can’t tell you to go for it since I have no experience with homemade chalk paint. However, I’d love to know what you decide to do. Good luck, Jamie!

  58. Thank you so much for the advice! I live the grey cabinets, it’s very similar to what I planned to do. Btw, I love that blue door, do you know the name of the color?

  59. Thanks for the info. It has been very helpful as I have been researching how to chalk paint my kitchen cabinets. What color gray did you use for the lighter gray upper cabinets? Also, what type of sealer did you use instead of wax and are you still pleased with the sealer? Thanks Karen

    1. Hi Karen! I actually used a great for my upper cabinets. It was still a chalk-type paint (Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint) and I used a water-based sealer also from the Amy Howard line. I am MUCH happier with the sealer over the wax. Happy Holidays!

  60. I see in the picture that there is a roller but did you actually use the foam roller to pain the cabinets? If so, does it leave a texture at all? I am looking into paint options for my cabinets and just came across chalk paint. Doing my research so thank you for your post

    1. Hi Natalie! I did use a foam roller, and it’s not a perfectly smooth finish. However, it would have been rougher if I had used a brush. If you’re looking for a perfect finish, chalk paint isn’t the best paint for you. It’s great because it eliminates most of the prep work, but it isn’t a perfectly smooth finish. I think it works well in farmhouse style or cottage styles homes. I hope I helped!

  61. Can you use the matte sealer on a coffee table that will see more wear ? Also can you use the matte sealer on a wood top that has stain. As a protective coat? Do you buff the matte sealer?

    1. Yes, this matte sealer would work great on a coffee table (I used it on our kitchen table). I assume you can use it on a wood top as a protective coat, but I haven’t tried it yet. You do not need to buff the sealer. Good luck on your project!

  62. Question about chalk pain in the kitchen. I haven’t used chalk paint, yet, but about ready to dive into painting my kitchen cabinets. You redid yours. The first time, you apparently used a clear wax. I wanted to use a contrasting wax (white) on top of grey for mine, but, I certainly don’t want to have to redo them because they are hard to clean or look dirty. Is there not a seal we can use on top of the wax to get that older look? I just found Amy Howard today and haven’t watched any videos of hers yet. Thank you for the help!

    1. Hi JJ! Unfortunately you can’t use a sealer (other than wax) over a wax. I love Amy Howard products, and I know the white wax you are referring to. I do know her wax is much harder than the wax I used (Annie Sloan) on my cabinets the first time. I just can’t encourage wax on cabinets after my experience. However, the people at Amy Howard are more knowledgable and may have some ideas for you. Good luck!

  63. I have a question. It looks like your range hood was also painted. Was this wood orstainless steel? I have a stainless steel range hood that I hate and have been toying with the idea of chalk painting. Your thoughts?

    1. Hi Jen! My hood was actually a plaster/dry wall mixture. You could probably chalk paint your hood, but I’ve never chalk painted stainless steel before and hate to tell you to go for it. Here’s another thought – Are you a fan of copper? I know Modern Masters makes metallic paint that could work for your project!

  64. Hi Sara D. I just chalk painted my cabinets grey on bottom white on top. It was mentioned to sand before using sealer. Did you sand at all?


  65. I’ve never painted with chalk paint, but have a little jar from Home Depot that I am going to try on a small project. Thanks for the tip about what to put on top of it; I would have tried the wax, so am glad I saw this.

    Our kitchen cabinets have a white laminate covering which by the stove has somewhat melted and started to peel back. We haven’t examined closely what is under it, but if we pull off the laminate, we may go ahead and paint. I guess I’ll see how the chalk paint works out and if we might use it in the kitchen. I like your gray AND ivory… don’t have advice on that! Thanks for your help! First time I came upon your page.

  66. Hi, Sara!

    Did you need to sand the paint down a bit after application, like a normal chalk paint? Also, if you don’t seal it at all, does it remain dusty and chalky? I’m recalling all the projects I’ve done with AS chalk paint and homemade chalk paints…is this all in one less chalky? We hate the oak cabinets in the house we just bought, but are afraid to paint them for fear of chipping, don’t want to go through the pain of restaining them ourselves, and would love to avoid the $700 bill for someone else to do it! 😉

    Thanks in advance for your answer and for this post!

    1. H Lauren, this paint does have a chalky appearance like normal chalk paint. However, unlike most chalk paint Amy Howard’s One Step Paint doesn’t require a sealer. I just don’t know about not using a sealer on cabinets…

      Chalk-type paint would work well on oak since it’s so thick and can help hide the grain. Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

  67. Hi – enjoyed reading your article and all the comments! So it’s been 10 months, give or take, since you repainted the bottom cabinets.

    How do you think the polycrilic finish is holding up?


    1. Hi Jan! The finish is holding up great, and I have no complaints about it. I do, however, wish I had primed everything before painting the second time around (I only primed about a third of the cabinets). I have a little chipping due to painting directly over the wax finish. I hope this helps!

  68. I love the two tone look. Normally I would not think of cream and grey but it looks great! If you did gray I would not use the same color or gray maybe lighter. But I really like the cream. Beautiful!I am going to do the two tone in my kitchen when I get up the nerve to begin the project! hahah

  69. Noooo…. 🙁 I JUST painted my cabinets and used wax. I could just cry because it was so time consuming. I painted my uppers stark white and bottom a light grey.

    1. Hi Tracy! I have found several people who LOVE their wax-sealed cabinets. Don’t give up hope already! It may work for your kitchen and the main problem areas were under our bar where the kids sat. Give it a chance!

  70. Hi Sara, I found you while looking at hometalk and, while I haven’t been following you or your projects for a long time, I wanted to let you know that I love the greys in this version of your painted kitchen cabinets. I’ve been working on a bunch of min-project in my kitchen and looking at your greys has made me want to paint my cabinets as well. Mine were painted white by a “professional” who did an “okay” job, but it looks like it needs some ‘dress-up’ work. My cabinets were custom fit and walnut before I wanted to do something to brighten up my kitchen. Before I do anything though, I want to do something about my old harvest gold ‘faux leather’ countertop. It is custom as well and is all one piece working it’s way around the counter. If I can get that looking good, then I’ll see what I can do about the rest. I do love your colors so thanks for the inspirations.


    1. Hi Linda! Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I’m excited for your kitchen project. It sounds like you have a plan, and it should turn out beautiful! Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Easter!

  71. Hi Sara!
    I’m a newby using chalk paint. I would like to use it on some stock cabinets I bought for my bathroom. Should I sand them before painting like I would using regular paint? Thanks for your help!

  72. I love the look and just started bugging my husband about painting the kitchen cabinets. I’m really glad I ran across this post because we have 3 cats and 4 kids, so I need something that will hold up well.

    I was thinking of doing the AS chalk paint (old ochre) with the brown wax for an antiqued look, but now I am leaning towards these other products. My question is how would I get the same effect with the Amy Howard paint and dealer?


    1. You can still use AS chalk paint, but I would not use wax. I would suggest a polycrylic (water-based sealer) instead of the wax. If you like the aging look of dark wax, you could try a glaze! Good luck!

  73. Well. I’ve already made the mistake. I’ve painted my kitchen cabinets and sealed with wax. Can I put the other sealer over the wax instead of repainting? I just painted the cabinets a few weeks ago and the kitchen hasn’t been used since then (it’s our vacation home) so there is no dirt/grime build up yet. But I have a 3 year old son so it’s inevitable.

    1. Hi Debbie! Some people have had lots of luck with the wax, so don’t panic yet! Unfortunately you can’t put a sealer over the wax, so I would just live with it for awhile. It may end up working perfectly for a vacation home!

      1. I like the light tops and grey bottoms myself. You’ve inspired me to try and do the same with my cabinets. Great job and thanks for sharing!!!

  74. Is it necessary to sand between the coats of chalk paint prior to sealing them with the polyacrylic? Love your choices in paint colors for your kitchen cabinets!!!!

  75. I have used the Amy Howard At Home chalk paint on a few kitchen stools I re-did and I have found that they REEK like cat-pee! The paint must have a high ammonia content because every single square inch that has the chalk paint on it has this smell…I was going to wax t but I am wondering if a sealant will kill the smell? Did you have this experience at all?

  76. I just repainted my dark wood kitchen cabinets in a light cream color.(Chalk paint). I applied a topcoat of Matt varnish or soft varnish .today I noticed a yellow undertone coming through I believe it’s from the dark wood underneath and I didn’t seal it. Do I have to apply on top of the varnish and then repaint or is the varnish enough to seal the yellow undertone and I can just go ahead and repaint and re-seal?

  77. I stubbled across you blog when I was looking for good articles on why not to use wax when I heard that some of my competitors are using wax when painting kitchen cabinets and I was appalled that someone claiming to be a professional would do this! Refinishing is the only profession I have ever known I was a business owner of a small refinishing shop by the time I was 18. I am afraid that a lot of us real professionals are going to start getting a bad rap when all of these kitchens start failing. Two things one painting even with priming over the top of a wax is defiantly not a good idea. The primer and paint would need something to adhere to and if the wax is rubbing around and not secure to the paint underneath how is it going to adhere? I would have recommended a full refinish sometimes once a wax is on something that won’t even work. There is a wax wash made by Mohawk and also naphtha might help. Second if your cabinets already had finish on them you painted them how many Dry-mils are on there? I would guess you are about to exceed your 5 dry-mils if not already exceeded. Finishers use a calculation of wet-mils to determine their dry mils to ensure they won’t have finish failure.
    I am typically not someone to correct anyone but I did appreciate your article on why not to use wax. I even shared it on my page. If you don’t do refinishing for a living I am sure this is not a lot of information you really don’t need to know. Anyway I would really like to know how well the cabinets are holding up because this is an older article.

    1. Hi Tara! As I learned the hard way, wax is definitely not a good idea in the kitchen. What really frustrates me is that I was advised by a chalk paint stockist to use the wax, and I still continue to get comments/messages from people who sell the paint that wax is a great option in the kitchen.

      In regards to how my cabinets are holding up – they held up fairly well. My main issue was still the kitchen island. The kids often scraped the chairs against it, and I had to routinely do touch ups on the island. However, we recently ripped out those cabinets (which is why I went the chalk paint route in the first place – I knew it was temporary), and we’re in the process of installing new cabinets and remodeling our kitchen.

      I appreciate all your expertise and understand your concern as a professional with DIYers flooding the internet. I wish you all the best of luck and appreciate you taking the time to comment!

    2. My Dad, who was a third generation residential painter and painted for 56 years, told me never to use wax for anything unless I was a highly skilled, specialty finish painter. He also said you can count on a lot of work when you decide to change your look.

  78. This was super helpful! I’ve been debating hiring out cabinet painting or DIY and I think I can handle the chalk paint approach with your suggestions here. Are they still holding up well? Many thanks!

  79. Just curious to know how your new method has held up. Getting ready to chalk paint cherry bathroom and kitchen cabinets!

  80. I absolutely love your painting style! I, too, prefer other methods of sealing than wax. I have 3 kiddos (under the age of 4) and wax just doesn’t seal well enough for the things that they rub and spill on my furniture! Thanks for the useful tip– I will try that next!

  81. HI! So I painted my cabinets last year, with a regular non-chalk paint. I primed first, and sealed when I was done with a satin. I don’t love the color and now I want to repaint…… do you suggest that I prime again, or just start painting over the last job??? Its holding up well, with a little wear around some of the knobs, its just the color thats bothering me. Any insight would be appreciated!

  82. They turned out beautifully repainted. Chalk paint can definitively be difficult to keep clean with wax, which is exactly why I painted over it myself when I refinished my daughter’s dresser. It’s also sometimes nice to switch it up from matte to glossy. 🙂 Love your kitchen Sara!

  83. I have been refinishing furniture for 40 years. I personally think that wax does not hold up after time goes goes by by.