Got a leap on the kitchen progress again. All the cabinets on the stove wall are in various stages of completion. Here the cabinet drawers are installed with the new cup-pull, hardware. The cabinet itself hasn’t been waxed yet so you can see the color difference between the waxed drawers and the frame (click photos for close up view).
Overall, the horizontal drawers (which replace cabinet doors) I think makes the kitchen look bigger.
Finally, something in the kitchen is starting to pull together and the vision can be somewhat seen. I love these cabinets but I’m still a bit worried about the durability of the chalk paint.
I can’t wait til the old green countertops and backsplash are gone and replaced with granite or quartz! It will look WOWSER!
I found a great article here about the step-by-step process of converting solid cabinet doors to glass. We lucked out and our cabinet doors were panel doors. In the long run, this saved us some substantial money as we were able to change the look of our kitchen without paying a carpenter!
Like I’ve written before always do a test door before proceeding with your actual cabinets. I had several cabinet doors I was removing for good (converting to open cabinetry) so it wasn’t a problem for me. However, if you don’t have a spare door, check out your local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore where they sell odds and ends for home remodeling for dirt cheap prices.
Husband used a router but if you don’t have one, they are available for rental from tool shops. You can also find them used at tool consignment shops, on sale during Black Friday at Home Improvement stores, and off of Craigslist. They have great uses!
In the following photos, I marked important areas with a black Sharpie so you could better see what we were doing. Lime green lines are to show areas of interest.This work is done on the INSIDE of the cabinet door, not the face.
For this DIY experiment, we used the paint test door I made for the kitchen. The areas marked with an X will be removed during this conversion.
When you look at the door edge you can see where the pieces have been fitted together to make the door. A panel cabinet door is not cut from one piece so it makes it easier to do this conversion.
Measuring this area tells you the depth to set your router blade.
Measuring off this side joint, you can figure the depth of the long cutting line from the edge of the inside of the cabinet door. We first measured the longest sides of the cabinet door, the short side, and lastly, the short side with the arch.
We will be clamping down a guide board. The Guide Board helps the router give a steady pass down a straight line. Measure the edge of the router to the edge of the other side of the blade, like so:
The Guide Board is measured at both ends to match the router edge to blade measurement and is clamped down.
The Guide Board was adjusted after we checked the router blade at the draw cut line. The router blade is sitting on the inside of the cut line and that is where it should be (click photo for a close up view).
The Router must be moved around the OUTSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a COUNTERCLOCKWISE movement.
The Router must be moved around the INSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a CLOCKWISE movement.
If you goof up that is okay – the above directions just make it easier for the router to cut.
The first pass of the router doesn’t make the cut we need so we go back for a second pass. This isn’t unusual during the first cut and you can always adjust the blade. We did the two longest sides first, the short side, and lastly the side with the arch. If you look closely at the second pic in this series (click on any photo for a close up) you can see how the panel is made up of fitted pieces:
The Guide Board is moved when we do the short ends.
All four sides of the inside of the panel are now cut.
The arch of the panel (on the inside of the door) also needs to be removed. You can do this with your router, by just scrubbing the bits out by running the router against the edges.
The inside of the panel lifts right out:
and the cabinet door becomes two pieces…
The doors were painted with chalk paint and went from orange oak stain to an off-white and distressed.
Glass was installed by Robinson Glass with 4 doors: 9″ x 21″ glass inserts with “seedy” (glass with a slight bubble pattern) at approximately $14.50 each panel ($54 total). If doing the glass installation yourself, remember to use a clear silicone caulk.
Want to see more about cabinets? There’s more on the blog right here….
Of course, the kitchen is the most expensive house to renovate and it’s because appliances, cabinets, countertops, and floors are big money investments.
Mine is no different – between buying new kitchen counters (granite) and putting in new appliances (via Craigslist), I’ll probably be working on it in stages over the next several months. Knowing this is why, among other reasons, I choose Chalk Paint for the cabinet re-do.
I’ve decided on what to do with the cabinets. I was planning on using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White but that product is no longer available locally. So next I tried Ce Ce Caldwells Chalk Paint and decided to go with their Vintage White color, distressed with clear wax. Since I’m doing it in sections I probably won’t be fully done until the end of September.
I’m still getting quotes on kitchen countertops and my tentative plan is to use the 2013 tax refund to pay for their installation as granite will not be cheap. After looking at a lot of white/cream kitchens online, I really need a very dark countertop, in the brown family to add contrast to the cream cabinetry (which fills up a LOT of the kitchen) and the white tile floors. The brown has to have no pink or red tones or it will pick up the pink vein in the floor tile which I’m trying to downplay.
Until I finish the cabinets – then decide on countertop, I won’t have a firm decision on backsplash. Right now I do know that 1.) it needs to be a simple cream, off white, 2.) be non-busy and 3.) have texture. 4×4 tiles are very outdated right now but I also don’t want something like piano tile or glass tile which is trendy and will date itself within the next 10 years.
These are Travetine, Subway (3×6) tiles:
This is a rough, tumbled, dry stack look but don’t know if it would work with the kitchen use:
Here are the sizes of the countertops and the backsplash.
I’m debating though on the island counter — should I go ahead and match it with the other counter granite or go with an aged and dark stained wood counter? I kinda like the idea of doing the wood counter top but perhaps it would be too risky…?
The island itself will be changed, most likely around Thanksgiving – right now it’s a huge block of cabinetry right in the middle of the kitchen. I want to keep the three drawers (very handy), but open up the bottom with a shelf. Four new corner post legs will be added for interest and the bottom will have baseboard molding to hide the lack of tile underneath this structure. It will be similar to this in terms of design but smaller and not white.
We also decided to go back to the idea of removing the breakfast bar (it doesn’t work as the space is too tight for stools AND a breakfast table) and instead, put in a shelf unit (something like this perhaps but with all open shelves).
The original sketch … but we will probably change some measurements…
He is also going to re-do the molding around the bay window area sometime in November.
Husband is going to DIY a new, copper vent hood for the stove! We found a website that sells distressed copper and he thinks he can remake our old black venthood into something like this but not as ornate. For obvious reasons we can’t buy a copper vent hood (KA-CHING!) but if he can pull it off it will really be something! I’ll post more when we start that project sometime in October.
The sink faucet I’m currently favoring is from Overstock.com:
The hardware will be knobs I’ve got on hand, as well as some additional cup pulls in rustic brown for drawers from Overstock.com.
If you’ve read the other entries on the kitchen, you know we’ve made some new drawer additions to the cabinetry. I always knew we would be painting cabinetry and with paint I would be able to blend the new blend with the old. This would be almost impossible to achieve if I had planned on staining the cabinetry. Blending old with new is done easier with paint, then stain.
When choosing wood to paint, try not to pick pieces that have strong grain patterns. It takes more paint to cover this up and may even require a primer for heavily grained woods like oak. I ended up using two coats of primer before using one coat of chalk paint. That got rid of the strong oak graining on the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers.
However, when doing an addition to old, try to pick wood that is all the same type (i.e. all Aspen, all Oak, all Pine etc…) instead of mixing. This will also help with the end appearance as one type of wood acts the same during painting vs. different types may require more layers of primer.
The steps on painting the drawers are basically the same as the cabinet doors but with a few extra steps…
1.) Clean and/or prep the wood (pick one or more of the following):
~ TSP (Trisodium Phosphate): removes grime and grease. It’s found at many paint stores and is a very strong cleanser so use with care and follow instructions;
~ Krud Kutters Gloss Off: I found at Sherwin Williams. If using Gloss Off do wear gloves as it is a skin irritant;
~ and/or sand the surface smooth using a rough grit (i.e. 80) and electric palm sander.
If you try to paint over the wood without any prep work your end appearance and durability of the finish will suffer dramatically. Please don’t skip this step!
Using Gloss Off, soak clean rag and wipe in a circular motion. Let dry for 10 minutes before proceeding. Be sure all grooves are completely clean of grime or build up. If you need too, use an old toothbrush to scrub the edges. I also like the fact Gloss Off doesn’t stink!
IMO the Gloss Off is a product that shines when you start to sand. Sanding with my Mouse (electric palm sander) took less then a minute per drawer and I believe the Gloss Off helped the shiny layer come off more easily as I’ve sanded without it and it took a lot more effort. I don’t need it down to bare wood but I need the drawer to accept a good priming coat.
2.) Help new wood blend with old: With the new wood drawers, I started somewhere different. I needed them to match when I distressed, so I bought some Maple Stain (on the test chip it looked the closest to the red-orange of the current stain). Using a cloth and wearing latex gloves, the stain was rubbed into the drawer fronts (two coats, drying between coats).
3.) Apply two coats of primer. I used Glidden’s Gripper in white (it also comes in gray). I use a primer because the Chalk Paint would have taken three coats to get complete coverage. 1 gallon of primer was $38; 1 quart of Chalk Paint was $38. You can see the financial logic behind using a primer!
The first coat was applied using a brush. With the first coat be sure to work the primer into any grooves yet maintain the edges as crisp and well defined, not blotchy with paint globs. This primer is thick and goes on thick.
I paint my drawers by paying attention to the edges first – this is also the most likely area for drips so always continue to check for them as you rotate the drawer:
The first coat of primer will show a lot of brush marks:
The second coat of primer was applied with a 4″ foam cabinet roller.
4.) Sand with 120 grit. The drawers were much rougher after priming then the cabinet doors were. This is probably because of the deeper grain pattern and the hard use they’ve gotten over the last15 years. Because of this, I decided to use the electric sander before applying the chalk paint.
Do very little – just skim, with a light touch, the sides of the drawers where drips are likely to have happened and make sure the front panel of the drawer is smooth. If it distresses some don’t worry – the chalk paint or your next distressing will fix it.
5.) Apply Chalk Paint with a 4″ cabinet foam roller.
The small, old drawers only needed one coat of Chalk Paint; on the new drawers,which started as bare wood, I applied two.
Drips are most likely to occur on the edges and sides of the drawers. Always do a smoothing pass over these areas before quitting the paint job.
Be on the lookout for any hickeys, blemishes, dried paint flakes that fell onto fresh paint, foam roller bits flaking off (the roller is old! trash it and get a new one), hair etc… Remove immediately and roll back over the area to smooth.
If you paint at night or dusk your light can attract bugs which will get into your paint finish.
Make sure your chalk paint is THOROUGHLY mixed! If not, you might get some gray or greenish bits of clay that didn’t get blended.
Because I was painting cream over white, sometimes it was hard to see if the cream thoroughly covered the white. Always look at your project from different angles and strong light to make sure that the last paint coat covered your base coats completely.
Chalk paint dries very fast so within the hour I could have started my final sanding. However, it was late at night so I decided to save it for the morning! Always distress when you are well rested and NOT impatient! It takes a steady hand and an eye to get it done right. If you are in a hurry, most likely you will take off too much.
BTW I did not apply Chalk Paint on the inside of the new drawers but only used one coat of primer. I’m not going to waste chalk paint on areas like the interior of drawers but I also don’t want to leave them bare wood.
When working with drawers, always use weights to keep them standing.
6.) Sand smooth and distress with 220 grit. Since I had done a smooth sanding at the end of priming, I started with a quick, light touch across the flat facing of the drawer to smooth the chalk paint and then immediately moved into distressing the edges.
Tip ~ Chalk paint makes a lot of dust! Do it in a ventilated area and you may want to wear a nose/mouth paper mask.
I only distressed the edges and corners of the drawers. Some folks also like to distress where the handle will go, simulating natural wear. For me this would have been too much distressing for a kitchen, though I think it would look fantastic on furniture.
Tip~ if your undercoats are tearing or chipping in away you don’t like, wax first, then sand.
7.) Compare your cabinet doors, drawers and facing.
Important!I learned this from my other cabinet project… If you plan on doing any distressing, you need to constantly compare the different components of your project so they match when you bring them all together (click photos to see close ups):
8.) Wax the drawer fronts (3-4times) for protection. The drawers get the most punishment in my kitchen as we open them when cooking and our hands are floured, wet, etc… and drips from the counter usually go down onto them. The cabinet doors (located on the wall, over the counter) will get only two coats of wax as most of their punishment is right around the knob.
I used the wax that is sold by the chalk paint manufacturer because I like how it glides on smoothly and is easily applied.
Waxing tips ~
Until you wax, your drawers are vulnerable to fingerprint dirt smudges and other damage. Keep them in a safe place until you can start waxing.
Wax picks up lint, dust and even eyelashes! Keep your application cloth or brush completely clean and don’t wax in the area where you are sanding.
Don’t skimp on wax. Especially be generous with the first coat.
Make sure you don’t get wax clumps in the crevices of your door or drawer profile. Wipe out these clumps with a lint-free, clean cloth.
Clean your kitchen doors and drawers with a non-abrasive cleaner.
Plan on updating with fresh wax in heavily used areas in about 2-4 years. This depends on how you clean and the wear an tear you put on your kitchen.
Remember! If doing white or cream colored cabinets do NOT use polyurethane or varnish! This will yellow.
The drawers have been waxed, but the cabinet unit has not. In this photo you can see the difference in the colors (drawers were installed to measure for hardware placement):
When the house was built my vision was to have a set of large pull out drawers for pot storage on either side of the stove. Instead the builder gave me two sets of under cabinets with doors on front and pull out drawers inside. This has always irked me as it didn’t give me the farmhouse kitchen feel I wanted, it gave me yet more cabinets among a sea of cabinet doors, and it was an inconvenience every time you wanted to get a pot.
We removed the cabinet doors and found out that the left set had a smooth cabinet facing, while the right set had been cut to fit hinges.
For the fix, we used scrap lumber was cut to fit, glued in, filled with wood putty and than sanded smooth.
Eventually all the doors, drawers and cabinet facing will be painted and that will further conceal the fix.
Because the drawer fronts have a routered edge we figured it would be a difficult DIY project to do without a full shop so we located a carpenter who would take on such a small job. The total cost for four doors to be done and rebuilt was about $135, (I think he undersold himself). The new drawers are stoutly built and pull out easily without having to open a set of doors to do it!
There is a gap between the drawers which I’m not happy about so hubby fixed it.
Front facing was added to the area between the drawers.
Okay, here we go folks, I’m starting the kitchen! Yeah!
Before I got started on this cabinetry project, I did a test door. This is essential on a large project of this scope where there isn’t room for error. These cabinets were solid oak and really the only issue is the original stain – they are not damaged or ill-made.
With the test door, I tried darkening it with stain and it gave very uneven and mixed results. Paint was definitely the way to go and if you choose to go with regular paint, go with enamel not latex.
The big reason I chose Chalk Paint is how it adheres to the wood, how it distresses and the end finish.
Cabinetry Prep Work
All the cabinet doors and their hinges were removed. It’s easiest to get a box and put all the screws, hinges and handles in it right from the start. This prevents stuff being lost.
If you were replacing with new hardware you might need to fill in and sand smooth original screw holes. However, this wasn’t necessary on this project as I was re-using the hardware I had installed and the drawers, which were getting new hardware, had never been drilled.
How much prep work you will need to do will depend on the condition of your cabinets. Again, I see a lot of folks skipping prep work because it is slow and tedious. However, lack of prep work WILL impact the end appearance and I don’t care what type of paint you use.
I started with a product new to me: Gloss Off by Krud Kutters. I found this product at the Sherwin Williams paint store for about $8; be careful not to buy the cleanser by Krud Kutters as it has a different purpose. The Gloss Off wasn’t a Miracle Product as it did not remove 100 percent of the polyurethane top coat, however, I did notice it raised the grain and made for easier sanding (80 grit with electric, palm sander). It did seem to help the primer adhere and gave a smoother attachment.
NOTE! If you decide not to use this option or do any sanding of the original cabinetry, try TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) found at Lowes, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams to clean the doors of any grime before painting or priming. Remember, lack of sanding will result in a more uneven, end surface and the paint layers will distress more.
After doing my test door, and seeing that it took three coats of expensive chalk paint before the oak pattern was covered, I decided I would use two coats of a primer (1 gallon = $38) to cut down on the costs of the chalk paint (1 quart = $38). I also think the primer helped the end cabinet as all the paint sanded nicely during the distressing.
The primer I used was another new product to me: Glidden’s Gripper (comes in white and grey). One thing I really liked about this primer is when I got to the distressing stage, it sanded off smoothly… sometimes with primer or undercoats of latex paint you get the paint peeling off in an unpleasant tearing strip. It’s the major reason to avoid latex paint if you plan on distressing.
I start with a foam brush and push the primer into the grooves of the cabinet door.
The face of the cabinet door has paint applied with a 4″ cabinet foam roller. Be sure you get all the edges of your cabinet door and paint the back. Continue to smooth, using the foam roller to work out any bubbles or blemishes. See the product’s advice on how long it should dry before coats. I did the primer the day before I did the chalk paint so it could dry overnight.
Here is a comparison of the first coat with the second coat of primer. It clearly shows the difference that another layer makes in hiding the oak grain pattern and giving a uniform, end color.
After the priming coats are completely dry, next is the Ce Ce Caldwell Chalk Paint in Vintage White. If you prefer Annie Sloan Chalk Paint the directions that follow will be the same.
This is applied with a foam paint roller. I did the backs (let it dry), and then the cabinet face and the edges (let it dry). This stuff dries quickly so this step will easily get done in a day depending on how many doors you have to do.
When you click on the above photo, you can see that the Vintage White has a creamy color, like light colored eggnog.
You may not be able to tell from this photo, but after the chalk paint dries, there is a rough surface due to the foam roller application and the nature of the chalk paint itself.
I used the electric Mouse Sander (also called a palm sander) with 220 grit and LIGHTLY sand it smooth. I first sand all the edges of the door as this is where drips may have occurred and then do the cabinet face. This removed the dimpling that the foam roller caused but be careful with how much you do or you will start distressing.
From the test door I did, I knew what distressing I liked. Using the Mouse Sander and 220 grit, I work around the edges of the cabinet profile. I am aiming almost for an outline. I like to change the direction of the sander, zig-zag it against the door edge, and apply different amounts of pressure depending on how much I want off; this is where experimenting with a test door can really help you.
One thing I noticed is that by having the two layers of primer and using a higher grit of sandpaper (220 as opposed to my usual 120) I got a much softer distressing which was exactly what I was going for!
If you want a rougher distressing use a coarser grade of sandpaper (i.e. 120) and don’t put on a primer. For example, this was my first test door with much more distressing (used 120 sandpaper, no primer with the electric palm sander was aggressively applied):
Distressing is a job that should be done by one person and if possible, all in the same day too for consistency. Always check the doors against each other as you progress through the job.
Wax top coat
Once everything is the way you like it, it’s time to put on your top coat application. You MUST topcoat your kitchen cabinetry – paint alone will not be enough. In this case, I’m going to use clear wax specifically designed for chalk paint (sold by the chalk paint dealers). The wax sold with the chalk paint products is a soft, malleable wax that is very easy to apply. The type of waxes you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot are harder, paste waxes and don’t go on as easily.
I apply three coats (because it’s the kitchen), with t-shirt rags in a circular motion and let it dry to a haze between coats. One problem I find with wax, is that it builds up in corners and seams. Use a piece of thin cardboard or poster-board to draw out any excessive wax that isn’t able to be smoothed out in these areas.
The wax SMELLS! So far everything has been low odor, but with the wax you need to work in a well ventilated area – open windows, work in the garage with the door open, or wear a respirator etc…
BTW I find applying wax to be hardest job on my wrists. This is another part of the job that having a back up helper would save you time and effort.
Be aware that in a few years, wax will need to be freshened up on your cabinets to retain their waterproofing. If this is a maintenance issue for you, I would choose another top coat sealant.
Other things you can do different with this project to change the type of end surface:
The chalk paint folks encourage you to wax and than sand. You might want to experiment with that, however, I have to scratch my head… why put on expensive wax and then sand it off? I would rather sand before wax application however, you may find that waxing and then sanding gives you an effect that you like better, especially if you want to use a tinted wax…. Use a test door to find out!
Use a custom tinted wax you mixed yourself (clear + paint color). Wax can be worked into the grooves for more definition and won’t change the base color of your cabinet face.
Use a dark wax for an aged look. Dark wax is already tinted however, be aware that on some projects it gives a “dirty” appearance that can overwhelm your project especially if you are working in white or cream. I just didn’t think it would look good on kitchen cabinets; I’d keep this back for your antiquing furniture projects.
Another choice would have been wipe-on Polyurethane but in my experience with it, it does not give enough of coverage (even after 2-3 applications) to really protect the undercoat. Polyurethane (and Varnish) will also yellow anything that it is applied onto so if you wanted white cabinets you will get white-yellow cabinets in the end. As polyurethane continues to age, it yellows even more.
If money was no object, I would probably have paid for the cabinets to be professionally coated and sealed. However, this is a DIY project so I do what I know I can afford and can achieve on my own.
Since this is a big project – far bigger then one blog post, I will be putting together several entries about how the kitchen was done, over the next several weeks.
After deciding to go with Ce Ce Caldwell’s Vintage White for the kitchen cabinets, it was time to do a complete cabinet door front. I followed all the same steps I’ve posted before and here it is with three coats:
Distressed with two coats of clear wax:
Indoors, the creamy color is more obvious, against the wall color:
Some things I learned doing the test doors:
1.) To save time and layers of chalk paint, I’m going to check out Gloss Off by Krud Kutter for cleaning the front of the door and Glidden’s Gripper bonding primer for the back of the door (where I won’t be distressing). I’ve used Zinsser and personally, not impressed by it on furniture.
2.) The first coat on the front, I will apply with a brush to get the paint worked into the crevices. However, I’ll apply the 2nd and 3rd with a roller. A brush or foam brush doesn’t give the smooth texture I want to the chalk paint. Chalk paint goes on rather thickly as part of it’s nature.
3.) I may sand the front smooth between the 2nd and 3rd coat to further lessen any brush marks or unevenness.
4.) I tend to skimp on wax and need to remember to really put it on there. The rag should glide across the surface when applying.
The project is ready to start… I’ll start working on the fridge wall this week. Due to the amount of cabinetry to be done, I’ll be doing it in stages: Fridge wall, Upper Stove Wall; Lower Stove Wall and last Sink, front and back, cabinets. The island is going to be completely renovated with a contrasting color (most likely dark brown).
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is no longer available in my area. That’s too bad as I really liked working with it but I understand the retailers’ reasoning. She is a small store and the ASCP has little mark up and had backorders so hence makes her little profit. DIY’ers were coming in to buy paint but not buying her furnishings so again, it didn’t make sense to sell the paint.
She’s switched to another brand, American made, lower cost, and I suspect bigger profit margin. It’s called Ce Ce Caldwell and is supposed to give all the same benefits as ASCP but is American made. One thing I don’t like is the color palette; some of the colors are just too trendy. While I could mix ASCP to come up with many classic neutrals, the color pallet of Ce Ce Caldwell doesn’t give me that room. However, the price is definitely lower then ASCP.
I don’t know that I believe the marketing hype. Is there a real Ce Ce Caldwell? There’s no photo of her on the page selling her paint. There’s no bio, no store, no photos of her painting projects etc… so I suspect (and I’ll eat crow if I’m wrong) that this is just to hype the paint to mom DIY’ers who feel they are buying from a “person” not a huge company.
The first thing you must do is MAKE A TEST DOOR! Don’t jump into painting your entire kitchen before making the test door.
Sanding, pros and cons
The Chalk Paint brands say you don’t have to sand. If you don’t plan on sanding you must clean your kitchen cabinetry and I recommend TSP (found at paint stores like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams) for removing the grease. However, if you are going to sand, I wouldn’t bother cleaning – the sander will remove it.
If you don’t sand, and you use Chalk Paint, you will get a more distressed look and have less control over the end distressing. If that is what you are going for, cool, but if you are unsure, I would recommend doing one test door without sanding and one with sanding. After I did this I immediately saw that the no-sanded door would not be as smooth in paint coverage as I was going to like.
Follows is a comparison. The first, on the left, was not sanded or primed before adding chalk paint and distressing. The second, on the right, was sanded, primed and than chalk paint was applied before being distressed.
The original oak cabinet door was first sanded with 80 grit and then 120 grit. Plan on at least 2, 80 grit pads and 1, 120 paid for an average door, front and back. I used my Mouse Sander (also called a Palm Sander). The goal is to remove as much of the top, shiny coat (the varnish or polyurethane) as possible. I am not concerned about the stain color or getting it sanded down to bare wood.
In my experience if the shiny coat is not 98 percent removed you will have very poor paint application. This is especially true if you decide to use latex or enamel paint instead of chalk paint.
On subsequent doors I used a de-glossing product: Krud Kutters Gloss Off which helped the prepping go quicker. I used it before sanding.
Priming, pros and cons
If you wish to have a heavily distressed appearance or are looking to sand back for aggressive distressing, don’t bother priming.
If you want an even coverage with no distressing, or have very poorly made cabinets with an obvious grain pattern (such as plywood) that you want covered, consider priming. If you are painting over pine and don’t want the knots to show, also consider priming.
EDITED TO ADD: Later, I decided to save chalk paint, I did 1-2 coats of priming, depending on the strength of the wood grain and one coat of chalk vs. 3 coats of chalk paint as shown in this post.
Applying Chalk Paint, Coat One
The CeCe Caldwell paint seems a bit thinner to me then the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint brand but generally covers just as well. The CeCe Vintage White color is very similar to ASCP’s Old White, with a cream hue. The CeCe Simply White is a nice clear white which becomes whiter and brighter upon each coat.
From working with both brands, neither will give good coat coverage with one application. Don’t get sucked into believing the hype on this chalk paint… it’s good stuff but it is designed to show through so you can distress. It will not give even coverage without successive applications. At this point you can’t see as much difference between the two whites – that emerged with the 2nd and 3rd coat.
The first application of paint, I prefer to work down into the grain with an X pattern using a brush. The point with coat one is to get all of the area thoroughly covered. Don’t worry that you still see the grain pattern underneath on the first or second coat.
Applying Chalk Paint, Coat Two
Within an hour it’s ready to coat again. The great benefit to Chalk Paint is it is Low to No Odor paint and it dries amazingly fast. For a kitchen remodel you will be able to get your kitchen up and going very quickly without living with fumes for weeks at a time.
Coat Two I apply with a foam brush and/or a foam cabinet roller. You should start seeing even coverage at this point, though a strong grain or darker stain will still show through. You can distress and go with a very distressed look with much of the under color showing through or go on to Coat Three.
Applying Chalk Paint, Coat Three
I decided to go with Coat Three as I want solid coverage. Before applying use a sanding block lightly over the wood. This will smooth the chalk paint and you will start seeing the brush strokes even out if you used a brush or foam applicator brush. For the last coat I use a foam roller to get as smooth a surface as possible.
Distressing is a personal choice. You may want to experiment with how much you like (you can always take off more; it’s almost impossible though to put back on if you take off too much). If you decide to distress, it brings back the undercoat of the original stain or bare wood (depending on how hard you sand and the colors underneath).
On my Mouse Sander I use 120 grit or higher to distress. If you are new to distressing, start with a sanding block or just a sheet of high numbered sandpaper. Focus on the edges of the door and where there is a profile or recess.
To get ideas on distressing patterns you like on cabinetry look at Pinterest, visit Kitchen Showrooms (even Lowes has some distressed cabinet doors on display), Open House Tours, and even Home and Garden Shows.
The national trends on Kitchens state that distressing is out… I think it depends on the area of the U.S. and what type of kitchen you have. I’m going for a contemporary farmhouse kitchen look so it fits. A contemporary modern style of kitchen wouldn’t look right distressed (well maybe if you were going with an industrial loft look but you get my point).
Stain, Colored Wax or Clear Wax topcoats?
At this point your door is ready to finish. You have several options. You could use a Walnut stain to tint the door color which darkens the white or cream and tints the bare wood. This I did with my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint test door (see pic below). The door is all ASCP Old White but the bottom half had a rub of stain on it.
You could also use Tinted Wax which gives some of the same appearance as the rubbed on and off oil stain seen above but seems to collect more color in the crevices. People report mixed results with Tinted Wax and I think this is because you should do a TEST DOOR! LOL! and experiment with how this medium works before jumping in with it
Or you can go with Clear Wax with no stain or tinting. This will be choice for the Kitchen Cabinets due to what I saw with the test doors (keep reading 🙂
Note! Using Polyurethane or Varnish over white or off-white paint colors is a big NO NO! It will yellow your color and as it ages, yellow more.
Test Door Evaluation
With the finished test doors, what you may not be able to tell on the computer is that the Ce Ce Caldwell Vintage White is a very close match to the ASCP Old White. It’s a creamy, off white color. The Ce Ce Caldwell Simply White is a very bright, clear white that doesn’t quite show up in these photos.
At this point I realize one thing: the Walnut Stain is not going to work with the wall color or the floor tile. It’ s not griege enough to go with the wall, and it brings out the pink in the white floor tile so nothing but ugly there.
Now you’ll see how photos are deceptive. These next were taken without a flash but the Simply White looks creamier than the Vintage White – the exact opposite is true in real life.
This is why you can’t go by the Internet or your computer for colors. Get a test sample and make a test door to see it in various lights and against other colors.
The Simply White would go well with the rest of the white molding and I think would look better undistressed and for a totally white, bright kitchen. However, the Vintage White will go better with the drawer and cabinet hardware, as well as the rustic feel of the drop pendants that I’ve been working with in the design. Vintage White would also allow me to do some topical tint or distressing in the egg and dart crown molding we installed.
Previously, the kitchen seemed to be a huge solid mass of cabinet doors. After looking at many kitchens, especially ones in houses about $20,000 over our selling range, I decided to change the cabinets to a combination of glass front doors, open shelf cubbies and closed cabinet doors and drawers.
The original plan to break up this wall of cabinets was to make the cabinet over the fridge and the stove open, and to make the upper cabinets left of the fridge, with glass inserts. Matching molding would unite the two walls. To keep the kitchen usable, we are going in stages: the upper cabinets on the stove wall is finished except for painting, so now it’s the fridge wall’s turn to be transformed.
The cabinet over the fridge was a deep, 24″ cabinet and the first job was to make it less cave-like by putting in a new back, reducing the depth to 16″. These photos show how it was framed in using available scrap lumber:
If you don’t provide enough framing, the beadboard will warp and won’t sit as nicely. Here the beadboard backing had to be cut in half to fit into the narrow space.
A piece of molding trims out the edge of the beadboard so the rough edge won’t be visible. These touches make the finished project look professional so don’t skip them!
The new cabinet facing was applied. Like the cabinet over the stove, this cabinet will project slightly in order to cover the original cuts made for the hinges of the original cabinet doors. Visually, we change the dimesions with facing to make it look less like a cabinet. (BTW we had to remove the facing to put in the beadboard so do the interior back FIRST, before putting on the facing of the cabinet).
Board sizes (and shelf depth) were chosen to match the perspective of the open cabinet now over the stove – always consider matching ratios to current cabinetry in order for a matched, finished look. Doing this lessens the appearance of new additions and makes the entire project look like it was done at one time.
Because the facing overlaps the existing facing, the cut out hinge holes are no longer seen from the front and are hard to see from the side.
Egg and Dart trim molding that was used on the stove wall of upper cabinets is repeated here. It’s wrapped around the corner of the fridge cabinet wall because the crown will not fit due to the existing sofit (sofit contains central air ducting).
The Egg and Dart pattern repeats in the crown molding we will be installing: repeating themes in molding also gives cohesion.
Brackets in the same design, slightly larger then the open cabinet over the stove, are installed. To provide additional nailing support, a small piece of 1×1 is nailed onto the inside of the cabinet. This will be hidden by the bracket, and covers the top hinge hole cut for the old cabinet doors.
First the base molding is installed and is cut to work around the new cabinet facing. Between the egg and dart trim and base trim, the seam of the wall has now been concealed. The base molding is installed upside down to show off the decorative trim and leave a flat area for the future attachment of the crown molding.
After the base is installed, crown molding is added. Plan for some of it to cover the base molding:
Once all the trim is added, some wooden medallions are applied to the brackets. Wood glue is applied to the backs and they are nailed into place using small nails called brads.
Little touches like this can make your end project more personal. Molding and appliques canprovide interesting detail if you plan on glazing, waxing or distressing in your finishing process.
Next up, we returned to the open cabinet over the stove and put in the beadboard backing around an electrical outlet. This beadboard backing was going right against the wall so no false wall was needed.
The shelf front is trimmed with complimentary molding. The back of the shelf was trimmed off with a table saw to reduce the depth as the molding on the front adds depth and we wanted the shelf to fit it’s current opening.
Again when it comes to projects, like these if you know how to work with molding you can trim out something that is average and make it truly special. With some clever pre-planning you can adapt existing cabinetry in good condition to something new.
Some various photos, mid-stage. Once the paint goes on the project will really pull together!
We’ve got another kitchen cabinetry project coming but that won’t happen til August – we will converting the useless breakfast bar to an open shelving unit. There’s still much to do in the kitchen after that – a revamp of the island, a wooden block island counter, granite counter over the rest, and a stone backsplash.
Meanwhile, we’ll be doing some paint sample doors as the paint I was going to use is no longer available in my area.
When we had the house built we opted for a tall cabinet option. These original cabinets are 42″ high, leaving a 13″ gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. Not only is this gap irritating (wasted space, dust collector) but nowadays, the trend in high-end kitchens is to have the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling.
In a previous cabinet remodel we had extended the height to the ceiling to make it larger. I’ve been asked how we did that and since having tall, upper cabinets, wrapped in crown molding is a big trend in higher end kitchens, I thought I would show how we did it for the kitchen.
Here is the area we’ll be working with: the upper cabinets on the stove wall. The cabinet doors over the stove hood have been removed. There is a 13″ gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling (vintage kitchen items are there now) which we will be filling in to make a visually taller cabinet.
Intalling the Cabinet’s Face Frame
First the original trim is removed and trashed. Next a frame with scrap wood is nailed in. Make sure you recess this so the new facing will sit flush with the old cabinetry.
Because these cabinets will be painted, we don’t have to concern ourselves with putting up wood that would match a pre-existing stain. It’s easier to do this sort of project if you are going to refinish the entire cabinet to a new color.
The flat face boards are installed by nailing onto the wood framework. In this first photo, left is the new facing board, while right is still exposed. BTW a nail gun with compressor is a must have on this type of job. If you don’t own one, you can rent them.
Because the gap between cabinets and ceiling is 13″, we went with 12″ boards (standard size) which keeps the costs down and the 1″ remaining gap will be covered with crown molding.
Making Open Storage from a Cabinet with Doors
The cabinet over the stove will remain open for storage. In order to cover the cut outs made for the old hinges (when this cabinet had doors), we nailed a new framework directly on top. This will bump out the cabinet from the others, and make a more interesting face profile. It also will give more depth to the crown molding. Brackets and more trim is added to provide even more interest.
Bump outs on cabinetry, vs. a flat profile, is found in higher end, expensive cabinets. If I had more time and money, I would probably have made this bump out a bit more dramatic but for a house going on the market in a year, this gave it some umph.
Painting and Glazing Detailed Molding
It’s much easier to paint trim before it is installed; this is especially true of molding that has a lot of detail. This project will use a combination of base and crown molding as well as some brackets. Note: the entire cabinet will be touched up with a final coat of Old White to blend old with new and detailed in a later post.
One coat of Anne Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Old White is applied with a bristle brush over bare wood
For a glaze, I returned to Walnut oil stain (this can size is about $5 and I used about 1/3rd the can). The first application is applied heavily using a foam paint applicator brush. I use foam because afterwards I’m throwing it away and I also like how foam really crunches down into the recessed areas.
It’s wiped away with a rag. At this point if you think the glaze is too light, put on more. If too heavy, wipe off more. Being an oil stain you have plenty of working time.
When working with stain the areas of previous work vs. new area worked…
…can leave a mark. Be on the lookout for these blemishes and always correct by rubbing it out with your cloth before it has a chance to set and dry.
When the trim is finished, compare it and make sure the glazing is even throughout. Flat areas such as the baseboard will naturally appear lighter then heavily carved and detailed areas:
Installing Base and Crown Molding Trim on Upper Cabinetry
First, the base molding is installed. You need to measure and make sure that you continue to align it straight across. For this we used a board as a temporary spacer which is quicker then trying to measure the spacing with a tape.
Note: if you have an older house that is not level, you will need to make a decision on how you will align the molding – off the ceiling or slicing some off of the molding to give the illusion it is straight.
At this point of the project, all of the base molding is installed and the small gap you see between the ceiling and the facing will be covered once the crown is installed.
We opted for a speciality block at each end of the cabinets as a visual stop to the cabinet molding. The top part of the block must be big enough for crown and base to butt against it. In our situation the rectangular block on top had to be increased in height by re-building the box with thin pieces of Aspen boards.
In this next photo you can see how the base molding trim already installed, works with the crown molding.
Crown molding is cut on the table saw and it does take a bit of practice to know how to manage the cut. I recommend having someone help you the first time or watch a Youtube video (it’s rather complex to go into in this blog).
The edge cut of the crown molding can be lightly rasped to remove any fuzz left from the cut; this allows for a cleaner fit when the next piece is installed. A small wedge of crown is cut so it wraps completely around with a nice tight fit.
Another piece of base molding and some egg and dart trim are added to the bottom. This covers the joined area of old and new, as well as giving the entire unit more appeal.
Nail holes are filled with wood putty. After it dries, blemishes are sanded smooth. Painting the entire cabinet will be covered in a future post. I will also be putting some decorative trim on the shelf front and the backing of the open cabinet will become beadboard.
This is a three day project: one day to paint and the other two to put in the molding. Molding was finished by us in one 1.5 days but I would plan for two.
At this point of the kitchen remodel project the ceiling has been re-wired for drop pendants (4) and for future cabinet lighting; the ceiling was re-plastered and painted; and the upper cabinet (stove) wall refinished with carpentry. I’ve planned to do this in stages to decrease the time the kitchen will be out of use, and to fit within my budget.
Next up will be the fridge wall of cabinets with matching ceiling trim of the crown to tie the two together and finishing off the two open shelf cabinets. From there I’ll paint these two sections before moving on to the lower cabinets and island. Unfortunately, due to finances this is a long project with here and there, so bear with me and I’ll update photos as we move along.