How To Guide: How to Paint Cabinets using CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Products

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How To Paint Cabinets with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Products

These instructions are very general and really are directed more at the general steps needed to accomplish painting cabinetry as well as those specific to getting a great result with CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints Products. Spraying cabinets is a great way to get a professional result.  You can use CeCe's paint in a sprayer--I've done it--it works great!  This tutorial, however, explains how to paint them by hand--either with a brush or even a roller if you choose.

If you don't read any other tutorial about painting cabinets then please read 11 Big Mistakes You Make Painting Cabinets by Good Housekeeping. They go over the biggest mistakes and I often find myself reading about biggest mistakes after I have made them. Here is your opportunity to read them before you begin, making it easier to avoid them!

good housekeeping article 11 mistakes to avoid when painting kitchen cabinets



  • remove doors and drawers
  • remove hardware and bumpers
  • clean
  • fill holes** (if needed)
  • degloss or liquid sandpaper or sand** (optional)
  • hide wood grain** (optional)
  • tape off
  • prime
  • paint
  • finish
  • rehang doors, replace hardware, etc



  • plastic bags or other container for hardware
  • drill or screwdriver
  • map of kitchen numbering doors/drawers
  • tsp or degreasing cleaner
  • heavy duty rubber cleaning gloves
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 320 or higher sandpaper or brown kraft paper
  • painter's tape
  • primer
  • paint
  • high quality paintbrushes or mohair rollers 
  • tack cloth
  • finish
  • deglosser or liquid sandpaper**
  • wood fill or bondo
  • chip brush**
  • small angled artist brushes to clean up corners and pooled paint**
  • something to hide wood grain like sanding sealer, grain filler** if you have oak cabinets and you want to completely hide the wood grain**

**optional supplies


How to paint cabinets with 100% natural cece caldwell's chalk + Clay paints productsTake all the doors down, remove drawers. Be sure to number them and draw yourself a map of where they go. I like to label the hinges as top or bottom and with the door number. Some hinges are fancy and can be adjusted a million ways to get the door to hang straight and if you return the hinges to the same places you are less likely to have to redo any of that adjusting when rehanging everything.

how to label and store hinges when painting cabinets with cece caldwell's paints

how to paint cabinets with ceces paints products from vintage bette and transform Remove all hardware and plastic or rubber bumpers. You will want to get new bumpers but the hardware can be reused either as is or repainted.  If you want to paint your hardware to match your cabinets I would still remove it and use a paint recommended for use on metal or whatever material your hardware is made from.  I often use Rustoleum spray paints for painting hardware and they always turn out great. It is an inexpensive way to get a new look. Hardware can be pricey.  I have used it all and Rustoleum is the business!!  

makeover your kitchen by painting your cabinets with cece caldwell's paints productsClean all surfaces . I like to use TSP Substitute as it not only cleans all the grease and oil and other buildup on the surfaces but it also dries out whatever finish is left. Wear gloves to protect your skin. If you are sanding down all the finish on all the surfaces you can skip this step and just be sure to dust with a tack cloth or damp microfiber cloth before you paint.  Don't forget around the refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc...

use a chip brush to get dust out of corners of furniture and cabinets when painting

redo your kitchen with cece caldwell's chalk + clay paints from vintage betteIf you are replacing your hardware you will want to be sure the existing holes in your cabinets are where they need to be for the new pulls and knobs. If not, then you will want to fill the holes with wood fill at this time so you can redrill new holes for your new hardware once the painting is complete.

fill old hardware holes with wood fill if you are replacing hardware with different dimensions

how to redo your kitchen without new cabinets by painting with cece caldwells paints

If you are needing and/or wanting to hide the grain of oak cabinets you should do that now. You can find many, many tutorials and how tos about hiding the grain when painting cabinets and furniture. Find the best fit for you and follow the tutorial and/or the product directions for use.  We included a list of links to tutorials and other information about hiding wood grain at the end of this page.


Here is a great suggestion from Evolution of Style Blog.
how to hide wood grain when painting oak cabinets by evolution of style blog

Another great idea from Ask Anna Moseley.
how to hide wood grain on kitchen cabinets with Bondo wood fill by ask anna moseley

And yet another from Our Life Our Love.
how to hide wood grain on oak cabinets with spackle by our life our love

how to make over your kitchen cabinets with 100% natural cece caldwell's paints

Sand your woodfill spots and/or wood grain hiding product at this time and dust cabinets, doors and drawers thoroughly using a chip brush to get dust out of corners and crevices and tack cloth to ensure nothing stays behind to compromise your painting.


how to update your kitchen with cece caldwells paints products from vintage bette

Tape off any areas you do not want painted. Be sure you are pressing the edge of the tape down firmly to minimize bleeding.



how to update old kitchen cabinets with 100% natural cece caldwell's chalk paints from vintage betteIt is not necessary to use a primer with CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk + Clay Paints but I recommend using a primer when painting cabinetry. Primer helps ensure a professional looking finish and can help smooth out minor flaws and imperfections in your surfaces. It also seals any grease, odors, nicotine and residue underneath it so nothing will bleed through your gorgeous painting. If you notice color or greasy spots bleeding through your primer coat(s) you will want to continue with more coats (at least over the stain) until it no longer bleeds through. Some types of oil, grease, nicotine stains, etc. can bleed through paint. Do not continue until this is resolved. For optimal results, sand lightly with a finishing sponge or 320 grit or higher sandpaper and dust with chip brush and tack cloth between coats of primer. Some of the products mentioned above for hiding wood grain are also primers so if you are using one of them you will not need to use a separate primer. If you are not using one of them and would like suggestions on which primer to use these are my favorites...

vintage bette's favorite primers for sealing old wood before painting with cece's paints  vintage bette's favorite primers for blocking stains before painting with cece's


how to paint cabinets and make over your kitchen with cece caldwell's paints productsInspect all your surfaces thoroughly and ensure there are no drip marks or rough patches that need sanding before continuing on to painting. If you have a drip mark in the primer or a ‘seam’ where woodfill was used it WILL show up in the paint as well so take care of it now! Sand lightly with a finishing sponge or high grit paper then dust with tack cloth.

how to paint cabinets and make over your home with cece caldwell's paints from vintage bette


Double check your tape and replace any spots where tape seems to be peeling or raising up. You will want as perfect a line as possible along your walls, floors and the insides of your cabinets.

how to paint cabinets with cece caldwell's 100% natural chalk + clay paints productsStir paint thoroughly for 2-3 minutes to ensure all pigment is evenly distributed into paint. Remove some to a working container. I like the ‘disposable’ plastic food storage containers with twist on lids so I can put a lid on and then continue using after a snack break or a night’s rest.

how to paint cabinets using 100% natural cece caldwells chalk paint from vintage bettePaint cabinet doors using a high quality brush, working from the inside of the doors out, working on the short sides then the long sides.


How to paint a cabinet door with 100% natural cece caldwell's chalk paint from vintage bette


how to paint kitchen cabinets with cece caldwell's chalk paint products from vintage betteWhen the first coat of paint is dry inspect your surfaces and sand any drip marks or spots needing smoothing. Also check your tape and replace any places lifting. If any sanding was needed be sure to wipe with a tack cloth before beginning a second coat of paint. 

how to paint kitchen or bathroom cabinets with natural cece caldwell's paints from vintage betteIf you are glazing your cabinets or applying an enhancement or stain over the paint do it at this time. (be sure to practice on a sample board before applying to cabinets) See our page How To Clear Glaze for information on how to glaze anything with CeCe Caldwell's. You can also find directions for mixing your own custom color. If you sand or create any dust remember to wipe with a tack cloth before applying any seal or finish.

how to paint cabinets with 100% natural cece caldwell's paints from vintage betteOnce your cabinets are painted and glazed or enhanced as you want them it is time to finish your project with a sealer. CeCe Caldwell's offers several finishes, both wax based and brush on. If you are wanting a hand waxed finish on your cabinets I recommend using a brush on, waterproof finish before using Waxing Cream or Clear Wax. You will want cabinets to be sealed so moisture can't get under your finish and ruin your paint. This important step will ensure you can use soap and water to clean them. I have recently been using a different brand of finish, Ecos, for my projects needing a durable finish. They make a gorgeous matte finish with amazing durability since it is designed for use on wood floors. I have also heard of people using marine-grade polyurethane finishes in kitchens and bathrooms to protect their hard work. Any finish of any brand can be used over your paint so research and choose the right one for your situation.

how to paint cabinets with cece caldwell's Chalk paints from vintage bette

Be gentle with your freshly restyled cabinetry as it takes finishes up to 30 days to fully harden and cure.


how to redo the look in your kitchen by painting cabinets with cece caldwell's chalk paintsShare your work with us online at or tag us on Instagram @vintagebette #vintagebette.


Here are a few favorite lists of tips for painting cabinets:



Here are a few links to websites and tutorials for using a sprayer and hiding wood grain when painting cabinets: