Painting Over Oak Cabinets Without Sanding or Priming!

by Lollypaper
Unless you live in a house that is almost brand spanking new, chances are you have “honey oak” cabinets somewhere in your home. I’m going to out on a limb here and say that if you do, you probably strongly dislike them. Now, if you love your oak cabinets, there is certainly nothing wrong with that…but this post probably isn’t for you. If I were you, I would go click on the arrow down below and read my last post that has a really cute Halloween project I made and pictures of my two puppies. I love them. You will too.If you are still reading, great! I have a solution for you that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, nor will it take you days to complete (well depending on how many cabinets you have).Even if you have done some remodeling, and have replace some of the oak, chances are you still have some oak cabinets lurking around somewhere. It could be hiding in the laundry room or in a dark hallway.I’m guess those cabinets might look something like this.Eek!I’ve posted several chalk paint projects, big and small, but so far, this is my favorite. Why? Because it solves one of life’s biggest mysteries; how to fix those ugly oak cabinets, without spending a wad of money to replace them.The answer is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, of course. The next thing you are going to ask me is if it really covers the oak grain, and I’m here to tell you that YES! It does!Do you see any oak grain? Nope, didn’t think so.Here’s the best part, I did these laundry room cabinets in less than 6 hours! True story!This laundry room belongs to my dear friend and fellow blogger, (visit her here) Danielle. Although I was told by the fabulous women that work at Magpie, my local Annie Sloan retailer, that it does, indeed, cover the oak grain, I was still skeptical. Seeing is believing, and I had to see if for myself. Since I *fortunately* don’t have oak in my current house, I offered to paint Danielle’s laundry room cabinets for her.Why so little time invested you ask? Here’s what you have to do with “normal” painting;Sand. UGH. That can take a good hour or two, because after you sand you have to clean up the sanding mess.Then you have to prime…then wait it to dry.Then you apply your first coat of paint, and wait for it to dry.Then sand. And clean the sanding mess again.Then another coat of paint, then dry, then sand, blah blah blah…on and on and on. Are you tired yet?With chalk paint, however, It dries almost immediately. So by the time I finished the first coat of paint, the side where I began was already dry and ready for its second coat. No waiting time for the paint to dry. Brilliant!I apologize for the poor images. This is in a small laundry room, and there is absolutely no natural light… and I am no Ansel Adams. It does look a little like primer, but I assure you, it is not. It is Annie Sloan paint in “Old White”. This is after two coats of paint, and before clear wax. And look…I haven’t made too much of a mess either. Good for me.I did apply the paint pretty thick. I did the first coat with a small roller, and the second coat with a 2 1/2 inch, good quality brush. Typically chalk paint goes a long way, and a thick coat isn’t necessary, but since I was trying to cover that nasty oak grain, I laid it on thick.After applying a nice quick coat of clear wax, you will notice the richness of the color come out. It also slightly darkens the paint. I did take pictures, but they didn’t turn out because of the poor lighting. Sorry.Next, the dark wax is applied. Danielle requested a more rustic and distressed look to match her kitchen cabinets, therefore, I went heavier on the dark wax. If you want a cleaner, updated look, you can skip the dark wax all together.The key with the dark wax is to apply very little at a time. It’s dark, and a little goes a long way, so use it sparingly. It’s pretty scary at first, but you will eventually realize, that you can remove as much or as little as you want. So don’t panic.Looks scary doesn’t it? Well, not as scary as the oak, right?Next you start working the dark wax, until you achieve the look you prefer. If you get distracted and the wax gets too dry, don’t worry. Just take a little dab of the clear wax, rub it over the spot that’s too dark, and you can get it out. It takes a little elbow grease, but it will rub out. The clear wax sort of works like an eraser. Work in small patches, and don’t be scared. It’s much easier than it looks.Keep working the wax to achieve the look you want. Again, my girlfriend wanted a more aged look, so I went heavier on the dark wax. I love the way it turned out, and more importantly, so does she.Here are some more pictures of the final outcome…Don’t forget the final step wich is a quick rub with a steel wool pad, and then buffed with a sponge buffer, or a microfiber cloth. This will give your surface a nice shiny finished look.See that pretty shine?Now I don’t consider myself an “expert”, nor do I consider myself I great “tutorial” kind of gal. I would suggest going to Annie Sloan’s web site and/or You Tube and watch some videos before you get started. I watched a lot before I tackled my first project. Everyone has their own techniques and tips. I would also suggest trying it out first on a small piece of furniture or practice board before you jump into anything too big. You will soon find what works best for you. Personally, I tested it out on a brown cabinet that I wanted to repaint. It was a great piece for me to practice on. You can see my full post about that here.Good luck and I hope this helped. Again, I am no expert, but I would love to help, so if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.Happy Monday…if there is such a thing. :)Jenice
Painting over oak cabinets without sanding or priming. Chalk paint cabinet makeover
painting over oak cabinets without sanding or priming
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Louise Louise on Jan 26, 2016
    I have real pine cabints, would that work for them?
  • Michelle Michelle on Jan 31, 2018

    Will this work if cabinets have a clear laquer finish? No sanding?


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2 of 28 comments
  • Eve13178907 Eve13178907 on Oct 13, 2016
    Hi I have paint on my kitchen cabinet, but I would like to distress or chalk paint my cabinets, my question is do I need to remove the paint first and then re-apply the color I want to use
  • Mary Mary on Jul 10, 2019

    yes. More information amts needed