Rejoice! You CAN paint laminate/melamine cabinets!!!
When you move into a home built in the ’90’s, chances are you will be faced with some unfortunate design choices made by fast-moving cookie-cutter builders. In our case, we have the melamine/laminate cabinets in our bathrooms and kitchen.
If your budget doesn’t have the wiggle room to reface or replace, you CAN paint these eyesores without the latex paint peeling off like cheap nail polish!
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Here’s the secret: You have to use chalk paint with a protective wax finish. And guess what? If you’re frugal like me, you can make your own!!
- Plaster of Paris (You can buy a carton at your local home improvement store in the paint department)
- Interior Paint of your choice – I have used leftover eggshell paint from projects, or the matte paint samples have worked great as well.
- Plastic mixing container – Tupperware, small plastic bucket
- Paint brush of your choice
- Protective wax, found with the wood stains in your home improvement store’s paint department.
- Old t-shirt or wiping cloths
- Stir stick
- Measuring cup
Remove your cabinet doors and drawer fronts and lay them out on a protected surface to paint. Clean them well (I used Windex).
Mix your homemade chalk paint:
Measure a 1:1 ratio of Plaster of Paris to water. For this project, 1/2 cup of each was plenty to complete the project. ** Do not make excess amounts, as this cannot be stored like store-bought chalk paints. Please read warnings on Plaster of Paris and follow appropriate safety precautions.
Stir the water and Plaster of Paris well until it is dissolved (apx. 2 minutes)
Now add 1 1/2 cup of your paint of choice and stir until well incorporated. I have used Behr paint+primer in eggshell on two occasions with great results.
Start painting your cabinet doors, drawer fronts and cabinet face frames. Use long, even brush strokes and make sure that you are only applying one light coat as your base coat. You might be tempted to paint it on thick, but leave the gaps and brush strokes for the second coat.
After allowing your first coat to dry for at least two hours, apply your second coat in the same way.
After allowing the paint to dry for at least two hours, it is time to apply the protective wax finish. I have used Minwax Paste Finishing wax with great results on several projects and it lasts forever. I have mixed dark stain colors with the wax in cheesecloth to create a custom dark wax on some projects. Play with it to create your own custom blend!
Scrape out a nice chunk (about 2 tbsp.) of your wax and rub it into your wiping cloth and rub it on the surface evenly. Do not be shy with the protective wax!
This is optional, but I used by orbital buffer to evenly coat the wax on the drawers and drawer fronts to give it a uniform appearance.
Attach your cabinet doors and drawer fronts and watch as the paint perseveres through all the neighborhood children clawing through the doors and drawers!!! If you’re like me, keep the hardware off until you find the perfect ones 😉
Happy chalk painting and money-saving!!!