Chalk Painting the Cabinet Doors in my Casita Travel Trailer
This is my first how-to post, of a seven post series, on the Glamping makeover of my Casita Travel Trailer, starting with Chalk Painting Cabinet Doors.
(Please see my post My Casita Camper “Before Glamping” Pictures, to learn why I chose to buy a Casita Travel Trailer; including before pictures as I cleaned her to get ready for her makeover).
The picture to the right shows what the interior looked like before painting. As you can see, the interior is white molded fiberglass with the exception of the cabinet doors, which are a standard MDF door construction made to look like wood.
My Casita is a 2006, but the current models still have these doors and similar hardware. It is a nice clean look, but not glamped enough for me.
Where did I get my inspiration?
I received my inspiration from many sources, but if you go to my Pinterest board on “Glamping“, you will see a wonderful potpourri of camper designs! All beautiful in my mind; suiting the taste of the person who created them. While I LOVE color, which is all over my home, for my camper I wanted a subtle interior; a little shabby chic mixed with beach cottage feel.
It’s important for me that my camper be a place where I can go and relax from the world. I wanted a soft and quiet surrounding, and a place to display a little of my art and crafts. My desire for a quiet environment made the Casita an excellent choice, as the carpeted interior walls insulate you from most exterior sounds when the windows are closed.
Outside of all the labor involved in cleaning the carpet in my Casita, painting the cabinet doors was the most labor intensive. You cannot shortcut this section. If you want to paint your cabinet doors, it’s important that you take your time.
8 Steps to Chalk Painting Cabinet Doors:
Step 1: Remove all the cabinet doors to be painted.
The obvious first step in this process is to remove all the cabinet doors you want to paint, but what is easy to forget is to tag the back of each door with a numbered sticker, and placing another sticker, with the same number, at the place where you removed the door. This step is very important because many of the doors are the same size, and you want to make sure each door goes back on the same hardware it was removed from so everything (i.e. screw holes) line up, or your doors may not fit well.
Also, note I said “remove all the cabinet doors that you want to paint.” Any door in my Casita that would be hidden from view would stay in its original condition (i.e. brown). After all, chalk paint can be expensive, and if you are not going to see the door, why paint it? (The last picture in this post shows you some of the painted doors and walls, and those that remained unpainted.)
Step 2: Selecting the chalk paint colors and tools.
One thing I must share with you up front: this is not my first chalk paint project, and I did take a class on several ways to work with chalk paint. Depending on your personal skill level, this may or may not be necessary, but I consider myself an artist/designer by trade, and I still found training by someone who has worked with the material very beneficial.
The paint I was trained on is Annie Sloan. There are many brands out there, and from what I hear others say, this is one of the more expensive, but it hasn’t failed me yet. You can also find recipes on the Internet on how to make your own chalk paint, and I might do that for a future project, but my camper doors were not the place to experiment.
Why did I chose chalk paint versus other forms of paint? While I do love the look of chalk paint, the number one reason I chose to use it is because you DO NOT have to prep the surface you are going to paint. No sanding of any kind! In fact, it doesn’t even have to be wood! I’ve seen it used on leather and metal, too!
The photo below shows everything I used to paint my cabinet doors and walls:
- A 32 ounce can of Pure White. This is the “whitest” of the Annie Sloan colors.
- Small jar of Coco. Where I buy my paint, I can buy small containers of colors. This saves me money from having to buy a 32 ounce can for a color I rarely use. I used the Coco color to add a dry brush technique to my doors, giving a subtle aged looked.
- Anne Sloan’s Soft Wax in clear. (She makes a dark wax, which I have used on other projects, and, although I have never tried it, I understand you can add a little chalk paint to the clear wax to tint it to whatever you please.)
- Painter’s Tape and a Cheap Paint Brush. I want to emphasize the “cheap” paint brush. Annie Sloan does make some very nice brushes to use with her products, but I am tough on brushes, and the brush below does the trick for me, and I have no guilt throwing it away when I am done. If you take better care of your brushes than I do, you might want to invest in one of Annie Sloan’s, they are very nice.
The next photo is a color palette I made when I took my class, and shows all the different colors in the Annie Sloan series. As you can see, there is a wonderful collection of colors!
Step 3: Lining up my doors to paint, and covering hardware with painter’s tape:
I painted my cabinet doors on my kitchen table, covered with an old bed sheet. Soft specks of paint did get on my tile floors, which I had to clean, so if you want to avoid that step, cover your floors, too.
I also taped the hardware to protect it from the paint, which you will see in Step 4 below. If you wish, you can take off all the hardware, but you would want to make sure to number which hardware went to which door, so the screws line up again when you are done. Personally, I didn’t feel that step was necessary (and too much work!).
Step 4: Initial Coats of Chalk Paint
In the image below, you will note that the top door has one coat of chalk paint, and the bottom door has two. I used a total of three coats of the Pure White paint on all surfaces.
Note: when working with the paint, and to give the illusion of “grain” I painted in the same direction as the original grain on the doors. Also note in the second photo, that I chose not to paint the back of my doors. Again, there is a cost to chalk paint, but the real reason I chose to leave them in their natural state is so I could scrub and clean them, should anything they hide get on the door. The chalk paint cleans well, too, but why worry about it if you don’t have to?
Step 5: Dry Brushing with Coco Color
To create a dry brush effect, simply take your second color, put a small amount on your brush then dab it on a paper towel to remove most of the paint. Then, in a light sweeping motion, barely touching the door, brush up and down in the “grain” direction to achieve the look you want. How much you put on is entirely up to you, and you may wish to practice on a sample board beforehand. But if you mess up, no worries, just cover the mistake with more Pure White paint, and then give it another try!
Step 6: Adding Architectural detail to a Door
It was important to me that one door had some architectural detail, and wasn’t flat, so I chose the door above the sink in my Casita for that purpose. In the next four images, you will see how I transformed this plain door by first glueing on a piece of wood accent moulding that I purchased at the local home store. Once the wood glue dried, I painted it with three coats of Pure White (a little more was needed to fill in all the details of the moulding), and then I dry brushed it with Coco. I love the way this door turned out!
Step 7: Chalk Painting the Dinette Table
Painting the dinette table was the same as painting the cabinet doors. You will note, however, that in this image I show the can of Soft Wax in clear. The Soft Wax helps seal the chalk paint, and as bonus, especially for the dinette table, it creates a waterproof surface so liquids do not absorb into the paint; making for easy cleanup.
All my chalk painted cabinet doors and walls got at least one coat of clear wax, which I applied AFTER I reinstalled them in my camper. The reason I chose to add the wax after the doors were reinstalled is because you must rub the wax in, just like you were waxing a car, and I found it easier to complete this process when I had the door hinged and locked.
Step 8: Chalk Painting Interior Walls and beginning to reinstall doors in the camper.
In this last image, you can see where I added chalk paint to the center panel dividing the dinette area from what will be the bed. Also note all the surfaces I did not paint. Those surfaces are going to be covered by the bed, so I felt no need to paint them.
My cabinet doors and interior walls are now complete, and I am already seeing a big transformation in my camper! The white cabinet doors have really brightened and opened up the space, and I love the look!
In next week’s post, I will share with you how I added teal accents with spray paint to some of the Casita’s interior and exterior surfaces.
In the meantime, please feel free to ask me any questions you may have, make comments, or share experiences. I’d love to hear from you!
Mrs. Padilly’s Series on her 17′ Spirit Deluxe Casita Travel Trailer’s Glamping Makeover:
Casita Glamping Makeover:
- Chalk Painting Cabinet Doors
- Adding Teal Paint to Accent Surfaces
- Installing a Tile Backsplash
- Installing Wood Vinyl Flooring
- Decorating the Screen Door
- Window Treatments
- Dressed for Glamping
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