Cabinet Doors to Chalkboards

A few months ago I was in Habitat for Humanity’s Restore where I found a whole pile of random cabinet doors. A bunch of them were actually samples from what looked like Lowes or Home Depot. They were speaking to me so I brought them home. Then not long ago, a friend asked if I would teach a craft to a group of Japanese women. She wanted something to go with the theme of using time wisely. So I thought of an organizer with key hooks. Why? Because, according to the internet, we spend two and a half days per year looking for lost things. I can only imagine that keys are at least in the top three missing items. Also, these doors had been mocking me for long enough. Up-cycling cabinet doors is not a new thing but doing it with a room full of Japanese ladies may be.

We only had an hour for the whole project so the leader of the group, Samantha, and I did some prep a few days in advance.

We lightly sanded the doors and got any stickers off the fronts. Then we chalk painted the outside. Next, we applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint on the panels. Wait, what? What’s the difference between chalk paint and chalk board paint? Okay, here’s the skinny.

Chalk paint is a type of paint that gives a matte, chalky finish. It goes over just about anything and when done right has a really smooth feel.

Chalk board paint makes any surface into a chalkboard.


Next I loaded up the following supplies for an afternoon with these delightful ladies.

Chalk board paint

Creme wax

Foam brushes

Artist’s brushes

Cup hooks


Sawtooth picture hangers

Cup hooks


The first thing we did was attach the saw tooth hangers to the back of the cabinet doors. Here are two tips for helping to make that job easier because those nails are so tiny.

  • Poke a hole using a compass or awl where the nails will go.

  • Make a little tab using tape, or paper and punch the nail through it. Use this as a handle as you nail then pull it out when you are done. Alternatively you can use some needle nose pliers, as one of the helpers suggested.

Next, the ladies drilled pilot holes for the cup hooks. This was really fun because the drill was a brand new experience for most.

To give the doors that shabby chic look, they used sandpaper to reveal some of the wood beneath the paint.

After a quick dusting, the women used foam and artists brushes to paint on a smooth third coat of black chalkboard paint to the panels.

The next step for the finish was to apply creme wax, which you let dry, then buff.

The very last step was to attach the cup hooks .

The final result was just right! Lots of smiles, beautiful projects, and a little soul satisfaction!