Before we get into my nitty gritty review, I need to tell the back story to this cottage paint kitchen cabinet re-do! Spoiler alert! This paint ends up becoming my favorite paint for painting any sort of furniture. It is smooth, easy to use, dries fast, and looks beautiful. Exactly what any DIYer wants.
Let’s begin by saying that my husband is completely wonderful when it comes to his wife being pregnant and needing to redo the entire house in a weekend.
I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about being pregnant that makes me do crazy things with my house decor. I like neutral colors, expect when I’m pregnant. Then I want to find the most vibrant colors. When I’m pregnant I suddenly think I can paint all the walls in the house in a weekend. Trust me, I can’t. Most of the walls are done, but then I suddenly want to paint my cabinets and the wall painting project gets put on hold.
My husband has learned to recognize ‘the look’, and usually he is good with just going with the flow. But this last weekend ‘the look’ came across my face and he panicked. “NO Rachael, you will NOT start another project until the rest of the projects are done!” How did he know I was concocting about six more home projects?
That leads to Monday morning. Late Sunday night I had suddenly decided that the cabinets HAD to get painted within the next 48 hours. The just HAD to. I can’t explain why, but they just did. Thankfully, my husband gave into the “pregnancy crazy”. That’s a phrase, right? If not, it should be.
So, I started googling where to buy chalk paint on a Monday morning. My plan was to paint everything on Tuesday. I had to get the paint before work on Monday. I even started texting family asking them if they knew of a place that would be open besides our local Menards, which didn’t have the color of paint I wanted. My mom suggested “Biggs & Co” in Buffalo, MN.
They were closed on Mondays, but comm’on, I’m a pregnant lady on a mission. That wasn’t going to stop me. I clicked on the Facebook messenger button and asked if they ever opened on off hours for someone who wanted to buy chalk paint? Amazingly they responded YES!
Right there, you guys. Right there you know it’s a good store. When a store opens its doors for a crazy pregnant lady to buy paint, you should give them your loyalty.
But it didn’t stop there. Once I got to the store, the owner was fantastic! She walked me though all their chalk paint, asked questions, and explained some other options that might work better. I wanted to use chalk paint because it is straightforward application, easy dry, and covers large surfaces with lesser amounts of paint. However, I was dreading needing to put a topcoat of polyurethane or wax on the top. Polyurethane obviously shouldn’t be used by pregnant ladies, and wax is a pain to apply.
So, when the owner suggested a quality paint called “Cottage Paint Serenity” that applied like chalk paint, covered large areas with lesser amounts, and didn’t need a topcoat, I was sold.
Then she told me I could choose any tint and she would go to the manufacturer and pick it up that day.
SOLD. SOLD. SOLD. Let me see how fast I can whip that credit card out.
I had never heard of Cottage Paint, but I was about to get an education.
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What is Cottage Paint Serenity?
You can visit Cottage Paint’s website to learn more about their amazing products. Serenity Paint is a mineral paint that is formulated with acrylics and urethane resins. This is important because when this mix cures, it creates an incredibly durable surface.
Although I had mine tinted to the exact color I wanted, it is most like the ‘True Blue’ that is available on the above web page.
Cottage Paint Colors
There are so many cottage paint colors to choose from! Here is their color guide. I love the wide range of pallets to choose from. You can also blend colors to make them more muted or vibrant.
Preparing Cabinets for Cottage Paint
I have painted my cabinets before, so the surface was already primed to produce the best results. I used a cleaner and a dry rag to clean the surface before application. If you are working with bare cabinets, I recommend prepping your cabinets. The first time I painted my cabinets I sanded and stripped them with a product like this. I have used this product with many other projects as well and am satisfied with the results. If you choose to use this product, be sure to wear gloves and not use it while pregnant or nursing. I have also heard great reviews about paint strippers like this one.
However, Cottage Paint recommends simply purchasing their Clean and Prep products to create the best results. Although I did not invest in this, the idea of not having to sand a piece of furniture is very appealing.
For this project I chose to not take off the cupboard doors or the hinges. I know most ‘professional’ DIY’ers would cringe at my decision, but I have gone that route before, and it is not a ‘day’ project.
I have a great distaste for having an un-organized kitchen, so skipping a few steps was well worth it to me. My hinges are not visible on the outside, so I simply painted around them and wiped off any excess with a wet towel. I did remove my handles and knobs, which are quite easy to attach back on.
Side note: I did this project with a sick 13 month year old. Although he napped for most of the project, adding extra steps like taking off the doors, was just not going to be possible. Can you feel me Mammas?
The Process of Painting Cabinets
The actual painting was an adventure. This paint had me sold within a few moments of painting. It is a thinner consistency than I originally anticipated, and it took me longer than I care to admit learning how much to apply to my paint brush to avoid large drips. This was the main difference I came across between the iconic chalk paint and the new serenity paint: the drips. Maybe it was just because I’m quite the stubborn painter that does things ‘my way,’ but to me the paint seemed much drippier than other paints I have used.
I left my cupboards closed and painted around the entire outside. Then I opened the door and did a single coat of paint on the interior side of the door. Doing a single coat of paint on the interior made it look aged with the cream color I originally painted coming through. Again, I did not take off the hinges, but painted around and then used a wet cloth to wipe off excess.
Note on hinges: As I said, most DIYers would not recommend leaving the cupboard doors on to paint. I agree with this. However, if you are a busy mom, then I want you to know that it is possible to add some beauty to your kitchen, without making it into a week's long project. Your hinges might not be perfect, but the project will be done, and the outside will look fabulous.
Using this method of painting the front and then opening and finishing what was left, I worked my way across the entire kitchen cabinetry. Although I have a small kitchen, there are twelve average cabinets doors, one lazy Susan type cabinet, and two large pantry cabinets.
It is important with this paint to apply two layers of paint. The first layer will look very thin. I was skeptical that two layers would be enough after I had the first coat applied. The instructions recommend waiting 1-2 hours before applying the second coat of paint. Although, I did not time myself, but I came close to the recoat time. The second coat went much faster, so it was not an hour before I came to the last cabinets, I painted the first time. I noticed that these were the cabinets that the next day needed more touch up.
My conclusion to this is that waiting 2 hours before the second coat is highly recommended.
I started the project at 5am and finished around 4pm. This period included taking my son to the doctor about 40 minutes away, caring for him, taking him on a 1.5-mile walk, and preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The next day, I did some touch-up and painted the sides that were behind my fridge.
Overall, the period for a project like this was incredibly reasonable.
Cottage Paint Review
I've already given away that cottage paint is a stupendous product! Here are 5 things that I learned in the process of using it for the first time.
- This was the best quality of paint I have ever used.
- It is a thinner paint, so avoid drips takes some time to get used to.
- Two coats of paint are necessary, and a dry time of 2 hours makes touch up less necessary.
- For all my cabinets I used just over a quart of paint. This paint covers a great amount of surface.
- For my size cabinets this easily can be a day project if the cabinet doors are not removed.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets 'Wrong'
- I used an old paint brush
Here’s the thing, by sheer definition, I’m not the best painter. I get the job done, but I get it done using my own rules. If I want a project done, I’ll use a kitchen sponge if I need to. My family has recently learned to ban me from using their nice expensive paint brushes, because I WILL ruin them. I slap paint on like it’s a water fight.
I learned within about 5 minutes that my ‘own rules’ works simply fine when I’m using chalk paint or lesser quality paint. However, it's not going to work using high quality paint. My old paint brush was old, and I would have the job done a lot faster, with much less frustration had I just bought a quality brush.
Cottage Paint even has an article about choosing a brush with high filaments. Who knew! If you are a painter that goes by her own rules, take a peek at this article, it’s an education.
Another great option for a paintbrush a Purdy brushes. Purdy brushes have great filament count and can take a lot harder abuse before they start shedding their fibers.
- I Started by slapping it on like Chalk Paint
Serenity paint is not chalk paint. There are some real differences between Serenity Paint, Chalk Paint, Latex Paint. One of the wonderful things about chalk paint is that it really is ‘slappable’. Not a word, but you get the idea. It's very forgiving for a impatient painter and theirs is a lot of wiggle room in using any sort of technique to get the job done.
Other Cabinet Painting Resources
The preceding is simply what I learned from using Cottage Paint one time. I did minimum research on the paint before using it. However, Cottage Paint’s website is a treasure trove of information. They even have a color guide for your convenience, and tips on how to tint any color to your liking.
After I finished painting and wanted to do more research on this company, I ran across their ‘Project Checklist’. This is your Cottage Paint homework if you want to begin to use this amazing paint. They will walk you through all the tips and tricks on the trade to make your project the best it can be.
If you only have time to look at one of their checklists, I recommend checking out the ‘Painting Furniture Section’. This would have served a gal like me very well. If you don’t have time for reading, they have put another great resource together in their tutorials. You can watch exactly how to use this paint.
My Final Cottage Paint Review
Although I still love my good ole’ chalk paint projects, I am absolutely enamored with Cottage Paint Serenity. Not having to put on a topcoat is what originally sold me on the product, but the clear and smooth setting of the paint is what has me considering becoming a loyal user. Even with my ‘impatient’ painter syndrome, the smooth setting on the paint has completely hid the drips that I did not catch.
I am incredibly pleased that I took a leap of pregnant crazy and reached out to Biggs & Co for my paint needs. My experience with Cottage Paint and Biggs & Co was an education to be sure, and I’m loving the results of my random NEED to paint my cabinets.