The Best Chalk Paint For A Unique Cupboard Upcycle

Using The Best Chalk Paint, Decoupage and Decals for A Creative Cupboard Upcycle

It’s about time I had a proper grown-up dining room. So slowly I have been moving out all my craft clutter and doing up the room. Included in this transformation is my fabulously creative cupboard upcycle, with the best chalk paint.

I’d bought this display cabinet a few years ago with the intention of revamping it. However, before I got around to painting it, the cupboard was stuffed full of craft papers and supplies, and I soon forgot about it.

Now I want to use it as display come curio cabinet. Therefore, it was time to revamp it.

before creativ cupboard upcyle

It took more than a lick of paint to make this cupboard special. As well as using the best chalk paint I pimped it with a few extras such as decoupaged vintage graphics and decals.

I grew up in Hong Kong which is probably why I’m drawn to the gorgeous deep red antique Chinese furniture we used to have at home. That is why I chose to paint this curio cabinet in red chalk paint. I used what I consider the best chalk paint, Annie Sloan Red Emperor’s Silk Chalk Paint.

Also as the cabinet reminded me of an old curios cupboard you’d see in a museum I decoupaged the inside with vintage graphics. For the final touch, I added some decals to the large glass doors of this cabinet.

The best chalk paint cupboard upcycle with Annie Sloan Red Emperors Silk, decoupaged vintage graphics (Cavallini's insect wrap) and printable window decals.  Full tutorial.

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What I used for the best chalk paint cabinet upcycle

  • Annie Sloan Emperor’s Silk Chalk Paint
    Annie Sloan Emperors Silk Chalk Paint for creative cabinet upcycle.

The Cupboard upcycle

First, the paint job using the best chalk paint.

1. To me, one of the best things about using chalk paint is that there is very little prep needed. I hate preparing furniture for painting. When I decide to paint I want to paint straight away and not to have to faff about with loads of prep. The only prep I did was wipe down the cabinet with a damp cloth.

2. I started with the red chalk paint. Making sure I stirred the paint well before I applied it. If it was a little too thick I diluted it with water. After masking off the glass doors I painted 2 coats of the Emperors Silk red paint to the outside of the cabinet. Allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second.

3. At this stage, the cupboard was looking a bit of a pinky red and not very Emperor like. But I wasn’t too worried as it’s the wax that transforms the paint. To achieve the antique Chinese red I wanted with my cabinet I used a dark chalk paint wax.

I rubbed the wax all over the red paint with a lint free cloth. This really brought out the red Emperor colour on the cabinet.

4. The idea is for the cabinet to look old. Therefore with a fine grade of sandpaper, I sanded the wax and paint off in bits round the edges of the cupboard. This gave it a more distressed and antique look.

5. To finish off the paint job I applied a final coat of wax and buffed off the excess.

The inside of the best chalk paint cupboard ..

1. Firstly I painted the inside of the cupboard (except for the back panel) in grey chalk paint. This time I used a clear wax to seal the chalk paint.

2. However, the star of the show with the inside of my cupboard was the decoupage. I used a gorgeous vintage style gift wrap (3 Sheets).

3. I measured the back of the cupboard. It took 3 sheets of gift wrap to cover the backboard. I used a decoupage glue and stuck the first sheet of gift wrap in the center.

4. The next thing I did was cut the other sheets of paper to finish off decoupaging back of the cupboard. I used a wallpaper brush and a credit card to iron out any trapped air bubbles as I stuck the paper down.

best chalk paint cupboard decal inside.

Decals for the doors of the best chalk paint cupboard..

Half the point of upcycling furniture is not just about reducing waste and reusing what you have already got. It’s also about creating your own unique one of a kind piece of furniture and to personalise it.

So not only did I make this cupboard unique with best chalk paint, I also personalised it by adding some decals to the glass doors.

  • This is pretty straightforward to do. All you need is some printable window cling. Simply design what you want on your glass doors in a program like Word.
  • I choose our family name (Armstrong) and the No.5 as there are 5 of us. I printed the decals according to the instructions that came with them and stuck them onto the glass doors.
The best chalk paint cupboard upcycle window decals and decoupage

What was once a boring but useful cupboard has now become a centerpiece of my dining room. I absolutely love how the Emperors Silk red chalk paint turned out and the decoupaged back.

The cupboard is now far too good for random craft supplies it’s now a home for all my love Anthropologie dinnerware.

The best chalk paint cupboard upcycle window decals and decoupage
The best chalk paint cupboard upcycle with Annie Sloan Red Emperors Silk, decoupaged vintage graphics (Cavallini's insect wrap) and printable window decals.  Full tutorial.
Furniture flip using the best chalk paint Annie Sloan Red Emperor's Silk and decoupage vintage graphics.

You should check out my other fabulous furniture flips.
Classy Craft Cupboard Transformation
Pineapple Stenciled Table Upcycle
Ikea Hack Map Table Hack

Free Natural History Posters

You can also visit the DIYideacenter for even more furniture transformation ideas.

64 Responses

  1. […]   This natural history poster is full of lovely illustrations, or bees, flies, wasps, beatles and other flying insects. I’ve used a poster like this before for a unique cupboard upcycle. […]

  2. That insect paper at the back of the cupboard is a cracking idea!
    LOVE that. Might do the same on one of our glass fronted shelves that have things in too – would make such a difference! 🙂

  3. […] it on my wall as a unique piece of Christmas wall art. It looks fabulous in my dining room with my red chalk paint cupboard. […]

  4. […] The Best Chalk Paint For a Unique Cupboard Upcycle| Pillar Box Blue […]

  5. That little cabinet looks wonderful! I just love the background paper you used and the decals on the doors are the perfect finishing touch. It has so much character now! Thank you for sharing with us 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing this great idea on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party last week!! You were featured this week – be sure to stop on over and get your “I was Featured” button!! And share some more of your great projects!

  7. It’s a Crafty Party!! DIY link up #56 | Pleasures of the Northwest

    […] Pillar Blue Box had the top most visited post – and boy was it popular!  Here is some great information on Using the Best Chalk Paint, Decoupage, and Decals for a Creative Cupboard Upcycle! […]

  8. Snickerdoodle Create~Bake~Make Link Party #180 | The Blue Willow House

    […] Cupboard Upcycle – Annie Sloan Emperor’s Silk […]

  9. Gorgeous!! I love everything about your transformation, but that paper is really speaking to me. Thanks for sharing ! Cynthia

    • Thank you so much for visiting it’s nice to know that you like it. I do love the vintage graphic gift wrap.

  10. I am featuring your cupboard at Snickerdoodle on Saturday.

  11. […] Decoupaged cupboard up-cycle, by Pillar Box Blue […]

  12. Stunning! Red is my favourite colour so I’m loving this!
    It’s a perfect mix of quirky and fun but still grown up and classy.

    • Thanks, Julie, I thought Red might be your favourite colour from following your blog!

  13. If furniture could talk this cabinet would shout “Thank You, Claire!” This is a beautiful transformation and the color is really popping. Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, and I hope your week is going great.

    • Thank you so much. The cupboard no longer hides apologetically in the corner but stands proudly for all to see.

  14. […] The Best Chalk Paint For a Unique Cupboard Upcycle| Pillar Box Blue […]

  15. Claire….this turned out so awesome. I never knew there was such a thing as printable window cling. Can’t wait to test it out. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Waste Not Wednesday link party. Looking forward to seeing more from you this week.

    • Thank you so much Denise, look forward to linking up again this week.

  16. […] Claire completed an amazing makeover on this old cabinet! The vintage bug paper is to die for and the decals on the glass doors look so classy: […]

  17. Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  18. I love Annie Sloan Paint and love how you have used it on this project, that decal looks fabulous too Claire.

  19. This is just adorable!

  20. What a lovely makeover Claire. Love, love, love that color and the insect wrapping paper is so perfect. Great idea

  21. I would have totally been scared by the red looking like pink but it turned out amazing. I don’t know which was my favorite the vintage gift wrap or the window decals. I had no idea there were printable window clings. I am getting those right away. If it can be done on a computer, I am all about it! Thank you so much for sharing this at TADA! Thursdays this week!

    • Thank you so much. I was a little worried about the pink at first but the wax does transform the paint.

  22. Wow, it doesn’t even look close to the same piece! The red really transforms it! Thank you for sharing at Dishing It & Digging It!

  23. OH Claire! I simply adore this makeover, first a great pop of red, the wonderful decoupage images, then the door graphics, it looks just like an old curiosity cabinet done right. Also great tips on applying signage without a fancy diecut machine. Superb, I want one for my house. Thanks for sharing your project at Fridays Furniture Fix!

    • Thank you, Brenda. That was the look I was going for the old curiosity cabinet.

  24. This is wonderful, Claire! I love the way you finished the inside! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm–pinned to our Features and Favorites!

  25. What an ingenious idea to use wrapping paper. I have been scouring the net for small pieces of wallpaper and was having no luck. Obviously good quality wrapping paper can be used instead. Love it. Thank you for the inspiration

    • Thank you, I use gift wrap a lot in my projects especially map gift wrap.

  26. What an inspiring project, I love it! Thank you for sharing :).

  27. Love it! The bugs, the text, the color! All of it. Thanks for sharing at To Grandmas House We Go.

  28. I love this – and the instructions are perfect – had to pin! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party! (Checked out a few ads while I was here too!)

  29. This is gorgeous! You did such a great job with this cupboard makeover. I adore the dark red. I’m visiting from the DIY Link Party. I’d like to invite you share with us at Snickerdoodle Create-Bake-Make Party. It’s open through Tues.

  30. Great makeover! My husband, who loves to search online for thrift items, has been wanting to create a bar. Yours is right up our alley! I too have used gift wrap as background liner. Easy and cheap. Your coffee cups are also very fun. Visiting from Happiness is Homemade party.

    • Thank you Victoria. The mugs are from Anthropologie, I just love their kitchenware and can’t resist buying one every time I visit.

  31. This is so chic! And the paper you used inside is pure genius!

    • Thank you, Medina I just love using Cavallini gift wrap they have some cool vintage designs.

  32. You chose the perfect color for this project! Stunning.

  33. It all goes together so well. Love it all.

  34. I really thought this was a metal cabinet when I first clicked on it! Great paint job & I love the bug paper & decals.

  35. WOW! I love this transformation. That insect paper is too cute! I adore the color red, so you had me there! Just love it.

    • Thanks, Carolann. Even though blue is my favourite colour I still like a bit of red in the right places.

  36. Claire, I don’t know what I love the most…that deep beautiful red or the decal on the door or that fantastic insect paper! All in all, they contributed to a fantastic cabinet! It looks fantastic.

    well done my friend.


    • Thank you, Lynn. I think the paper was the best find it goes well with the red.

  37. Oh Claire! The bug paper! Yesssss! I’m afraid of anything colourful but even I am in love with this piece. xx

    • Thank you! I couldn’t resist the bug paper once I saw it! You shouldn’t be afraid of colour a little splash here and there really adds a bit of cheer to a room.

  38. I love the Emperor Red color after the dark wax application. Then, the decoupage is the icing on the cake. Super makeover! The cabinet really has new life, now.

    • Thank you so much, I really do love the Emperor Red. I still have half a tin left to I will use it on something else.

  39. This is gorgeous, love the personal touch on the doors, really really inspiring!

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