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Peeling and Crackling Paint

It has taken me more than a decade, but I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoy painting. For me, it’s very therapeutic and calming. I can crank up the music and get lost in the rhythm of the paint brush. It doesn’t take a huge amount of skill and it’s something that I can’t mess up too badly. If I do make a mistake, I can usually wipe it away or paint over it.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase has worn off and I’ve experienced not one, but two big fights with painting. No, we haven’t broken up. We’re currently working out our differences and taking a small break. Sometimes you can in fact have too much of a good thing and some space is needed.

The Kitchen Cabinets

Prior to starting the cabinets, my painting experience was limited to a few pieces of furniture, various picture frames and a canvas or two. All of which are fairly easy items to paint – there isn’t too much thought that goes into painting them. If it’s furniture and you’re using chalk paint, it needs a light sanding and then you are good to go. Canvases are completely up to your discretion, as are picture frames. Easy.

Which brings me to my painting dilemma. As you may know, I have been working on painting the kitchen island and cabinets. I am also adding a dark glaze to the cabinet doors and drawers, which I have never done before.

Two weeks ago, I finished painting and glazing the kitchen island. I was pretty happy with how it turned out. My severe lack of patience caused a few smudges on the glaze and it wasn’t as precise as I would have hoped, but overall it looked pretty good.

Last weekend I started glazing the main cabinet drawers.  I was able to finish four of them on Friday night. I put them back in Saturday afternoon and didn’t pay much attention to them until earlier this week when something caught my eye. The glaze is crackling and peeling. In some places, it’s also peeling off the white paint.


Imagine my frustration and surprise, since this didn’t happen to the island and I used the same brand of paint.

I have Googled various phrases and questions. My thought is that the glaze is reacting poorly with the enamel paint. Do any of you have other suggestions or thoughts?

paint problems1

My next step is to go back over the drawers with a sander, take off all the glaze, repaint it white and leave it as-is. How boring. I love the glaze because it adds a little more character to the cabinets and spruces them up a bit – plain white is so… plain!

So, until I get to the bottom of this one, the cabinets will be plain Jane, boring white.


The Filing Cabinet

Brett and I had been looking for a filing cabinet to store all the annoying but necessary adult-related papers, i.e. bills, home information, insurance information and anything else that brings on nostalgic ‘I want to be a kid again’ day dreams.

After rummaging through a few thrift stores, I found a tall, four-drawer filing cabinet that had a lock and key. Score! The drawers worked, it only had a little rust on it and could stand up on its own. Double score!

Even though it was in good condition, it was by no means a nice looking piece of furniture. Thus began the hunt on Pinterest for a way to repurpose it. I quickly found something I liked and to my surprise, Brett liked it too! It was simple and only required a few picture frames and spray paint.

So, last week we decided to take a stab at the project. The base of the cabinet has gotten four coats of spray paint and looks great.

The drawers are another story. The first coat of spray paint (a different color than the base) went on fine. I waited a full day before applying the second coat and the paint immediately started crackling. See below.


After doing a little research and thanks to this informational blog, I found that this can happen when the paint is applied too thick or you don’t follow the specific time-frame for painting. Either way, the doors need to be re-sanded and re-painted. I hear you loud and clear spray paint. Lesson learned.



The Takeaway

I now have extra incentive to learn a little more about the paints I use, to maybe actually read the directions and to figure out what types of brands work best for our projects.

There definitely is a learning curve, especially with all the different brands, types and techniques for painting. What I’d like to know is if anyone else has had any painting mishaps they’d like to share? Or, any tips or tricks you’ve learned that you’re willing to pass on? We appreciate your feedback!


All our best,




  1. Adrian

    Hey guys, thanks for sharing this article … it sounds familiar to me 🙂

    I enjoy a lot to paint and it is calming for me as well, I fall into a deep state of tranquillity whilst I’m painting … I have to say … that all this it is true ONLY if everything goes smooth and nothing go wrong as you guys explain very well on this post 🙂

    I’ve found on my own experience that painting require for you to know what is the material that you are going to paint. You need to know if it needs sanding, if needs priming, if it needs several coats … how long you need to leave it to dry between coats … so much more little details like you mentioned as well … that you didn’t spread the paint enough and when dried it looked bad …

    I definitely enjoy painting but I do a little bit of research before I start a job!

    Thanks for sharing this post, it’s really helpful !

    • North Country Nest

      We’re so glad you found this helpful, Adrian!
      Happy painting 🙂

  2. Penny

    Do you have to use primer if you sanded an are using cabinet enamel?

    • North Country Nest

      During our repaint of these cabinets I just used a deglosser/degreaser and the paint is sticking just fine! I would test a small area first, though, just to make sure you don’t run into any peeling or cracking problems. Good luck, Penny!



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