Update your old china cabinet with a little bit of paint and stain! Here’s a great step by step antique china hutch makeover to get inspiration for your own china cabinet!
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This is by far my FAVORITE style of furniture. There isn’t anything quite like Jacobean style pieces, their detail and round feet get me every time.
This particular piece was sourced for a client that shares the same warm and cozy feelings for these depression-era pieces that we do, so once we got this piece in our workshop we couldn’t wait to get started.
Step by Step China Hutch Makeover
- Sand and Fill Imperfections
- Seal with Wax
- Update Hardware
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Step One: Clean the Antique China Cabinet
The first and most important step in refinishing furniture is to clean and prep, so we grabbed our Krud Kutter, gloves and a shop towel and got to work!
I sprayed our favorite, Krud Kutter, and used a shop towel to wipe away the dirt and grime.
Then we repeated this process a few times, making sure to rinse with clean water when we were sure the oils and leftover residue were removed from the surface.
We then let the piece dry for a bit before moving on to the next step.
Step Two: Sand and Wood Fill
Plastic Wood (Wood Filler)
Working on older pieces, it can almost always be guaranteed that there will be some areas of cosmetic imperfections.
While these are charming and nothing to shy away from, we decided to use some plastic wood applied with a small spreader to fill any small cracks that stood out after cleaning.
** If you have major damage to the veneer or chipped wood, check out the best way to fix chipped wood furniture here!
After it dried, I lightly sanded all of the repaired areas smooth with a 350 grit sandpaper since plastic wood is so easily smoothed and then continued to scuff sand the rest of the piece to ensure the paint would adhere.
I used my favorite sander, the SurfPrep 3 x 4 electric ray.
The advantage of using the Surfprep is that it has flexible sanding pads that bend and mold to the shape of what you are sanding without damaging the profile of the piece.
I started with a coarse sanding pad and worked up to a medium, making sure to remove all dust with the oil-free tack cloth.
How to Sand Legs
Since the client requested stained legs and shelves with a painted body, the next step was to hand sand any recessed areas that had the old stain, which was minimal sanding since the SurfPrep Sander and flex pads get in the nooks and crannies pretty well.
**Read our honest review on the SurfPrep Sander – Is it Worth it? here.
And get 10% off your SurfPrep Sander and Accessories with this code!
To protect the legs from primer, I covered them with 3M plastic tape, something I learned from Natalie, here at A Ray of Sunlight!
**Check out how to protect your furniture from overspray with the 3M plastic tape here!
Next, it was time to prime.
Step Three: Prime
Since this piece was going from dark to light, I used Bin oil-based primer in the spray can and lightly sanded between coats.
Then I made sure to remove dust with the oil free tack cloth.
We did two coats to ensure there wouldn’t be any bleed through once painted.
Oil and water based products can be used together, as long as the recommended dry time is observed.
So, after 72 hours, it was time for the fun part, painting!
Step Four: Paint the Antique China Hutch
We sprayed three coats of Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel in Steamed Milk using our Fuji Semi-Pro 2.
Making sure to lightly sand and remove the dust in between coats.
This paint has a long dry time, so it is very important to keep that in mind when recoating.
Step Five: Stain the Legs and Shelves
I used General Finishes Walnut stain on the shelves and legs.
I applied it with a foam brush and rubbed it back after each coat with a blue shop towel.
Step Six: Seal and Antique Wax
After everything was dry, even though this paint does not necessarily need a top coat, my client wanted it antiqued.
So I used Annie Sloan clear wax as a base over the entire piece.
I applied it with a wax brush, wiping it back with a lint-free cloth.
Then while it was still wet, I used a smaller detail wax brush to apply dark wax to shade and antique in crevices and recessed areas as well as the corners and around any details.
I used a lint-free cloth to soften the dark wax and blend it into the clear wax making sure to remove the excess in the same direction to prevent streaking.
Step Seven: Clean the Old Hardware
How to Clean Brass Hardware
I used Bar Keepers friend with a nylon wire brush to clean up the original hardware.
Then I sealed it once it was clean and dry, using Rustoleum 2x matte clear coat to prevent any further tarnishing.
Here it is looking so fresh and updated. Just what my client asked for 💙
Materials Used on this Antique China Hutch Makeover
- Surfprep Electric Ray 3 x 4 **Use code above for 10% off!
- Nylon Wire Brush
- Barkeepers Friend
- General Finishes Walnut Stain
- Oil Free Tack Cloth
- Krud Kutter
- Rustoleum 2x ultracoat matte clear
- Annie Sloan Clear Wax + Dark Wax
- Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Satin Trim Enamel in Steamed Milk
- Wax Brush
- Lint Free Cloth
- Spray Gun (I used the Fuji Semi-Pro 2)
- BIN Oil Base Spray Primer
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Anne Michelle is a furniture artist in Northern Virginia that loves bringing beauty back to forgotten pieces. Her small business, Amini Design Ashburn, is a source for all things creative – furniture makeovers, artwork and small home decor items.