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!
Get more great furniture makeover ideas here!
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.
(Check out this other Jacobean buffet makeover that Natalie painted!)
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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Materials Used or an Antique China Hutch Makeover
- Surfprep Electric Ray 3 x 4 **Use code RAY10 for 10% off your SurfPrep Order!
- 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)
- Oil Based Spray Primer
Here’s our list of the best painting furniture supplies that we use on every makeover.
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!
Click here to learn everything you need to know about How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.
I sprayed our favorite, Krud Kutter, and used a shop towel to wipe away the dirt and grime.
Here’s exactly how we clean before painting furniture.
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
Working on older pieces, it can almost always be guaranteed that there will be some areas of cosmetic imperfections.
Here are our tips for repairing old furniture.
Plastic Wood (Wood Filler)
While these are charming and nothing to shy away from, we used some plastic wood, applied with a small spreader to fill any small cracks that stood out after cleaning.
Get our list of the best wood fillers for furniture here.
** 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.
Learn all about the importance of sanding before painting furniture here.
I used my favorite sander, the 3×4 Vacuum Compatible SurfPrep Sander. (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order.)
**Read our honest review on the SurfPrep Sander – Is it Worth it? here.
The advantage of using the SurfPrep Sander 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.
Read about the Best Sanders for Furniture here.
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.
Learn more ways to strip or sand furniture legs here.
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 oil based primer in the spray can and lightly sanded between coats.
Here are the best primers for painting furniture.
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.
What is bleed through?
Click here to learn what bleed through is and why we prime to prevent it.
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.
Learn more about painting furniture with a sprayer here.
Check out this post to learn everything you need to know about using Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel to paint furniture white.
Making sure to lightly sand and remove the dust in between coats.
This paint has a long 4 hour 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.
Here’s a tutorial on staining a dresser darker with General Finishes Gel Stain.
I applied it with a foam brush and rubbed it back after each coat with a blue shop towel.
Read through this post to learn how to restain wood furniture.
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.
Learn more about topcoat for painting furniture.
Step Seven: Clean the Old Hardware
I used Bar Keepers friend with a nylon wire brush to clean up the original hardware.
How to Clean Brass Hardware
Click here to learn more about how to clean hardware to make it shine again.
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 💙
More Painted Cabinet Makeovers
- Blue Painted Hutch Makeover
- All In One Painted Cabinet Makeover
- The Farmhouse Cabinet Makeover
- Painting a China Cabinet with Wise Owl One Hour Enamel
- Painted Display Cabinet: Before and After
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.
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