Painted Display Cabinet: Before and After

A painted display cabinet is a great way to add a personal touch to your home decor. Not only does it serve as a functional storage space, but it also acts as a statement piece that can elevate the overall look of any room.

With the rise of DIY projects, there are many blue painted furniture ideas that you can explore to transform your plain old display cabinet into a unique and stylish piece. Let’s dive into the before and after of painting this display cabinet.

wood display cabinet before makeover

Here’s what the cabinet looked like before. Isn’t it so cute?? It was pretty scratched and worn out though, so I was happy to give it a makeover.

Click here to subscribe

Giving your display cabinet a fresh coat of paint can make it look brand new again.

Not only does this allow you to update its appearance, but it also gives you the opportunity to incorporate your personal style and taste into the piece.

I can’t wait for you to see this makeover, it’s honestly one of my favorite furniture makeovers ever.

scroll down to see the after photos

Supplies Used For Painted Display Cabinet Makeover

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I also may earn from other qualifying purchases with other companies or get free product to review and use. All opinions are my own.

Preparing a cabinet for Paint

Alright, first things first, I always do a couple of things to prepare furniture for paint. But, with milk paint, because I want a chippy look, I only clean the furniture.

I like to use Krud Kutter, but there are other cleaners you can use. Check out this post on how to clean furniture before painting to learn more.

Milk Painting a Cabinet

I love the look of chippy, rustic furniture, and that’s exactly what I wanted with this cabinet. Check out more rustic painted furniture here.

So I mixed up some Shackteau Interiors Milk Paint in the colors Deep Sea Blue and Sea Smoke to make a medium shade of blue. Read through this post to learn how to use milk paint on furniture.

shackteau interiors milk paint in deep sea blue and sea smoke

I honestly don’t remember what the ratio was, but I’m guessing it was close to 50:50. Learn more about mixing milk paint colors together here.

Milk paint is a powder, so I mixed it with the same amount of water to turn it into paint. Learn about mixing milk paint here.

Then I brushed 2 coats of the milk paint onto the display cabinet, letting it dry for an hour or so between coats of paint.

Best Brush for Milk Paint

Zibra paint brushes are perfect for powdered milk paint.

brushing milk paint onto the cabinet with a zibra fan brush

I used the Zibra fan brush on this project, but I also love to use the Zibra round brush when painting furniture.

There are other great paint brushes for furniture though too! Here are the best paint brushes for painting furniture.

Distressing Milk Paint

After the 2 coats of paint were dry, I sanded the milk paint with 220 grit sandpaper to distress the paint and make the paint chip off.

Learn more about sandpaper for furniture painting here and learn the 6 distressing furniture techniques you can do here.

Some areas chipped really well and others didn’t chip at all. That’s very typical when painting wood furniture with milk paint.

distressing the milk paint with sandpaper

If you want a really chippy look, here is my secret to getting a chippy paint finish with milk paint everytime. Then I cleaned up the dust with our shop vacuum and a tack cloth.

Sealing Milk Paint

Even though milk paint likes to chip, when it sticks, it sticks and it isn’t going anywhere. But, it’s still matte paint, so it needs to be sealed so it doesn’t stain or get ruined with everyday use.

This time I sealed the milk paint with hemp oil. I just brushed it on with a cheap paint brush and let it soak into the milk paint.

brushing hemp oil onto the milk paint

An hour or so later, I wiped off the excess with a lint free rag. Here are 3 ways to seal milk paint including using hemp oil.

Two Tone Painted Cabinet

All of that milk paint was on the outside and inside shell of the display cabinet.

But instead of painting the shelves and back of the cabinet blue, I painted the shelves and back of the cabinet white.

scroll slowly so the photos can load properly

Painting Shelves and Back of Cabinet White

First, pried the back of the cabinet off. Then I rolled 2 coats of BIN shellac based primer onto the shelves and the back.

The BIN shellac based primer is one of the best primers for painting furniture because it has great coverage.

And it is soooo good for painting furniture white because it blocks something called bleed through (stains from the wood that come through paint.)

shelves painted white
Painting the shelves white

Then we sprayed 3 coats of some of my favorite white furniture paint, General Finishes Enduro Poly in White.

It’s a thin, tinted polyurethane, so it can only be sprayed, but it doesn’t need to be topcoated, and it dries to a durable satin finish.

And here’s what the painted cabinet looks like now!

If you like how this cabinet turned out, you check out more shabby chic painted furniture here.

closeup of the chippy blue painted cabinet
blue painted display cabinet with white painted interior

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

two tone display cabinet with doors opened
closeup of the chippy blue paint

How long does milk paint last once mixed?

Milk paint, once mixed with water, has a shelf life of approximately two days if kept in the fridge with a tiny bit of water on the top, and covered well. After two days, the paint may begin to spoil and develop a bad odor, making it unusable for furniture projects.

This is why it’s important to only mix the amount of milk paint needed for a specific project and use it within two days.

By doing so, you’re sure that your milk paint is fresh and ready to use for a smooth and successful painting experience.

If you happen to have mixed too much milk paint for your project, it is best to properly discard any leftovers after the two days and mix a fresh batch for your next project.

Can I mix different brands of milk paint together?

Yes, you can mix different brands of milk paint together. In fact, many furniture painters do this to create unique colors and tones for their projects.

However, it is important to keep in mind that mixing different brands may alter the consistency and performance of the paint. It’s best to experiment with small amounts first before committing to a larger project.

Some brands of milk paint may have different ingredients and ratios, so the resulting color may not be exactly what you expect.

To guarantee a consistent color, it is recommended to stick with one brand of milk paint for a single project.

But if you are looking for an unpredictable and artistic finish, mixing different brands may be the way to go.

scroll up if you missed the after photos

Painted Display Cabinet Makeover

blue and white painted display cabinet

Updating an old display cabinet can be a fun and easy DIY project. With some paint and a little bit of work, we created a whole new look. Here's our painted display cabinet makeover!



  1. Clean cabinet with Krud Kutter to prepare it for milk paint.
  2. Now, get your milk paint. You can mix up the colors to get the shade you want for your cabinet. Then mix it with the same amount of water to turn the milk paint powder into paint.
  3. Brush 2 coats of the milk paint onto the display cabinet, letting it dry for an hour or so between coats of paint.
  4. After the 2 coats of paint dries, sand the milk paint with 220 grit sandpaper to distress the paint and make the paint chip off. Vacuum the dust from sanding and wipe everything with a tack cloth.
  5. To seal the milk painted cabinet, brush hemp oil with a cheap paint brush and let it soak into the milk paint. An hour or so later, wipe off the excess with a lint free rag.
  6. You can go for a two tone painted cabinet and paint the shelves and back of the cabinet a different color. Apply 2 coats of BIN shellac based primer onto these parts before painting them.
  7. Let the paint dry.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

More Painted China Cabinet Ideas

Click here to subscribe

Follow us on YouTube to get more tips for painting furniture. Or share your project with us on our Facebook Group and be part of our community. See you there!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *