I’m starting to think I have a furniture-painters’ alter ego. Like Beyoncé and her Sasha Fierce. Conservative and neutral for my own home – but colorful, bold and lively for selling. Today’s retro china cabinet is a perfect example.
This makeover was a creative stretch for me, but boy… did I have fun! I used four (4) beautiful colors along with blending and layering paint techniques to create this gorgeous spring rainbow cabinet!
It’s another one of those pieces that got a whole lot ugly before it looked good, but I L-O-V-E the end result. I can’t help but smile every time I look at it. I hope you feel the same way too. 🙂
Here’s what I started with.
Here’s the ‘spring-inspired’ after! The funny thing is, I started this piece two weeks ago – ditched it – and then came back to it with fresh eyes.
Sometimes with my furniture makeovers, absence makes my heart grow fonder and gives me time to create a vision. The tulips blooming in my garden were what brought me back to this piece. What do you think? Does it remind you of a spring garden rainbow?
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
- Retro China Cabinet – SALVAGED!
- Sandpaper + Paper Towel
- Paint Brush & Paint Roller
- BIN Shellac Primer
- DB Cotton Chalk Mineral Paint
- DB Rebel Yellow Chalk Mineral Paint
- DB Kudzu Chalk Mineral Paint
- DB Peony Chalk Mineral Paint
- Clear Wax
BLENDING & LAYERING FURNITURE PAINTING TECHNIQUES::
Brace yourself. It’s not pretty but here we go… 😉
Step #1 – Clean Sand & Prime
To start the retro cabinet makeover I removed the glass and handles, cleaned the piece, and then gave it a light overall sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. There were some damaged areas that needed a little fix and gouged areas that required more sanding.
It was primed with BIN Shellac Primer to stop bleedthrough. For those of you who aren’t into shellac based primers’, BOSS odor and stain blocker is a great substitute.
Step #2 – Paint The Base Colors of The Cabinet
The bottom of this retro cabinet was painted in Cotton. If you’re looking for a TRUE white – this is it!
The inside of this of the cabinet was painted in Kudzu and Rebel Yellow.
Kudzu is a lovely spring green and Rebel Yellow applied to the wet Kudzu created a warm soft blend. Using a spray bottle with small mists of water really helps to achieve this blended look. I’ll share in more details below.
Step #3 – Blending and Layering Paint
Here’s where it gets interesting but still looks pretty scary/ugly. Using Kudzu, Rebel Yellow and Peony, I applied the colors full strength to the front drawers which were previously painted in Cotton. I applied the paint all at the same time (meaning I didn’t wait for one to dry before applying another… I just removed excess paint from my brush before dipping into the next color and painting) so all three colors were wet.
How far down you want your colors to drop is totally up to you. But be aware, once you start spraying and blending, the color will be pulled down further and cover more surface. I painted full strength about 1/3 of the way down and once blended, it covered 2/3 of the front drawers.
Side note – You may notice in the pic below I tried sanding/distressing the inside. I didn’t like the look AT ALL so I repainted it …ugggh. I’m sharing this for all of you who have emailed me saying you “screwed up” your furniture. NO SUCH THING MY CREATIVE FRIENDS! 🙂 It’s a process. Trial and error until you get the look you like. Fix what needs to be fixed or move on to a plan B. Please don’t give up! It’s all part of being creative and learning new techniques. And if we were to stop experimenting and learning, what fun would that be, right?!
Step #4 – Spray and Blend
Below I’m using a spray bottle to lightly mist the layers of WET paint. Don’t wait until the paint dries otherwise you won’t be able to blend it. Once I give the wet paint a light spray, I take my paintbrush and lightly run it in a downwards motion leaving the brush strokes showing at the end. Then I dry my paintbrush on a paper towel and repeat the process until I’ve blended all the colors across the drawers.
There’s no exact science to this. Just play and have fun until you like the effect you see. The more you spray and brush, the more blended and ‘watercolor effect’ the paint becomes. I repeated the process 2x to get the effect I liked.
Step #5 – Dry Brushing Paint Technique
To get the crisp white to blend into the spring colors, I rolled on a heavy coat of Cotton with a high-density roller and then used a chip brush to feather the paint INTO the spring colors above.
The paint on the upper drawers was 100% DRY before I rolled on the Cotton and then dry brushed it upwards.
For this painting technique, I found a cheap chip brush works amazing. Also, holding the chip brush vertically made crisp long brush strokes which I really liked. Another tip is to keep the brush fairly dry! I was continuously wiping off excess paint onto a paper towel.
Step #6 – Final Details and Topcoat/Protect
For the final details, I painted the original handles along with the trim in Cotton. I waited for the paint to dry overnight, and then I top coated and protected this piece in clear wax.
Now I’m heading out to mow my lawns and clean up my gardens while I ponder which piece is next. I’ll be singing a Beyoncé tune at the top of my lungs while I’m at it.
Layering Chalk Paint – Empire Makeover
Layered Stormy Seas Vintage Vanity Makeover
I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS SPRING RAINBOW CABINET. IF YOU HAVE ANY BLENDING OR LAYERING TIPS YOU’D LIKE SHARE OR HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, FEEL FREE TO CHIME IN… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.
Happy blending and have an inspiring day my friends,
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Thank you very much for this detailed tutorial. I love this restyling, you made a great job. Go ahead with that!!
Thanks so much, Luciana!
Thank you for your inspiration and information!!!!!!! I thought, “What is she going to do with this hunk of junk?” All I can say is, “WOW!” This one is really a show stopper! You made me believe I could almost do something like this. (small of course). You are such a talented artist! Thank you for all that you do.
hunk of junk…lol. I’m so happy it’s inspired you Marian, and you always seem to put a smile on my face so thank you! XOXO
Hi Denise – It must have been karma that I had a look at your spring piece today. I am very new at upstyling/painting furniture. I look at Pinterest and other sites for inspiration and think to myself if only I could do this. What an amazing story you have written to go with this piece. I was feeling rather downhearted after buying a piece for $300 yesterday and when I got it home and had a good look I should have paid around $150 if that. Seeing your work and reading your comments has been great. I have tried blending a few time with little success however after reading your words I will keep trying to get it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful piece and your inspiring words.
You make my days brighter! You make me want to go on. You are by far favorite
Artist 👩🏻🎨 thanks for all that you do!
You just made my day brighter! Thanks Roseann XO
Cheryl Atkinson says
Denise, what a fun piece. I love it and you are so good at describing exactly how you got your effect. I learn so much from you. I really wish I could watch you paint a whole piece of furniture.
Thank you for this! And what an absolutely beautiful piece 🖤
Hi…..I absolutely love this read and learned something to try but question. When you say wet it with a spray. ottle…..what do u mean, like with water or actually use paint t? If you did, what color paint?
Just curious. Great read and cant wait to try it. Thank u
Laura Forehand says
Wow! I love the color choices, very fresh and different…..and thank you for explaining the blending/layering technique so well. 🙂
Thanks, Laura! …and thanks for dropping by. 🙂
It’s beautiful and it does remind me of spring tulips. That pink tinted wax technique was simply amazing to look at. I love it even more. Nothing ventured nothing gained and boy that piece gained a lot of beauty.
Thanks, Kim! I’m glad you enjoyed the last 2 makeovers and I couldn’t agree more. 🙂 Trying new things usually leads to good things… or at the very least, a learning experience. 🙂
Martine Lestage says
Simply refresh! I love this look! Thank you for sharing all your stuff! I will try this technique, it’s on! 🙂
I think you’ll have fun, Martine! I’d love to hear how it works out for you and see what you create! 🙂
BEautiful Denise! So fresh and Springy and totally creative. You just keep amazing me with your talent. ~~ Susie from The Chelsea Project
Thanks so much, Susie! 🙂 XO
This is GORGEOUS 😍
Thanks Kandice! 🙂 And since I have this opportunity, thanks so much for all you wonderful pins on the Painted Furniture – Ideas & DIY board… much appreciated! XO
Dianne Denton says
Amazing work! Thanks for sharing your techniques, now I just have to get brave and give this a try!
Thanks, Dianne! It looks a little daunting but it’s actually a whole lot of fun. 🙂
Char Fisher says
Truly gorgeous! You did a splendid job of making an ordinary cabinet into a Springy and Happy piece of furniture! If I was you I would be very proud of this creative genius idea! Love the color combinations and blending technique. Great work and I I can’t wait for the next project!
That’s sweet Char! Thanks so much. 🙂
Ahem, first let me pick my jaw up off of the floor. I LOVE this most creative furniture makeover – the vibrant colors, the bleeding layers, the green interior against the pop of white. Don’t even get me started on the photo staging.! You just brightened my rather bland Tuesday afternoon. Gorgeous!!!!
I luv ya Marie…lol. You just brightened MY evening. 😉
Lorin Small says
So gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! 😲 😲 😲 😍 😍 😍 💚 💚 💚
Heeeey… I like the matching ‘spring’ green hearts! Thanks so much Lorin. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Suzanne Fulford says
Just Stunning!!! I love how you encourage everyone to work through their “mistakes” I agree, some of my best work has been filled with mistakes that people always want me to recreate, then I don’t even know how I did it!!! Thanks for all you do and share Denise 🙂
LOL…exactly! I’ve been in the same boat many times. 🙂 Thank YOU for taking the time to drop by and for everything YOU do, Suzanne!!! 🙂
OMG I absolutely love it! So pretty!!
Thanks, Alanna! And thanks for all you do. 🙂
Debra Holiday says
Wow, such a cool technique!! Really a beautiful piece!
Thanks, Debra! I had a lot of fun… the colors make me happy. 🙂
Teri Ronk says
WOW…WOW….WOW!!! You never cease to amaze me. This is super pretty!! I just love it and so perfect for springtime.
Thanks Teri! 🙂 We’ve just started to get half decent temps around here in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) so spring is in the air, for sure. I cut every single tulip I had blooming in my garden (that’s the thanks they get for the inspiration!)…but well worth it! LOL
Jackie Cooley says
Denise, I love your work and this cabinet is no exception! I’ve seen a lot of pieces done with paint and a spray bottle of water but they look so “drippy and messy”, but I really like the tip where you rolled the white paint into the colors and dry brushed after everything else was dry. The finish like this is really nice!
Hi Jackie! I know what you mean when you say “drippy and messy”… I’ve seen those too. I guess it really depends on the style of the piece/finishes on how much ‘drip’ you can get away with I suppose. Happy you found the dry brush tip helpful. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Celeste Funkhouser says
AMAZING!! Can you be any more creative?? Wow! This piece makes me happy when I look at it!
Thank you for sharing!!
I’m so glad you like it and thank you Celeste!!! 🙂 XO
What a lovely spring cabinet. I love the colors and appreciate you showing step by step how to do this type of technique. Beautiful!
Thanks, Monique!!! And thanks for always taking the time to be the first to comment! You must be an early bird. 😉 😉 😀 XOXO
Yes Denise….I am an early bird. Lol. I wake up at 4:30am every morning and look forward to reading your blog bright and early every week. Keep up the good work. You make my Mondays better:)
OMGOSH… 4:30am… WOW, that’s the middle of the night, lol! You make my Mondays to my friend. XO