To all you wood lovers out there, WARNING…another paint transformation has taken place!
When I first started working on this china cabinet, I posted a “before” picture on my Facebook timeline. One of my friends posted, “PLEASE don’t paint it…it’s beautiful as is”.
I admit, I love the look of a warm wood finish. But I’m equally fond of painted furniture.
How do I decide which finish I’m going to do?
When selling furniture for profit, I look at the time involved in the re-finishing process and decide if the time involved will exceed the profit. In this particular case, my sister and I found this china cabinet by the curbside and immediately recognized its painted potential.
Although structurally sound, this china cabinet was cosmetically beat up. I’m not sure if I could have restored the original finish.
M-M-M (My-Mystery-Man) helped me with a few repairs and easy fix-ups. I gave the cabinet a thorough cleaning and then it was ready for a coat of HomeMade Chalk Paint. To age the piece, I applied some DIY Dark Furniture Wax tinted with paint. The result is this gorgeous grey-green dark wax finish which adds depth and interest.
Are you a fan of wood finishes or painted finishes? …and the men in your life, do they ALWAYS choose the wood finish? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Enjoy your day!
Love this sute and you are truly doing a great job! If I could bother you what colour did you use on this curb side find as a base , and if I could found this little gem roadside and I am thinking of doing this chalk technique .I have gd success in the past about 8 years ago I did bedroom set in a flat latex finish in English cream and acccnted the details with a dark gel stin that I put on lightly and wiped most of it off . I must say this was before I heard of chalk anything . Anyway it stood the test of time .I still get people asking me how I did it . I am anxious to try your technique and recipe !
Great job! What an amazing find!!!!
Thanks Diane! And yes, we were thrilled when we found this piece. 🙂
Wow! The piece turned out just fabulous!!!! Looks so much more elegant than its former self! Great job and thanks for the tips!! I’m anxious to give it a try!
Patricia Navarrette says
Holy smokes..! I have an ‘older than dirt’ buffet sideboard that looks very similar to this cabinet! I bought it for $5 about 8 years ago and I’m finally getting around to refinishing it (and rebuilding parts of it) ~ with white Chalk Paint, of course. I think I’m going to try your recipe and mix some white chalk paint into my clear wax…. because…. I’m not really liking the clear wax look over my white chalk paint. But I have to ask you, do you have any idea what the age of your cabinet is? I’m trying to figure this out for my piece and the best I can tell is possibly the very early 1920’s. Have you looked into the age of yours? I wish I could send you a picture of my project … the legs and cross board at the bottom are pretty much identical..! And, btw, you’ve done a beautiful job of refinishing yours!
Patricia Navarrette says
Oh my goodness..! The scrolling wood applique is the same too!
When you buy the sodium bicarbonate is it a powder/dry or is it liquid?
Hi Diane. It’s a powder. 🙂
Pam B Brown says
How did you get the scrollwork free from the glass in the door without breaking it?
The inlay/scroll is held in place by trim wood and trim nails. I pry them off with a screwdriver (carefully and not applying too much pressure) and then everything pops out easily.
Hi Patricia! My guess is the 1920’s too. Good luck with your restyle, these are so fun to work on. 🙂
I know it5 years later, but I recently purchased one of these cabinets and for what I understand they are Jacobean or Jacobean inspired. The more ornate designs are the older ones bc mid century modern was starting to become popular. These are still ornate but less so, they are gorgeous and delicate but bulky and sturdy, Amazing works of art.
I don’t ever really care for dark waxed pieces. They always look dirty and over-done. Just icky to me. I’m a glaze girl myself – I feel I have more control over darkness,color, depth, etc. BUT, this is beautiful and if more people would tone it down abit I might change my mind. Actually, YOU might change my mind. I bet it has a lot to do with the fact you mix your own dark waxes rather than using black or dark brown generously on every piece. Thank you. This piece is gorgeous and what painted furniture is all about!!
My husband, 26yo & 10 yr old sons are wood all the way but my husband is coming around. My sons say my work is very “nice” or “gorgeous” (their responses to everything-ugly or good) but think all wood is great-even the orange stuff! My oldest wants me to do that on purpose!! I just can’t…no, no, no!
This made me smile Chris…thank you! 🙂
denise chatterton says
Wow! What a beautiful result!
thanks Denise! 🙂
Denise. I think you did a lovely job with that cabinet.
About homemade chalk paint. I hope you can help me here. Outside of United States,latex paint is emulsion paint, right? In my country , Nippon paint is easily available but i am confused whether i should get the matex Nippon (which is cheaper) or the other Nippon emulsion paint (which is pricey) I understand that the paint that we use must be without primer. If I go to the store, which should i ask for?
Yes Fara, our latex is like your emulsion – water based. Unfortunately, I can’t comment/recommend which Nippon paint you should use because I’m unfamiliar with the product. However, something to keep in mind, the better quality paint you use, the better the results.
Having issues. I love this china cabinet and I recently bought one similar to this one in hours to make it look the same. But there is some beautiful wood in it. Can’t bring myself to paint it. Have you ever done one and left certain panels alone? I’d like to send you a picture but not sure how.
Yes, painted and stained furniture it very popular Kathy! I recently painted this china cabinet and left the legs in natural wood and have restyled numerous dressers in this fashion too. If you’d like to keep some of the wood revealed, give it a try! Worse case scenario, if you’re not pleased with the look, you paint the entire thing. 🙂
Thanks for your reply. That is what I will most likely try. Can’t imagine doing all you do and keeping up with responding to people with so many questions.
Denise, I’m praying you can help:) I recently painted a piece with a black chalk paint. It looked gorgeous BUT I only had a clear wax to use at the time and it looked a little gummie. Also when I went to try to rub it out a little to get rid of the gumminess, the painted peeled right off. It was devastating. What did I do wrong? Did the clear wax have anything to do with it? Please help…it’s made me a little gun shy but I LOVE chalk paint. So looking forward to your advice and guidance!
Yikes.. I would be upset too Heather! Hmmmm, I’ve never seen gummy looking wax, so I’m unsure if the paint peeling would have to do with wax gone wrong. Having said that, with any product, if it looks or smells weird, I air on the side of caution and buy new. Also, is it possible the chalk paint hadn’t adhered 100%? Maybe the paint hadn’t fully dried – or humidity was slowing the drying process? If so, this may explain the rubbing uplifting the paint. Please don’t let this discourage you to give your beautiful piece another go! Believe me, some of my pieces take numerous tries before they turn out right!
I came across your post while researching how to use chalk paint and wax- I have to say, yours is by far the most informative and clear about directions. That china cabinet you did is stunning-your are a true artist!
Thank you Lia… and welcome! Nice to meet you!
robin morris says
you do such beautiful work….My hubby said no paint for years then i started showing him web sites blogs etc. he said i could paint all the wood i wanted lol. i think paint makes things look classier and like a million buck, and now so does he.
Yay!!! Grab those paint brushes Robin! 🙂
Oh Denise, I just found this by browsing your blog. I am a natural wood lover and this cabinet makeover is swoon-worthy!! I love it!
Huge compliment coming from a ‘wood lover’ Christina… thank you!
Where do you live that you find these FANTASTIC ‘throw-aways?’
The piece is gorgeous. Is the fretwork on the inside of the glass? If so, how did you take it out yo paint it? I just bought a piece, and I don’t know how I’m going to get to the fretwork. Thank you in advance!
You’re not the first person who’s asked me this questions… I think I need to write a blog post! On older pieces, the fretwork is usually held in place with a slim piece of wood trim. This piece of trim is held in place with finishing nails. To remove, you gently pry this piece of trim (which will be framing perimeter of the backside) up in a few places (you can use an Xacto knife, flat screw driver… whatever you can get to fit under there. Once you pry up a few finishing nails, it’s pretty easy to pull up the rest. I do my best to be gentle and keep these pieces in tact so I can reapply them after.
Hope this is helpful and have fun with your project Denise… oh lovely name btw ;)!
Hi ! Love your work! Just wondering if you paint the inside of drawers or leave them natural? I dislike painting inside drawers but want to do it right.
Hi Barb! Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Here are 5 questions I ask myself before I decide whether I should paint them or not… https://salvagedinspirations.com/paint-the-inside-of-drawers/
I just purchased this very same cabinet from Carole! I absolutely fell in love with it and had to have it! I already had purchased a china cabinet and was going to paint it myself, but then I saw this one and liked it better. Sally told me about Salvaged Inspirations, so imagine my surprise when I saw “my” cabinet! It must have taken an incredible amount of work to do the detailed distressing. You did an amazing job!
Thank you Lee! Carole and Sally are amazing and I’m so happy the cabinet has found another loving home. 🙂
I miss my baby 🙁 (Lee can I have her back PALEEZEEEEEEE)
lol… you’re too funny… and you’re good for my ego Carole!!! 😉 😉 😉
So sorry, Carole! This baby’s not for sale! ? This beautiful cabinet became the jumping-off point for my redecorating venture, or should I say adventure! I’ve taken the green/gray and found matching accessories to display. I also learned how to reupholster and did two bergere chairs in a fabric with the same colour as the background of the damask. It’s been fun to incorporate a new colour into my home! Thanks for the inspiration!
How did you get the drawer pulls on the china hutch to look like that?
Hi Nancy! All I did was paint them with chalk/mineral paint and while the paint was still wet, wipe off a small amount to show the original hardware below. Then I sealed it. You can use a few coats of wax or a poly finish.
Tammy Winchester says
This piece is beautiful. What do you use to clean up the wood before you paint. I have an old antique desk that needs to be cleaned but I don’t want to damage the wood. I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks so much. 🙂
Thanks Tammy. 🙂 When it comes to antiques, use water VERY sparingly and ALWAYS test in an inconspicuous area. In some cases, a cleaning solution can cause discoloration or clouding of the wood. For most of my re-styled funiture, if it’s dusty dirty, my very first choice for clean up is a warm damp cloth. If the piece is grime dirty, then a vinegar water mixture usually cuts through the grime nicely. If its greasy grimed gross, I mix TSP with water to cut through heavy duty grime.
I’m not a fan of wood finishes especially the mustardy/butterscotch colors (ew). I usually paint things glossy white and sometimes get a decorative painting or transfer on them, but … this piece, I couldn’t bring myself to paint it. It’s just gorgeous. Free. That would cost me about $600 here in original condition. 🙁
You did make it look beautiful though.
Thank you Cris… from someone who “couldn’t bring themselves to paint it”…that’s a super HUGE compliment! 🙂
I love the transformation of your piece. I have a similar one that has been in our family for generations. I had never thought about painting it, but it is in good shape as it is. My hubby does ALWAYS prefer natural wood but I’m liking the dark wax accent over paint. Thank you for answering all of our questions here!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Joanne! And yes, I think most men prefer natural wood. Maybe because it looks and feels more masculine. 🙂
Denise Smith says
Jacqueline Hacking says
I have only just found your website and blog. I hope I am not too late to say what a beautiful job you have done on the china cabinet, it is absolutely gorgeous.
Could you tell me did you sand the cabinet lightly at all before using the chalk paint. I know it’s said you do not need to as the chalk paint sticks to any surface but as I am new to using it I am very nervous of painting something only to find the paint does not fully adhere to the surface and can scratch off.
Thanks ever so much for any help
Thanks for the kind words Jacqueline! On this particular china cabinet I did not sand before painting with HMCP. If a surface is shiny, I do give it a light sanding before applying the first coat. If you’re unsure or on the fence about a piece, I would lean on the side of caution and sand. It can be a light sanding with a 220 grit…just enough to give the surface a slight tooth for the paint to hold onto.
Cece DuBois says
Denise, I love the transformation! While I appreciate beautiful wood, I sometimes think older wood pieces start to look “tired.” You’ve given this lovely cabinet a new lease on life!
Julie Ritter says
Denise what a great site you have…you have answered many of the questions I have in my head moving forward with some of my first pieces. I love the piece above, and painting it was obviously the “right” way to go. 🙂
Thank you Julie! 🙂
val guernsey Channel ISlands says
Having waited 4weeks for the only supplier of ASCP on the island to replenish his stock found your site guess what I am going to make my own
Darrielle Tennenbaum says
What a gorgeous piece! I love how you painted it. I have a very similar piece sitting in my workshop waiting to be painted and now I am inspired!
Thanks Darrielle! Have fun with your cabinet… these beautiful pieces really are a pleasure to work on!
I love this. What is the name of the color you used? I want to try the chalk paint recipes. I bought over 100 in paint from Annie Sloan, and my son accidentily threw it out. So I bought some more. But I think mixing for smaller amounts and other colors would be nice. I wondered if you thought about doing the shelves in a darker color? I am going to do a small tea cabinet. I just finished some shelves.
I am glad I found your site.
I’m glad you’re here too! The paint I used in for this China Cabinet was a “Loop” recycled paint in “Light Green” which has a gorgeous grey/green hue. Happy painting with your tea cabinet… and keep that Annie Sloan tucked away where your son can’t see it…lol. 😉
Love this piece. I have an ornate dresser in my bedroom that I want to paint. However, I do have a man who always chooses wood over paint! The piece is “rough” enough that I think painting would bring it back to life. I’ll share your pics with my hubby and try to change his mind!
Too funny Connie because I can totally relate! I’m guessing many men think they prefer wood over paint because it’s a more ‘masculine’ look. Interestingly enough, I LOVE it when I drop off a custom painted piece to a clients home, and the husband is super impressed…lol!
Hi…I’m recovering dining room chairs in a Cheetah print. The chairs are “pickled”, I was wondering if they could be toned down with a dark wax (to a chocolate color). Any help[ who be much appreciate.
When you say your chairs are “pickled” do you mean they are painted in pickle green? If so, applying a dark wax will darken/age & tone down the pickle green but will not eliminate it or turn it a chocolate brown. To entirely change the color, a new paint job would be required. If I’ve misunderstood your question Marg, feel free to email me anytime.
Just do it !
I bet he ends up liking the painted version.
Kim Benit says
Are you waxing the entire piece with tintd wax or just where you want it to show in the inlays?
I am not sure if we are to wax the entire piece even the flat parts of the piece of furniture?
Kim, on this particular piece I dark waxed the entire cabinet but you certainly don’t have to. For protection, you can natural wax the flat parts and then use tinted wax to bring out the detailing. Either way looks great… it just depends on the look your after.
OH MY WORD. That is one of the prettiest pieces of furniture I’ve ever seen. What a great find and superb job on your part in bringing it back to life.
Aww thanks Kathleen… huge compliment! 🙂
This is just gorgeous! I do have a question though: How did you paint the fretwork inside the glass? I just bought this exact piece at a thrift store and am having a difficult time removing the fretwork without damaging the doors or the glass. And I feel that the piece won’t look quite as spectacular by leaving the fretwork dark.
Ursula, they are a little tricky to remove! I actually asked M-M-M do it for me because it has to be handled handled with such care and he works with details such as this everyday. He used a sturdy straight edge tool to carefully pry the wood trim and trim nails away from the fretwork/glass. Take your time or recruit someone who works with wood to do it for you! 🙂
I want to paint my kitchen table and chairs, they are maple with a clear varnish , is that going to be a problem with the varnish ? Thank you ,love your website !
Charlotte, are you wanting to paint your table & chairs with chalk paint or another type of paint? It is good practice to give the pieces a light sanding before painting… especially a kitchen table and chairs which will be getting a lot of use and traffic.
I will be using chalk paint. thank you !
At Rivercrest Cottage says
I was so excited to see this little cabinet makeover. I have a similar piece that is painted a yellow mustardy dark wax color and I’ve been thinking of painting her. Love what you did with yours!
Absolutely beautiful! Doesn’t this just make your day to find something that is being tossed to the curb and you take it home and create a masterpiece…thank you for your waxing tips!
I love this one! It turned out beautiful, love all the details.
Thanks Debbie!… and thanks for dropping by!:)
what kind of paint do you use to tint the wax? does it matter?
You can use any paint Christina. On this china cabinet I used CeCe Caldwell’s chalk paint in Vermont Slate. I also like using acrylic craft paint for tints. Craft paints are inexpensive and work great. tip – burnt umber give a great vintage look to any piece!
west furniture revival says
Not sure if you caught the feature you can see it here,
and thanks again for letting me show your work
I did not Lauren! Heading on over now…thanks so much!
What paint colors did you use. I know you said grey-green, but did you mix leftover paint to come up with the grey-green? And was the base coat white?
Roxane, I used Loop Recycled paint in Light Green and mixed my furniture wax with CeCe Caldwells Vermont Slate.
Roxie Moreland says
What a gorgeous piece! Your work on it just transformed it!
I was just reading your other comments and found my answer, 24 hours before applying wax, thank you for all the helpful advice, sincerely Sylvia. Have a great weekend
You’re most welcome Sylvia. Enjoy your weekend too!
How long should I wait after my project is dry to tint wax it?
Meg Saunders says
I love this piece! It turned out amazing! Great color choice 🙂
sylvia lindsey says
Which homemade chalk paint mixture did you use on this piece?
Calcium Carbonate Recipe
So what exactly is your “recipe” for chalk paint?
When you have completed a piece how do you maintain it? Clean it?
When the wax hardens and creates a durable barrier. You can use a soft cloth to remove dust, or a damp cloth to remove dirt.
Fabulous! Such a gorgeous piece and you did a lovely job!
What a score! Very nice.
I agree, what a find! beautiful job!
You’ve done a beautiful job of giving this piece new life… thankfully you were there to rescue it :o)
Thanks Julie… I’m on the lookout for another road-rescue like this!