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China Cabinet Makeover

So about a year ago, I had a grand idea to repaint my dining room set- chairs, table and china cabinet. And… I’m just now finishing. Sometimes my projects take me a while. Don’t judge. 😉

My dining room set is a nice hand me down from my mom, that she gave to us when we moved into our first house. And As much as I love the lines and Queen Anne style, I’ve never been a huge fan of the color. 

A lot of my house has black and white accents, so I decided to paint everything in the dining room a basic matte black. However, I did want the back of the china cabinet to be painted in a contrasting color, so it would brighten up the room a bit. (For those of you who haven’t been to my house, it’s dark, we sit nestled under a hill. It’s cozy, but hard to brighten up.) 

When it comes to painting, I’m pretty lazy and the thought of having to sand and prime my furniture didn’t really appeal to me. So, I took the lazy girl approach and decided to use chalk paint. Now, for those of you who have never used chalk paint, it’s a fickle friend. It allows you to skip sanding and priming and if you’re using a dark color often covers in one coat. But… you have to maintain it, by either applying a super heavy grade topcoat or waxing regularly. I choose wax, because I think it gives a nicer finish. 

Chalk paint is made by numerous companies, but Annie Sloan is the original and gold standard. It’s a bit hard to find here in Greensboro (and expensive) so I usually go with another brand. Same for the wax- Annie Sloan makes waxes but there are others that work well for a fraction of the price.

This is what I use, because it’s easy to find and very inexpensive:

Here is what I used for this project: 

  • 2, 16 oz jars Waverly chalk paint in Ink
  • 2, 8 oz jars Waverly chalk paint in Crystal
  • Good quality paint brush- I always use Purdy brushes
  • Johnson’s Paste Wax 
  • Wax brush
  • Soft lint-free cloth 
  • Painters tape or painting edger

If you’ve never seen or heard of a wax brush, this is it-they come in various sizes but I like big ones because they’re easier to use. 

To get started, you’ll need to remove any hardware from your cabinet drawers. Mine didn’t have a lot, but I did remove the entire front door so I could easily get inside to paint the back. If you need/want to you can also apply painters tape around your glass so you have clean lines. 

To paint the inside I used a narrow one inch brush so I could really get paint into all the tiny nooks and crannies. I thought it would be easier to paint the inside then the outside, so that’s where I started. 

After you’ve applied your first coat inside- don’t panic. It’s going to look terrible. In fact, with light colors it takes about three coats to get good coverage, so seriously don’t panic if it looks like this:

For comparison, the left side exterior has one coat of Ink while the inside has one coat of Crystal. Big difference. The inside will look streaked, and just overall not good. 

Keep applying paint coats, waiting 1 hour to dry in between (chalk paint dries very fast), until you’ve reached your desired level of coverage. I did theee coats inside, and 1 outside. 

Wait for everything to dry inside and out before applying your wax. 

Dip your wax brush into your paste wax and smooth it around to get a big glob on it, like so:

Then start, brushing on the wax with long, broad strokes so every inch of the surface is covered. Don’t worry if you get a bit too much in one spot because you can wipe it off later. As you start brushing it on you’ll notice that your colors will become richer with the wax application, like below. (Left is waxed, right side is just paint).

Work across your whole surface, and let the wax dry for about 20 minutes. Next take a soft cloth and gently buff it to remove any streaks. The result shouldn’t be shiny, but it should be smooth. As soon as your wax has been buffed you can reaffix your hardware, and you’re done!

Every six months or so, you will have to reapply your wax, and over time it will develop a nice luster. If you don’t, it will become a little dull looking and run the risk of chipping, so make sure you don’t skip out on this little bit of necessary maintenance. 

I hope this inspires you to reinvent your own piece of furniture!😊

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