Painting an Old China Cabinet Before & After

Painting an Old China Cabinet Before & After

Some transformations are worth every second of effort. I didn’t plan to be painting and old china cabinet, but I’m glad I did!

Painting an Old China Cabinet Before and after

There are times in this business when the God’s of junkin smile down you and provide you with the right piece of furniture at the right time. For me this 1980’s golden oak china cabinet was mana from heaven.

When I became a vendor at The Vintage Junky I (finally) started selling furniture. Furniture was selling so fast that I ran out of pieces to bring to the shop.

It’s a good problem to have but it’s still a problem.

Enter The Old China Cabinet!

I went to the Goodwill looking for Tupperware for Junk Bonanza this fall. As long as I was there I thought I would see if if they had a dresser I could give a makeover.

There was a dresser a great big, heavy 1970’s monster with stains and a smell. Sadly I was going to have to pass. But right next to the dresser was a golden oak hutch, and it was only $19.99.


This little hutch looked to be handmade. The glass in the doors was thin sheet glass like you would find in picture frames. Not typical of a cabinet door glass. In spite of the glass this thing was solid!

When I got it home decisions had to be made. If you watch my YouTube Channel then you know I sometimes get paralyzed with indecision and I always suffer from what I have affectionately dubbed color atrophy.

I constantly second guess everything. The voice in my head question will the customer like this, that or the other. I finally settled on gray and white for the colors.

First Things First

First grab your tools

Time to play with power tools! Yes, I am a dork and yes I get really happy when it’s time to start taking things apart.

I’m not gonna lie.

There were a lot more issues than just the plate glass. Someone had drilled holes through the back to install 1980’s picture light on all three shelves. So there were some things I head to deal with.

Remove the cabinet hardware

Since the cabinet doors were coming off, the cabinet latches needed to come off.

Removed the cabinet doors

Then it was time for the doors to come off. Yep, they’re going away for good.

Cut the lights out

Since I didn’t plan to reuse the picture lights I decided to cut the plugs and pull them out.

Pull out the lights

I know the photo is blurry I was pulling them out. Stick with me the good part is coming!

Fill All the Holes

Once everything was removed, it left holes all over the hutch. including through the back that needed to be fixed.

wood putty to fill the holes

The screw holes were easy enough to fill. Grab some wood filler, I like the DAP Plastic Wood, and spread it on with a small knife.

Hole in the back of the old hutch

The hole through the back of the hutch was an entirely different matter. You can’t just put filler in when there’s no backing. If you try it will pop out like a cork.

Don’t worry! I know how to fix it and I’m going to share the secrete with you. If you read my post about fixing a hole in the sidewall of a dresser this process is exactly the same.

First you need a thin piece of wood. I used a shake I had left from another project but if you don’t have that you can use a thin piece of balsa wood.

Cut small squares

Cut the wood larger than the hole. I just used a scissors since the wood is so thin.

Use wood glue to glue the piece over the hole. Use painters tape to hold the place while it dries so it doesn’t slide around.

peal the painters tape

Once the glue is dry remove the tape.

peal the painters tape

The repair is hidden and gives you the perfect backing for your wood filler.

Fill the hole

Fill the holes like normal! Easy peezy.

Time to Prime

The whole hutch got a light sanding and then a coat of primer.

Prime the whole surface

I used Zinsser BIN primer because I know it works to block stains. Since I was painting white I didn’t want any yellow from the stain tannins to leach through.

paint the whole piece

Then I painted the whole piece. White inside the cabinet and dark gray everywhere else.

BUT WAIT! It’s not done yet.

Sand the top

I decided to sale the top down to the natural wood.

pickled oak finish

I used a picked oak stain to finish the top. Once that was dry it was time to move it into the shop.

The After!

Ready to see the old China Cabinet now?

Old Chin Cabinet After

Here it is styled and in the shop ready to find it’s new home!

How Did I do?

Even after struggling with color atrophy I think I made some good choices. Let me know what you thing. Don’t forget to share this post and save it to Pinterest!

China Cabinet Before and After