Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cheering Up the China Cabinet {painted furniture tutorial}

Today, my friends, I'd like to officially introduce you to my happy china cabinet! But before you meet her, I'd like you to meet my dark, sad, lovely-in-her-own-way china cabinet. (Also known as: The Before Photo)

You may not wish to hear all the details about this china cabinet, but this is my blog, so I'm going to tell you. It was given to my husband when he was in college. It filled the entire wall of his apartment, as it had two other pieces, but each time we've moved, we've er - lost one. It was already well-loved when Eric got it, and we've been married now for 13 years, so this cabinet has definitely lived a good life. And it is pretty cool. I love the detail at the top. But it's DARK. And in the we-can't-paint-the-walls townhouse where we live, I miss COLOR. I'm a pretty bright and cheery person, and our living room is white and brown. Booooo.

SO, after reading about a hundred furniture painting tutorials, the hubs and I decided to dive in and do it. (I've never loved him more, than when he got fired up about an aqua china cabinet.) We debated about chalk paint or latex paint. I was worried about having to get wax in all those little grooves and details. So we went with latex.

After cleaning the whole thing with soapy water, and then allowing it to dry, we used Zinsser Bull's Eye 1-2-3 Primer. It's water based, and the surfaces don't have to be sanded first. It stuck really well, and I will definitely use this again.

For the paint, we chose Behr Premium Plus Ultra, in Lap Pool Blue, from Home Depot. Everything we used, was recommended from websites and blog posts that I read. (I'll link my favorites at the end.) We used two coats, and still have at least half a gallon of paint left. Our littlest man wanted to help, so I let him paint the back of one of the corner pieces. I had him paint his name too!
After everything was painted and dried came my favorite part - distressing it. I sanded the edges and corners and spots on the doors. It's weird how fun it was to basically destroy all my hard work. I love the way some of the primer shows through, and then the dark lovely wood. 

We really debated about whether or not to take the hardware off before we started painting. I was terrified that it wouldn't go back on properly, but my husband was brave and took control of that situation. I painted the hardware with Rustoleum Hammered spray paint. It actually left a hammered metal texture to it - I have no idea how that works, but it looks great. (I sprayed WAY too much though, and it took forever to dry!)

These were the handles before we removed them. When we reassembled it, we left off the extra detail pieces. 

In this picture, you can see the hammered texture of the painted hardware.

The biggest debate was a finishing coat. We bought Minwax Polycrylic, and then I read some blog posts that scared me - they talked about brush strokes and bubbles and I was afraid we'd ruin all our work. I applied Polycrylic to the cabinet doors, decided I didn't like it, sanded it off, and the repainted and redistressed the doors. This cabinet doesn't get a lot of wear and tear, so we're just leaving it without.
So there you have it. Meet the happy, cheery, aqua china cabinet! It has really brightened up our whole living area. I asked my husband how long it will be until we say "Remember when it was so trendy to have aqua furniture?" Who knows how many colors this sweet old cabinet will end up being! My dream is that some day I'll have a craft room, and this can be part of my storage space. Can't you just picture it filled with jars of buttons and twine!? (Swooooon.) 

Here are some of the blogs that helped us:
Whatever (this is the post that got me fired up. COLOR. COLOR. COLOR. and craft supplies!)

In addition, I pinned a lot of tutorials on Pinterest, as well as examples that inspired us.

And now, if you haven't had enough of me, stop on by the Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking blog, because I took an unused shelf from this cabinet, and turned it into a piece of artwork, thanks to Hazel & Ruby stencils! Come on over and see! Thanks for listening to me ramble on today. Holler if you have any questions! :) 


Nancy Durant said...

That turned out great! I am so glad to see pictures of it because I was wondering how it looked. Nice job!

Cindy C. said...

Wow beautiful transformation!!! Well done!!

Susan aka Mimi said...

I love how you shared the process! You and Eric should be really proud of your finished cabinet! Best face lift ever! Sure hope I get to see it in person one day while it's still aqua! Reminds me of the piano I have from AG - it has been a LOT of colors over the years! Kitchen table too!

Dee in N.H. said...

WOW! You are brave and that turned out to be just gorgeous!

Linda said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

Stunning transformation!

AJ Bodine said...

What a great story, love the before/after photos! I've refinished quite a few pieces of furniture and have always had great success with removing all the hardware to spruce it up, it always goes right back into place. I also love the hammered paint, it works so well!! Gorgeous piece and yes, I can only imagine how awesome it would like filled with colorful jars in your craft room!