A Modern Twist on an Antique China Cabinet Makeover

Remember I found this at a local antiques fair? I finally got around to working on this beauty and bringing her into a more modern era.

We’ve all seen the shabby chic chippy white china cabinet makeovers. While they’re pretty and white is a great classic neutral, I wanted to do something different. I liked the custom gray paint with a light antiquing wax topcoat I used for my “dresser that almost wasn’t” and decided to do it again.


There were a few minor repairs to take care of before I could start painting; a little wood filler fixed some chips around the base. Of course the whole thing needed a good scrubbing too! Always sanitize your thrifted finds before beginning work. Not only does it help get rid of bad smells and unknown germs, it’s essential to start with a clean surface for the best paint job.

Then I started painting. I use about half and half CraftSmart “Silver Gray” and DecoArt “Relic” to make my medium gray mix. The scrollwork was easy to remove for painting since it was mostly just taped in.

After the paint dried thoroughly I mixed an antique wax glaze that’s mostly clear wax with a bit of antique wax and a healthy helping of glazing medium. I stirred it really, really well and applied with my large wax brush…then promptly realized why I hate waxing. It looked splotchy and dirty. I was working on this at night by lamplight and didn’t have as clear a perspective as by natural light. Bad idea.

Once I’d brushed the wax over the majority of the piece I took a clean cotton rag, lightly dampened it, and buffed the wax to blend it. This takes quite a bit of elbow grease and frequent re-dampening. Afterwards, working in sections, I very lightly dry brushed the paint mixture over the darker wax spots then immediately buffed with the damp rag. I wasn’t sure how it looked (thanks, lamplight) but it was well after midnight, the teething twin was crying and needed a little snuggle to get back to sleep, and I was exhausted.

The next morning I assessed my work and it looked MUCH better by daylight. I lightly distressed with sandpaper, polished the shelves, and painted the inside FolkArt “Sheepskin”, my all-time favorite white.


One of the beautiful teardrop handles was broken so, unfortunately, I had to replace them. The door handle wasn’t pretty or original (or even working) so I replaced that too. I went with simple aged brass fixtures to keep the original charm.



Finally finished and ready to find a new home!


5 thoughts on “A Modern Twist on an Antique China Cabinet Makeover

  1. Beautiful! I really like that pewter(?) pitcher and the cotton bolls in it. I grew up with cotton fields and have a scar beneath my lip to prove it. My sisters were running through a cotton field, dragging 3 yr. old me along, and I fell. Those tips holding the cotton have really sharp corners when they are dry and the cotton is ready to pick!

    Sent from my iPad



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