Need Some Advice From My Expert Friends...

6:00:00 AM

I need a little advice from all of you expert furniture refinishers...

I was given a china cabinet, nice but not my taste...
It was a lot like this one...
I took the glass doors off and used the top part of the cabinet to make a desk that I just love! 
The top sits on a black piece of wood, one side is supported by an old wooden file cabinet and the other side is supported by a black sawhorse.

But now the bottom of the china cabinet...

I hate it.

 I took off the handles
and you can see how much it has faded,
I guess the original color was where the handles used to be...

I'm not in love with the handles either...
 I gave them a make-over today...
I removed all the handles and in order to paint them,
 stuck a toothpick in the joint, it kept the handle up.

I used metallic bronze spray paint...
I like the color!
Now that I like the handles, what can I do to the cabinet? 
I want to paint it maybe black or white but if I paint it will primer keep the paint from scratching off? 
Does the whole thing need to be sanded?

The wood is very shiny varnished...
Any ideas?
I'd love some advice from the experts...

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  1. I ALWAYS sand before painting anything. I start off using a 120 grit, then in between each coat I use an 80 grit to get rid of any small bumps. I don't know exactly what "primer" is but I'm assuming it's American for what we call "undercoat/sealer" in Australia.
    I would definitely give it a light sand as it can't hurt. I can't wait to see what you do with it! I really like what you've done with the handles, and how you've turned part of it into a desk. Very nifty :)

  2. You definitely need to use primer, especially when there's a shiny finish on the original piece. Then, like Meg and Mum said, sand between each coat of paint. What will keep it from scratching off is at least 2 light coats of poly on top when you're finished, put on at least 24 hours after your last coat of paint (again, sand first).

  3. Or you could try Chalk paint. You don't need to sand or prime it, but it will give the piece texture.

  4. Definitely sand prior to primer and between coats lightly! It will be beautiful I'm sure!!

  5. I just finished a china closet too! I sanded then primed three thin coats (I tinted the primer close to the color) then three thin coats of paint, then three thin coats of sealer. Sanding in between each layer on all steps. These are painted pieces, you need to take care when using them, the paint (although primed) is sitting on the surface of the wood. It's not stain and it doesn't penetrate the fibers. The sealer (poleyacrylic or poleyurathene)helps with the durability.

  6. I would sand and use primer before you paint. Unless you use chalk paint, which is amazing, then you can skip those steps! I just painted a desk today with chalk paint and it had the same sheen to it and I didn't sand or prime it!

  7. I'm over from Chic on a shoestring. I love what you did with the top! I clicked on your link because I just got a hutch with the same drawer pulls! Mine has been in the family for 100+ years and I've never seen another one like it yet (only the drawer pulls matched). If you are concerned about paint scratching off, go for the distressed look and make it intentional, then you'll never have to worry about it getting beat up

  8. Like Lisa says...I've heard chalk paint is the way to go; per Marion at Mustard Seed Creations. She's my go to for all painting issues and she has video tutorial for people like me who are scared to paint furniture. :( I'm such a wimp.

  9. I susan! What a cool piece. What I generally do is sand the whole thing just to get the sheen off. Prime for SURE! light sand with 220 grit sandpaper. You don't have to spend a lot of time when you sand in-between coats. Then paint and sand in-between on the flat surfaces. For sealing you can do either a paste wax or poly, depending on the finish you want and how much "traffic" you think it will get:)

  10. I hate to sand so I don't. I spray what a want to paint with Windex, let it sit for maybe an hour,re-spray if I think it is too dry,wipe it dry and paint. The Windex breaks down the finish without lifting the grain of the wood. I have painted many pieces with this method.

  11. Check out what I did with an old credenza I picked up at a flea market -- for under $140 Love my new kitchen island.

  12. @Sharlene T.... I can't check it out you are on "no-reply".... Susan

  13. I have painted a few pieces without sanding first. (they had a lot of crevices that I was dreading) So I grabbed the Zinnser primer and went to town. It grabbed great and the paint went on well after that. I also used floetrol in my paint to get a smoother finish. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

  14. Okay. Go to and it's the third entry down! I'm on NoReply? How does that happen? I thought I was available to all... hmmm.


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