The Cutest Little China Cabinet Makeover

Greetings! I’m all done with my mini Goodwill china cabinet makeover and ready to give y’all the full scoop! There he was, all lonely and ready for a new home…


I unloaded this little guy from the 4runner all by myself, in HEELS no less! It doesn’t weigh a whole lot, but it’s tall – probably 6 feet or so – thus a little cumbersome to move solo. But I was able to slide it out of the back of the truck and onto a flattened cardboard moving box and scoot it slooooowly into the garage. It was a major victory for me, since usually my projects begin not when I purchase an item but when my sweet husband can get it moved to a proper construction zone for me. But I digress. 🙂

Phase One: Paint

Phase 1 was painting (and of course everything that goes with it!). Here’s what I did:

  1. Removed the shelves, door and light fixture. Luckily someone had already helped me by permanently removing the bottom door, so I just had to take off the top one. Thank you, previous owner!
  2. Lightly sanded all over the inside and outside with an orbital sander using a medium grit disc – about 100. (Sandpaper would have worked, but I’ll use all the extra help I can get!) In hindsight, this is the one thing I would have done slightly differently. Once I got it all painted, I realized how much the woodgrain showed through. If I had to do it over again, I would have sanded the surface completely smooth instead of just scratch coating it. That would have given the piece a more polished “factory paint” look.
  3. Applied about 3 coats of satin finish latex paint (Glidden Onyx Black) to the insides, outsides, and one side of each removable shelf using a high density foam roller (a MUST for smooth surfaces). I didn’t sand in between coats, though I’ve heard it’s advisable. Someday I’ll start following all the surface prep rules… maybe just not all of them at once.
  4. Let it dry overnight and the next day finished the other side of the shelves and the door. The glass came out of the door pretty easily by just unscrewing the plastic brackets that held in place.
  5. Once everything was very dry to the touch, I pull it all back together and got some help carrying it up to our “sunroom” – formerly known as the dining room (more about that later!).

After: Phase 1

Fresher! Neater! Darker!

Fresher! Neater! Darker!

It came out great – the surface was nice and even and the paint dried SUPER fast out in the garage. The hardest part was waiting for the paint to cure before loading the dishes in so I didn’t tear up the shelves! OK, I scuffed them up a tiny bit. But in my defense, all my dishes were inhabiting our only dining area so I was in a bonafide rush! And no, I couldn’t have just moved all the dishes elsewhere for a few days… that would be far to sensible!

So after waiting as long as I could stand, I started loading him up with our “white china,” as I’m calling it. The bottom is going to hold storage baskets… I think.


Phase 2: Paper

So this was a definite improvement over the original, but seemed a little too dark for my liking. Luckily I had this fun wrapping paper I got from the dollar aisle at Target about 6 months ago. Didn’t know at the time how perfect it would be… it even matches my new foyer light!


One hitch I did not expect was how curly the paper was when it came off the roll. It was hard to measure and cut when it kept rolling back up on itself… and I definitely couldn’t spray the glue on with it like that, so I ended up unrolling the whole thing and rolling it back up “backwards” to even out the curl. I left it that way for a couple days until I could pick back up on the project. See how these “little jobs” end up dragging on for weeks? 🙂

I cut the newly uncurlified paper to size and stuck it to the back of the cabinet with Krylon spray adhesive. I had to cut the panels just right so that the pattern would line up from one piece to the next.

Phase 2: After

I think it turned out pretty cute!


The paper pattern breaks up all the black and ties it in to my other decor. Not a bad piece for $22 at Goodwill!


If you’ve got the time and energy, I hope you’ll go out and beautify one thing in your environment this week. There’s nothing like a good before and after… especially when you get to appreciate it every day!

Happy painting and papering,