China Cabinet Makeover: Prepping + Sanding Wood Furniture {Step 1}

#chinacabinetmakeover

Last week I shared the latest + greatest project that I’m throwing myself into.  Since the baby arrived, I kind of lost my DIY mojo, but this project has me back!  I can not express how excited I am about this project because I’ve been thinking about it for so long.  Have you ever had a moment like that when you are thinking about something so much, but are unsure of how all the details could possibly come together?  Well that was me with this project…  I knew exactly the cabinet I wanted, I knew the color I wanted it to be, but no cabinet.  UNTIL, I found her.

Somehow, someway the stars were aligned and last week she came home!  To be specific, my husband and I went to the seller’s home (it’s a must to always go with someone on a Craigslist excursion!) and thankfully he had a pickup, so for $20 extra he delivered it to our house.  Lesson learned?  It never hurts to ask.  We don’t have a pickup and would have had to rent one.  This was much easier!

Thinking back, I haven’t tackled a large-scale furniture makeover project like this since the painting of the laminate bookcases and that was a LONG time ago.  Whether large or small though, the steps for painting a piece of furniture are typically the same and that’s what I am dedicating my next few posts to… rehabbing a piece of furniture to achieve a dynamic result.

First up, details on how to begin the process of paint a piece of furniture including how-to prep + how-to sand.

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

The china cabinet was in a pretty sad place before landing in my garage.  It was dusty and had lots of grime in the corners, so a good ole’ cleaning was a must!

1. First up… the hardware.  I removed all the hardware using a screwdriver and am still on the fence about reusing or replacing the existing pieces.  Some of the hardware (knobs) were missing, so I’m not sure what I will do.  – TBD –

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

2. Once the hardware was removed, I used a vacuum to clean all the nooks + crannies of the cabinet.  Not only was it dusty, but it was dirty.

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

Then following that, I used a dampened rag and went over all the surfaces.  It was amazing the grime that came off this piece!

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

3. After taking a few minutes to clean the surface, it was time for sanding.

Using my orbital sander (it really is the best tool for sanding large areas – I use it SO MUCH) I went over the areas that I could.  The orbital sander is somewhat large so it worked great for the larger flat surfaces like the top, sides, and doors.  For the more detailed, intricate areas, I used a piece of sandpaper (by hand).  The very detailed areas I just left (without sanding) and will be using a primer that ‘grips’ to the surface so the paint will adhere.  The gripper paint I will be using (more on that in an upcoming post) actually says no sanding is needed, but I like to give a quick sanding for better adhesion.  If I were staining this piece, I would have needed to go down to the original surface.  Since I am painting it though, a quick sanding (+ a good primer) is all that is needed.

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

sanding, sanding, sanding…

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

When sanding wood, it’s important that you do not put too much pressure on the wood surface.  I started with a 120 grit paper and then used a 220 grit paper for a smoother finish.  A light sanding is just enough and always continue to rotate and move the sander so you are not concentrating on one section for a long time.

Sections of the china cabinet where I could not use the orbital sander, I sanded by hand.  Areas like the buffet top and the legs were very worn (natural wear + tear) and needed to be smoothed out.

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

4. Sanding took about 10-15 minutes and then I cleaned all the surfaces again.  Lastly before painting this girl of mine, I taped off the glass.  Using painters tape, I taped off the edge where the wood meets the glass.  This will make painting much easier!

China Cabinet Makeover: How-To Prep and Sand Wood Furniture {easy to follow tutorial - multiple blog posts to explain how easy it is}

And that’s it.  For now!

This china cabinet is still in transition mode from blah to pretty.  Next up?  Primer, which is the key to a good paint job.  Stay tuned for my next post on Why & How to Prime Wood Furniture.

Follow along on this makeover with these other posts
Backstory + Choosing a Color
Prepping & Sanding Wood Furniture
Why & How to Prime Wood Furniture
Tips + Tricks to Painting Wood Furniture
Accessories, Details, & Styling {China Cabinet Makeover}

Coming up (still to do)
China Cabinet Makeover {Reveal}

 




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Comments

  1. TKraft Art & Interiors says

    Glad your sharing this important if not critical phase of this project. The prep work on any paint job big or small is at most times the longest and the most arduous step in the whole process. The sweat equity will pay off ten fold…

  2. Michelle says

    She is gorgeous!!! I love the color. I have a question – I found a wood buffet off Craig’s List that I want to paint but, it is currently painted, so do I need to sand it and prime it before I paint it a different color?

    Thanks

    • Jenna says

      Even though your buffet is painted, I would still go about the same process – clean up, sand, prime, paint, seal with polyurethane!

  3. Susan says

    So I found a chest of drawers that someone put out to be thrown away. Its in good shape, its this purple color and I want to strip that off an repaint. What’s the best way to strip off old paint and prepare it to be repainted.

    • Jenna says

      Susan,

      For the projects I’ve tackled, I typically will lightly sand the surface, prime using a stain-blocking / sealing paint (like Kilz), then add about 3 coats of paint with a semi-gloss finish. I have never used a stripping agent, but that is something you may need to remove the existing stain or paint.

      Good Luck!
      Jenna