Quick 1-2-3 Vintage Makeover with Paint & Dark Wax

Hi there! I am in Pittsburgh at the moment for a family wedding; our nephew Nick is marrying his fiance Tabitha tomorrow. Tonight, over 40 of us (including the bride and groom!) are attending a Pirates game together. My husband comes from a sports-loving family, and it’s always loads of fun to be with them. We regularly go to not just baseball games, but Steelers and Penguins games as well.

But I planned ahead and have a vintage makeover for you today. I mentioned earlier in the week that I had purchased a newer corner cupboard to use for display in my antique booth. Well, before I placed it in my booth, I painted and waxed it to give it a distinctly vintage look. I think you’ll agree that it looks so much better now than it did originally.

Quick 1-2-3 Vintage Makeover with Paint and Dark Wax adirondackgirlatheart.comI only had a few days to accomplish this project because I needed to get it out of my foyer (where I do many a DIY project!) before guests arrived for a weekend birthday party.

Corner Cupboard in middle of vintage-style makeover (800x1200)This shot gives you an idea of the “lovely” unfinished, orange-y, pine that I had to ignore in order to see its true potential. Though not terribly old, I knew I could give it an attractive vintage makeover.

BTW, if you’re wondering, I did paint the undersides of the shelves; I just waited until I put the cupboard up on a table to paint the bottom half–easier on the neck that way. Handy Tip: Set your piece of furniture on wooden blocks so when you paint the bottom you’ll get a cleaner edge than if it sat directly on newspaper or plastic.

Hinges on corner cupboard (1200x800)Before painting, I removed the door hinges–much quicker and easier than trying to paint around them. Handy Tip: Place each hinge and set of nails in a labeled baggie (I labeled my “top” and “bottom”). In the past, I’ve had trouble when I’ve mixed up hinges; sometimes they aren’t interchangeable. Trust me, I know!

Corner Cupboard after vintage-style makeover (3) (1101x1200)I painted the first coat with pale, pale yellow “oops” paint and the second with light taupe “oops” paint, both of which I had on hand. For the inside of the door (a little surprise), I used Sherwin Williams sample of “Infinity Falls.” [In actual fact, I ran out of both the yellow and taupe paint, so I had to go with plan “B,” lol.

I decided to paint the body with different colors to see what happens when you sand back the top layer a little to let both the bottom layer and a bit of the original wood color show through. Below you’ll get to see some of that.

Close up of knob on Corner Cupboard with vintage makeover  (1200x1165)After painting and sanding, I applied a coat of homemade dark wax to the entire surface, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then buffed it. The dark wax makes the exposed wood a little darker and gets into the lines left from the paint brush, which helps create the vintage look you’re after.

Close up of corner cupboard after vintage makeover (1200x800)I didn’t go crazy with the distressing, mostly because I was in a bit of a hurry. BTW, remember this painted horse?

Close up of corner cupboard after vintage makeover (1200x800)
In this shot (on the right), you can see the buttery color showing through the light taupe, topped with the dark wax.

Upper half of Corner Cupboard after vintage-style makeover  4(787x1200)You can see some of that in this photo as well.

Corner Cupboard after vintage-style makeover (700x1200)And here’s the finished product. Now in my antique booth at the Gristmill Antique Center in Troy (NY), priced at $125. For anyone who thinks, “I can’t do that!” Trust me, you can: (1) Paint (2) Sand Paper (3) Dark Wax. Boom. Vintage-style furniture. It’s that easy.

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Bye for now,

Other posts you might enjoy:

Vintage Keyhole Desk Makeover
French Style Chair Makeover
A Painted Dresser

I’d love it if you’d pin me 🙂

Quick 1-2-3 Vintage Makeover with Paint and Dark Wax adirondackgirlatheart.com


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  1. BOOM! I think I can do that! Thank you for the great project details. I think I will think twice before passing on a furniture redo project next time because I have a new sense of confidence that I can get great results!

  2. I have a rough cupboard that is that exact ugly type of pine. My dad gave it to me, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. I think it would look great with this method. I love that you use “oops” paint! I always seem to have some on hand as well:)

  3. It looks great, Diana! And an interesting process to start with the yellow paint. I never would have t ho’t to do that, but after the distressing it sort of suggests that it was originally painted yellow like many vintage pieces were. I could also see using that old vintage green color in place of the yellow which would give the same effect. So…I just learned something new to try! Thanks, friend! Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. I think your cupboard turned out lovely and isn’t it a great feeling to be able to use up a couple of cans of paint as you did? Enjoy a fun week-end with family…I do love being invited to a wedding!

  5. Your cupboard came out beautifully. Be sure and tell us when it sells; I’m sure it won’t be long! It is a lovely neutral color that will be popular! I like the surprise blue, too!

  6. did you sand the entire cupboard down before applying the first coat of paint? I want to refinish one that I bought secondhand and just wanted to know if I need to sand all the nooks and crannies first.

    1. I only sand when the surfaces is very slick and shiny, but even then, I don’t go crazy with it. I sand slightly to give the surface some “tooth” to grab onto the paint. Hope that helps!

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