DIY Vintage Blue Hutch Reborn
I was on the hunt for a hutch for my kitchen to house all of my nice (expensive) pieces of stemware so B wouldn’t be able to break them all in a matter of seconds.
The problem with most kitchen hutches is that they are monstrosities. I had a tight space so it needed to be pretty narrow and I wanted the bones to have a vintage flair. These unique specs caused me to look high and low for, literally, months. I looked in every thrift and vintage store in town, Craigslist, garage sales, etc. I found nothing. Everything was either too big or too expensive (I wanted cheap to work some magic on!).
I finally found the perfect piece in a used furniture store right around the corner from work.
The catch – it wasn’t a kitchen hutch. It was actually a bedroom dresser that needed major work. The top wasn’t even attached to the bottom for pete’s sake, but it was a steal at $89! It also had all the curves and specifics I was wanting, including shelves to display my stemware, drawers for extra storage and it was raised off the floor as it was going over the only air duct in the kitchen.
I still can’t believe I found all of that in one piece for less than $100! Perfect. The same exact thing refinished I had seen for more than $400. My mom went with me to examine the piece to determine if I could refinish as I wished and to let me use her vehicle to carry it to her house for me to use all of her supplies to refinish it (have I mentioned my mom is the bomb.com?!).
Okay, so to the main gist of my post – how to refinish a very outdated, ugly wood-colored (I use the term loosely) hutch to a beautifully restored piece of history!
Here are the supplies you need:
- Hutch or whatever piece of furniture you would like to bring back to life
- Unsanded light colored grout
- A quart of whatever colored paint you prefer (I live for Behr paint. The color I used was Lotus Leaf color number U220-16).
- Fiddes wax – in Rugger Brown and Clear – purchased from John Millen Hardware (I used the clear and brown wax to create the distressed look I was wanting).
- Paint brush
- Wax brush – Lady Butterfly Wax Brushes (I decided afterwards that you could just use an old paint brush, but this brush was nice, although it will shed bristles a lot while it’s still new).
- Sand paper
- Old rags
- A well-vented room
- Shelf paper
I first laid the top and bottom of the hutch out on a drop cloth to protect my mama’s floors from my madness. I removed the drawers and handles and these adorable ornamental details that I was able to pry off carefully.
Next, I wiped down the entire piece with a clean damp cloth to remove the dust, old cobwebs and that vintage smell.
Next on the agenda was to make chalk paint (and no I’m not talking about the chalkboard paint you can draw on – although I’m sure B will try and have her fun at drawing on this piece eventually). If you haven’t heard of chalk paint, go Google it. It is MAGICAL! And I have painted a lot in my day and can tell you it really is amazing. You can buy it pre-made, but it is super duper expensive and making it is relatively inexpensive and goes a long way!
I actually found out that the hutch had a formica-type top and, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but plastic front legs. At least the back two are real wood, right? What can I expect though for the price?
The chalk paint went on all the surfaces with no problem and I haven’t had any issues with it flaking off the piece. Good thing I love it, because it is stuck!
I mixed ½ cup of unsanded grout with 1 quart of paint to create a thicker paint. Mix this together very well as it makes quite a thick paint (think pancake batter thickness). The more grout you use, the more chalky the piece will look. Using the paintbrush, making all strokes in the same direction, I painted all sides and crevices of the piece. I let that dry based upon the directions on the paint can. (This paint does dry very fast though, so you will want to work quickly – not fast, but not slow either!).
Once the piece was dry, I took sand paper and went to town. Let me add that I am an accountant by trade and I like things uniform and organized, so this was the toughest part for me.
The key to using the sandpaper is to make it look like the piece has been beaten up over time and seen lots of toddler tantrums over the years. I sanded most all of the edges sporadically until the wood appeared through the paint.
I then folded the sand paper in half and made long sweeping motions down the side and across the shelves and drawers to get down to the wood surface in those areas as well. It might be a good idea to wear some gloves during the part of the process as it can wear on your hands.
Once I was done with the sanding, although I really think I could have continued to find more spots to distress for days, I wiped the piece down with a dry cloth to remove the dust from sanding.
After I was satisfied with my distressing skills, I moved on to my waxing skills. This is where the vented room comes into play because that wax has a lot of fumes – whew!
As I mentioned above, I used a little bit of the brown wax with the clear wax to get the look I wanted. The key is to grab a little bit of the clear wax on your brush prior to grabbing a little bit of the brown or you will be left with a huge amount of brown wax on your piece that won’t move.
If you do it like I mentioned, the clear wax will allow you to move the brown wax around a bit. Using circular motions, I painted the wax on the entire piece. This wax will go a LONG way so only a little bit is needed at a time. Once I got past the first few brushmarks of wax, I got the hang of it pretty quickly and it really was fun adding more here and less there and just really waxing with no method to my madness.
After letting that dry, based upon the directions on the can, I used a dry soft cloth to wipe down the piece (think wax on, wax off motion). The more you wipe, the more shine the piece will have.
The next step was adding the decorative hardware back to the piece (after I did the same process for it of course) and cutting the shelf paper to add a bit of flair to the inside drawers.
All in all, this only took me a few hours over a day’s time to complete. It seems like a lot of steps, but it is quite fun and you can’t really mess it up since you are trying to distress it anyway!
I have received so many compliments on it and am so glad I did it myself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Oh and if you are wondering, B has yet to figure out that it is a tower of fun filled glass-breaking, so all is good with my master plan of displaying my beautiful pieces while being a mama to a rampant toddler.