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Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

If you’re looking to get into furniture flipping or you have some old furniture of your own that you’d like to makeover, knowing the basic skills is so important. For example, you never want to start a DIY furniture painting project without cleaning and prepping your piece first. It’s not glamorous but it’s necessary to ensure that you have a beautiful smooth finish at the end after all your hard work! You also need to know how to apply paint and what type of brushes to use. In this blog post (and the video at the end) you’ll learn these important basic skills as well as a couple of other tricks like how to apply transfers. So if you’re serious about painting then follow along with this painted hutch makeover tutorial for beginners!

Supply List: Painted Hutch Makeover Supplies

* This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase from one of these links, I could make a commission at no charge to you. Keep in mind, this is everything that I used, but if you don’t need to fix the knobs or do some of the other prep work that I did, you won’t need these items.

  1. Three Wheeled Furniture Dollies

  2. Surf Prep Sanding Kit (Use coupon code BELLARENOVARE10 )

Step 1: Prepping the Hutch for the Makeover

For this painted hutch makeover, we needed to get started with some prep work and I always tell you that the prep is so important to the overall results of your painted furniture. If you don’t take the time to do the cleaning and small repairs that the piece needs, you may have disappointing results in the end.

Here, I disassembled everything, removed the doors, hinges and hardware on the drawers before cleaning.

Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

Prep includes disassesmbling the piece: doors, glass inserts, knobs, drawers and hardware.

TIP: Number your hinges and your drawers because on older wooden pieces, they often will only go back onto where they came from. It can be a struggle to try and fit things back on to different areas.

I then cleaned the piece from top to bottom using White Lightening and when it was clean I went over it with a clean cloth to remove any soap residue. TIP: If you miss this step, you may have adhesion issues with your paint product.

Clean your piece well with White Lightening and then go over it with a clean cloth.

You’ll see in the YouTube video that I also had to fill in some holes that were too big for the knobs and I explain how that’s done and walk you through the process over there.

Step 2: Sand and Strip the Top of the Hutch

I knew that I wanted to apply a gel stain to the top of the hutch and that this part wouldn’t be painted so I needed to sand off the shiny finish that had been applied years ago. Even using a power tool like a sander, this painted hutch makeover tutorial is great for beginners.

TIP: If you do not remove the shiny surface, you’ll have adhesion problems with your stain or your paint.

I started with a 60 grit sandpaper – going slow to make sure that I could control the sander and avoid swirls. I then went to an 80 grit and then a 120 grit. TIP: You don’t want to leave it as is after the 80 grit. You want to make sure that the surface is completely smooth so it’s important not to skip the step with the 120 grit.

Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

I started the sanding process with the 60 grit paper, moved up to an 80 grit and then finished off with 120 grit.

Make sure all old finish is off before you stain otherwise it won’t take. And where the edges are slightly curved, it’s easiest to manually sand the sides to maintain control.

This piece was made with pine so it needed a wood conditioner. I used Big Momma’s Butta, an oil based conditioner BEFORE applying the dark oil based stain. DO NOT USE the Butta with a water based stain. Wipe off excess and let sit for 1 hour before applying stain.

Big Momma’s Butta is going on here before the gel stain.

Step 3: Applying the Gel Stain to the Hutch

I used the gel stain in Walnut and an applicator pad to saturate the wood with it first. When the first layer was dry, I applied a second layer. It’s really important to let this stain completely dry for 72 hours before you apply your top coat.

The stain goes on in circles and short strokes first to saturate the wood and then long strokes to get an even coverage across the top.

Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

Applying the gel stain in Walnut.

I wanted to move on to getting the rest of the piece done before the top was dry so I covered it with plastic to keep it from getting dusty or dirty.

Covering the top with plastic before the 72 hour drying period is up.

The final prep step is scuff sanding to remove the shiny finish from the rest of the piece (remember we’ve only done the top so far).

Scuff sanding the rest of the piece before the top is dry.

Step 4: Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners Ready to Paint

The hutch was ready for paint and I chose Vintage Duck Egg which is a chalk mineral paint in a soft, neutral, but still brings in a pop of color to the piece.  I started by painting the entire frame and sides. We’re only using one color on this piece which is why I’m saying that this hutch makeover is perfecto for beginners. No overwhelming techniques here!

TIP: Make sure that you’re watching all the areas where to have applied paint and if you see excess wipe it back right away – you don’t want those to dry.

Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

Vintage Duck Egg

TIP: for a smooth finish. Apply the paint in one direction – here I did up and down. Go back the opposite way with your brush – in my case it was left to right. And finally with a very light hand go over it all again top to bottom. This will ensure that you have a fully covered, smooth surface.

When you’re painting drawers, you can either leave them in the piece, or you can remove them so that you’re not having to bend down or get too low. It’s up to you, both are totally fine when it comes to applying paint to drawers.

TIP: Wait for 1 hour with a second coat, but do a thinner layer because coverage is so good on a first coat and then you’re done.

TIP: If you get paint on drawers or where it doesn’t belong, you can sand it and then clean it up with a microfiber cloth and clean up the lines.

After painting, I distressed with 120 grit sandpaper, very lightly in areas that would be naturally distressed on drawers etc.

Adding some distressing in areas where it would naturally happen with 120 grit paper.

Step 5: Smoothing and Applying a Sealer

This smoothing step is optional, but I like to take a Rad Pad or 120 grit paper and just do a light sand all over the piece after it’s dry to make it extra smooth.

Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

A light sand after the paint is dry to make it extra smooth.

It’s important to protect your paint and use a high quality sealer – I’m using Gator Hide.

Gator Hide by goes on as a sealer.

Using synthetic brush, get as much excess off as can, light hand, long strokes, once it starts drying don’t do anything to it. Moving down the piece start at the top and apply lightly. Go back and apply the next row overlapping slightly with the one above it. Do this over the entire area where you have painted your paint color.

You also want to apply it over the top that you used the Gel Stain on. TIP: Make sure that the stained area is completely dry otherwise your foam roller will come back with stain all over it after you start to apply the sealer. I recommend rolling the edges first and then doing long strokes from one end to the other.

Applying Gator Hide to the stained area.

When you have applied one coat, take a 280 to 300 very fine grit sandpaper, sand and wipe then do another coat.

Step 6: Applying the Transfers to the Back Panel of the Hutch

There are some amazing new transfers that are coming out in April and I got to try one of them on the back panels of this hutch for a bit of a subtle design and pattern. I needed to paint the back panels first in a white so that the light grey lace design would show up on the white background. I Drop Cloth. (I use this one a lot it’s my fave neutral).

Even with the transfer application, this painted hutch makeover for beginners is still simple!

Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners

Painting Drop Cloth on the back panels before I apply the transfers.

I did two coats of Drop Cloth and then waited for them to dry for 24 hours before applying the transfers.

To get started, I simply peeled back the transfer from the protective backing and placed it on the area that I was applying the transfer to. You want to make sure that you burnish it (push it down) then use the stick to burnish the transfer onto the surface. When burnished properly, the design is transferred over to the wood.

Burnishing the transfer to the wood.

Burnish again using a microfiber cloth and then take your Satin Clear Coat and seal the design. Sealing the transfer will keep it from getting scratched or from lifting down the road.

YouTube Video Tutorial



I created a how to video from start to finish and you’ll find some really helpful tips and tricks for beginners – things that you’ll be able to use in all of your DIY furniture painting projects going forward. I had so much fun on this project – Painted Hutch Makeover Tutorial for Beginners – and I hope that you learned some new skills that you can continue to use on all of your future projects!

And if you want to see some of my other projects, they’re all here on the blog for you and here is one that you may like: https://bellarenovare.com/2018/12/painting-buffalo-plaid-on-furniture/

Happy Creating!

CrysDawna BellaRenovare Furniture Artist

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