08 June 2015

Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest: The Old Jelly Cupboard

When you have parents who love rustic antiques, you grow up knowing a jelly cupboard from a pie safe, and a dry sink from a dough box. I have one of each, given to me by my Mom.

I grew up with this jelly cupboard. Mom let me take it with me when I moved to California with my husband (who was then my fiancé).

The concept of paint made of milk and a cupboard made just for jelly confused "eight year-old me."  I have since learned that milk paint is one of the oldest types of paint, non-toxic, with a casein base (hence the milk component), and jelly cupboards are antique cupboards made specifically for storing preserves over a long winter. The pantry of yesterday?

I don't know how old it is, but it is built with square nails, so I'll go ahead and say very old. This cupboard was painted in a brick red milk paint by my father in the 1980's. When I inherited it, I did not care for that salmon/brick color and painted it maroon - which I regretted - and then quickly changed my mind and painted it black. 

I lived with the black cupboard for several years, and it was fine, but it began to feel kind of severe, like a solid black rectangle without dimension. Our walls were golden tan which this picture was taken, and have been repainted neutral gray (BM Annapolis Gray).

When The Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest came around, I knew I wanted to give it a try. This jelly cupboard is perfect for Shabby Chic Storage, and a great opportunity to use Old Fashioned Milk Paint, so I added it to my project list and joined this contest:

furniture flipping contest
FFFC post graphic final (1)I started by removing the drawers, door, and hardware. I used Citri-strip to remove several layers of paint, and it required two thick applications. Then I sanded off the remaining black paint that wouldn't budge with the stripper. I did all of this in my living room, and no, there were no fumes.

There was a slight remnant of white paint that I chose to leave because it worked into my vision for the new finish. I don't remember the jelly cupboard being white, but it may be a layer of primer. Or I may have been too young to remember it when it was white.

I think this is beautiful. I chose to keep the top like this, with an application of light stain and top coat.

Now the cupboard consisted of bare wood and a whisper of old white paint. Using a resist technique, I added a layer of Vaseline to the parts where I wanted to retain those colors, even after paint has been added. The Vaseline acts as a barrier and prevents the paint from adhering to the wood, allowing for it to chip more easily. 

I considered green, red, and blue, and settled on blue because it is the one color I never tire of. This house is slowly being decorated with layers of blue, in all shades.

 I found a local Old Fashioned Milk Paint retailer and chose Soldier Blue.

I started with a light coat of white wash, nothing fancy, so the blue would sand down to expose a subtle white base.

After two coats of Soldier Blue, I sanded the parts that required more distressing. Without a bonding agent I knew the paint would chip, exposing more of the wood and white paint beneath it. I don't normally paint with a distressed finish, but I went for it with this piece. I really wanted it to look rustic, worn, and loved.

I added a coat of clear wax, and this brought out the details in the layers of blue, white, and wood. Wax is like magic, adding dimension and deeper color. 

Finally, I cleaned up the old brass hardware, and replaced the generic wooden knobs with gold/brass cup pulls.

I love the layers of blue, white, and wood.

This piece is so old. I think the oils in the wood worked with the paint to create more texture than a plain old latex paint, which would just cover the entire surface. I love this effect. It serves the jelly cupboard to show its age. 

I won't be storing any jelly in the cupboard, but it is a useful spot for my magazines, catalogs, and random decorative accessories.

The color makes a huge difference on this wall. The black cupboard felt depressing. This new finish adds color and brings out the other blue accents in the room.

I love the new view from the kitchen. I brought in the chair from the dining room and updated the gallery wall to suit the new arrangement.

Jason loves the updated cupboard. He said it looks like an old pair of jeans, and I couldn't have said it better myself. This is a very rustic and distressed look, and I usually create something clean and modern, but there is no point in making a jelly cupboard look crisp and modern. I like adding something old to the mix of new, and when it has a history, that's even better. 

I asked my Mom if she remembered the brand of milk paint my Dad used when he was painting furniture. She found these packages in storage and sent me a picture. I couldn't believe this jelly cupboard had been painted with the same paint 30 years ago by my Dad. 

Mustard, Barn Red, and Soldier Blue.

Check out all of the other beautiful entries linked up at Ciburbanity and Thirty Eighth Street. And if you are interested in entering the contest next month please contact Stacy at info@anastasiavintage.com or Evey at info@eveyscreations.com.

Sharing with Miss Mustard Seed
 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png


  1. Colleen, I love the transformation of this piece. And your styling is amazing. I love the pop of color this piece gives your space. Thank you for participating in the Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest! I will be pinning to our FFFC board.

    1. Thanks Michelle. It was a fun project, and a fun contest to join too!

  2. Colleen, I love the history behind this piece and the fact that it was originally painted in milk paint is an amazing full circle! Great color choice, it looks stunning in your living space. Thanks for participating in The Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest!

    1. Thanks Carrie! Isn't that crazy about the milk paint? Full circle is right!

  3. I love the new color and the wood top! It looks like more of a statement piece!

  4. What a fantastic transformation. Everything about this piece makes me happy! Great choice in color!

  5. Love it! That blue is perfect! Also just caught a peek at that lovely Nate Berkus fabric for your curtains, totally forgot about that. I'll just put this out there - we have great taste.

    1. Thanks Dena. I love that Nate fabric! And you used that for some chairs, right? Yea, I'd say we do alright. :)

  6. Love it, love it, love it...did I mention I love it?! You've served the old cupboard well. You're Dad would be very proud!

  7. Very nice furniture. Thanks for sharing.Does any one know about.office cubicles ft lauderdale

  8. Isn't interesting how our tastes ebb and flow? I feel as though, now, 12 years into my home decorating, that I'm finally starting to identify what I REALLY like. How silly! : )

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  10. I like you house furniture it gives an attractive look, an Antique Furniture is also very good look.

  11. No matter how many times I read this, I fall in love with it ALL OVER AGAIN! <3


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