Antique Hutch Makeover with Fabric “Wallpaper” Back

I have been on the fence for years about an antique hutch that sits off my kitchen. From afar, it was amazing. Sadly, up close, the hutch had A LOT of problems!

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 640

To bring the hutch back to its former glory would have been quite an undertaking, and truthfully, I was ready for something a little brighter. So, even though I believe many antiques should not be painted, this little guy was the perfect candidate for a makeover.

I began by disassembling the hutch:

  1. Remove doors and drawers
  2. Remove hinges, pulls and knobs
  3. Remove lattice work on doors
  4. Remove glass from doors
  5. Remove Hutch back*

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 3

I do all of these steps with EVERY hutch I make over. It is a little more work on the front end, but I promise, it’s worth it! Here’s why:

  • Typically with antiques, there is buildup of junk under pulls and hinges, so you want to get that cleaned off (I use Pine-Sol.)
  • Sometimes the original hardware looks best! If you don’t like the look of the hardware once you’ve tried it on your painted piece, you can always paint the hardware at that point.
  • It is way easier to remove glass than to tape it off and paint around. Besides, the finished piece just looks more professional.
  • *Even if you don’t want to do a fabric or wallpaper back on your hutch, removing the back makes a hutch SO MUCH EASIER TO PAINT!

ATT Fabric Back Hutch 7a

When it comes to antiques, I recommend NOT puttying or patching anything that doesn’t cause a problem structurally. I believe those parts tell the story of an antique and should not be covered, but rather highlighted. Secondly, patch and putty jobs typically look worse when painted.

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 7b

I also always use a brush for antiques, even though the job would go much faster by using my chalk paint in a sprayer. Since paint sprayers didn’t exist when my antique was made, I think a brushed finish looks more authentic.

As always, I made my own chalk paint for this project using BB Frösch. I avoid any sanding, priming or stripping this way, and I can choose whatever color I want. It is so much more affordable than pre-mixed chalk paint. I chose to paint the interior white (Benjamin Moore “Alabaster” mixed with BB Frösch Chalk Paint Powder) and the rest of the hutch a light minty blue color (Benjamin Moore “At Sea” mixed with BB Frösch Chalk Paint Powder.)

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 4

Notice the interior only has one coat of paint, while the exterior has two coats. What a difference that second coat makes!

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 5

Once the hutch was painted, I did some minor distressing with 220-grit sandpaper. I didn’t want a shabby chic look, but again, I wanted to stay true to the integrity of the piece, and an antique like this wouldn’t have made it this far without a little distressing!

I waxed with BB Frösch Clear Premium Finishing Wax. This is my go to for ANY antique. To me, this is a more authentic finish since the poly urethane and poly acrylic finishes of today didn’t exist back then. Besides, I think wax just looks softer and prettier.

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 4a

For the fabric back, I used a decorator fabric I snagged on clearance at Hobby Lobby for just $7.

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 8a

Turning any fabric into “wallpaper” is not only SUPER EASY, if you ever get tired of it, the fabric is really easy to remove. This works for fabric on walls, too!

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 7

  1. Whisk together 1/4 C Corn starch with about 1/4 water
  2. Add mixture to 2 c boiling water and whisk until mixture thickens
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool

This makes a LOT of paste! I barely used any for this project.

I laid my hutch back on the floor and lined up my fabric on top of it. Then, I folded half the fabric back and brushed my paste onto the hutch backing. Then, I simply unfolded the fabric and smoothed it over the backing. I repeated these steps with the right half of my hutch back. It is easy to smooth the fabric out. Allow to dry. The corn starch paste dries nice and clear.

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 8

I trimmed the fabric to fit the hutch back after it was glued on, then I used a nail gun to re-attach the hutch backing, and voilà!

ATT Fabric Backed Huth 9

Just in case you forgot what it looked like before, here’s a side-by-side comparison:

ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 11

I am in love with the fabric back!


Fabric Backed Hutch 14


ATT Fabric Backed Hutch 12

Fabric Backed Hutch 13

So much lighter and brighter!

ATT Fabric Backed Huth 9

Looking for more BB Frösch Inspiration? Check out BB Frösch on Facebook, on Instagram @BBFrosch and and Pinterest!

Thanks for stopping by!

Kristin Headshot no watermark




  1. says

    Hi, thank you so much in making me want to finally decorate my home how i visioned it. I just came in from doing my first project. I want to paint my daughters small bookshelf in grape purple, so i primed it first. Is it normal to finish a WHOLE can of primer on a small bookshelf or did i go overboard?

    • says

      The beauty of using BB Frösch to make your own chalk paint is that you DON’T need to prime! Since you have already primed, that’s okay. But don’t worry about this pesky prep step in the future!

  2. Linda Sims says

    Can you please tell me why sanding and priming are not needed with chalk paint. Won’t it peel off if the old finish is slick (varnish or enamel, for example)
    I have several pieces that I would love to refinish, but dread the sanding and priming.

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