Saturday, July 4

File Under "A" for Awesome!

I spy a new addition to the craft room!
It was just my 29th birthday, so that makes me an "almost adult"... right? So, I should probably have a filing cabinet for all of my super important adult documents... What's that, you too are an "almost adult"? Well, lucky for you, I have a really awesome and easy DIY for you today!

I took a trashy filing cabinet, and turned it into a treasure! I loved this project so much, I already have another {FREE} filing cabinet ready to be re-done for my classroom!

  • sandpaper
  • cleaning supplies
  • screwdriver
  • primer (and roller if using canned primer)
  • spray paint
  • painter's tape
  • plastic bag or other protective covering

1. PLAN: Plan out your design before you start painting. Do you want the cabinet to be one color, or two? Will the fronts of the drawers have a design? I planned out my cabinet in Microsoft Word beforehand (things like this truly make me happy!)... I am a visual person, and seeing the colors together helped me make my decision.


2. REMOVE HARDWARE: Remove handles, label holders, and any other hardware your cabinet may have.  My handles were screwed on which made for an easy removal. For the label holders,  I used a flat head screw driver to pry up the metal tabs securing them.  You can use painters tape to cover the lock on the bottom drawer, or stick a piece of paper inside the lock opening to keep paint out if you want the lock primed.  Some filing cabinets are different and may have additional hardware or handles that are not removable.

3. CLEAN/ SAND: In order for the primer to adhere to the best of its ability, it is a good idea to wipe the filing cabinet down to remove any dust or dirt.  The amount of sanding that you'll have to do depends on the condition of your filing cabinet (if you sand, wipe down the cabinet after this step). This cabinet was in fairly good condition (no paint loss) so I did a light sanding all around. The bottom edges had a bit of rust, so I sanded more heavily there to remove that and make it a level surface.  

4. PRIME: You can use a spray primer, or a paint/roll-on primer.  For this cabinet, I actually used both options.  My spray ran out before I was done, so I grabbed a canned primer and a roller and completed the job. I used Zinsser primer and did 2 light coats. The only thing I noticed is that there are some of the stippled roller marks on the front of the cabinet that can only be noticed when inspected closely (almost like the ones on painted walls)... so if this will drive you crazy, use a spray primer. With your hand, feel for any uneven spots after you prime.  Lightly sand these spots in between primer coats. Use a rag to brush off any dust left from sanding. Make sure to let the primer dry according to the directions on the can. 

5. PAINT: Now it's time for color! I used Valspar spray paint in Nautical (satin), Brushed Rose (flat), White (flat), and Brilliant Gold. The body of the filing cabinet needed 3-4 coats.  As you can see in the pictures, it was streaky at first, but after the 3-4 coats it got better (don't get frustrated). Even after those coats, it may look like there are streaks, but it is the contrast between the fresh spray paint and the more dry paint. Eventually it will go away!

The drawer fronts only needed 1-2 coats because they were white and it was going on over the white primer.  I used painter's tape for the stripes, and a garbage bag to cover the rest of the drawer front that I did not want painted.  Make sure it is completely secured so no paint can get under the bag! Let the spray paint dry according to directions before adding additional details. 
I spray painted the hardware gold.  I did not prime the hardware because my spray had run out, but if I had the option, I probable would have! I sprayed 2 coats of gold to the hardware. The lock was painted with a gold acrylic paint (in a not perfect match). I did not want to attempt to spray paint the lock and ruin my other work!

5. PROTECTION: What? I can get pregnant from painting a filing cabinet? Haha no! I mean a protective top coat and felt feet. These steps are optional.  If you think you need a clear protective top coat you can spray one on.  I did not choose to put a protective coat on because I didn't have one when I chose to do this project.  However, my cabinet has held up fine so far.  Just make sure you let the paint dry for a few days before putting anything on top of it. Another option is adding felt feet on the bottom.  My cabinet is on a hardwood floor, and with the felt feet it is now easy to move without damaging the floors or having to lift it.   

I just love this filing cabinet, even though I haven't even put any files in it yet. Eventually I will organize my teaching templates and items I have made... and those aforementioned important adult documents! My next cabinet, for my classroom, will be black and white! What are your plans for your rusty old filing cabinet?

1. PAINTING: When I was painting the pink stripe, I did not secure the plastic bag on well enough.  Some of the pink paint over-spray got onto the white part of the drawer.  I had to then repaint white over that.  Save yourself those extra steps and secure the cover!

2. DRYING TIME: LET THE PAINT DRY! I, of course, was impatient and had to style the top of the filing cabinet the next day!  When I tried to move the things I had stacked on top, the items had left indents in the paint.  After waiting about a week, the paint had a chance to harden and nothing sticks to the top anymore.

3. HARDWARE: If you want to spray paint your lock, that is something to do ahead of time, before priming and painting.  I would have liked to have the lock painted in the same gold as the rest of the hardware, however, I didn't think about that until the end when it was too much of a hassle/ risk to do it.  Cover as much of the cabinet as you can and then spray the lock.  After the lock dries, cover it in painters tape and you can prime and paint the rest of the cabinet... any over-spray from painting the lock will be covered by the primer and paint!

I want to see your painted filing cabinets! Send me your pictures! 

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