February 4, 2017

Refurbishing a filing cabinet

Note the old school cabinet on the left. 
Remember that taupey, greyish filing cabinet in the previous photos? Well, it is no more! Using the power of Pinterest, the suggestions of friends, and some trial and error, the filing cabinet has been made new!

After my co-worker Lindsay mentioned what a blast it had been to "make" a chalkboard for a patio party out of an old piece of wood, I asked her how she did it. "Well," said she, "Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint, of course!" After staring at my bland filing cabinet for two years, her remark sparked a sleeping curiosity to life that had been deep within me. I wondered if the paint would work on metal? Lindsay didn't know. I had not originally planned to fix the filing cabinet -- I didn't know it could be done. Now, I just had to know if it could. I went home and searched the internet high and low, finding a very helpful blog post here. I hit Home Depot and then Craft Warehouse (eventually) to find some different paints for my project.

My husband and son took the filing cabinet to the back patio in parts -- drawers, then body. It was unwieldy and it made those weird, denting-like noises that only metal filing cabinets can make, as it popped and jostled its way from the second floor craft room, down the stairs and out the back patio door. We put it on a painting drop-cloth out there. It was a pretty warm day and I was hoping the sun would help hasten the painting. It was the end of my remodel week! Time was short; it was Saturday and work was Monday.

At first, the sun was great. I could see really well for sanding. I roughed up the entire outer surface with finer grit sandpaper to help the paint stick and I sanded off some interior rust on the lower portion of the cabinet. Of course it was in the hardest place to reach -- the back interior wall behind the lowest drawer.  After climbing back out of the cabinet, I used a rag and my own breath to wipe and blow off the dust from the whole thing.

I applied the chalkboard paint with a roller, not a spray. This seemed to be the most economical way as the spray paint was more $$ per ounce. My friend Lindsay had used spray, but the woman in the blog post I was using also used a roller and it looked great. I sort of felt like I was taking a chance.

The sun dried the paint a little too fast -- or so I thought -- and the roller marks seemed to be showing, though in the end, they did not. The fear of failure just caused me to put on 4 coats of paint. If I did this again, I'd do it in the garage. It took about a day for the cabinet to dry outside completely, too, with all those coats of paint. So weather also is a consideration; the possibility of rain would be an absolute NO!
I hated this. It looked like a hornet.

This is all AFTER I fixed the paint leakage. Took forever. Years ago, I
stopped taping my ceilings. Time to add filing cabinets to the list.

Once the main part was dry, I first painted on a yellow trim color. That was my plan: make it look like the pink one in the blog post, but make mine a vibrant yellow. I used painter's tape to get a straight line, but guess what? NO. It was a mess. I had to go back and do the whole trim over by hand. This included using the chalkboard paint to recover the black areas. This, I did all indoors, by the way.

I poked holes in a box, then screwed the hardware down for painting.
This saved on fingerprints -- and annoyance.
Once that emergency was averted, I tried out painting the hardware. I learned that without sealer, you will fail in painting tiny metal parts. (I do like my method for securing the hardware to a box to paint. This made is ultimately easy to spray with the sealer I did eventually purchase at Craft Warehouse. See pics in this post) I also decided I hated the yellow metal. I went back to the store and got orange. And I had some pink laying around. And some sponges. My yellow-themed idea was saved.
Secure for painting, but I wasn't loving the color. 

Switching to orange was a good choice. For the little metal frames,
I just pressed them into the box for stability, as they have no
screws. These are pictured before the sealer. After that, they
are shiny, which looks MUCH better!

Amy Rose and I poked little dots in two sizes all over the cabinet. This was pretty fun. I just tipped my sponges to get the ones on the edges to look like half circles. There were a few spots that I touched up with tiny paint brushes -- also had those lying around.
Purchased at Craft Warehouse: Sealer and
craft paint. The craft paint tends to be
around $1.

:Little sponges I had from painting Amy's room long ago. 

The most fun part of the project.

I had to use tape for the little sliding openers on the drawers, but I used a tiny
brush for safety!
Now I have a cute cabinet that the kids write all over in chalk. Oh -- BE SURE to WAIT on the chalk! Follow the instructions to wait a few days for the curing of the chalkboard paint. It was hard to wait, but totally worth not having one more mess to fix!

The white swipes you see on the drawers went away after curing and
wiping the whole thing down with a damp cloth, per the directions.
These are hand marks from carrying and moving the cabinet around.

I got the little pink trash bin from IKEA to put rolls of paper and
large rulers in.
While the little painting mishaps put my project well into the evening of Sunday, causing me to lose that as a "day of rest" after the weeks' remodel, I think it was worth it. I have only the curtains to sew and some furniture to buy. The chair ideas can be found on my pinterest site, and the curtain fabric is here, along with a NEW IRON. Never thought it mattered so much. (Look at that old crappy thing on the right!) And it wasn't too bad: $39.99 Rowenta 1600 watts on Amazon. Who knew?

New iron to the left, and retro-sewing-themed curtain fabric on the right. Why is it taking me so long to make those curtains?! I guess I was waiting to get back on the blog! :)

For a step stool? Love these. Everyone's grandma had one in the kitchen.

Eventually want to buy this little guy to replace my rocking chair. Or not. Still thinking!
I DO have a grandbaby now, after all.

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