Good Questions: How to Paint Old Filing Cabinets

Good Questions: How to Paint Old Filing Cabinets

Gregory Han
Mar 4, 2009

Dear AT, I wanted to find out how to paint a filing cabinet. I am buying a used grey one on Craigslist and would love to spice it up with some high-gloss paint for our home office (similar to the illustrative photo above). Is there a special type I need to use for metal? Please help!

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Repainting a filing cabinet is a quick and affordable way to bring in some stylish colour into your home office. All you'll need is a drop cloth, preferably to drape outside for proper ventilation (trust us, spray painting indoors is not a good idea). You'll also need to remove all the hardware and pull out the drawers so you can spray each individually and allow them to dry separately.

Clean your cabinets of any marks, rust or debris, then use a spray paint primer (readily available from any home hardware shop, Target, Wal-Mart, etc). Apply primer from about 12" away, erring on the side of caution by applying even, light coats. Allow to dry overnight (preferably). Now your cabinet is ready to paint using a rust resistant spray paint in the same manner the primer was applied (patiently or you'll possibly have streaks or uneven sections). Allow to dry and get ready to show off to everyone your spectacular new metal filing cabinets!

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