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Before and After: How to Transform a Rusty Metal Cabinet to a Modern Statement Piece

Before and After: How to Transform a Rusty Metal Cabinet to a Modern Statement Piece
Photo: Jeran McConnel

Okay, confession time.  I have a lot of random junk in my garage.  I love to thrift, so when I come across furniture that has "potential", I buy it and save it for a rainy day.  This ugly little metal drawer cabinet has been in my garage for a couple years now collecting dust.  I bought it at the Pasadena Flea Market and paid about $20 for it.  It was very rusty and had a lot of holes and chipped layers of paint.      

         

Photo: Jeran McConnel
Photo: Jeran McConnel

This is one of those pieces that could have been painted and spruced up in some many fun ways, that I had a hard time deciding what to do with it.  I decided it needed a modern makeover and some wheels to make it even more functional.

Here's what you'll need:

Photo: Jeran McConnel

Start by removing all the drawers and hardware and clean the surfaces well.  I decided to paint the hardware a metallic gold for a mid century vibe.  Metallic paint seems to take the longest to dry, so I painted these pieces first.

Photo: Jeran McConnel

This is the most important step. Sand, sand and sand a little more.  I used an power sander to make the job go a little faster.  But starting with a well sanded surface is really important for making sure the paint will adhere properly. 

Photo: Jeran McConnel

When all the rusty spot and chipped paint are sanded well, wipe down the whole piece with a tack cloth, it picks up all the fine dust particles so that the paint will go on smoothly.  Next, I sprayed all the pieces with the spray primer and allowed them to dry for about 30 mins.  This gives you a nice clean base to start with. The primer covers rust and makes sure the colors you paint on are true.

Photo: Jeran McConnel

I then painted all the drawers white and the outside frame dark grey.  When everything was dry, I put the drawers back in and taped off the triangle shape.  I simply started at the top in the middle and angled down to the two bottom corners.  I took a pencil and traced along that taped line. 

Photo: Jeran McConnel

Then I removed the tape and all the drawers and re-taped all the drawers individually.

Photo: Jeran McConnel

And then I sprayed each of the drawers with the peach colored paint in between my tape lines.

Photo: Jeran McConnel

When the paint is completely dry, remove the tape and you can replace the hardware.

Photo: Jeran McConnel

The final step is to add wheels to the bottom of the cabinet.  I used self-tapping screws for this.  These screws are like magic.  With just a power drill, you can drill directly into the metal and it self-drills (no pre-drilling or washers and nuts needed). 

And here's what you've been waiting for, the AFTER!

Photo: Jeran McConnel
Photo: Jeran McConnel

Photo: Jeran McConnel

And the final touch was I cut felt squares to fit each drawer.  It gives all my favorite craft supplies a soft spot to land.

So, let's be honest with each other, do you have junk stored in your garage and basement in need of a makeover?  Why not a modern paint job to bring back to life a tired, old piece?

Photo: Jeran McConnel

Photo: Jeran McConnel

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Christine on Apr 06, 2016:

What was the white felt for?


Lana on May 07, 2015:

Looks awesome, great job Jeran! I have a filling cabinet that needs a makeover so I might give this a try :)


bruno on May 06, 2015:

awesome!


alicia on May 06, 2015:

I LOVE THIS!!!


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