How To Paint A Metal File Cabinet?

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Do you have an old metal filing cabinet that you don’t want to throw away, and you might think about repurposing it? If yes, you might be surprised by the alternatives available when thinking about what you can do with an old rusted metal filing cabinet.

The best approach to paint a metal file cabinet is to take out all of the drawers first. After that, sand the old rust off the metal file cabinet and apply rust primer before painting. Finally, a metal file cabinet can be painted using a metal primer spray paint.

Filing cabinets are now commonplace in both homes and companies. You can pick one up and restore it at home because older ones can be obtained at second-hand stores and even by the side of the road on occasion. Let’s look at how to paint a metal filing cabinet and give the cabinets a completely new look effortlessly and affordably.

Prepare The Area For Painting:

You can protect your expensive equipment, such as your computer, desk, carpet, and furniture, by covering the entire floor of your room or workplace with an old cloth or fabric. Spray painting is only done professionally in a controlled setting with no direct sunshine, wind, or extreme humidity. It’s unlikely that you have a specialized spray-painting room at your disposal; as a result, you’ll need to set one up to paint file cabinets. To do so, go to an appliance store or a supermarket store and get some old cardboard boxes.

Choose Paint Carefully:

It’s not difficult to paint a metal filing cabinet, but you’ll need rust-resistant spray paint. Most people think that using a paintbrush is impractical because painting anything this huge take too long, so they spray paint instead. When painting a metal filing cabinet, an all-in-one paint and primer works well. There are rust-resistant products for metal things, and the number of hues available will amaze you.

Sanding The Metal Cabinets:

The second and most critical step in painting your metal cabinet is to prime it. It entails smoothing down the surface of your filing cabinet with fine sandpaper. Furthermore, make sure to remove the old paint thoroughly. It’s important to remember that the new paint layer will adhere perfectly to the sanded surface.

The sanded surface has a higher level of cohesiveness with the fresh paint layer than a primer-coated or bare metal surface. For molded profiles, a green abrasive pad should be used for sanding.

Move Out All The Drawers:

Remove all of the drawer handles and any other hardware from the file cabinet after it has been placed on top of the drop cloth or old newspaper, and set them aside for later.

If any of your cabinet’s hardware cannot be removed, simply cover it with painter’s tape to protect it once you begin spray painting. You won’t want to spray paint the hardware in most circumstances.

You can remove the drawers now if you wish, especially if you want them to be different from the rest of the cabinet. Even if you plan to paint them all the same color, it’s still a good idea to remove the drawers because spray painting them separately will be more even and efficient.

Use A High-Quality Primer:

Another key consideration when applying a primer is choosing the correct primer for the job. You can either apply a separate priming coat before the fresh paint or choose a paint that already has primer mixed in. As a first coat, many traditional painters chose to apply a quick-drying primer to the metal. It speeds up the application of successive coats and saves time.

If you’re going to use a different primer for your surface, utilize spray paint primers instead of hand-applying the primer because brush marks can appear on the surface. Evening out the metal surface is another crucial step before applying the first coat of paint.

You can inspect the surface for holes, dents, and dings and fill them with the necessary filler. It’s always a good idea to inspect the surface in bright light so that any holes or dents may be easily identified and filled.

Apply The Paint In The Right Way:

Painting a metal surface necessitates the application of the proper technique. Additionally, subsequent shaking can accomplish while painting. Furthermore, when utilizing spray paint, the on/off action mechanism is required.

Expert painters typically spray three inches of air before the paint makes contact with the metal surface, then spray until the paint reaches the end of the surface before pulling the trigger. Before depressing the paint-can trigger again, you can shift your hand in the opposite direction.

Reinstalling The Drawers:

After you’ve finished with the metal file cabinet, move on to the drawers and repeat the process. If you want to make the cabinet more decorative, you can paint or embellish it afterward. It isn’t tough to make an old file cabinet look new because it isn’t complicated.

The components are also inexpensive, so you won’t have to spend a bunch on a gorgeous metal file cabinet once the task is finished.


You are all set to have the newly painted metal cabinets in your home! Now, it’s your turn to revamp the look of your home by painting the metal file cabinets. Hopefully, mentioned points will help to paint cabinets effortlessly and efficiently.

You would love to create different stylish looks on your cabinets by playing with the different colors and combinations of paints.

To summarise, painting a filing cabinet requires patience. To do the task properly, you must read the offered information carefully and gradually increase your knowledge.

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