Modern Rustic File Cabinet Makeover

2 Materials
4 Hours

I have been making over my boys bedroom for the One Room Challenge, and you can read about this journey here. This is one of the projects I completed for the space. I love the way this file cabinet turned out, so I wanted to share how I did it. I am also sharing the vintage desk that I brought into the space. I bought this old file cabinet at a thrift store over the summer, and I just knew it would be perfect to hold some of my son’s crafting supplies.
This is the cabinet after I had used my palm sander to sand it down.  There was some rust on the cabinet that I needed to smooth out. After I sanded down my cabinet, I wiped it with a damp cloth, and then I rubbed it down with some isopropyl rubbing alcohol. After it was prepped, I spray painted the cabinet with 4 light coats of black chalkboard spray paint.  I let that dry really well, and then I lightly sanded the entire cabinet with a fine grit sanding block.
Next, I seasoned it all over with a piece of chalk.  This is how it looked afterwards.  To season something that is painted with chalkboard paint, you just take a piece of chalk and place it on it’s side, and then rub it all over the cabinet.  In case you have not heard of seasoning chalkboard paint, let me tell you why it is important.  If you write on your chalkboard without seasoning it, you will never be able to completely erase what you just wrote.  A faint image will remain forever.  
To finish the cabinet off, I took a soft dry cloth and buffed the chalk out off of the entire cabinet.  And it left a perfectly modern rustic finish.  I painted the handles as well, and then sanded them lightly to give it a slightly distressed look. I printed off some vintage looking paper, and used it to place in the fronts of the drawers. I love the way the vintage inspired paper looks against the black.

The cabinet looks great sitting on this vintage desk I added to the space.  My son got busy loading it up as soon as I put it there. It has been great so far in helping this area stay organized! You can see more about this makeover by clicking here.
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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2 of 5 comments
  • Reenaroc
    on Nov 28, 2017

    Niiiiiccce !!!!
  • This is awesome that I found this post today! I'm currently redoing an old 2 drawer VERY HEAVY METAL filing cabinet that was literally covered in rust. I emphasize heavy bc I am a strong female but I had to have my husband move the cabinet for me and even HE had to use his dolly lol.
    I've gotten the rust and old paint if using a wire wheel in my drill and the housing if the cabinet had cone out beautifully chrome and shiney, I almost don't want to cover it with paint now lol. But I'm going to try the chalkboard paint on it (hadn't thought of that until reading this so I thank you), then my boys can write and draw on it to their hearts content and have a fresh canvas as it were each day.
    Thank you for the inspiration. I don't currently have pics but I'll try and figure out how to add them to my post later.
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