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March 14, 2013

How To Spray Paint a File Cabinet (and the occasional ceramic duck)

I've been in love with chalk paint for awhile now, ever since using it on the insides of my kitchen cabinets
This week, I discovered another great chalkboard paint idea.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

I painted my file cabinet with it.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

Well, sorta. 

But, before we talk about the makeover, you should probably know how I got it.

I was outside the other day checking our mail and I spied  something silver sitting on the end of our neighbor's driveway. Of course, being enamored with all things silver/free, I crept down the street to check it out, and I found this little fella with a free sign on it. 
It was straight from the Seventies and it weighed about 100 pounds, so naturally I tried to lug it down the street by myself. 
I wiggled it about four feet and and it got stuck.
In the middle of the street, people.

So, I left it in the middle of the street and ran back home and made a sign that said 'The neighbor is taking this. SOLD.' or something to that effect. And then I nervously peeped out my window for the next 3 hours until Jesse came home and could help me move it. 
It was still in the street when he got home.

And that, friends, is just a totally normal story about how to procure a filing cabinet.
Am I right or am I right?

Anyways, here's what the file cabinet looked like when I first wiggled it home. It was really beaten up and dirty. However, it was a total score because I've been needing a file cabinet for awhile. It was definitely made backintheday when they made things well. 
It's super sturdy and burly, like the Paul Bunyan of file cabinets. 
Meet Paul.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

So, I cleaned it off really well and then I removed the drawers. Then, I used two light coats of this (affiliate link) high quality black spray paint. I learned not to skimp on the spray paint quality after my last disaster.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

While I was letting that dry, I painted the drawers with black chalkboard paint. 

This is what the drawers looked like after just one coat. I ended up doing two coats. In my experience, chalk paint adheres really well, so I didn't bother priming. You may want's up to you. I also covered the hardware with some masking tape and used my silver leaf Rub n Buff (affiliate link) to make all the hardware look new and pretty.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

When everything was finished and dry, I put it all back together and labeled the drawers with my favorite Bistro chalk pen (affiliate link). It writes like a pen, but looks like chalk, and it's awesome. 

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

I accessorized Paul with a cute silver tray and some fresh flowers.
Just what every Paul needs.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

All in all, I'm loving Paul and finding him to be quite useful.

He fits right in with all of my other black painted thrifty furniture.

Oh, and Paul wasn't the only recent addition to the office.
I also found a wooden organizer at the thrift store that I spray painted white, and use for all my envelopes and paper.

I also found the coolest little duck ever. He's proven himself to be a really great pen/scissors holder.
Look out, Paul.

 If you come across fun ceramics at a thrift store, you can paint them with a high gloss white spray paint and they'll look just like the brand new ceramics you see all over the place right now!
Here is the duck before.

And the duck after.

I also spruced up the bookshelf with some fabric bins. 
Just to keep things organized. 
That bookshelf turns into a hoarder zone fast.

I also found a random red stapler at the thrift store.

And those are all of the updates for today! 
Paul says bye.

Chalkboard Paint File Cabinet | LiveLoveDIY

'Til next time!

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  1. Looking good girl! I can just imagine your skinny butt lugging that thing up the street hahaha

    1. Thanks gurlfrrren!!!!!!!! And, um, I can usually lift 80 times my bodyweight....just like an ant. This file cabinet proved to be quite the antagonist. :)

  2. Such a great update! Love the chalkboard drawers and that little duck is super cute!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! And yes, he is the cutest lil' guy!!!!!!!! A true rival to Paul! :)

  3. LOL! Woman, you crack me up! The image of you trying to drag the file cabinet and having to leave it in the street had me laughing! I might have done the same thing. lol

    Your office looks very lovely. I have a very similar table that I plan on using as a craft desk. I need somewhere to doing my random craft, paint, throw some stuff together projects.

    Paul looks very handsome in his new tuxedo. ;)

    1. HA! Julie....your comment cracked me up! Thank you for 'getting' me! :) You should totally use your table. Desk-tables are amaaaaazing, if I do say so myself! Also, yes, tuxedo duck....very handsome! <3

  4. I also loved you peeping out for 3 hours at poor little Paul just waiting to get home! I am totally digging his makeover!

  5. Looks great, love this little file cabinet!
    Your room is gorgeous, love the chair;)

  6. First, I laughed out loud reading this. You are too funny. Second, I'm also a fan of Dave Ramsey, he rocks. Third, the cabinet looks AWESOME. Love your office.

    I'm in the process of changing our dining room into an office. You should check it out.

    Stephanie @

  7. What a beautiful little office and good job on the file cabinet! Love the duck - must have been a planter in it's former life (:

  8. Ha! Love the look of the filing cabinet...and your story :)

  9. First of all, this is one of the best stories I have ever read. I can totally picture it! My husband always says that when I see good free furniture I always develop super human strength in order to drag it home. ;) Anyway, love your makeover. Pinning for inspiration since I just happen to have an ugly file cabinet in my basement!

    Have a great weekend!
    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

  10. Virginia, I happened across your blog today when following a link from Stone Gable (I was looking for the tulip door wreath) and giggled all the way through this post. You're hysterical. Just love your sense of humor. And your DIY projects, your story and just about everything else I've read/seen so far. You remind me of my daughter-in-law. In fact, I'm wondering if your twins separated at birth. No, wait! I think you were born in different years, so, um, you're probably not twins. Sisters, maybe? Anyway, I'm following your blog now. You're terrific!

  11. Thank you sooo much for this idea! I came across this on pinterst and we are moving to a smaller house. We are losing our separate office but my husband still needs the file cabinet for stuff. I was looking online for ideas or trying to get better looking ones and nothing was working.
    I was not happy with a huge, beat-up, grey metal monstrosity in the middle of my living room. and he was not happy with the idea of storage boxes in the closet.

    Now it can be an easel for my 4-year old, a place to store my letter magnets and it look so much better than it did before.

    No lie, you might have single handedly saved my marriage :-).

  12. Total Quack. Holy crap I just about died with laughter when I read that haha!

  13. I loved this post! Paul turned really great! Found your blog on Pinterest and loved it.. I'm a follower :)

  14. I just came in after seeing the silver leaf vanity photo from Pinterest and I haven't left for nearly 2 hours now reading your previous posts. I hope you can make a Youtube channel for your DIYs. I would be one of your first subscribers :)

  15. this entire post had me CRACKING UP. my roommate came in and thought i was watching a hilarious movie or something.

  16. I found you via Pinterest and your spray paint Q&A post. I am totally coming back for more! One point of interest--I think your duck may have been a swan in his previous life, but U could be wrong.

  17. Your office is beautiful! I agee wth Lisa...I think your duck is a swan. :) Either way it is adorable.

  18. Found you on Pinterest and you are a hoot! I love your style and what you did to your office - what a great eye you have for seeing beauty in every "ugly duckling." Thank you for sharing.


Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! I do the hammer dance every time I read one.

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