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Upcycle: Metal Cabinet

Last year, I acquired this metal work cabinet from a family friend who was cleaning out their warehouse. When I saw it, I knew it could be something awesome again, so I snatched it up. It has been sitting in my parent’s attic until I had a place of my own, and now I do!

caibinet1The First Step: Initial Clean Up

It was DIRTY! I hosed it down with water and mild soap to get off the rust, grime, glue, and who knows what else was on this thing. I had to use a knife blade to get off drips of wax and then had to work on something sticky after that. I even peeled off a “Government Issued” sticker.

Then came the surprise! My dad walked in and noticed that this cabinet also had a pull out tray that could be used as additional work space. He thus became obsessed with trying to get it out, but it was stuck due to a combination of felty stuff and black goo. cabinet3

The Second Step: Even More Cleaning

With the discovery of this new part of the cabinet that needed some extra attention, the cleaning stage got a bit more intense. This involved scraping, using a solvent, and lots of scrubbing to get off.


Closer look at said surprise

Third Step: Rust Removal

Since I planned on spray painting, I used some steel wool to go over the rust spots. After they were smoothed, I used a rag to wipe off any access rust.

Fourth Step: Time to Paint!

When I get started on projects, I tend to want to get them done as soon as possible with disregard as to the actual best way to do it. To cut down on spray painting time, I picked a spray paint that had the primer included. I chose RUST-OLEUM Universal Hammered Paint & Primer In One in silver.

The hammered look helps cover the many imperfections that were on the cabinet.

I left plenty of time for the paint to dry before moving the cabinet so I could do the bottom. It was quite rusty under there too! After several days of the painting and drying cycle, it was finished!


Side by side of the painting door on the left and the original on the right

Fifth Step: Re-Attach Hardware and Admire Your Work!

The handles were something I originally thought I was going to paint another color, but once I put them back on, I fell in love! They looked fantastic and I would not change them.

cabinet done

The Final Product!

All in all this project cost about $16 for two cans of spray paint. The most (wo)man hours went to cleaning and then painting did not take long at all.