You know, I really try to elevate my D.I.Y. projects by doing the research and taking the time to prepare. And as is usually the case, it always turn into an epic fail. Case in point, a super easy project like spray painting your standard metal filing cabinets.
Here they are, the arch-typical beige metal filing cabinet. Got these for free when my mother-in-law was moving and I figured they would be the perfect base for a desk in the kid’s room. They hadn’t been very well taken care of and had rust along the base, along with random paint splatters, really stuck on labels and scratches. But hey, you can’t go wrong with free.
The inspiration. White, crisp and clean filing cabinets. I know, I’ll eat these words soon enough with four boys in my life. But a girl can dream.
I had researched all the online tutorials available, which of course, directed me to spray paint the cabinets as the easiest route. Step one: take off all the metal hardware, sand down the cabinets and give them a good cleaning. I saw a lot of people try sanding down the cabinets by hand but I highly suggest you use an electric sander. It definitely cut down on elbow grease I don’t have and got the job done in less than an hour - completely obliterating paint drips and scratches like nothing. I used 220 grit sandpaper, which was recommended by almost everyone. I also read to wipe the cabinets down with mineral spirits which I would also highly suggest, although a wet rag could also do the job.
Now here’s where I veered from the masses. I was really concerned about how many spray paint cans I was gonna need for this job. Remember when the total budget allotted by The Mister is $5, you gotta get creative. I had leftover primer from previous projects, so I figured it might work as a good base and spare me the hassle of buying 40 cans of spray paint later. I also used a foam roller to get a nice, even finish without brushstrokes. After two coats of primer, I had a really good cover and I even sanded it down to get a nice sheen.
After I had sanded, wiped down and primed the cabinets, I was feeling pretty good. So far, I had gotten a decent amount done within a short time. I went to Home Depot and I purchased four cans of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in Heirloom White - which was the whitest white they carried.
I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t really happy with the Heirloom White. It was way too off white for me. Then I had read that the satin finish would need a clear gloss coat to make cleaning easier and keep the finish durable. So I also bought two cans of Clear Gloss Protective Cover from the same maker. I get home and I begin the spray painting process, being careful to keep a good distance and avoid drips. I really took my time trying to master the “50% overlap” tip stated on the bottle. The above shot was two cans in. I was totally frustrated by the uneven coverage. The blotches were just screaming at me. So I decided to call it a day and let it dry in the garage overnight.
Then I came back to this WTF moment, which put me in a bad place for the rest of the day. Don’t even ask me how, why or what - but when I got back to the cabinets, there was this fine orange dust all over them. The cabinets literally felt like a not so fine sandpaper to the touch. Of course, out comes the sander AGAIN. I had to re-sand everything down, which was a waste of spray paint, primer and pretty much solidified I was back to square one.
At this point in the game, I was over the spray paint, so I busted out some other left over white semi-gloss paint I had and proceeded to just paint the cabinets using my foam roller.
It worked. I had the white that I wanted. I had a semi-gloss sheen on it, which has taken well to wipe downs and scuffs. And it was the immediate full coverage I needed to visually see. I had read a lot of people complain about the spray paint job on larger cabinets because no matter what, it always seemed to turn out blotchy. And apparently most people’s solutions were to use the clear protective coat to even out the coverage to which many further complained that using the clear coat only created the problem of streaks and stripes on the surface. So I just stuck to my old-fashioned roller and canned paint approach. I do warn though, that I don’t foresee my filing cabinets getting too much traffic, so while I opted out of the protective clear coat, it may be necessary for more in demand cabinets. Well, while this “easy” project definitely tested me, it’s one more off the do list, so I’ll take it. Onto the next …
So today officially marks the due date for Baby Hollywood a.k.a. Ricky Bobby and the M.C.S.S.’s first spawn. It also marks how backed up I am in posting. No baby as of yet, but that doesn’t really surprise me since this child obviously takes after its mother’s lack of respect for other people’s time.
If only anyone knew the demands and daily status meetings that the M.C.S.S. put us through. Luckily for all of us, my sister’s watercolor themed baby shower came out.
I just can’t stress enough how serious the “Don’t Cross Your Legs” game is taken in this family.
Well Baby Hollywood, whenever you’re ready. We’re excited to me you but even more excited to see how you survive with the M.C.S.S. as your mother.
This project was a long time coming. I had been so determined to make the carpet removal and wood installation a D.I.Y. project, but given the physical limitations of late, it was worth every penny. Especially since the cost analysis actually proved cheaper and quicker having it done professionally. Not to mention the fact that The Mister and I probably dodged a formidable divorce had we attempted to take this project on ourselves. So farewell dirty, dusty, allergen filled carpet and hello Top Ramen dinnners for, at least, the next year.
We might just have a win.
The motto: Currently.