Chalk Painted Filing Cabinet [tutorial]

chalk painted filing cabinet

Let’s face it, filing cabinets may be practical, but they are anything BUT attractive in a home office…I’ve been sharing my office space with this ugly black filing cabinet for years now and it is by far the worst piece of furniture in our home.  All of this changed a couple nights ago when I glanced over at it and had an “ah ha” moment…I decided to give my filing cabinet a makeover using chalky finish paint, which works perfectly on metals with absolutely no priming required! Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint!

I actually LOVE the pop of color my newly painted filing cabinet adds to our office now!

Chalk Painted Filing Cabinet [tutorial]

Here’s how my filing cabinet looked before it’s transformation…

Gather up:

Americana Décor Chalky Finish paint in Refreshing

Americana Décor Chalky Finish paint in Everlasting

Americana Décor Crème Wax

Medium size brush & small detail brush

Americana Décor Chalky Finish paint is now available at Home Depot

Make sure your filing cabinet is clean and dry before applying the first coat of paint.  Apply one coat of the chalky finish paint. I used Refreshing for the base, but there are many more amazing chalky finish colors here.  Don’t worry about painting perfectly, chalky finish paint is meant  have a somewhat “imperfect”, textured look.

Allow the first coat to dry (about an hour).  Apply a second coat of paint.

Next, apply a coat of paint to the hardware.  My filing cabinet only had two plastic handles and a key lock, so I covered both in the Everlasting Chalky Finish paint.  You may add a second coat to the hardware if needed.

Allow the cabinet to dry completely overnight before sealing it.

Once the cabinet is completely dry, use Americana Decor’s Crème Wax top coat to seal in the paint.  It’s best to apply a thin layer of wax using Americana’s 2″ wax brush (this helps spread the wax easier).

Allow the wax a dry for approx. 2 hours.  Now that your filing cabinet is complete you’re free to use it as a chalk board surface, how completely perfect for organizing!

I definitely won’t mind sharing my office with this beauty now 😉



17 responses to “Chalk Painted Filing Cabinet [tutorial]

  1. WOW! I like the transformation from cold office look to warm home office. I just received my Americana paint and tried a sample on my dining chair. Waited an hour and put a second coat and it’s drying with a crackle finish. Not happy. Have you had this problem?

    1. Hi Cindy, I’m assuming you’re working with their chalky finish paint? I did not have this problem, but I’m wondering if maybe your chairs were a very raw, dry wood? Sometimes if you start with a raw wood it soaks up the paint and can look crackled. If that’s the case, you usually can solve the problem with another coat or two of paint.

      I hope this helps!

  2. I absolutely LOVE this idea. I have a VERY Ugly old File drawer in my basement and I am chalk painting it and bringing it upstairs! Thank you for this fabulous idea.

  3. This is absolutely adorable! I am so excited to get some chalky paint and redo all of my furniture. 🙂

  4. I love your finished filing cabinet.
    Did you do any prep for it….I’ve read that it should be lightly sanded…and one site said to use a primer?

    I’ve also read a various notes about the final finish…using wax or a varathane paint?
    I want to protect the filing cabinet from any scratches.
    Have you ever tried using this paint on Ikea Billy bookshelves?

    Thanks so much

  5. How is this doing, almost two years later? I’m thinking of painting a huge filing cabinet in my office with a chalk paint but I want to make sure it’s going to wear we’ll and not chip. The chippy-peely look is great for some rooms but not mine.

    1. Hi Meredith,

      After all of this time the cabinet still looks great. It didn’t chip. We have it in our basement at the moment, so it’s been moved around and it still is in great shape!

  6. I am thinking about doing my 1950’s metal kitchen cabinets in chalk paint. Would you say that it would hold up? How easy is it to wash/clean? I still want to be able to keep the cabinets clean over time. Thoughts?

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