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What The Best Way To Paint For A Metal Cabinet?

We discussed the fundamentals you should know before purchasing a file cabinet for your workplace in the previous post. This post will discuss how to refurbish an old metal file cabinet by painting it to match your workplace or home décor. As file cabinets must complement your décor, unless you are oblivious to the colour and look of your furnishings.

Painting a metal file cabinet might be challenging if you have never painted before. However, this post will give you with comprehensive knowledge that will enable you to properly perform the work on your first try. Even if you’re trying to redecorate your office, you’ll need some sense of flair since a little bit of style never hurts.

Importantly, there are a few things you should know before attempting to paint your metal file cabinet. These include the following:


1. Preparing the painting area

This is the first phase in the series “how to paint a metal file cabinet.” You may cover the whole floor of your room or workplace with an old cloth or fabric to protect your expensive equipment, such as your computer, desk, carpet, and furniture, from paint stains.

Spray painting is always recommended professionally in a controlled atmosphere free of direct sunshine, wind, or excessive humidity. Given the improbability that you have a dedicated spray painting room at your disposal, it is essential to set one up in order to paint file cabinets. To do this, you’ll need to get used cardboard boxes from an appliance or grocery shop. The cardboard boxes may be built and used in conjunction with newspapers to complete the spray paint work.


Additionally, you must ensure that the space in which you want to paint your file cabinet is well ventilated. Generally, spray paints on the market are aerosol-based, which might create respiratory problems if the room’s ventilation is inadequate. Apart from that, you must always wear appropriate rubber gloves and a respirator mask to protect yourself from the paint’s vapours and fumes.

2. Prepare the filing cabinet for painting.

This is the second and most critical stage in the painting procedure for your metal cabinet. It entails smoothing the surface of your file cabinet using a coarse sandpaper (220 or 320-grit). Additionally, it guarantees that the previous layer of paint is fully removed. It is essential to keep in mind that the fresh paint layer will adhere flawlessly to the sanded surface. In compared to a primer-coated or bare metal surface, the sanded surface gives superior adhesion to the fresh paint covering. When sanding moulded profiles, it is critical to use a green abrasive pad. It has a greater capacity to sand in complicated areas than standard sandpaper.


Another benefit of sanding is that it totally eliminates any oil from the metal cabinet’s surface, allowing the fresh paint layer to adhere to the metal entirely. To guarantee a smooth painting job and excellent adherence of the paint, you must remove any sanding dust from the metal surface. You may remove it with a gentle brush or a little vacuum cleaner. Following that, you may wipe the surface with thinner to eliminate any leftover sanding dust.

Tack cloths are often used by painters to remove dust from the painting surface. To use a tack cloth, you must unfold it and gather it over the surface, then wipe it to remove dust particles. It is reusable depending on the quantity of dust on the metal surface. However, repeated use may cause it to lose its dust-carrying capacity, and you will need to replace it to remove any leftover dust.

Often, various pieces of hardware such as handles, knobs, and locks are affixed to the file cabinet. They must be removed before to applying a fresh coat of paint. If you are unable to remove them, wrap them with masking tape to protect them from the new paint.

When painting a metal surface, it is necessary to determine if the metal is ferrous or galvanised. It is critical to consider this before to applying the priming layer. Ferrous metals need a clean, rust-free surface. Scuff pads remove rust well and may therefore be used to clean the surface. However, there may be places of your metal cabinet that a scuff pad cannot reach. As a result, you must use specific rust removers to remove rust from these regions.

Notably, it is essential to apply the primer immediately after rust removal in order to prevent the creation of flash rust on the surface. Galvanized metal surfaces, on the other hand, may be simply cleaned using a detergent solution to remove any grime or greasy residue. Often, galvanised surfaces will exhibit some white oxidation, necessitating the usage of sandpaper.

3. Painting File Cabinets with a Primer

Priming is a critical step in painting a metal file cabinet. However, you should apply a primer coating to the surface only if it has multiple bare metal places to ensure that the fresh layer of paint adheres smoothly to the surface.

Another critical element to consider when applying a primer is selecting the appropriate primer for your surface. You may either apply a separate layer of priming prior to applying the fresh paint or choose a paint that already includes primer. Many traditional painters choose to apply a fast-drying primer as a first coat over the metal surface. It saves time and simplifies the following coat application procedure.

While you could use a separate primer for your surface, consider utilising spray paint primers instead, since hand priming might leave brush traces on the surface.

Prior to applying the first layer of paint, it is critical to smooth out the metal surface. You may inspect the surface for holes, dents, and dings and fill them with the appropriate filler. Always examine the surface under strong light to readily identify and fix any number of holes or dents.

Additionally, dust may collect in the primer covering throughout the drying process. Thus, to achieve a smooth coating, you may smooth the surface with sandpaper (220-grit) prior to applying the original paint layer.

4. Selecting the Correct Paint for the Metal Filing Cabinet

Now that the primer has dried, you’re ready to begin painting your metal file cabinet. It is essential that you choose the right paint for your metal cabinet. To prevent brush marks, it is advisable to use a spray paint rather than a brush paint. Additionally, spray paints are effective in protecting the surface from corrosion.

While painting, be careful to apply light sprays uniformly throughout the whole metal surface. Ascertain that you have enough paint to complete the job. Two or three coats of paint are required to completely cover the surface. However, avoid spraying too much on each layer, since this may result in drop marks all over the surface.

Additionally, the final coat will need between three and six coats. The paint must be applied in tiny layers to preserve the surface’s smoothness. Typically, the first layer of paint is extremely light. Additionally, it is referred to as a ‘tacking’ coat. The initial coat is never entirely opaque and is just applied to ensure that succeeding coats adhere properly to it.

The subsequent coats may be somewhat thicker than the first coat, but care should be taken to avoid dripping marks over the surface. Additionally, applying many coats of paint on it might cause it to droop. As a result, ensure that the paint is applied softly, uniformly, and smoothly on the metal surface.

Metallic hues, speciality paints, and high-temperature paints are all available in the spray paints. It is critical that you choose the correct colour and kind of spray paint for your requirements and décor. If your workplace is not exposed to direct sunshine, you may choose bright colours. Dark hues, on the other hand, might be employed if your office receives direct sunshine.

5. Selecting the Appropriate Technique

Using the proper method while painting a metal surface is critical. Before you begin, shake the spray can for about 40 to 60 seconds. Additionally, additional shaking may be performed while painting.

Additionally, while utilising a spray paint, the on/off action mechanism is required. Typically, professional painters like to spray three inches of air before the paint makes contact with the metal surface, followed by spraying until the paint reaches the end of the surface and then removing the trigger. Before depressing the paint-can trigger again, you may shift your hand in the other way. Thus, traversing the surface and relinquishing control of the trigger.

Spray painting a metal cabinet requires an on/off action followed by left to right and right to left hand movement. Still, if you’re having difficulty painting the surface smoothly, begin by painting the back of the file cabinet to have a better understanding of how the spray paint works. Additionally, it will enable you to test it numerous times since the rear surface will be unnoticeable.

Oftentimes, individuals will continue spray painting as long as they cannot see the priming covering. This procedure should not be used since it may result in uneven paint collection in specific places, which will need to be removed during subsequent sanding. When it comes time to paint file cabinets, you should pay little attention to the primer coating underneath, since it will be progressively covered when fresh layers of coating are applied.

You may also use painter’s tape and masking paper to make a pattern on your metal cabinet. Allow at least 24 hours for the base coat to dry before creating the needed design using a painter’s tape and masking paper. Once the required sections have been covered, you may use the spray paint to paint the exposed portions a different colour.

After the coat dries, scuff it and then spray another layer of paint over it. After the second coat has dried completely, remove the tape and masking paper. Additionally, you may apply a third coat of paint. However, you must wait around 48 hours before applying the final coat of paint.

After painting is complete, wrap and gently seal the metal file cabinet with masking tape to protect it from dust, pests, and grime. Outside, you may take your spray paint cans and invert them while depressing the nozzle. This will guarantee that the nozzle operates smoothly for the subsequent coats.



Can I paint a metal file cabinet using spray paint?

Spray painting is always recommended professionally in a controlled atmosphere free of direct sunshine, wind, or excessive humidity. Given the improbability that you will have a dedicated spray painting room at your disposal, it is essential to create one for painting file cabinets.


Which Supplier of Metal Cabinet You Recommend?

Lenchong is one of a suppliers metal cabinet Malaysia. They are selling metal cabinet, locker and cabinet and other metal works which suitable for different working environments as well as storage solutions for office and hostel.


How do you paint a metal file cabinet?

Metallic hues, speciality paints, and high-temperature paints are all available in the spray paints. How to paint metal using a spray gun? It is critical that you choose the correct colour and kind of spray paint for your requirements and décor. If your workplace is not exposed to direct sunshine, you may choose bright colours. Dark hues, on the other hand, might be employed if your office receives direct sunshine.



This article contains all of the information necessary to ensure that you know how to paint a metal file cabinet from beginning. This article’s primary objective is to educate the reader on the numerous needs, procedures, and circumstances associated with painting metal cabinets. Due to the fact that painting a file cabinet involves careful preparation, the reader may profit from the information offered in this article.

This article is also a valuable resource for anyone seeking assistance in adding manual designs to their paintings and learning how to spray paint metal. Additionally, the essay discusses sanding, rust removal, and surface smoothening in detail. Additionally, information on the different tools and equipment necessary for painting a metal cabinet is included.

To summarise, painting a filing cabinet requires patience. As a result, you must attentively study the offered material and gradually increase your expertise in order to effectively accomplish the work. If you’re in the market for a new file cabinet, don’t forget to buy at Autonomous, where you’ll find a variety of smart office accessories that can help you increase productivity.



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