Phantastic Metal Filing Cabinet Update: How to Use Chalk Paint® on Metal

We still have available a few June Appointments for Small wares . 

This posting originally ran in November of 2012. Because of the popularity of this post, we decided to give it another run. We have altered it a bit to reflect a few updates from Annie Sloan in 2016.

I have been on a painting rampage since we started carrying Chalk Paint®. I keep looking around thinking, ohh that would look good in Barcelona Orange, oh that would be fab in Paloma, no maybe Henrietta...  So the outdated metal filing cabinets at the store got sucked right into my painting frenzy.

I was a little bored with the drab tan of the filing cabinets and really wanted to test out painting metal, since I hadn't tried yet with Chalk Paint®.
I headed into the store Sunday night to do some bookkeeping (my favorite! can you hear the sarcasm?) and decided it was a perfect time to give the cabinets a fresh coat of Antibes green with my favorite Annie Sloan paint brush - I REALLY love this brush. I wanted something bright and vibrant and Antibes is just that.

I started with one coat on each. By the time I was done the second cabinet, the first was dry and ready for the second coat. FANTASTIC! It took me all of 40 minutes to paint both pieces. Amazing! I truly think that is one of the best qualities of this paint, it saves SO MUCH time and these days it seems I have less and less and less, so I really appreciate that. You can see my brush strokes are anything but consistent, this paint self settles so it is forgiving in that aspect - and when I paint I need A LOT of forgiveness. (:

I headed in early Monday morning before the store opened to cover each cabinet with clear wax. I applied it VERY generously with my  wax brush since I wanted to make sure the finish would be very durable once the wax cured. I also have a wax brush that I use for dark wax only, it is good to use separate wax brushes for clear and dark so you don't risk contaminating clear with any dark left over on the brush. 

We currently have wax brushes. Ok, enough about brushes back to the curing process: It takes 1-3 hours for the wax to dry but 5-21 days for it to fully cure. It may seem like a long time but in the life of a piece of furniture, 5 days is nothing. You can use the piece over the 5-21 days but I recommend not loading stuff on top of it or inside of it or dragging anything across the top. After the curing time, the piece is very durable. Please note, the wax is alcohol soluble so it is not recommended for bar top surfaces where alcohol may be spilled.  

So this is a finished photo. Tomorrow I will go in and give them a buff to add a little shine. Hmmmm, do you think a little gilding wax too? 
We have had these Cabinets for almost 6 years and they are still going strong!
Tip: When caring for furniture painted with Chalk Paint® use a clean, dry or slightly damp rag. Do not use furniture polish such as Pledge or a very strong cleaner. 
The Information above has been altered to reflect current Annie Sloan recommendations.

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  1. Is it not necessary to sand or prepare the metal surface with this paint? Would it be necessary over rust? Thanks, it sounds great!

    1. Nope. No sanding required. You can use it on almost any surface including wood, laminate, floors, walls, fabric, metal, indoor/outdoor, and more. For rust, I would prime it with a sealer so that it does not bleed through. Feel free to email or call us with any questions info(at) Thanks ~Angela

  2. Thanks for the good idea. I also have an ugly file cabinet that would benefit from a makeover. What is the difference between chalk paint & a good acrylic paint with a gloss finish? Thank you.

  3. Do I need to wax it once it is complete?

    1. Yes, it is recommended to wax finish pieces. The wax seals and protects the paint from stains and wear. Please feel free to call our store for more information or check our website


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