Filing Cabinet Update using Old Fashioned Milk Paint & Modern Masters

Hey guys..

I wanted to share the update to one of the THREE filing cabinets I picked up from Habitat ReStore.  When I picked them up they came with shelves on top.  I didn't need the shelves, and really didn't want them. But, I was getting ready to start on Kaitlyn's room makeover, and an idea immediately popped into my mind.  You can see how I updated these shelves in the post about Kaitlyn's Tribal Arrow Room Makeover.

Habitat ReStore

Two of the filing cabinets I knew exactly what I was going to be doing with, but that third one I really wasn't sure.  It was a full set that I was buying, and for the price I figured I'd come up with something to do with it especially after the shelf idea manifested in my head for Katie's room.

I will write all about the other 2 soon & the update I gave to them.  But, I wanted to show you the process for this filing cabinet first.  

The first thing I did was use my Ryobi corner cat sander to rough it up a little.  I scuffed it up enough so that the paint adheres well.  You don't have to use a sander, you can use a sanding block.  The main point is to scuff it up.  Once I lightly scuff, I clean the entire piece.  I use Simple Green to clean.  Prepping is so very important, and I really can't stress this enough.  Believe me there are days I just want to dive right in and get the paint party started, but trust me when I say "just do it".  There is no way my paint would stay on this piece if I didn't prep it properly.

Filing Cabinets Prepping Process

Once it was all clean, I put a coat of Modern Masters primer on the entire piece.  I didn't remove the hardware for this piece because I knew I wanted to use the rust activator & patina on them.  But, normally I do remove all hardware.

I gave this piece 2 coats of the primer.  

Filing Cabinet Modern Masters Red Primer

I let this sit overnight before I moved on.  The next day I used Copper Oxidizing paint also from Modern Masters.  I did one light coat, let it dry and then added another light coat.  Before the 2nd coat was dry, I sprayed rust activator & a very small amount of green patina.  

Fern Avenue Filing Cabinet Update

I waited until that afternoon and painted the entire piece except the handles with Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Pitch Black.

Modern Masters and OFMP

I put 2 light coats of the Pitch Black.  I let it sit for a few hours to dry & then lightly sanded with 220 grit sand paper.  The main thing here was to smooth it out, and to knock back just enough of the Pitch Black to bring out the copper.  I used tung oil to seal.

I absolutely love how the copper color peeks through in different areas.  And, because I put light coats of the Pitch Black on, the copper will come through in different areas depending on how the sun  or light hits it throughout the day.

Fern Avenue Filing Cabinet Update

It's a little bit rustic & industrial all in one!  It's the exact look I was going for.

Old Fashioned Milk Paint Pitch Black

I think it is pretty awesome!  The colors together are some of my favorite combinations.

Fern Avenue Office Makeover

It's a perfect fit for this spot in my office.  The outcome from using the combination of copper & pitch black brought this filing cabinet to whole new level.

Pitch Black and Copper filing cabinet update

Have a wonderful weekend friends...


  1. Looks very good love the modern masters paint!

    1. Thank you.. I love Modern Masters, it's an amazing product.

  2. What did you use on the teal-colored cabinet?

    1. Since I have had so many ask me that, I am going to be writing a post on the teal cabinet in the next few days.

  3. I love the cabinet and the room is amazing!

  4. What a great makeover! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

  5. Looks fabulous. Thank you for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty. We would love to have again next week.

  6. Lynn,
    This room turned out great and the cabinets looks amazing. I love that old patina look. It's gorgeous and you did a awesome job. I am hosting a linky party and I would love it if you would share this great project. I hope to see you there. Enjoy your day.

  7. Love how your filing cabinets turned out! Thanks for sharing and linking up at Dishing It & Digging It! Looking forward to seeing more of your creativity! :)

  8. Lynn, your project turned out fabulous. I am so glad you shared how you transformed it. I am loving the color. I have never tackled anything like this, so I am in awe if your talents. Thanks so much for sharing your Artistic project at DI&DI.

  9. Wow, if you hadn't shown me the before shots I'd have that it was one from pottery barn. It looks great!


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