How to paint a file cabinet

A recent project. Our steps:
1. Hunted for a file cabinet in all the major office stores. Became dismayed to learn they only come in black and a nasty putty color. Had hoped for white. Settled on the only silver cabinet we saw.

2. Carted it home. Became dismayed to see that it stuck out like a sore thumb in the office. (Accentuated by the fact that the north corners of our room have slanted walls that prevent sliding a cabinet all the way back, so it literally stuck out. But we expected this part.)

3. Impulsively decided to paint it white. Googled to learn how.

4. Determined we needed: sandpaper, spray primer, and spray paint for metal. Got these at Home Depot.

5. Detached any removable hardware that we didn't want painted, e.g. the drawer handles.

6. Sanded the cabinet to rough it up and remove any oils transferred from our hands. This helps the paint stick. Wiped off the dust with a damp cloth.

7. Put painter's tape over any hardware we couldn't detach that we didn't want painted, e.g. the lock and side edges of drawers.

8. In a well-ventilated place (okay, it wasn't, but I don't want you to sue me if you follow these directions and end up getting high), we put down a drop cloth and sprayed a coat of primer on the cabinet. Followed directions on can for application and drying time. Started with the back side to get our technique down. Worried that it looked uneven. (Turns out it doesn't matter. It will be covered up later.) Used up one can of primer.

9. Applied as many light coats of spray paint as needed for good coverage (three, in our case). Note: don't spray on too much at once or it will make drips that run down the side. Luckily that spot is in the back. Used up 1.5 cans of spray paint. Allowed it to dry. We like it!

Note: If you know ahead of time that you're going to paint a cabinet a color you can't find anywhere, and you don't have the cabinet yet, you may as well buy a used one and save some money.
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