Hey there! Hope you all are staying sane and safe during this quarantine. Hubs and I have been busy working our regular day jobs, although like many of you, from home. In the evenings and weekends, we have kept ourselves sane and happy by working our way down our never-ending list of home projects. If you saw my last post, you’ll know we just finished a renovation of our home office. As part of that renovation, I wanted to make sure that all the furniture we planned on putting back in the room after the remodel fit the style of the room. We have an orange-ish oak file cabinet that we purchased about 18 years ago back when orangey-oak was the popular “look”. Now that we are going for a more farmhouse/rustic look, I decided to complete a DIY oak file cabinet makeover to ensure the file cabinet matched the new style of the room.
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DIY Oak File Cabinet Makeover Tools & Supplies:
- 1 – 2×4 board @ 6′
- Black Spray paint – satin finish
- Heirloom Traditions paint – Cashmere
- Heirloom Traditions Antiquing Gel – Weathered Wood
- 4″ paint roller
- 4″ foam paint rollers
- Sponge applicator
- Chalk paint brush
- 2″ Casters (4)
To begin the DIY oak file cabinet makeover, I first lightly sanded the sides, top, front and back of the file cabinet just to remove any oils or dirt on the surface (since this thing is like 18 years old!).
I then removed all the drawers from the cabinet and wiped it down with a damp rag to remove any dust from sanding.
I removed all the gold hardware from the front of the drawers and set it aside for now.
I then put the first coat of the Heirloom Traditions paint in Cashmere color (white) onto the file cabinet base using a 4″ foam roller. My daughter wanted to help out with this step!
Once all sides of the file cabinet base were coated with the first layer of paint. I let it sit for about half an hour to dry before applying the next coat.
After about 30 minutes, the first coat was pretty dry. I then used the foam roller to apply a second coat of paint.
While the second coat of paint was drying, I used the Rustoleum Black spray paint in satin finish to paint the drawer hardware.
Next, after the second coat of paint was dry to the touch, I applied the third coat of paint. This time, instead of using the roller, I used the chalk paint brush, which is a thick, round brush. To apply the paint with the chalk paint brush, you don’t paint in strokes like with a standard paint brush. Instead, you use a technique called “stippling”, where you dip the ends of the brush in paint, and blot it onto the surface in quick motions. The Heirloom Traditions paint is self-leveling, so the stippling technique leaves the surface looking like the paint had been sprayed on with a spray gun, but at it dries, it levels out and creates a smooth, brush stroke free surface. Here is a pic of the stippling technique as I was applying it to the drawer fronts on their third coat of paint:
Once the file cabinet base and the drawer fronts had the third coat of paint applied and had completely dried, I added the Heirloom Traditions Antiquing Gel in Weathered Wood finish. To apply the gel, I used my smaller chalk paint brush and applied the gel in several sections on each side of the cabinet (although work on completing one side as a time, as the gel dries it becomes more difficult to even and thin out, as I found out the hard way…). Once I had applied the gel in several locations, I put a small amount of water on the applicator sponge (so it is lightly damp) and began rubbing in the antiquing gel into the paint, wiping up and down in the direction of the wood grain. I kept wiping the gel into the paint, rinsing out the applicator sponge if it got to dry, and then wiping in the gel some more until I got the color and pattern that I wanted.
I repeated this process on all sides of the cabinet base and on all drawer fronts until I got the weathered look just how I wanted it (I like the greyish weathered wood look to be fairly light, so I continued wiping in the gel until I achieved very light grey streaks in the white paint). Here’s a picture of one of the drawer fronts after I had finished applying the antiquing gel and wiping it down until I had just a very light grey weathered affect and attached the newly painted black hardware to the front.
Because this file cabinet will be in our office on our new Pergo flooring, I wanted to add casters to the bottom to make it easy to move if needed. To do this, I had to add some support boards to the bottom of the file cabinet to create a space to attach the casters to.
First, I placed the file cabinet base on its back. I then measured the internal distance of the file cabinet from side to side at the front and the back. I cut two 2×4 boards to the length of the internal side-to-side distance of the bottom of the file cabinet. I then drilled two 3/4″ pocket holes into each end of one side of each of the two boards. I then used 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to attach one board from side-to-side under the front of the file cabinet base, and the other board across the back. I then added 2″ locking casters to each end of the 2×4 board.
Once all four casters were installed, I stood the file cabinet up, inserted the four drawers back onto the drawer rails, and rolled the cabinet into place in our newly remodeled office!
This is a simple and quick weekend project that can change the whole look of your orange oak furniture! If you have some of those orangey-oak pieces around your house, whether its a file cabinet, a TV stand, bookshelf, or your kitchen cabinets. Don’t be afraid to update the look with a little paint and time! And it is MUCH cheaper than having to go out and buy new furniture to get an updated or more modern look, just DIY it instead!