Hello again! For my first craft themed blog post I’ll be discussing how I decorated my thrift store filing cabinet. This was a challenge for me as I don’t consider myself to be much of a painter and I had never before attempted to paint on metal. First off, I bought a metal filing cabinet from the Habitat for Humanity Re-store. It was icky industrial beige but otherwise it was in good shape and it was certainly more environmentally friendly to buy old as well as much cheaper, be-still-my-Scottish-heart. I got it home and cleaned it off with a damp cloth. The thought of putting my precious fiction manuscripts and important documents in something beige made me shudder so I set to work. Why let a little thing like insecurity and metal stop the progress of craftiness? I certainly can’t think of a reason.
I gathered the following materials: metal primer, sponge brushes, acrylic metal paint (metallic blue, purple, silver, copper brown and green), and rub-on decorations. For a week my tiny living room was dominated by newsprint and painting accoutrements. My first step was to rough up the surface with some sandpaper (sorry! I just used what I had in my junk drawer, I don’t know the grit) then I painted two coats of primer on the cabinet, including the little rust spots on the bottom. When that dried completely I went nuts painting it blue. The paint covered well but I know I did two coats in some places.
When that had dried I settled down to paint the decorations with the complete Jim Henson’s the Storyteller playing for company. It was awesome! I love that show so much. I knew from day one that I was going to do some Faery themed decorations but I know the Storyteller encouraged my natural inclinations. Now when I look at the cabinet I hear that voice in my memory, “Come sit by the fire…” I painted silver stars on the edges free hand. Since I am not a confident painter I naturally decided to cheat (hey, it worked for Captain Kirk!) and use stamps as well as rub-ons. For the leaves I used some leaves which fell off of a silk flower garland that hung in my living room. I painted one leaf green and another leaf silver then used them as stamps on the cabinet. In places I connected the leaves with swirly vine stems. When those painted details dried I rubbed sparkly butterflies, fairies, and flowers on the cabinet. To hold those details down I used a thin paintbrush to paint Elmer’s white glue over each decal.
I painted the toad free-hand in the lower left corner using copper brown paint. I was nervous but being me (you’ll figure out quickly that I love amphibians) I had to include an Anuran. I think he turned out rather well.
On the side visible from the living room couch at the time I decided to paint a moonlit scene. What can I say? I blame the Storyteller. I painted the tree free hand using the brown copper paint. I thought about including leaves but I liked the haunted effect of the bare branches. I painted the moon and the clouds as well as the grass free hand. The moon required two coats. When those details dried I rubbed on the fairies and butterflies. I like the way the fairies look like they are contemplating the moonlit butterfly dance. I painted Elmer’s glue on those decals as well.
Depending on how I arrange my furniture in my next apartment I might go over the right side and back of the cabinet with more leaf stamps and/or another painted scene. I hope to take some better pictures of the Faery cabinet as soon as I get to unpack it; hopefully the ones included here give you some idea of how it turned out. One thing I wasn’t able to do which I would like to remedy is to put a coat of sealer or varnish on the whole cabinet to protect it from damage. There wasn’t enough ventilation in my old apartment for me to want to risk using aerosol products. I had every window open as it was while I painted. I know when I moved I had the movers wrap this cabinet up thoroughly in plastic and bubblewrap to protect my hard work. I would definitely do a project like this again and I’m proud of how it turned out.