Updating Vintage Metal Lockers

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Painting metal used to be a pain in the butt and require primers, spray paints or heavy duty sand blasting.  All of these are things that are usually done outside or in a paint tent.  If you live in an area like we do, you don’t have the luxury of good weather very often in the middle of March.  Thankfully you really don’t need to take such drastic steps as long as proper prep and a protective finish is used.

Before – an old chalk board paint job

A few years ago I had picked up this set of lockers from a flea market for cheap and created a chalk board my daughter could write on the doors. It was painted with chalk paint and sealed with Masterclear.  If you’ve read my previous posts about her room makeover, you know that it’s time for a more mature look for these.  You can see the previous posts on her room makeover here:

Metallic Blended Dresser

Painted Wall Mural

Harry Potter Desk

First thing to do was remove all the hardware and start stripping off the old paint.  Of course I’m using Soy Gel Stripper for this, it’s quick and easy along with non-toxic.

Stripped with Soy Gel Stripper

Once I had scrapped off all the old paint and cleaned with vinegar and water, I needed a base coat.  I wanted a good thick mineral based paint for this.  I also wanted a color that would cover well but also allow for the stains I would be using to show their color without problems.  I chose Cece Caldwell Paints in Seattle Mist for this and did one good coat over the entire surface of the lockers.

Once that was dry I did a light sanding with an old sanding sponge and then it was time to start adding colors.

I’m using Unicorn SPiT colored gel stains from the SPARKLiNG STAiN collection in the colors Flaming Rosie, Onry Oriole, Finchi Fran, Mad Mallard, Grace C Hummingbird, Rock Chalk and Dove’s Cry.  I’m also using Southern Blenders/Pixie Dust Paints metallic paint in Copper Nails and metallic gilding powder in River Rock. I started by doing a rough rainbow design using all the colors going from left to right.

Starting the color

When working with SPARKLiNG STAiNS and you’re wanting to blend, use a good soft bristle brush like a Cling-On F40 or R30/40.  Once your stain has started to dry and get slightly tacky, use your brush to gently blend the edges of where one color meets the next. I did several coats of color on this and continued blending them each time until the coverage was what I was looking for.

After I had the coverage of the stain colors I let the last coat start to get tacky before pulling out an old makeup brush and the metallics from Pixie Dust/Southern Blenders.  I used Copper Nails highlighting the corners, hinges and sides.  Then once the stain was almost dry I switched to River Rock gilding powder to lightly add some contrast to the frame and around the holes where the knobs would go.

I let that all dry for a few hours before spraying the entire surface with a few coats of Plutonium Clear Gloss Spray Paint. Plutonium dries fast and within about 15 minutes it was ready to bring back inside for some new knobs.  I also lined each shelf of the lockers using spray adhesive and Unicorn wrapping paper.

It’s all finished and holding books, makeup and all my daughter’s junk in her room.

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