Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chevron Striped Filing Cabinet

Hello, my dear friends! I bet you thought I forgot, didn't you? Care to know a secret? I almost did! Okay wait, no, I didn't forget... Life has been busy!

Since my last post, I
*changed jobs
*completed my clinical fellowship (I'm a full fledged, fully licensed speech-language pathologist. I'm kind of a big deal... to my parents.)
*bought a house
*decorated a house
*bought a car
*took a nap

I think the nap is the most exciting to me right now... Maybe that's because I finished a long (for me), super productive shift at the hospital and can't wait for a nap! Or bedtime. Or a winter coma. You snicker like I'm joking.... I'm not joking people. Last night, every time I tried to close my eyes, all I could hear was Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Imagine it... *eyes shut* "Billie jean is not my lover" *flip over* "she's just a girl who claims that I am the one" *eyes open* "But the kid is not my son" *baaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!* okay. I'm really not sure how I got on this tangent, so... Hey! Lets just transition to this! Look at what I made!

It started like this... Remember how I said I started a new job and moved? I have several years worth of pediatric therapy materials that needed a home. I needed a filing cabinet. After shopping the internet and finding multiple options (for over $100 a piece), my mom casually mentioned, "Oh yeah! We have one in the garage! We got it at some garage sale for cheap, and quite frankly, your dad will love that you're getting rid of something in the garage." Quick savings of $100? Yes, please! Only problem? Oooooh, it's so ugly! And sterile. And a nasty reminder of work. When I work from home, I don't want to FEEL like I'm working from home. Can I get a witness!?

A couple cans of spray paint, math, google searches of "how to paint chevron stripes" and my idea was born. It actually took me longer to figure out which colors to use than it did to complete the project. First up? Paint the entire cabinet dark blue. 

Next, Math + Google Search. The first site I found was one a fantastic blog of a coo coo mommy. I really think I owe this project to her. I know that I have a bit of a math brain, but it really wasn't bad. Measure your sides, find a number that gives you nice even measurements, and understand chevron stripes don't HAVE to be perfect. Draw it out! The middle set of rectangles on my pad shows the difference between 4 sections and 5 sections on the smaller sides of the cabinet. Even though 5 sections was more work, I knew that'd be the first side people saw, so 5 it must be!
So after deciding on a plan, I very quickly hit my next speed bump. HOW DO YOU MAKE NON-PERMANENT MARKS ON A STINKING DARK BLUE FILING CABINET!?!?!? Pencil? Nope. Stupid pencil. OH! White fabric pencil! No. I felt like that dumb fabric pencil was mocking me. At this point I've put in a movie and I'm a bit brain dead and I catch myself trying to erase invisible pencil marks. Aha! ERASER. See those little lines over there? Eraser marks. I knew there was an ounce or two of genius left in me SOMEWHERE.

Now, the taping. I could thoroughly explain this myself, but why should I when Mommy has already been driven coo coo over it? (See what I did there? Second link. That's how important that blog is to me.) Two important things to remember: One, tape over anything you don't want painted and Two, remember to put your tape on the correct side of your diagonal line! The blue zigs (or are they zags?) should appear a little more narrow than the pained zags. DO NOT USE TAPE SPARINGLY!

If you're like me and tape one night in preparation to spray the second color the next morning, make sure you run your hands along the tape one more time to make sure there aren't pieces sticking up. Those little pieces can screw up the entire project if you're not careful! Also take this time to trim any tape that doesn't follow the nice zig zag pattern you've made.

Time to spray, my pretties! Don't waste too much paint on the taped areas, but do make sure to hit the lines well! You will probably need two coats with a bit of drying time in between. Drying time depends on your paint brand and your location. Texas heat means we require all of... 2.4 minutes. No, really it was probably more than 8, less than 10. 

I'm not too proud to say that while I waited for it to dry, I sat in the grass and waited. And stared. I seriously didn't move. Every few seconds I touched the painted area to check for dryness. Texted my Sister-in-Law (YES! THAT IS A LINK ON PURPOSE! Go check out her cooking blog!) the typical "GUESS WHAT I JUST DID!?" message, but then realized I texted too early because I wasn't even sure what I had just done. Then finally I decided that patience IS in fact a virtue... a virtue that will have to be developed some other time and I took that tape off! 

If you'll notice on this picture, I didn't even take the fool tape off all 4 sides before I started taking pictures. Texted the SIL and waited anxiously for the "well done!" (Yes, I DO need validation!) Just to let you know that things don't always run smoothly, I'll have you know that right about this time a HUGE storm cloud comes rolling in. I rushed the cabinet inside as quickly as I could just in time to see clear skies as the cloud passed over. Seriously, Texas? First you give us a high of 69 in MAY and now you're giving us faux-clouds? That's cruel, Texas... yet, well played.

You'd be surprised how much tape you use. See that floor tile? Yeah. I think those are 12-14 inch tiles. Heh. I told you not to use sparingly! 


Yeah, you could say I'm kind of pleased with myself. But here's the real test: Was it worth it?

Filing cabinet: Depending on how you shop, it could vary. I did see one for around $40 at wal-mart the other day about this size. 
Paint: (2 cans of spray paint in 2 different colors) ~$4 each
Painters tape: ~$4
Total cost: $52(ish)

Initial painting: 30 minutes overall for both coats
Math and taping: Probably around 3 hours, mainly because I was watching a movie and was easily distracted
Secondary painting and tape removal: 30 minutes? 
Time to sit and stare at your work and realized "By George, it worked and it wasn't even that difficult!": 10 minutes, give or take an hour
Total time: Around 4 hours, but perhaps best done over an evening and a morning

Level of Ease: Adult
Sorry, Kiddos. Unless you're awesome at tape tearing math, this is a project probably best left for the older crew. But if mom wants to let you work the spray paint, well then grab yourself a mask (and mom, pick up an extra can of spray paint to be safe) and knock yourself out! 

Not literally. Please, do not knock yourself out. I will not be held liable for any traumatic brain injuries. I just can't handle that. 

Worth it? To me, yes. I needed a cute place to file away boxes and boxes of materials, and I ended up with a one of a kind cabinet. Instead of spending $100 on a cutesy Target cabinet, I spent $8 on two cans of spray paint. THAT I can handle. 

Your turn! What will you paint? What will you chevron-ize? And while you're at it, what do you wish my NEXT project to be? Want a folder game you can print out for your little ones? Something on canvas? Something in the kitchen? Think very hard on these things, 'cause I'm BACK folks! This will not be our last farewell! 

Happy Crafting my friends,
lindsey daniella


  1. Amazing! I like how you detailed everything. It looks like it costs more including all the effort you have put into it; but fun of doing it is priceless. I'm a newbie crafter trying everything my hands can get into. Until next project! ~ K.Lou

  2. @K.Lou, Welcome! So glad you could find this place! You're totally right. Ordinarily, this project would be more expensive than buying a simple fake wood cabinet. However, it actually only cost me the price of 2 cans of spray paint since I had everything else laying around.