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Both Tricia and I used some chalk paint this week to make our furniture pieces look amazing.  I did a computer table to a coffee table makeover while she made a rather ordinary and industrial looking metal drawer set look all vintagey and cute with a little chalk paint.  Those little labels take it over the edge of perfection, don’t they?  Want to see how she did it?  Read below.


Hello again, IC readers! This is Tricia from Simplicity in the South! Today I’ll show how I took a cheap metal drawer unit from our storage building and made it look less like an Ikea product and more like something you might find in an antique store. All it took was little bit of paint, wax and elbow grease. Meet Helmer. He’s a little guy, but he’s a workhorse. And since he can be found at Ikea for $40.00, he’s pretty irresistible.

Helmer unit before He was my portable-craft-cabinet for several years until one of the plastic wheels broke. I couldn’t find a replacement wheel and I wasn’t crazy about the color, so he’s been sitting in the storage building for the past five years. I love finding ways to make newer, modern things look vintage and ol’ Helmer seemed perfectly suited and destined for a paint makeover. So, I dusted him off and decided to give him a second chance by painting him with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Arles. For anyone who wants to know if you can use chalk paint on metal…absolutely! You just have to give the piece a light sanding first if the surface is glossy.


320 grit sandpaper

a tack cloth

paint brush

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in your color of choice

Annie Sloan Soft Wax (I used clear)

Rustoleum spray paint in oil rubbed bronze

New caster wheels (optional)

As you can see, even after drying overnight, the paint could be scratched off easily on the unsanded side. The sanded side did not budge. To get the soft, buttery yellow color, I mixed two parts of Annie Sloan’s Arles with one part Pure White. How to paint on metal with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I sanded the entire cabinet with 320 grit sandpaper and then wiped it down with a tack cloth. You only need to scuff it up enough to give the paint something to grab onto.

How to paint metal with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint After two coats of Annie Sloan paint, you can start the fun part… sanding and distressing the edges where the cabinet would have naturally been worn and knocked around. There’s no secret to this part. Just do a little, step away and see where you need to sand a little more. Wipe the cabinet again with your tack cloth and then apply two light coats of Annie Sloan’s Soft Clear Wax and buff with a soft cloth. You can tell by the color difference in the top drawer how the wax brings out the true color of the paint.

Ikea Helmer unit with Annie Sloan Paint in Arles copy I gave the handles a makeover with Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and added some labels to the drawers. I found the 1 5/8″ caster wheels, item # 0066942, from Lowes.

Ikea Helmer hack with ASCP in Arles. Helmer hack after Now, the drawer unit looks less utilitarian and fits in better with our cottage style kitchen. Plus, it adds a punch of color. It will look even better if I can squeeze in the time to repaint our kitchen gray this summer.

Ikea-Helmer-hack-with-Annie-Sloan-in-Arles I’ll be sharing tutorials for the yardstick tray and tiered map organizer on Simplicity in the South soon!

Ikea hack with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint You can check out another Ikea hack I did for our boys’ shared bedroom. This Restoration Hardware inspired faux aged steel Ikea PS cabinet was featured on Ikea Hackers, Apartment Therapy and Beckie’s other website, Knock Off Decor!

Faux aged steel Ikea cabinet. Boy's shared bedroom by Simplicity In The South. Tricia signature

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