Rusted Metal Furniture? Liz Ashley to the Rescue!

Liz, our amazing assistant manager
Liz, our amazing assistant manager

If you’ve shopped at ReStore, you’ve seen our talented assistant manager, Liz Ashley.  She’s always on the go, assisting customers, moving furniture and organizing donations.

But did you know Liz is also an accomplished Do-It-Yourselfer? A neglected, rusted metal filing cabinet arrived at ReStore, and she saw a potential gift for her husband. With a little elbow grease and innovation, she made a fantastic tool chest!


Liz didn’t take a before photo, but here’s a stock photograph of a similar item. Imagine this piece very rusty!


Filing cabinet similar to the actual rusty item
Filing cabinet similar to the actual rusty item

What you need: (most of these items can be found at ReStore)

*work gloves

*wire brush or scrubber sponge

*protective mask


*Rustoleum spray paint



  1. Scrub loose particles and sand where needed.
  2. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth and let dry. You can also use baking soda and water or other eco-friendly techniques listed HERE
  3. Remove drawers, doors and hardware.
  4. Spray drawers and doors with Rustoleum spray paint, preferably outside. Rustoleum covers rust and imperfections and leaves a nice finish. It comes in every imaginable color, so pick something fun! You can always paint it a different color if you’re unhappy.
  5. Allow the paint to dry completely.
  6. Apply a second coat and let dry.
  7. Replace drawers and hardware.
  8. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy!

    Amazing tool chest AFTER!
    Amazing tool chest AFTER!

If you’re working with anything rusted, you have to decide whether the piece is salvageable. Use caution when working with rusted metal. Definitely use gloves and work outside if you can.

We want to hear about your DIY projects.  Send your story and before and after photographs, if you have them, to You may win a $25 ReStore gift certificate if we post your idea!

Related articles:

*How to Tell If Metal Furniture and Decor Is Worth Refinishing

*Five Home Remedies to Remove Rust

*How to Remove Rust and Restore Metal

*How to Repair Rusted Patio Furniture

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