How to bring an old locker back to life

Guest post by Amber Linthakhan

photo-2Inside our garage sat this locker. It was pretty neat by itself, but not quite what someone would want to put in their living room. So here’s what I did…


photo-11-e1375588033635-768x1024Step one: Clean! Scrub that baby down with some warm water and soap. Use some good ‘ol elbow grease.

photo-21-1024x768Step two: Throw some acrylic paint on it. Just put a glob on a cloth and smear it in nice and good.

photo-3Step three: Sand it down. This will help blend the colors and bring out some of the original metal and rust. Yes rust is good in moderation.

photo-5I wasn’t a huge fan of the overall look after the first round of sanding, so i just kept going.

photo-4Step Four: Use a sponge brush to lightly paint over the whole locker (I used teal).

Step Five: Do some spot sanding so the other colors and some patina sneaks through again.

Step Six: I wanted a more aged look so I just took some English Chestnut-colored wood stain and used a cloth to smear that all on very lightly.

photo-1Step Seven: Let dry and voilà!


  • It’s important you do all strokes in one direction, in my case, it was up and down. Do some areas with a thicker coat of colored paint, and some really thin areas. This is messy…get into it!
  • An electric sander is a good friend to have.
  • If you’re getting frustrated, walk away from the project for a few hours or overnight to get some fresh eyes on it tomorrow. You may like it more than you think!

Comments on How to bring an old locker back to life

  1. Yay! We have lockers in our living room, too! One each for my BF and I. We didn’t paint them, just left them scuffed and grey, but we covered the one open side that had previously been attached to the wall in some UW building with masonite and then used chalkboard paint on it. It turned out really great and we’re super happy with it!

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