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How To Paint A Metal Locker Using A Paint Sprayer

In this tutorial I show you how to paint a metal locker the easy way.

I’ve been putting this project off for over a year. I don’t know why. Yes, I do. I was thinking about how hard it would be to brush paint the inside of a metal locker. Then I came up with a plan, an easy plan.

metal locker paint project Petticoat Junktion

I bought the metal locker at a local thrift/flea market shop. I think I paid $30 for it but maybe a little less. The locker had been painted at least once. The color is what I would call “yucky brown”.

metal locker project Petticoat Junktion

The locker was full of shelves. The metal parts were rusty and crusty and there were shelves made of MDF that were not original to the locker. I  cleaned the locker using the shop vac and Simple Green. I didn’t remove all the rust and crust. I’m just going to paint over it.

Can you imagine trying to paint all of those shelves and bottom sides of the shelves and all those corners with a paint brush. I can and it’s not something I want to do.

painting a metal locker with a paint sprayer

I have this handy dandy paint sprayer from HomeRight. It’s the HomeRight Finish Max Pro Fine Finish Sprayer and it can be used for any home paint projects. Using a paint sprayer is the only way to go for projects like this locker.

Homeright Finish Max Pro project Petticoat Junktion

The process is easy. Just fill the paint container with paint (you may need to thin the paint with water), hook the hose to the paint gun and base, plug it in, and go to town.

I’m sorry there are not more photos of me painting the locker. The only photo of the process was taken by the JTS. He happened to be around for a bit and snapped a shot.

It’s hard to take photos and use the paint sprayer at the same time. It’s too much trouble to set up the camera and tripod. My neighbors already think I’m nuts. They would really get a kick out of the camera on the tripod clicking away taking photos of me in my element.

I used the Finish Max paint sprayer to apply sealer. This is great because I hate brushing on sealer, I always have brush marks. See the project here…Apply Clear Sealer With A Paint Sprayer.

We used the handy dandy sprayer to paint our louvered closet doors, making the job so much easier. I made a short video of the hubby spraying the doors. See it below….

How To Paint Louvered Doors The Easy Way

This is how I applied the paint with the paint sprayer to get the ombre look……I applied one coat of gray primer (my favorite Glidden Gripper) and then one coat of white paint. Next, I mixed a little blue paint in with the white paint and sprayed the lower two-thirds of the locker.

metal locker painted with a paint sprayer

At this point, the upper third or so of the locker was white paint and the bottom two-thirds of the locker was medium blue. Now to apply the final color to the bottom one-third of the locker. I mixed more blue paint with the medium blue paint to make a darker blue. Then I sprayed the bottom one-third kind of willy nilly.

Paint A Metal Locker with Petticoat Junktion

I only applied one coat of each color. Each coat took about 10 minutes to spray on…inside and out…so easy! I’m thinking about all the bright colors and fun designs I could make……maybe another locker one of these days. Have to find one first.

Ombre Painted Metal Locker Petticoat Junktion

The locker was dark and drab, and I wanted it to look light and airy, so I gave it a sky/cloud effect. The JTS put casters on the locker right after I brought it home….. I don’t know where those pics are!

the inside of a painted metal locker

It’s fun to do something unique and outside of the box every once in a while. I’m loving the look. What do you guys think?

painted metal school locker

Leave me a note. Don’t forget to bookmark or pin this post for later reference. Thanks for being here, and have a great day, Kathy

Find my pumpkin DIY’s here…..Decorating Pumpkins

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. Great Idea!!!! The colors were so soft, especially from the color it was when purchased! Now you have a cheery functional cabinet with shelving…..brilliant. Using a paint sprayer is giving me ideas. Thank you for sharing ideas, skills, while repurposing.

  2. This is a great piece Kathy. I love the ombre. What kind of paint did you use for the metal? I know you said latex but was it a semi gloss finish? And what sealer did you use? Thanks.

  3. I love the blue sky effect of the locker, Kathy! Love that you put casters on it too. Pinned 🙂

  4. I’m not sure about the ombré look… When the locker is closed, it looks OK, but when open, it doesn’t have the same quality. It looks a bit unfinished, i’m afraid. But if you love it, who cares?

  5. Super job with the paint sprayer friend! You’re making me want a locker too!

  6. Love the ombre look and the color! I can tell the sprayer is just what I need for future projects. Thanks for all the info, Kathy.

  7. This would be so much easier than using a brush! I’d love to get my hands on one of those…your locker turned out great!

  8. Hey Barb, There is a world of difference in using a paint sprayer and a can of spray paint. The paint sprayer sprays a larger paint stream and a more even stream of paint than a can of paint. YOu can adjust the amount of paint coming out of the sprayer also. I much prefer the paint sprayer over a can of spray paint.

  9. What’s the difference between using this type of sprayer vs a can of spray paint? Ohhh……maybe one thing could be the amount of colors that would be available? If so….what else??

  10. The locker looks great-really like the way you painted it.The pumpkin on the lamp looks really neat. I also the pumpkin with the stars on it.

  11. Your lockers look great! This paint sprayer looks like a tool that everyone who enjoys updating vintage treasure could use.

  12. Very cool! A paint sprayer would definitely be the way to go with such a detailed piece! Great job!

  13. What a cool project! Sounds like that sprayer made the job a breeze!I’ve got some louvered closet doors that I’d love to try it on. Have a great weekend!

  14. What a cool project! Sounds like that sprayer made the job a breeze!I’ve got some louvered closet doors that I’d live to try it on. Have a great weekend!

  15. I’m not sure about the ombré look… When the locker is closed, it looks OK, but when open, it doesn’t have the same quality. It looks a bit unfinished, i’m afraid. But if you love it, who cares?

  16. I would love to have my longest basement wall lined with metal lockers, painted just like that.

  17. Ooh that totally works for me! Your ‘willy-nilly’ tip cracks me up, Kathy! You make it sound so easy. Must be that awesome Homeright sprayer. Love how your airy locker project turned out.

  18. Love the locker.
    How easy is the sprayer to clean up? I want a sprayer but want one that is fairly easy to care for.

  19. What a great storage unit! I have an addiction with metal lockers and other metal cabinetry. I’m in the process of transforming my plastic bins into industrial chic craft storage. I also painted a metal locker, one of my favorite flea market finds. Hope you’ll come visit and take a peek. Sure wish I had a home right paint sprayer–would’ve made spraying a lot easier.


  20. looks cool kathy everyone raves about their homeright paint sprayer wish i has one..also wish i had that locker so i could organize our carport, hope jts is still improving xx