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How To Paint Metal Lockers – Amateur’s Guide

Tired of your old, rusty metal locker? Does your room look too bland with it? How about you paint your locker? 

Oh, don’t get all puzzled. We’re here to back you up. So how to paint metal lockers

Clean the locker to remove flaky paints and rust. Sand your locker surface to roughen the area of paint. Finally, apply your primer and finish by spraying the paint. You can go for multiple colors to add dimensions.

Now that you’ve got the nuts and bolts, let’s paint right through the details:

The painting Guide (5 Effortless Steps)

It’s okay if you’re not an artist by nature. Even though painting a locker isn’t as easy as painting a shepherd’s hook. But painting metal lockers won’t be a hard nut to crack. Now’s the time to pour in all that creativity hidden inside you. You just need to follow the next five steps where we have discussed all the painting procedures. So what are you waiting for?

Tools You’d Need

Before you jump right in, here are some tools you might need. So grab yourself all the necessary items listed below. It won’t cost you so much as it costs moving a garage.

Step 1 of 5: Cleaning The Locker

First things first, clean the entire locker before you start your artistry. Use a scouring pad and soak it into acetone. Now make sure that all the trails of grease and dirt are removed. 

By the way, you can also make your own acetone by simply mixing equal parts of white vinegar and lemon juice.

Step 2 of 5: Remove The Rust 

Removing rust is important when giving your metal locker a makeover. You don’t want the rust to eat up your paint, do you?

The solvent cleaner may not clean off the stubborn rusts. So, spray some rust remover into the rusty spots and scrub it with a scrub pad. Lastly, wipe away the residue using a damp scrap rag. 

If you don’t have a rust remover near you, you can also DIY. Now, how to do that? Well, just fetch some baking soda and potato to remove the rust. Here’s what you do-

Cut a potato into half and sprinkle baking soda onto it and rub it over the rusted area. Voila! Your locker will now be rust free.

Step 3 of 5: Sand The Locker 

Now that your locker is all spic and span, it’s time for some hard work. Use sandpaper to roughen the surface. Sand until you’ve removed all the flaky paints and rust. However, you can use steel wool or a scouring pad in case you don’t have sandpaper.

Step 4 of 5: Prime The Locker 

You’re almost at the finishing line buddy. Now, it’s time to get done with the priming. Start with spraying the primer onto the locker with smooth, slow strokes. Don’t be harsh while spraying. Make sure that you’re applying the primer evenly.

The rule of thumb for even coating is to shake the can for 3 minutes while holding it 10 inches from the locker surface.

Now, don’t rush in and paint over the locker. Wait for 24 hours to let the primer dry. Once it dries off you can apply another coat of the primer, in case you’re not satisfied.

But wait, let me tell you something. You must pick the right primer for your locker. If you ask me which primer to use, I’d suggest you go for a self-etching spray paint primer labeled for metal. These help to create a foundation that bonds to following coats of paint.

Here are some of our favorites:

Rust-Oleum 7582838 Professional Primer Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum 249088 Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover

Step 5 of 5: Apply the paint

Hey look, you made it to the last step. Now, all you need to do is spray the paint evenly. Once again, use smooth and slow strokes to apply the paint. This way, you’ll get the best result.

Once your first coat dries off, you can apply 2-3 additional coats of paint for perfect coverage and let the whole thing dry. 

When painting, you can even make designs, maybe use a bed slat or tapes to make patterns. Bingo! Your locker is ready.

Quick Tip

At this point in your painting spree, apply a layer of car wax. This will protect your paint and keep it shiny. 

Use a lint-free cloth to apply the wax and use it in small sections around 2 by 2 feet area. Let the wax sit for 10 minutes and buff off with a clean cloth.


Question: Do I need to sand before painting?
Answer: Yes, sanding the locker surface helps it to accept the primer.

Question: What sandpaper should I use on metal?
Answer: The best sandpaper for metals is aluminum oxide or brass silicon.

Question: Does vinegar remove paint from metal?
Answer: Vinegar is an effective way to remove dried off paint from hard surfaces.


That was all about our expertise in this guide on how to paint metal lockers.

Follow through and hopefully, this will help you bring a new look to your metal locker.