Ikea Helmer cabinet hack with ASCP in Arles.

Ikea Helmer Hack with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

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Ikea Helmer cabinet hack with ASCP in Arles.
Paint is one of the easiest way to transform a piece of furniture that just doesn’t fit into your decor. Back in October, I took an Ikea PS locker cabinet and gave it a more vintage-industrial vibe with Krylon’s chalkboard paint, craft paint and Annie Sloan’s dark wax. I’ll put the link to the tutorial for you at the bottom of this post.  Today, I’ll show how I took a another cheap metal cabinet 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.

The supplies you need to give an Ikea Helmer a hack with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint are:

320 grit sandpaper, a tack cloth, mineral spirits, a paint brush, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in your color of choice, Annie Sloan Soft Wax (I used clear), Rust-Oleum spray paint in oil rubbed bronze for the handles. New castor wheels are 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. You only need to scuff it up enough to give the paint something to grab onto. I wiped it down with mineral spirits and then cleaned the remaining dust off with a tack cloth.

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 Rust-Oleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and added some labels to the drawers. Since one of the original caster wheels was broken, I replaced all of them with 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.


In case you missed it, the tutorial for the vintage yardstick tray is here. I’ll have the tutorial for the tiered map organizer in a later post. I don’t want to overload you guys with Mod Podge projects, as much as I love them!

Ikea hack with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

The Ikea PS cabinet that I painted to resemble an aged-steel Restoration Hardware cabinet can be found here. You can see how I made the faux rivets in this post.  Despite the fact the boys play with their toys on this cabinet, it has held up well over the past nine months. Besides, I try not to stress about them naturally distressing it. 🙂

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

Don’t you love how paint can transform a piece furniture? Have you made any Ikea hacks recently? If you’re unfamiliar with what an Ikea hack is, there is an entire website dedicated to just that over at Ikeahackers.net.

Ikea Helmer cabinet hack with ASCP in Arles.

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Linking this up to some of my favorite blogs such as:

Miss Mustard Seed

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  1. I just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I really enjoy working with ASCP and your tutorials and info are terrific. Thank you!

    1. I’ve become quite addicted to ASCP! I thought I enjoyed painting furniture before, but her paint makes it so much easier. Glad you like my tutorials! I’ll have some more coming up since I’ve been painting like crazy here lately.

  2. I just love this vintage, distressed, buttery yellow finish! Pinned it for future reference. Love the tray too and can’t wait to see your map tiered organizer tutorial.

  3. love the buttery color you got by mixing in the white! i have an open basket thingie holding craft supplies in my office and it looks messy. i need to buy one of these and give it the ASCP treatment! 🙂

  4. Your made over cabinet looks great. Makes me want to buy one so I can do the same thing.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Just think of all the colors you can choose from, too! I thought about going back to Ikea to get a couple more for my craft closet and painting them different colors.

      1. Hi Sarah,
        Looking at your hack on the helmer. Love it. Can you use any paint or does it have to be chalk paint? I cant seem to find chalk paint in Singapore. My helmer is white do you think a darker colour rubbed back to the white would look ok??
        Thanks Kat

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