Stunning Metal Locker Makeover

Stunning Metal Locker Makeover with Spray Paint {} Transform boring lockers into gorgeous shelving #lockermakeover #spraypaint #howtoremoverivets

It’s been three years in the making, but I’m finally ready to share my metal locker makeover! I’m so happy with my new storage cabinet/bookshelf. Not only does it store lots of craft supplies, but it looks pretty, too. These bright and cheerful lockers make me happy every time I look at them.

Stay tuned to learn the dos and don’ts for painting lockers. Plus, I’ll show you how to remove rivets to take off doors without damaging the lockers.

RELATED: How to Paint Furniture Like a Pro, Pocket Bookshelves, DIY Family Computer Station

Second hand lockers in the back of my truck

Back to the Beginning

To start this locker makeover, you have to rewind to October 2017. We’d been in our new home in Las Vegas for less than a month when I stumbled onto these vintage lockers. They came from the break room of a store that was going out of business and were a steal at $40. My hubby thought I was nuts, but he loaded them up in the truck and put them in the garage for me anyway. There they sat collecting dust until September of 2019. My husband is a very patient man!

The lockers took me a week to makeover and only 6 months of procrastination to turn into a blog post. Yep. Sometimes I’m really speedy and motivated like that. Ugh!

Metal Locker Makeover

Check out the main video tutorial to see the makeover from start to finish, or read my description below.

Prepare the Lockers
Before picture of metal lockers -- ready for locker makeover

To begin my makeover, I clipped the zip ties holding the doors closed and braced myself to find lots of gross stuff inside.

Surprise. Nothing. Besides a spilled rootbeer, the store employees took very good care of their lockers. And here I thought I would have to take care of all sorts of gunk.

I spent a few minutes cleaning the dust off the lockers with soap and water, and then I got to the fun part — taking off the doors!

Make a Plan

After removing two rows of doors, I got a little bit of design help. I used some photo magic to mock up what the lockers would look like with different configurations of doors removed. Then, I had my friends and family vote for their favorite.

Four design choices for my locker makeover

Choice B was the winner. I got nine spaces for decor and nine spaces for storage. A perfect balance.

How to Remove Rivets

Here’s how to remove locker doors without causing any damage to the frame. You will need:

  • Drill
  • Drill bit – diameter 2-3 times larger than the hole in the rivet
  • Small screwdriver – or another narrow tool to punch out the rivet
  • Hammer
  • Flathead screwdriver or chisel

For anyone just looking for a video of how to remove rivets, below is a riveting clip from the full video (pun intended).

To remove the rivets, drill directly into the center of each rivet until the front of the rivet pops off. Be careful removing the rivet from the tip of the drill because it will be hot. If the rivet does not come off the locker, use a chisel or flathead screwdriver to pull it off.

Place a small Phillips screwdriver into the hole you just drilled into, and tap the back with a hammer to pop out the back of the rivet.

Once the doors are removed, use a vacuum to clean up the metal shavings. I love my Dyson Ball Animal. (You couldn’t pay me to go back to my old vacuum.) Give the lockers one more wipe down to make sure you got all the dust.

How to Spray Paint Lockers

Stunning Metal Locker Makeover with Spray Paint {} Transform boring lockers into gorgeous shelving #lockermakeover #spraypaint #howtoremoverivets #vintagelockers
Stunning Metal Locker Makeover with Spray Paint {} Transform boring lockers into gorgeous shelving #lockermakeover #spraypaint #howtoremoverivets

To get this look, you’ll need a couple of cans of black spray paint and 2-3 cans of white spray paint. In fact, buy three of each, and then take back the extra if you don’t use them. That is so much easier than running out and having to go back and forth to the store. (Not that that happened to me or anything.)

Before you paint, lightly sand the lockers so that the new paint will stick. I used my orbital sander. (It also came in handy when my white paint kept bubbling and I had to sand it down and do it again.) *Remember, I always make mistakes so that you don’t have to!

Speaking of mistakes, I painted my lockers in the wrong order. First I taped the lockers off and painted the black areas, then I taped them off again and painted the white areas. Do not do that!

Prepping and painting the lockers {} #vintagelockermakeover #lockermakeover

Here’s the order you should use:

  1. Spray the outside of the lockers white. (The lockers are taped off in my picture, but you don’t need to do that. They’re taped because I did the black first. Bad plan. If you do the white first, you don’t need to tape.)
  2. Cover the doors and tape the edges before spraying the inside of the lockers black. Be sure to cover the holes on the sides of the lockers with tape so that the black does not come through the holes and create shadows on the white paint.

If you find that you need to touch up the white paint after you have already sprayed the black paint, masking paper works great to prevent overspray.

For some reason, my black spray paint went on very smoothly with no runs, but I really had trouble with the white paint. It looked great, but I bubbled as it dried. I think I sprayed a second coat on too soon. Be sure to follow the directions on your specific paint can.

My Inspiration

My locker inspiration came from this post on Caught in Grace. I love the colors and mix of styles that she uses in her decor. Her vintage locker makeover is the perfect addition to her room. (You should definitely check out her blog.)

Gorgeous locker makeover by Caught in Grace

Finishing Touches

Once your lockers are ready to go in the house, it’s time to decorate! My kids think I’m crazy for putting the books in backward, but I love that they add visual texture without adding lots of clashing colors. I stacked the books in different directions for variety.

Stunning Metal Locker Makeover with Spray Paint {} Transform boring lockers into gorgeous shelving #lockermakeover #spraypaint #howtoremoverivets #vintagelockers

What do you think? Would you decorate with backward books?

Filling up the lockers for a beautiful storage solution

Now it’s time to fill up the lockers! The top three lockers belong to my girls, but the rest are filled with craft supplies. It’s so nice to have them in the craft room instead of the guest room closet!

Stunning Metal Locker Makeover with Spray Paint {} Transform boring lockers into gorgeous shelving #lockermakeover #spraypaint #howtoremoverivets #vintagelocker

Be sure to anchor your lockers to the wall so that they don’t fall on any people or pets! (Mine aren’t anchored yet. Better get that done.)

I’d love to hear how yours turn out if you try this project!

More Ideas to Inspire You

Thanks for stopping by today. I’d love it if you stuck around and browsed some more ideas. (I also love to hear what you think in the comments.)

The images below are linked to posts, so click on the pictures to pay a visit.

DIY Storage Lockers for Kids -- No Mudroom? No problem! {}
No more wet clothes hanging all over the house! Tame the mess with this easy Ladder Laundry Drying Rack! {} Step-by-step tutorial
I love how she turned an annoying bunk bed into a fun bunk bed fort for her daughter! I have to try this. {}

See you next time!



  1. Lisa @ Midwest Glam says

    That is so cute! And pretty unique too. I’d love to do something like that. Unfortunately I don’t have the space right now.

  2. Oh wow, I love how this turned out. You did such an amazing job. I wish I were more creative.

  3. Wow this is so awesome! You did an amazing job. I’d love to try this out sometime!

  4. That locker makeover is so cute. My neighbors tossed a old chair on their cube and all I needed was spray paint to make it look new.

  5. I love this makeover and want this cabinet so much! It is functional and a beautiful piece of furniture

  6. These are so cool. I have not seen anything like this before, but it is such a beautiful piece. I wonder what they do with the old lockers in schools that may have shut down.

  7. I looooooove what you did with the locker, amazing!!! The locker looks amazing, wow!!!

  8. Those turned out amazing. I absolutely love what you have done with them. I bet they really do store a lot of supplies. I also giggled when I read that you braced yourself before you opened them. Luckily it was only a spilled soda. I can’t imagine what you would have found if they had come from a high school. Lol. Super fun idea!

  9. I’m loving a great DIY project!

  10. I bought a new apartment this year, so I’m really into this kind of makeovers! The result is really impressive, I love this white metal locker! :)

  11. Well this is really amazing and interesting..loved this..Thanks for sharing..gonna have something like this..Great work…

  12. I loved how you turned them into.. TRue enough that it can be used for multipurposes…

  13. These metal lockers are great organizers. You put everything which will provide more space. Great product!!!🤗

  14. What a great makeover! This is really something. I love it a lot.

  15. Kathy Kenny Ngo says

    I am always in awe of people who can create something out of old things. It’s so sustainable and just really good for Mother Earth.

  16. These are awesome ideas! I’d love to be this creative with things like this but I’m just not! Those bunkbeds are amazing.

  17. What a cool work! Wow! I like this idea! Hope I could find an old locker in thrift store, really want to try this project.

Comments make me happy!