DIY File Cabinet Makeover

Yet another freebie I was privileged to find and make use of. This DIY File Cabinet Makeover was yet another successful challenge.

Like always, I started with some research to gain inspiration and to find out how to tackle drawers in particular, replenished my supplies and was ready to start quite soon after it came into my possession. This was because we were in great need of a filing cabinet and when we found it, it was in no condition to be used. It was falling apart and nearly not worth restoring but I thought I would give it ago and here it is. (I forgot to take a picture of it before I started sanding)

Supplies include: Electric Sander, cork block, sand paper (grades 60, 80, 120, 240), antique white water-based enamel paint, a tin of dark tinted wood stain, semi professional paint brushes, a clean cloth, a hammer and a screw file cabinet wood

1. It needed a major clean out from spider webs, dust, old papers and stickers and dried chewing gum. The surface needs to be as clean as possible ready for sanding.

2. My handy husband needed to help me hammer in some nails that were either missing or falling out. The back panel of the wooden file cabinet was coming off as well as some of the ledges which hold the drawers in place but all was fixed.

3. All the surfaces needed sanding (except the back was too fragile), mostly with the electric sander but some edges and inside corners needed to be done by hand. Luckily it was raw wood to begin with so no paint or stain to remove but it still needed three layers of sanding to smooth it adequately. Don’t forget to remove the handles before wood file cabinet

4. The wood used to make this filing cabinet is not very good quality so I decided I didn’t need to use lots of paint painting the surfaces on the side of the drawers. So, with the white antique paint, I painted the front of the drawers and the outside of the main body, except the back. (yes I cheated a little but I don’t regret saving paint) I used two coats and made sure to paint on a day that wasn’t windy. The last thing you need is dirt, or bark or dust blowing into your wet paint.

5. Next I used the dark tinted stain for the top, being very careful not to drip it onto the white paint. I used a cloth just like in my bookcase and coffee table posts previously and applied two coats. At this point it looked like a big white box and I wasn’t sure I had made a good decision after all but we still needed it, so I persisted. wood file cabinet diy

6. I was originally determined to buy new modern handles but when I re-screwed in the old handles I was pleasantly surprised at how good they looked. They added character and that’s when I decided to try destressing to give an antique affect. I found this blogger to be very inspiring and informative on the subject. So I went about destressing the filing cabinet which is very scarey because you don’t want it to look like an accident by doing too little and nor do you want to do too much.

7. Finally, inside the drawers were a little gritty and so I decided to give them a makeover too by using patterned contact paper to line the inside. I brought this from Bunnings Hardware store (where I bought my other supplies originally), for just $2 per 8 metre role.

Anyways here it is!furnitre diy makeover

Filing Cabinet - Before and AfterI wanted to have some fun with this and make it useful above all else. I couldn’t be happier with the result and it was worth every minute spent on it. Please let me know any tips for a file cabinet and advice for next time if you have any.

For advice on how to restyle a metal file cabinet, a crafty friend of mine has some tips and advice here from her own experience.

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