Instructables

File cabinet makeover: How to cover a file cabinet with contact paper

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Picture of File cabinet makeover: How to cover a file cabinet with contact paper
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A file cabinet is a great organization tool and a necessity for most people, but let's face it. It's a big eyesore! Some people buy their file cabinets from secondhand stores, so they are typically pretty beaten up. Mine was actually brand new when I got it, but it came in this ugly putty color. I recently decided that I needed to do something about it. So, I covered it in woodgrain looking contact paper to make it fit in better with the bedroom decor.

Materials - Contact paper ($5.68) (I used woodgrain, but I also think a crisp white would have looked nice.);    scissors ($2); plastic card, like a store rewards card, to smooth out bubbles (free); screwdriver ($1); X-Acto knife ($5); tape measure ($2)

Time - Approximately 6 hours

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Step 1: Measure the width and length of the drawers

Picture of Measure the width and length of the drawers
Add about 3/4 of an inch to each side, and then cut four pieces of contact paper that size. (FYI: I didn't need to take the drawers out to apply the contact paper.)

Step 2: Remove the hardware from the front of the drawers

Picture of Remove the hardware from the front of the drawers
This actually took more time than I thought. If I would have taken the drawers out, I bet it would have been an easier and quicker process. 

Step 3: Apply the contact paper, but do so slowly

Picture of Apply the contact paper, but do so slowly
Peel away part of the backing and start at the top of the drawer. Simultaneously, press the plastic card against the cabinet and push downward inch by inch starting from the center to smooth out the bubbles before you unroll more paper. (FYI: In my experience, it is impossible to get rid of all bubbles. Don't worry, though, because people will only be able to see them if they're closely inspecting your work.)

Note: The point of this photo is to show you how to hold the plastic card as you are smoothing away the bubbles. 
LeslieC12 months ago

How long was the roll you bought? Did 1 roll do the whole cabinet?

elizruge2 months ago

I'm going to cover some IKEA shoe holders in a rattan-look contact paper. They're a dark wood and I need them lighter to blend in with a new decor scheme.

colden11 months ago
looks great! are these type of paper hard to find?
crazyg1 year ago
ooh weird,,,,
woody cabinet, youve done a good tidy diligent job,
trying to make my mind up if i love it or hate it ,metal pretending to be wood thats actually plastic.
(i like the curved army green file cabinets personally) but my cabinets are going rusty, some are painted ones got chrome fablon off cuts on it.
your cabinet is defiantly a visual/conceptual curve ball even though its all straight edges!
excellent work !

am i the only one getting the marmite effect?
thanks for sharing
31diy (author) 4 years ago
Thank you very much! :) Best of luck!
dcrrcdx24 years ago
very nice , i will try this, it looks very professional!