Introduction: Pimped Filing Cabinet

Ive seen a few really lovely examples on Pinterest of renovated and decorated metal office filing cabinets. But I couldn't really find a good "how to". So I thought I would write one, based on what I did, and what I would do different if I did another. By the way I've read lots of stuff on instructables, but this is my first post, so hope you like it.

Step 1: Some Dismantling

First remove the handles.... A two minute job and makes everything else you will do to the cabinet SO much easier. At this point, get some metal polish and give the handles a clean up too.

I also removed the little metal frames that hold a card with the drawer's contents. Mine prised off with a screwdriver, but were a bit of a battle, and ended up a bit mangled. Couldn't figure out how to bend the fixing tabs back into line, so won't be refitting them. Also if all that grappling has left your drawer fronts a little buckled, tap them into line with a hammer.

Step 2: Rubbing Down

Do not skimp on this stage or you will pay the price later!
now get some very fine wet or dry sandpaper or an abrasive pad, and go over all areas to be painted... Just like you would if painting a car. In fact you can get these supplies from a car body place.

Sorry, no pics of these early stages as its not very exciting to look at.

Step 3: Primer

Use a cloth dampened with water or white spirit to remove any trace of sanding residue, and make sure it's totally dry before priming. Next hit all areas to be painted with your grey primer. I used one large spray can (rattle can) of high build primer ... One was more than enough. Once totally dry, de-nib the surface. This means gently going over your painted surface very gently with the finest grade of sandpaper. It's just to remove any little dust specks or bubbles. Not an essential stage, but I like to. Sorry no pics, as grey primer on a cabinet which was already grey isn't too exciting.

Step 4: Satin Black

Now go over all areas you want to appear black. Apart from the obvious top and sides, pay attention to areas like going a little into the rebate the drawer slides into. That's because you will still see a little of that even when the drawers are closed. Also, when we later wallpaper the drawer fronts, we will stop the paper short of the edge to prevent lifting. So paint an oversized border in your satin black.

Don't rush the painting.. Don't lay it on so thick and heavy that you cover all the primer in one hit. That can cause runs.

Instead go for lots and lots of light coats. It will look patchy and dusty at that early stage, but persevere. All in all I used two large spray cans.

Step 5: Wallpaper!

Now while your satin black hardens up properly, go off and get some funky wallpaper. Of course you could buy 4 different rolls at £12/$18 a roll! Or you could go to B&Q, Lowes or wherever, and get some freebie samples.

Back home cut your paper to size. So I measured the exact size of the drawers, then knocked off 5 or 6mm (1/4"). I then used a large square to cut the top edge with a scalpel. As long as your top edge and sides are at a perfect right angle, you can then measure down and across to mark up your finished size. Mine was 410mm by 285mm.

Step 6: Lets Paper

Lay your paper face down on a clean flat surface... I have an offcut of kitchen worktop/counter on legs for jobs like this, as it cleans up well. It may help to roll the wallpaper the opposite way to how it's been packed, so it lies flatter. Then apply your chosen adhesive... I used PVA, and applied it undiluted with a 2" brush. Make sure you go right to the edge... That's the worst place to have any bare patches!

Then just go for it... Judge it by eye, and slap it on. As you can see, I deliberately used four different styles of paper. The only real blemish in the whole job was that two of the papers wrinkled a little with the PVA. If I did another I might try spray adhesive.

Step 7: Final Assembly

Last part... Just pop holes through your paper by feeling for the fixing holes for the handles, then screw the handles on.
I was surprised to find that whilst the handles were off that had allowed the outer skin of the drawer front to drop a little. If this happens, just wriggle a small screwdriver through inner and outer skins and realign. Makes screwing the handles on way easier!

Step 8: Tada!

Here's the finished job. Especially as it's in such a domestic setting, I'm really pleased I did it this way, and the colours of the wallpaper fit perfectly with the rest of the furnishings in the room. Thanks for reading.

Comments

author
Neezy50 (author)2015-11-21

I'm really impressed - almost makes me want to go and find an old filing cabinet! Very precise and clear instructions too. Thank you

author
vineskm (author)2015-11-19

I am looking at a bank of 9 filing cabinets in my office and thinking what a difference this might make! There are 3 black ones, 5 charcoal ones, and 1 putty one. Problem is that there is also a slide button for opening the drawers and we definitely need the little metal frames for identifying what is in each of those 36 drawers. If I am able to figure something out I will post pics!

author
firstbk50 (author)2015-11-18

Wow! You did spectacular for your first time. I have a couple of 2 drawer cabinets I am going to work on in the spring with your wonderful directions. Love how nice it looks right in your living area too. What a very inventive way to cover up an ugly cabinet!

author
hbridge88 (author)2015-11-18

Love this. I think I have to try this out myself.

author
Mallymal (author)hbridge882015-11-18

Well thankyou very much! Have fun.

author
tomatoskins (author)2015-11-17

Wow, that makes it look like it belongs next to your couch! I've tried to stay away from filing cabinets because they just don't ever look good. Well you have sure enough proved me wrong! Thanks for sharing and welcome to the community!

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