File Cabinet Makeover: How to Cover a File Cabinet With Contact Paper




Introduction: File Cabinet Makeover: How to Cover a File Cabinet With Contact Paper

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

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

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

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. 

Step 4: Cut a Hole Around the Latch on the Front of the Drawer

I wasn't able to remove the little silver latch thing that is used to open and close the drawer, so I had to use the X-Acto knife to cut a hole around it. Do this when you have smoothed the paper about halfway down the drawer. Cutting a hole will allow air to escape and prevent more bubbles from forming. (FYI: If you cut too far around it, no need to panic because adding a few slivers of contact paper around it will blend right in.)

Step 5: Repeat Steps 3 Through 4 on the Other Drawers

Then, replace the hardware.

Step 6: Apply Contact Paper to the Remaining Sides

You can relax; the hard part is over. Now, repeat the process of applying the contact paper to the rest of the sides of the file cabinet. Remember to keep the woodgrain pattern going in the same direction.

Step 7: Step Back and Admire Your New and Improved File Cabinet!

But first, here is a before picture (except that I had already covered one drawer):

Step 8: And Now for a Picture of the Finished Faux Wood File Cabinet.

That's all there is to it! Happy filing! 

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    6 years ago on Introduction

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


    7 years 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.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    looks great! are these type of paper hard to find?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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


    11 years ago on Introduction

    very nice , i will try this, it looks very professional!