Saturday, 18 February 2012

DIY Decorative Filing Cabinet

This was originally an old grey office filing cabinet (similar to the photo below) which was being thrown out. I rescued it and recycled it for my office/sewing room. Functional, pretty, cheaper and better for the environment than buying a new one. I already had all the equipment needed for this project but if you haven't then ask around first to see if anyone has any leftovers (or ask on a freecycle site) as you only need small amounts of paint, vanish & spray.

Equipment required

Wallpaper/wrapping paper remnants/leftovers
 PVA Glue & brush
White emulsion paint
Small paint roller (suitable for emulsion paint) & tray
White spray paint (suitable for either plastic or metal)
Clear matt or satin vanish (water based if possible) & brush
Brush cleaner (if vanish not water based)


1. Thoroughly clean the cabinet removing any traces of grease or grime.

2. Stand cabinet on an old dust sheet or piece of plastic sheeting. If possible raise off the floor with 2 blocks of wood or bricks to make painting the lower part of the cabinet easier. Emulsion sides and top of cabinet with roller (you will need to apply 2 - 3 coats depending on coverage). Thoroughly dry between coats. Touch up any fiddly areas with a small paintbrush. The first coat will look really rough but don't worry the colour underneath will disappear by the 2nd or 3rd coat. 

3. After removing handles, spray paint them in a well ventilated area (preferably outdoors if it is not too windy or in the doorway of a shed). Several thin coats are better than one thick coat. Dry between coats.

4. Cut to size & apply wallpaper to drawer fronts with pva glue. Wipe paper over with a slightly damp cloth to remove any surplus pva glue. Make sure the wallpaper is stuck down well at the edges and doesn't overlap as these are the areas which will get caught once the drawers are opened and closed. 

5. When wallpaper is thoroughly dry apply 2-3 coats of clear matt vanish to protect paper. This will also allow you to wipe clean the drawer fronts if they get dirty.

6. Replace drawer handles when dry.

Between coats of paint, double-wrap the paint tray, paint roller & paintbrush in plastic bags to stop the paint drying out (they will usually be ok like this for a couple of days).

The handles on my cabinet were plastic so I used a spray paint suitable for coating plastic. If your handles are metal you will need to check that your spray paint is suitable for metal.

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