Revamped file cabinet with adhesive shelf paper and paint

This was one of my favorite posts take 1, that I thought I’d repost here again.
So here it is … LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the finished product. This actually was one of those pinterest projects that was a huge success!

Before & After

The idea originally came from my mom who saw it in HGTV magazine (good old fashioned ‘pinning’)…

HGTV file cabinet re-do

But, leave it to me … I refered back to good old pinterest for further inspiration. Here are some fantastic pins I found …
This fun pattern made with wallpaper via Design Sponge:

Via Design Sponge

In my pinterest browsing stalking, I also found this cabinet with the same pattern. How cute is this workstation ! ! I will be investigating to figure out the source of this picture, as the pinterest pic had no link.

Seriously, the cutest workstation EVER!!!

Also love this re-do done with fabric on the front of the drawers via Beauprezfamily:

Yellow and Black via Beauprezfamily!

Or … there was alway the option of just painting the cabinets a fun color, and adding a countertop to the top of multiple cabinets to gain a cute piece of furniture …


And these awesome vintage yellow cabinets … LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these:

Love these vintage looking cabinets {and the styling of the top}!

Okay…so back to our cabinets, and the task at hand…
My mom has a pretty ugly standard black file cabinet, and I’ve got an even worse one! While we are trying … hard… to go paperless, we still do require some hard copies of paperwork. We’ve actually condensed all of our household paperwork to the bottom drawer, leaving the top drawer open for all my paper/patterns/label stock/pictures and misc. other crafting stuff. Hooray!
Here’s mine before … lovely right

Before … isn’t she a beaut

We decided to stick with the HGTV re-do (requiring paint and shelf paper). On to the next decision … what colors to use I have a vision for our (my) office. It currently serves several purposes … playroom for boys, Molly’s bedroom (I should say napping room, however, since she actually sleeps in our bed every night), a changing room (and diaper storage) for Charlie, a gathering place for all our mail, paperwork, etc, and last (and probably least), a sewing/crafting room for me. Our lovely file cabinet resides here.

In my vision, this will be an office space with white walls (I love white!!! I wish for my whole house to magically be painted white) and trim, new dark wood flooring, some gray accents, and lots of pops of colors. The black file cabinet does not fit with this vision (or anyone’s decor, I’m pretty sure). So, bright turquoise and light blue it is! Turns out, my mom was also good with this color combo for her cabinets, so we just doubled up on all the supplies. Hooray … love it when things turn out to be a bit more simple.
We scrounged up the following supplies:

Acrylic primer for metal cabinet (where the paint will be applied)
Paint for cabinet
Adhesive shelf paper
Yard stick or ruler
Straight edge (like an old credit card … BONUS: if you order from, you get a fancy tool with your order!)
Screwdriver to remove old hardward/reinstall new
Sandpaper (medium grit)
Damp rag
Paint brush
Mini paint roller
Drop cloth

Okay, so here’s the process …
Step 1. Remove drawers.
Step 2: Sand cabinet. My least favorite step. By far. Sand all surfaces to be painted (basically all except drawers, and inside of cabinet). Update … you’ll also want to sand, prime and paint the edges of your drawers (see second picture below).

Sand. It will be worth it … promise.

Sand, prime, and paint those outer edges of the drawers, too! I promise, it will bug you if you don’t!

Step 3: Wipe cabinet clean with damp rag to remove any debris/dirt.

Clean off cabinet

Step 4: Set out your drop cloth … set cabinet up on coasters (optional) … and prime cabinet:

set up on coasters to allow you to get paint to the very bottom

Here’s a close up of those coasters:

“Coasters” … actually furniture movers

Here’s the primer we used… Sherwin Williams, Multi-Purpose Primer: Nice clear shot of it below, huh Note to self; take picture of primer before using it!


Rolling on the primer

Primed cabinet … coat 1

Primed cabinet … coat 2
Step 5: Paint cabinet! Favorite Step!!
We took the shelf paper into Sherwin Williams, and asked to have the light blue color in the pattern color matched.
Here’s what they came up with:

Love it!

Paint mix
We ended up painting two coats. The primer actually did a great job of covering! We may have only needed one coat, but as long as everything was all set up we figured why not just do two. I hate nothing more than staring at paint that didn t quite cover well enough. Drives me crazy!

Step 6: Cover the front of the cabinets with your shelf paper of choice.
I laid the shelf paper out flat, traced the drawer fronts, and used an X-acto knife to carefully cut the paper.
Carefully cut shelf paper

Starting at one edge, carefully lay the paper in place.

Smooth with a straight edge!

Two lessons learned here:
#1. Applying the shelf paper to the front For my mom s cabinet, we cut the paper slightly bigger than the drawer front intending to wrap it around the edges. This worked, but didn t look perfect. It bunched up a little at the corners. Since my cabinet was second, we learned from that and cut the paper to fit just inside the front. (I then went back and painted the drawer edges that were obvious when you opened either drawer).
#2. If you don t need to use the lock functionality on your cabinet, take the whole locking mechanism out, and just apply the shelf paper right over the top. Looks much cleaner this way! If you do need the lock to stay remove it anyway, trace the hole in the shelf paper when you trace the outside edges, and cut it out. Then re-install the lock, and it should work just fine.
Step 7: Re-Install hardware (if yours was decent to begin with), or install new hardware if it was double ugly (like mine!).

New {much more stylish} hardware!

Finished! Much better than the standard (super ugly) black cabinet we started with! Agree

Now, time to organize the paperwork for the inside (a much less fun project)!

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