Are you wondering how to do a DIY filing cabinet makeover? I not only did just that but also made a desk and it was so easy!
I found an old filing cabinet on the side of the road for free! It was in pretty good condition so tried to figure out what I could do with a metal file cabinet. I love easy DIY projects and with a little help from Hometalk we decided on up-cycling it into a desk for my home office. The best part about this filing cabinet makeover was I was able to take an ugly file cabinet that would have ended up in the landfill and give it a new home and it took very little time and very little money. If you aren’t lucky enough to find an old metal cabinet on the side of the road, check out your local thrift store or yard sale. You can customize it with a fresh coat of paint in your favorite color so it becomes part of your home decor.
DIY Filing Cabinet Makeover Instructions
The first thing we did was buy 2 stair balusters to support the opposite side of the desk and a piece of wood for the top. We cut them to be the same size as the old file cabinet.
We decided where we wanted the plywood to go on top as the desk top. We measured where the screws needed to go to attach the stair baluster. Ours was approximately 3 inches in from the corners. My husband pre-drilled the screw holes in the board. He made an “X: on the balusters and then pre-drilled a center hole. He lined up the baluster under the wood and used a drill to place the screw through the board and baluster to secure the legs into place.
We used some wood putty to cover the screws in the top.
I used my sander to sand down the putty to make it level, and I gave a light sanding to the sides and edges. After the sanding was done, I wiped the board down the wood surface with a damp cloth to clean it before painting. You could also use a tack cloth if you have one.
I removed the hardware from the drawer fronts and painted them with Dixie Belle Metallic Silver.
The first step in painting the old cabinet was to use Dixie Belle Slick Stick – this allows paint to adhere to metal.
I painted the first coat on the board with Dixie Belle Driftwood paint and let everything dry overnight.
I painted the filing cabinet with Dixie Belle Blue paint.
I wanted a driftwood look so I first put on Dixie Belle Whitewash glaze and let that dry. I then added the second coat which was Dixie Belle Van Dyke Brown glaze. To achieve this look you start by dry brushing on the white glaze and wiping with a paper towel as you go. After that dries you do the same with the brown glaze. I painted the legs with Dixie Belle Fluff.
I put the hardware back on and it looked like a brand new file cabinet.
Here is the completed desk! You can make it right or left handed.
Now I have a place to work on all my project planning and crafts which gives me a lot of storage.
Other ideas for your cabinet project include:
- You can paint your filing cabinet with chalkboard paint, chalk paint, cans of spray paint, acrylic paint, latex paint etc.
- You can update your filing cabinet with contact paper
- Update your filing cabinet with fabric or paper and Mod Podge
- Decorate your filing cabinet with duct tape
- Change your hardware and use drawer pulls
- Pull apart picture frames and glue on the frame to create some texture to the front of each drawer.
If you are wondering where you can find a free or inexpensive filing cabinet so you can do this project. You can check out thrift stores, garage sales, and places like Habitat for Humanity.
DIY Filing Cabinet Makeover Video
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Nice job! Great way to add a desk or even an extra one in a different place. 🙂
Thanks Linda, right now we are thinking this will be my crafting desk. It sure is inspiring to sit at.
I’m thinking you are going to have to get a bigger piece of plywood if this is to be your craft desk. I’m sitting at a table that sits 6 and I still don’t have enough room. I think I wanna try something like this to use as my idea area. I’ll have to figure something else out to do a craft table.
Thank you Ann, I’m glad you like it. Yes sometimes it’s big enough, and other times it has been a bit small (like when I’m doing 3 projects at once).
This looks great! Love the color you chose.
Thank you Alexandra
I used an old dirt and did this. Found you on Bloggers Pit Stop link party.
Thank you for sharing
Hi Chas, what a lucky find and a great idea. The desk seems simple enough to make, just got to find a filing cabinet!
Popped over from #weekendbloghop.
Thank you so much Debbie and thanks for stopping by.
Donna Reidland says
What a creative way to get a new desk! It would be a great place for homework, too.
Thank you Donna and yes, my daughter has her eye on it as well 🙂
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Beautiful job! Makes me want to find something old to make over! Will definitely come back here for inspiration and instructions when I make that find.
Thank you Jean and I love that you are inspired by this project. So thrilled you like it.
Audra @ Renewed Projects says
Great way to make a file cabinet pretty. I like the color you picked, so lovely.
Thank you Audra and I love having a crafting table of my own 🙂
Great idea! Plus a place to store stationary and files
Thank you Katelynn 🙂
Linda S says
What a great idea! My son is need of a desk. You’ve inspired me!
You are so sweet Linda – thank you so much. It’s being put to great use right now with everyone working and studying from home.
Thank you Michelle
What a great idea. Love it.
Thank you so much, it’s coming in handy right now while we’re all working/schooling from home.
This is just great! I love the idea, and I love the way it turned out.
Thank you so much Pam, it’s getting so much use right now with everyone being home.
Richella J Parham says
Well done, Chas! I haven’t seen one of these desks in many years, but it’s so smart of you to share this again now!
Thanks for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!
Than you so much Richella for the feature and the kind words. It’s getting so much use right now with all of us working and schooling from home. Hope you’re having a lovely week.
Sarah @ The DIY Mommy says
What a great up-cycle! Looks simple and fantastic!
Thank you so much Sarah, it’s getting a ton of use with us all being home right now.
Nicole Selert says
Love this idea for a desk for my daughter! How did you apply plywood to filing cabinet? Did you pre-drill into that as well? Super excited to find a file cabinet and make this!
Thank you so much and I’m thrilled you want to make one too. We didn’t attach the plywood to the filing cabinet, we just set it on the filing cabinet. If you wanted to attach it, you could use silicone to adhere it to the cabinet.