Shortly after we moved into our house, I bought a $10 filing cabinet through Craigslist. I bought it for its price, not its beauty–seriously, have you seen how expensive filing cabinets can be? Outrageous.
It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t pretty, either. Medium wood tones, brass fixtures, just not my style. Maybe filing cabinets aren’t made to be pretty (and why aren’t they?) but nothing was stopping this ugly duckling from turning into a swan, you know?
Unfortunately, all I have of the “before” filing cabinet is one crummy iPhone picture I thought to snap halfway through priming. I wasn’t blogging yet, so I was thinking the pictures were just for my own fond memories anyway. But it looked pretty much identical to this one
First step- sand lightly, wipe down with a damp cloth, dry, then prime! (I guess that’s kind of 4 steps in the first step, huh? Oh well, it sounds better to think of this as just one step anyway).
After the primer had dried, I painted 2 coats of Benjamin Moore semi-gloss White. Yup, no fancy name- just straight out the can, plain as can be. No messing with undertones and hints of color. Just white. And after that dried, I sealed it of with 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.
While that was drying, I took the drawers outside. I had picked up some beautiful handmade paper on a recent trip to NYC with my Dad that I thought would be great to cover the drawer fronts with. Armed with a bottle of Elmer’s Spray Adhesive, a foam brush and a credit card, I wasn’t quite sure I had the patience to work slowly and carefully enough to pull this one off (spoiler alert: I did. But I assure you I would still blog about my failure if I didn’t).
After spreading out the paper so it would be ready to grab as soon as I needed it, I lightly and evenly sprayed the Elmer’s across the drawer fronts. Then I lined up the paper and carefully laid it down on top of the drawer, smoothing it out by hand as I went. Once the entire drawer was covered, I grabbed the credit card and ran it lightly over the paper to be sure there were no wrinkles or bubbles. Since this is handmade paper, there’s natural texture that probably helped cover up any creases.
The drawer had a beveled edge, so I carefully ran my fingers down the edge to be sure the paper was smoothed into the groove. Next, I sprayed the foam brush with spray adhesive and ran over about 1/4″ of the inside of the drawer. Then I wrapped the edges of the paper around to the inside and laid it flat against the adhesive and cut off any extra. After repeating the same steps with the second drawer, I brought them both inside to safety. I was seriously amazed that this had gone off without a hitch (I have bad memories of spray adhesive from a junior high craft project gone wrong, but that’s a story for another time). Once the spray adhesive is dry, you could go over the paper with a few coats of Mod Podge. I was afraid the Mod Podge would ruin the handmade look of the paper so I skipped that step. I don’t know if it would, and I’ll probably end up sealing it at some point anyway.
I also sprayed the drawer fixtures with Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze to give them a look that was more my style (helpful tip: it you have to spray paint screw or any other small part, stick them into a piece of fruit, like an apple, so you can spray the top of the screws without them rolling everywhere.)
Once everything was dry, I reassembled the fixtures onto the drawers, and the drawers onto the filing cabinet.
It’s such a huge improvement, and has made a mundane piece of furniture special. I had so much fun doing this…anyone have an ugly filing cabinet in need of some new life? I’m itching for another painting project!
Linking up to: Not Just a Housewife, Sugar Bee Crafts, DIY Showoff, Home Stories A to Z, Thrifty Decor Chick, Addicted 2 Decorating, At The Picket Fence, Making the World Cuter, Beyond the Picket Fence