Filing Cabinet: Drab to Fab!

When I was organizing my sewing room I realized that I had way too many things and not enough places to store it all.  I thought about what I might have that could work and remembered an old filing cabinet in the basement that my mom gave to us.

I think this originally was a military filing cabinet.  I asked my mom about it and she remembers that someone gave it to my dad when he helped them to move.

Two of the drawers came out, two wouldn’t.  I removed the existing hardware and gave the inside and outside a good cleaning.  It was very, very dirty from being in our basement for years, most of the time in the wood shop part.

Mr. SP sanded it to remove loose paint and then I primed it with Kilz.  Four coats of paint later, it looked almost like new.

Instead of painting the original plastic handles, I replaced them with extra handles that we had on hand from our kitchen renovation.  I spray painted the label holders silver to match. 

Total cost = Free!  I had all of the needed supplies on hand from previous projects.

I put stick on carpet-like sliders on the bottom of the cabinet to make it easy to move.  This really saves wear and tear on the floor.

(We won’t talk about how I spilled 1/2 gallon of oil based Kilz all over the workbench, me, and the floor post priming this piece.)


  1. Wow, you really did gloss over the whole paint spill thing there. I’m sure that was not fun! But on the upside, the filing cabinet looks great 🙂

  2. It looks great, Paula!! 🙂 What a lot of great storage for patterns or even fabric! My mom has a couple of filing cabinets like that…wonder if I could get her to relinquish them. 😉

  3. Your file cabinet looks great now, Paula! How smart to use those cabinet pulls on the drawers. Now you could add cute labels for the contents, or apply vinyl to dress things up, or whatever you want! 🙂

  4. That looks so much better! I need to do that to mine.

    I’m so glad I’m not the only paint spiller around. I spill paint EVERY time I paint. I usually step in it too.

  5. I’m so glad you shared this Paula. I recently bought an old file cabinet and it needs a face lift. I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but now I do. Yours looks great and the hardware was a nice choice.


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