Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dated File Cabinet Gets An Industrial Makeover

Hello everyone and welcome to this month's Thrift Store Décor Upcycle Challenge!

Last month was my first time participating in this challenge with these awesome ladies and it was so much fun to see what everyone came up with! I transformed this $4 hanging bucket that I found at the Goodwill into a super cute entryway piece.

And now, for this month's contestant... *drumroll*

Ta-da!  Our next door neighbor set this old file cabinet out on the curb for the trash and I have a hard time letting anything head to the landfill!  Especially when it's in great condition and just in need of a little bit of updating like this guy.

So I loaded this gem into the garage and fixed it up just in time for this month's challenge!

Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge

The Rules:
  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
  • There's no monthly theme.
  • There's no budget to stick to.

Meet the Hosts

Amanda | The Kolb Corner    Kim | Made in a Day
Maureen | Red Cottage Chronicles    Pili | Sweet Things
Debra | Shoppe No. 5    Jeanie | Create & Babble
Kimm | Reinvented    Kathleen | Our Hopeful Home 
Shirley | Intelligent Domestications    Angela | Simply Beautiful by Angela
 Michelle | Our Crafty Mom   Michelle | Michelle James Designs     Kimberly | Farmhouse Made
Molly | Just a Little Creativity    Lora | Craftivity Designs
Colleen | Life on Kaydeross Creek     Toni | Small Home Soul 

Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!

Supplies Used: (Affiliate links may be provided for convenience.  For more info, see my full disclosure here.) 
I began by giving the entire thing a quick sand.  When I say quick--I literally mean 2 minutes!  I knew that I was going to use chalk paint and the nice thing about chalk paint is that it will stick to just about anything.  I just like to sand old pieces a little bit to get the grime off before I begin.

I make my own chalk paint because it's cheap and super easy.  I simply pour some latex paint in my tray and then sprinkle in a little bit of Plaster of Paris.  I don't have a measurement that I go by--I just eyeball it.  If I had to guess I would say I do about a teaspoon per cup of paint.

I  used a small foam roller to paint the cabinet sides and top.  I got pretty good coverage with just two coats but I did a third for good measure.

For the drawers I originally started with a light gray paint.  However I decided that it was too light and I really wanted them to contrast and pop off the white.

So I ended up using the color Mineral by Waverly Inspirations which is chalk paint that is sold at Walmart in the craft aisle. 

I knew that the handles had to go so I attached two pieces of  1/4" plywood with liquid nails to cover them up. 

The hubby later used some pliers to pry the old handles out from the back so that he could attach the new pulls to the wood, but at this point I was actually planning on using long pulls that were going to attach on either side.  More on that later on.

I applied some caulk around the edges of the plywood to hide the little gaps and then gave the drawers one more coat of paint once the caulk dried.

Since I wanted an industrial feel I decided to add some stenciled numbers to the drawers.  Instead of purchasing stencils I just printed some out on computer paper, rubbed chalk on the back, then flipped it over and traced the numbers with pen to create a chalk outline on the drawer.

I then traced over the chalk with pen to make it more visible before filling in with a Sharpie.

Once it dried I used some sandpaper to make them look more worn.

I wanted the drawers to have a wood look (just not the cheap "wood print" like it had before!) so I used the same method that I did for my Weathered Wood Coffee Table Makeover and rubbed on some dark wax with a rag.

I didn't let it sit, I wiped it off right after I wiped it on and it gave me the perfect weathered wood look.

I did a little bit of dry brushing once the wax was dry, and then marked for my new pulls.

I also added some molding along the base to fancy it up. Here it is all finished!

I decided to use a small brush to dabb a little bit of silver spray paint over the lock that I had previously painted over with the chalk paint.

The original plan was to use these really cool pulls that looked like pipes, but when I went to Hobby Lobby they didn't have them in stock. It was a blessing in disguise because I actually really like the way that these look!

I also lightly distressed the edges of the cabinet which I think adds some fun character and detail.

Our basement has an industrial theme so it looks perfect down there.  One day I'll have to post a tour of the basement but I haven't mastered my photography in low light settings just yet, so for now you'll have to imagine it!  

And now for more thrifty goodness!

Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!

Linking up to these awesome parties.


  1. Your makeover looks great! It's a whole new piece of furniture that was otherwise destined for the trash.

    1. Thank you so much! Saving one piece of trash at a time haha :)

  2. I love how this turned out! We picked up one of these from a thrift store a while back and have yet to give it a makeover. This has totally inspired me!

    1. Thanks Mary! I am so glad to hear that I inspired you--I bet yours will turn out great!

  3. What an awesome makeover! Makes me want to go find an old file cabinet! I'll definitely be on the lookout for one! Nicely done.

    1. Thank you Jeanie! Check Thrift stores--each trip I usually see at least a couple :)

  4. I love how you remade the file cabinet into something that looks so good. I see them all the time in my travels but they aren't very pretty. I would be proud to have this anywhere in my house.

    1. Thanks Debra! I have seen them a lot too but always passed them by. But when I saw that this one was headed to the trash I just couldn't resist and I'm glad I didn't! :)

  5. Love, love, love your filing cabinet!! The colors and richness of layers, and how you added the pulls, just everything! Great makeover!

    1. Thank you so much Pili! The colors turned out even better than I had pictured!

  6. I feel lucky to read your blog ideas. Your blog's always gave some refreshing ideas and updates related to the new thing around. Thanks for sharing such an informative information :)

  7. Great project! I love not only how you saved something from going in the trash but also transformed it so well that it doesn't even look like the same piece of furniture. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  8. Wow!! What a gorgeous transformation! Love the painting technique you used!!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you so much Michelle! I think I see this technique being used a lot more in my future! :!

  9. I love your file cabinet! I did a file cabinet makeover a few months ago for this same challenge :) I love how you added the numbers and the handles!

    1. Thank you! That's awesome I'll have to head over and check it out :)

  10. Wow! This is an amazing transformation. It looks amazing and I like the pulls you got. They seem perfect to me. I need to start making my own chalk paint!

  11. Welcome to the challenge Angela, I missed participating last month. And by the way, your cabinet makeover is ahhhmazing. It doesn't even look like the same cabinet. Brilliant way you covered the old handles and the pulls are perfect, happy accidents :)

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  14. It turned out great! I can't believe it's the same cabinet! I've never seen a filing cabinet with 70's paneling on it. ;) Love the results!

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  16. Hi Josh, Great you're thrilled with this particular 357. I've got one myself since like 10 decades. I enjoy it as well, not modded as yours however.
    Currently it does not function, it chokes when heat. Brought to a neigbour of mine and he'll find a deeper look at it.
    It looks like some have had trouble with the automatic decompression valve, so does yours have this?
    Enjoy an excellent day!How To Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain


I appreciate all of your wonderful comments :)