Craft Project – File Cabinet Makeover

File Cabinet Makeover in situ

At long last, there is a place for my burgeoning paperwork tasks, having taken on both my mother-in-law’s and sister-in-law’s records, in addition to the mass any family accumulates. Rather than just park the black file cabinets there, I decided that I was going to have to make it fun to file by creating an attractive way to store it all.

For some time, as an APA member, I have been the recipient of letterpress-printed pieces, delivered every month without fail. Why not use them to make collages, instead of keeping them out of sight? I burrowed through my collection, picking out printing I liked, colors that harmonized, shapes that intrigued: you get the idea. For each, I chose a featured image that was either a woodcut or an etching. I love being able to see all this letterpress inspiration on a daily basis! Those images were given a border of gold paint to help bring them visually together.

Close-ups of the collages (which were attached to boards using Mod-Podge):file cab faces 1-2file cab faces 3-4

Here is a breakdown of the project: Two file cabinets were stacked on top of each other and bolted together, then coated with spray paint primer. Quarter inch plywood was cut and attached to the top and sides. The wood was painted with latex paint. The exposed metal on the faces were spray painted with a copper “hammered metal” look which I really liked.

file cab ready for faceswood going onto file cabinet
file cab ready for faces

Next, it was finished up by attaching the collaged boards with contact cement. Since the boards were curving and would not remain flat even with clamps applied for drying, screws were used in the corners and sometimes at the midpoint of the side to secure. The screw heads were painted gold to harmonize with it all. I also cut and attached cork tiles to the side that would face the desk and gave it a ribbon border. Voila! A little bit more space that works in my “office.”

file cabinet with corkboard



  1. Love it! What a great project. And, as you said, letterpress inspiration in-your-face on a daily basis. (Of course, it reminds me that I’m not actually printing anything at the moment…)
    Keep well,

  2. Outstanding!!! I love how you used the side for the bulletin board. This really makes me want to join the APA, but I think I’d be printing for nothing else — I’m so slow!

  3. Thanks, Barbara and Val!

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