Over the last couple of weekends I have been working on a new storage facility. Somehow we are going to make this little apartment fit all the things that we need to work and study, and a properly functioning filing cabinet is going to make it just a little bit easier!


Thanks Dad for the filing cabinet, Mum-in-law for the wallpaper and John from Canterbury Mitre 10 for teaching me how to deal with the rust.

EDIT: How to make over a filing cabinet

Many friends on Facebook asked for a “how to” guide for this project. Here are all the secrets!

I was inspired to fix up a filing cabinet by this project over at Deisgn Sponge. Basically that link takes you through to a great set of instructions. Plus, somewhere in the comments someone has linked to an American online wallpaper store which sends you samples of wallpaper for cheap! Yay!

However, rather than starting with a brand (bland?) new filing cabinet, I had my Dad’s old rust covered cabinet, complete with difficult to remove Duke of Edinburgh stickers. I had to do a little more preparation than what was described at Design Sponge. I had to do something about all that rust!

I got great advice John from Canterbury Timbers (Mitre 10).
Does this sound like advertising? It seriously is. Go there instead of Bunnings – they are heaps more helpful and Canterbury would appreciate your love.

John kitted me out with some very fine sandpaper and these products:


And here’s what I did:

1. I went home and carefully worked out how to take the drawers out of the filing cabinet. I also tried to unscrew the handles as suggested at Design Sponge, but the screws were so old and worn that they wouldn’t move. Bummer.

2. The fine sandpaper was for the light surface rust. John told me to wet the sandpaper in a bucket of water and sand away at the rust with the wet paper. It was a little messy, taking some of the old paint away too, but it did the job!

3. The deeper rust needed another product, the one on the right. I had to paint this stuff on to the deep rust. It kind of sealed it in to stop the rust spreading under the paint. Make sure you have some rubber gloves and an old paintbrush for this step.

4. I painted the noticeable bits of cabinet with spray paint. Fortunately for me, the colour paint I wanted to for the cabinet came in “KILL RUST!” brand. Hooray!
Once all the rust preparation had dried, I sprayed the cabinet over the course of a couple of days (one day for the top, one day for the bottom). Fortunately I was blessed with sunny weather and patient neighbours. I ended up needing two cans because I was a bit of a perfectionist and wanted the inside of the drawers to match the outside.

5. With the painting done, I followed the rest of the steps at Design Sponge to put the wallpaper on the cabinet as best as I could. I had run our of Mod Podge, but regular PVA/craft glue worked fine. I also had to carefully cut the wallpaper into smaller pieces to work around the immovable handles.

Good luck to anyone out there who wants to give it a try! Make sure you ask a helpful assistant at a hardware store if you are feeling unsure about anything.

9 thoughts on “Upgrade

  1. Anonymous

    Well looking through my previous LJ entries, here’s some I’ve made myself:

    One of the north of Newtown:

    and one of between Sydney and Nowra:

    Note: May not be to exact scale.

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