How to Cover a Small File Cabinet

Written by marilyn lindblad
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How to Cover a Small File Cabinet
Colour-coordinated file folders help keep documents organised. (hanging files image by Willee Cole from

Everyone needs a place to keep important papers organised, and a file cabinet is well suited for record storage. According to the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the University of California at Berkeley, a two-drawer file cabinet can hold up to 8,000 pages of paper -- enough storage for most individuals and families. The problem is that most file cabinets are plain steel boxes that don't fit in with residential decor. You can transform your file cabinet from an eyesore to a decorative accessory by covering it with attractive fabric or paper.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper, wallpaper or fabric
  • Spray adhesive
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Old credit card
  • Cord or gimp trim (optional)
  • White craft glue (optional)

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  1. 1

    Take the drawers out of the cabinet. Measure the front of each drawer and cut the material the size of the drawer front plus an extra 1/2 inch on all four sides.

  2. 2

    Spray the drawer fronts and side edges with spray adhesive. Center the cut material (paper, wallpaper or fabric) over the drawer front and press firmly, starting in the centre and working outward. Smooth the surface with the credit card. Slit the corners of the fabric with the utility knife and fold the extra fabric to the top, bottom and sides of the drawer front. Repeat the process on the other drawer fronts.

  3. 3

    Measure the sides of the cabinet and cut material to cover each side plus an extra 1/2 inch. Lay the cabinet on one side and spray the sides of the cabinet with the spray adhesive. Apply to the material to each side of the file cabinet, starting in the centre and smoothing the edges with the credit card. Slit the corners and fold the edges to the front, back, top and bottom. Repeat the process for the other side panel.

  4. 4

    Measure the top of the cabinet and cut a piece of material the size of the top plus an extra 1/2 inch. Follow the same process you used with the drawer fronts and sides to cover the top of the cabinet.

  5. 5

    Glue the cord or gimp trim around the top edge of the cabinet, starting and ending at the center back. Replace the drawers in the cabinet.

Tips and warnings

  • You may prefer to use heavy-duty wrapping paper, pages from a book, sheet music or fabric to cover your filing cabinet.

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