How to Turn a Flip-Front File Cabinet Into a Stylish Dresser

A new dresser can be expensive. Save money by upcycling a filing cabinet into a spacious bureau.

There is an incredible number of furniture options that might not seem obvious at first. By repurposing an unlikely furniture item you can create something unique and stylish. Found in a used office furniture store, this flip-front file cabinet finds a new use as a dresser. The spacious drawers can hold a great deal of weight and many of these file cabinets are made with a safety feature which prevents more than one drawer from being pulled out at a time. With an updated racing stripe detail, this dresser becomes as cool as it is useful.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Tools and Materials

  • flip-front file cabinet
  • razor blade or craft knife
  • 1" masking tape
  • spray paint, main color and accent color
  • newsprint or other paper for masking
  • fine gauge steel wool
  • self-adhesive shelf paper or cork liner
  • scissors

Instructions:

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Begin by cleaning the file cabinet completely.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Scrape away any old labels with a single razor blade. Use adhesive remover solution if necessary.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Use masking tape to carefully cover the handles. Cut away the excess tape with a razor blade or craft knife.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Place one piece of masking tape over the top of the cabinet and down the front at least 3" away from both sides of the handles. This will serve as a guide for the stripe of paint.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Paint the space between the masking tape guides with spray paint (these will be your racing stripes). Spray more lightly near the masking tape guides. Allow the paint to dry completely. Add an additional coat if necessary. Remove the masking tape guides.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Make a strip of paper or newsprint as wide as the handles and long enough to cover the front and top of the file cabinet. Make sure it has an even width. Attach the paper to the file cabinet with masking tape, covering the handles and wrapping it over the top of the cabinet in one continuous piece. The outer edges of the masking tape should only extend about 1/4" beyond the paper on both sides. With the paper in place, add small pieces of tape right next to the masking tape on the paper on both sides. These will serve as guides for spacing the width of the outer stripes. Place another long strip of tape on the outsides of the spacing guides to mask off the outer stripes.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Remove the spacing guides. Cut the paper and the outer stripe at the gaps between the drawers. Add additional small pieces of tape to cover the ends of the drawer flaps, wrapping it around the top and bottom of the flaps.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Spray the file cabinet with the main color. Paint the drawers on all visible sides except the interior drawer bottom. This will be covered with shelf liner. Allow the paint to dry completely and add another coat, if necessary.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Remove all of the masking tape.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Use steel wool to remove any paint dust build-up and soften the edges from the masking tape. Dust the entire project with a lightly damp paper towel to remove any sanding residue.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Cut and attach self-adhesive shelf liner to bottom and back of drawers to cover the pre-made holes.

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Flip-front File Cabinet Dresser

Turn a file cabinet into a stylish dresser.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

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