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Upcycle a steel filing cabinet

Here's a way to buy a secondhand, steel filing cabinet and put this stylish storage unit to good use in your home office, or even for storage in the home.

There are plenty of ways to pick up a secondhand steel filing cabinet for very little cost. There are online classifieds where you can pick up a steel filing cabinet in good condition for around R500. It's an affordable way to add storage to your home office, or dress it up for storage in any room in a home.


Steel filing cabinet (browse local secondhand stores)

Contact self-adhesive vinyl with marble effect

Prominent Paints gloss enamel, black

Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint - bright gold

Paint tray and foam roller

Drop cloth

Scissors or craft knife

Ruler and pencil




A. Take out the drawers (if possible) and remove all the hardware, such as handles, knobs, etc.

B. Clean all the surfaces to remove all traces of grease or grime. Handy Andy, warm water and a soft scrubbing cloth or sponge will do the trick. Wipe down to dry.

C. When applying oil-based enamel paint, work in a well-ventilated space.

1. Pour black, gloss enamel paint into a paint tray and apply light, even coats of paint to the exterior of the cabinet. Let dry before you apply a second coat, if necessary.

2. Cut a piece of self-adhesive vinyl larger than the drawer front. Carefully peel away the backing to place and stick down on one side of the drawer front.

GOOD TO KNOW: Use an expired credit card to run along the vinyl - as you peel away the backing - to remove trapped air bubbles.

3. Trim the edges, and cut the corners at a diagonal, to make it easier to fold over at the back of the drawer front.

4. You will also need to cut out any opening to re-attach the handles, or neatly trim the vinyl to fit around a mounted panel.

5. Lightly spray the handles with bright gold colour. Apply a single coat and let dry before applying a second coat. Let dry completely before re-attaching the handles.

GOOD TO KNOW: If you cannot remove the handles, spray these before applying the self-adhesive vinyl to the drawer front.


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