Repainting furniture that is already painted doesn’t have to be a big project. Check out how we repainted this flat file cabinet workbench into a stunning storage cabinet.
See more Amazing Faux Card Catalog Makeovers here.
Looky what we found at the thrift store!
A homemade little flat file cabinet… that was looking outdated and… plain blah. And it was only $30!
Flat File Cabinet Makeover
- Reshape the Cabinet
- Prep for Paint
- Prime New Wood
- Topcoat (Optional)
- Add Hardware
- Circular Saw
- Miter Saw
- 1×4” Pine Wood and Scrap Wood
- Brad Nailer (Battery Powered)
- Krud Kutter
- Wood Filler
- SurfPrep Sander (Get 10% off with code RAY10)
- BIN Shellac Based Primer (Tinted Grey)
- Mohair Roller
- Fusion Mineral Paint in Coal
- Wagner Paint Sprayer
- Paint Filters
- Fine Grit Foam Sanding Pad (Get 10% off with code RAY10)
- Fusion’s Beeswax Topcoat
- Wax Brush
- Kreg Cabinet Hardware Jig
- Kreg Clamp
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Before I bought it, I checked to make sure that all of the drawers worked well, and I scratched at it to make sure the paint was sticking well… because I didn’t want to strip it all off.
Step 1: Reshape the Cabinet
I hated how far out the top stuck out on the front, and then how there was another overhang on the very bottom. It just looked too much like a built-in workbench to me.
So I cut the top off with a circular saw and clamped a piece of wood on as a guide to help me cut straight.
Then I cut wood to cover up the overhang on the bottom. It all fit almost perfectly, which is so amazing for me with these miter cuts.
I also cut some 2×4” supports to support the front trim, and give me something to attach it to, and then I nailed the trim on with my brad nailer.
Step 2: Prep for Paint
Fix Damage and Fill Holes
On one side of the bottom of the cabinet, the corner didn’t go all the way down past the trim, so I filled that in with some KwikWood.
I shaped it the best I could so then I wouldn’t need to sand it much after it dried.
And then I filled in those middle holes, as well as a corner on one of the drawers that was chipped a little bit.
Then, I realized that I didn’t clean everything yet, so I cleaned it all off with an old damp rag and some Krud Kutter… you know this stuff is my favorite. Haha
Then, I filled in some other holes and cracks with wood filler.. and I waited for everything to dry.
Sand Wood Fillers and New Wood
About an hour later, I lightly sanded everything with 220 grit sandpaper.
Mostly focusing on the wood filler and the Kwikwood.
But also lightly scuff sanding to help the paint stick.
I usually always at least do a scuff sand to make sure the paint has the best chance to stick, but if you really, really hate sanding, then you can use this all-in-one paint we used on this black painted cedar chest!
I also sanded the edges of the new wood to make it not look brand new. Haha
Then I cleaned up all of the dust with my shop vac.
TIP: Test the Paint before going all in.
A couple of hours before, I painted a sample of some of the Fusion Mineral Paint on the back, so I scratched at it before going any further.
It didn’t scratch off at all! And this back wasn’t scuff sanded.
So, I could move forward with the project knowing that the paint should all stick well.
(Fusion Mineral Paint doesn’t stick to everything, I had to prime before using Fusion on this laminate ikea desk makeover.)
Step 3: Prime New Wood
And then I rolled on some tinted BIN shellac primer, with a Sherwin Williams Mohair Roller that has a really thin nap.
(I primed the wood to prevent bleedthrough stains)
I mostly primed the brand new wood.
Tip: Roll it on THIN. (Don’t get much primer on the roller and then roll it all out.)
Rolling it on thin leaves less texture behind!
But then I got carried away and started priming some of the rest of the piece. Haha I don’t know why…
But hey, it actually worked really well, and I didn’t even feel the need to sand down the texture before I painted!
Step 4: Paint
Adding Paint to Paint Sprayer
Alright, time for the paint.
I used Fusion Mineral Paint in the color Coal black and I put it in what’s becoming my very favorite budget friendly paint sprayer.
I put it through a fine mesh filter to make sure there wasn’t any dried paint or random debris in the paint that could clog the sprayer.
And then I added a little bit of water like I always do to thin the paint out so it would leave a better looking finish behind.
I tested the spray before I started spraying my little cabinet, and then I sprayed everything.
It sprayed on SO well.
I’ve honestly had some issues in the past with spraying Fusion, but this was a dream!
Since the insides of the drawers were painted before, set them all out, so I could spray the insides with this black paint.
Oh, also, I chose this paint this time because I wanted an almost matte finish.
I didn’t want it to have much of a sheen because I think the matte finish looks better on these old homemade pieces.
And Fusion dries to a very durable matte finish.
Sand Between Coats for Smooth Feeling Finish
I let the paint dry for a couple of hours, and then I sanded it with a fine-grit foam pad to make it feel smoother to the touch.
Second Coat of Paint
Then I cleaned off all of the dust, and sprayed a second coat of paint.
A pint of paint was barely enough to paint this cabinet with 2 coats of paint… most of the drawers only got one coat inside, and then some touch ups with a brush where it needed some more paint.
Step 5: Topcoat (Optional)
So after that second coat of paint dried, I brushed a coat of Fusion’s beeswax all over, just to give the matte finish a tiny bit of sheen, so it won’t get dirty looking when you touch it. Haha
TIP: While that wax was soaking in, I rubbed some paper all over it to smooth out the numbs and just make the paint finish feel smoother.
It feels SO smooth and soft now!
An hour or so later, I wiped off the excess wax with a lint-free rag.
Step 6: Add Hardware
To finish it off, I put new hardware on all 7 drawers.
I used the Kreg Cabinet Hardware Jig to help me put the card catalog labels on… without wanting to pull my hair out. Haha
How to Use Kreg Cabinet Hardware Jig
Basically, I marked where center was on the drawer by making a mark on a piece of frog tape.
And I adjusted the holes so they were the right distance for these label holder’s holes.
Then I measured how far down center was, so I could put the back rest thing on the Jig to that measurement. On this drawer, the center of the drawers was 1 ¾” down from the top.
Then I lined the Jig up with the center of the drawer, and used my Kreg Clamp to clamp the Jig in place.
And then I drilled the holes, and screwed the label holder in place.
And I put more boring black knobs on, because I’m boring and like black on black. Haha
Oh, and yeah, the frog tape pulled off the wax, so I went back with the wax rag and just put more wax on those areas.
And then I let the wax dry for a couple of days so it wouldn’t leave marks every time I touched it.
And here’s what it looks like now.
The way it was before… it looked like it belonged in a garage workshop.
Now, I wish I had a space for it in my home as an accent table, or some storage in my office.