File Cabinet Flip with Chic Shelf Paper contact paper


HGTV Magazine takes a dingy file cabinet and transforms it with Chic Shelf Paper.

Turn a flea market find into a fabulous item for your home by taking a
boring, beige file cabinet and stylizing it with gold paint and Chic Shelf Paper’s
Gold Leaf Damask pattern.

This project was created by the HGTV team, and I love the idea of recycling used household items and furniture.

Personalizing the things we use all the time is not only satisfying, but it helps save the landfills too!

Here are the complete instructions:

Materials Needed:

  • screwdriver
  • medium-grit sandpaper
  • all-purpose spray cleaner
  • paintbrush
  • acrylic primer for metal
  • latex paint
  • adhesive shelf paper
  • metal ruler
  • utility knife
  • straight edge (like an old credit card)
  1. Clean and Prep

Remove the cabinet’s hardware. Note how it was assembled so you can put it back on later. Rough up the metal with the sandpaper, then wipe down the cabinet with the cleaner.

  1. Prime and Paint

Prime the cabinet — except the drawer fronts, which you’ll be covering — and let dry.sherwin williams bee wax

Then paint over the areas you primed. We used Bee’s Wax by HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams. Let dry.

  1. Add Chic Shelf Paper contact paper

Measure a drawer front and add 3/8″ to each side. Draw measurements on the back of the shelf paper (we used Chic Shelf Paper in Gold Leaf Damask) and cut with the utility knife. Here are some other favorite designs:

6 samples for preview edit


(1st Row): Gold Leaf Damask; Distressed Damask; Cheetah

(2nd Row): Pastel Green Subtle Stripe; In the Navy Polka Dot; Ikat in Light Blue

Unpeel the top of the paper and wrap it around the drawer’s top edge. Slowly unpeel a little more at a time, smoothing the paper over the front of the drawer, first with your hands, then with the straight edge, to eliminate air bubbles.

Make a small cut in each corner of the shelf paper; neatly wrap it over the drawer’s edges. Repeat for the other drawers, then reattach the hardware, puncturing through the paper.

That’s it! Enjoy your file cabinet flip!

If you have an unusual application for Chic Shelf Paper, drop us a line at! We would love to showcase it!



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