{DIY Pattern Storage} Filing Cabinet Makeover

I am so excited to share this DIY today! I am all about repurposing old objects into new and exciting things. So, as I have been cleaning out my sewing/craft room recently, I was in search of something that I could use in my room to display some of my vintage sewing supplies on.

I went shopping at a few of my local Goodwill stores to see what I could find. As I turned the corner to the furniture, there I saw it....a rusty old filing cabinet. It was the most beautiful rusty old filing cabinet in my eyes!!!! At that moment I just could not contain my excitement. Not only was I going to make this beauty over and look amazing in my room, BUT I also knew that she would be perfect for housing my huge collection of PDF patterns......eeeeeeeeeeeek....it was perfect!!!! Do you want to know what made me even happier?!?! She only cost me $5.99...whoop!

I literally felt like I had to rush home and immediately get started on this project. It actually took me a few days, but there was no way she was going to sit all alone and unloved in my garage any longer than she had to (like some other projects have)....I am sure you feel me on that one. I wavered a bit over what color to paint her; white or a light turquoise?!? Ultimately I decided on a classic white so that it would match anything in the event that I change things up in the future.

Supplies needed for this project:
  • sandpaper 
  • Rustoleum 2X spray paint (1-2 cans)
  • new hardware
  • drop cloth/newspaper

Before I started I gave her a nice bath with a damp cloth. If you find one that is extremely dirty, you may want to use a small drop of dawn in a bowl of warm water to clean it off.  Next, I took off all of the hardware. Because I purchased from the thrift store, there was not a key to the lock, so I just left it on.

Next, you will want to give her a good sanding. If yours has a good bit of rust on it, take care to sand well in those areas. Mine didn't have but a few spots of rust, so I really was just sanding it to rough it up a little so that the paint would stick better.

After you are done sanding, you'll want to take a damp cloth again and wipe it down to remove all the debris from sanding. Let it dry COMPLETELY before painting. At this point, I used a piece of painters tape to cover the lock since I did not want this painted.

Now shake up that can of spray paint and get to painting. Make sure to do multiple light coats, letting it dry well inbetween. If you get too much paint on there at once, it will drip, and no one wants drips on their beautiful cabinet. I ended up doing about 4 light coats and using a full can of paint for this project. If you are using a darker color, you will probably need a second can. Priming is also a good option if desired. I also did not paint the inside of the drawers, so if you are wanting to do the WHOLE cabinet, you will definitely need at least 2 cans. Ultimately, you want to let her dry well overnight.

To measure for hardware, you will want to measure the space between the holes of the old handles. Mine was 4", so when shopping at the hardware store, you will want to look for handles with the same spacing. I do want to mention that I had to end up buying shorter screws for my handles due to the fact that the metal of the cabinet is super thin, and the hardware is normally meant for wood which is much thicker. I purchased 1/4" machine screws that matched the threads of the new hardware and a few washers. *Tip: take your hardware with you to the hardware store (unless you are smart and do it all in one trip...learn from my mistake and just buy them all at once) so that you can actually fit them and make sure they fit so that you are not making multiple trips.*

Now you can bring her inside and get her all pretty!!! Ever since using PDF patterns, I have stored them neatly folded in file folders, so it was an easy transition into the cabinet. If you currently do not have a storage system, you will need to purchase file folders (not hanging, as they will not fit).

I have been collecting some vintage sewing supplies and such for a while now, and they went perfect on top! On the wall I used an 18" embroidery hoop with a piece of my favorite fabric. I also hung up a "Create" sign that I purchased on clearance at Joann's. It spruces up my space, and at the same time, gives me a great bit of storage as well.

I hope that you enjoyed this DIY project; leave me a comment below if you did! If you decide to create your own, please be sure to share your finished creations on my Facebook page.



  1. This is lovely, I am a bit jealous of how organised you are :)

    1. I will let you in on a secret....it's only this one room of my home. Once you leave it, it looks like a bomb went off ;)

    2. Ha, ha, I'm kind of pleased to hear that ;-)

    3. Yes. Do NOT be fooled by the one small corner that I have photographed here!

  2. Looks great and puts my pattern 'filing system' to shame.

  3. I need a filing cabinet for my patterns... Eeek!


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