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Contact Paper Hack for Old Filing Cabinets

This is a quick blog post about the amazing transformation of an ugly duckling (in this case, an old beat-up filing cabinet) into a beautiful swan!

Well, beautiful might be a stretch – but it’s at least an attractive swan!

Here’s the before picture:

Contact paper revitalizes an old filing cabinet

I couldn’t look at this crooked, squeaky filing cabinet for one more minute.

Armed with a roll of contact paper, a hammer, and a screwdriver, I got busy. I’ll be the first to admit that I manhandled this old filing cabinet. I stuck the screwdriver between the label holder, tugged, and pulled until it popped out. It was somewhat bent up, but I hammered it flat again. 

I’m sure there’s a more gentle, skillful way of beating that little label holder into submission, but I wasn’t sure how else to do it. It did take a bit of muscle. The handles unscrew from inside the drawers.

Covering the old filing cabinet drawer fronts with contact paper was pretty easy. The hardest part is smoothing out the bubbles and getting the contact paper edges straight.

Contact paper improves the look of old filing cabinet

This is how the filing cabinet currently looks. I need to spray-paint the label holders – maybe black. If you look closely, you’ll notice they’re rusty right now.  That’s for another day when it’s not so hot in the classroom.

Old filing cabinet looks so much better!

One final tip – if you have old stickers and can’t peel them off with your fingernails (blech!), grab some adhesive remover and a razor blade. You obviously don’t want these around when your students are present. Plus, the adhesive remover should only be used in well-ventilated areas. 

Good luck with your projects!