file cabinet makeover before and after

I almost called this post “what I found at the auction: the sequel.”

I found this filing cabinet at that same auction and bought it for $5.00.

Surprisingly no one else bid on it.

They were too busy focusing on the tractor equipment and power tools to pay attention the beautiful lines of this filing cabinet.

But not me.

I was so excited I almost bid against myself.

file cabinet project

It has scratches and dents and the veneer was chipped in a few places.

And it was sitting on a block of unpainted plywood.

But it looked at me across that auction floor and called my name.

file cabinet before

Here’s the before.

Hello beautiful.

I loved the simplicity of it and the fact that it was a dresser with super powers.

The bottom drawer pulls out and it’s a filing cabinet drawer.

The better to organize me with.


I started the transformation with vinyl arrows.

Vinyl is perfect for this kind of project.  The vinyl adheres so closely to the surface that it provides the perfect outline when peeled away after you paint it.

The lines are so perfect and there’s no paint bleed on the wood.

chalky paint

After I applied the vinyl arrows and scored it with a library card.  In the past I’ve used a credit card, but I’ve given them up for lent.

I made sure the arrow was adhered to the surface and then I painted the drawer fronts with Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Yesteryear.

I love the texture of this paint.

It goes on so smoothly and adds a little character to the furniture piece.

stained arrows

I painted a coat.  Let it dry and then painted a second coat.

I let the paint dry completely before I peeled off the arrow.

Here’s the result.

Isn’t she so beautiful.

file cabinet with arrows

Then I painted the rest of the filing cabinet with Americana Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting.

It needed two coats because I was going from dark to light.

Here you can see the texture of the paint on the piece.

It has movement and character.

chalky painted dresser

Here she is straight off the auction floor.

Cleaned up and ready for her close-up.

Best $5.00 I ever spent. 🙂

PS  I’m going to the auction again Friday night.  Fingers crossed because I’m bringing a trailer….

…..and $25.00. 🙂

Be sure to visit the DecoArt Website for more chalk paint ideas and inspiration.

You can also find Chalky Finish Paint at your local Michael’s Craft Store.

americana decor

Want to win $2000 in cash and $200 worth of retail product?  

DecoArt is having an amazing contest right now.

You can enter your furniture project to the contest to win cash and prizes.  

Click here so see all the details on how to enter.


disclosure:  this post is sponsored on behalf of DecoArt.  All opinions on auctions and filing cabinets are completely my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Peg Peg

    Heavens to Betsy...she is a cutie! Repurpose. reuse, reclaim, recycle. I love it, especially the arrows!! Well done! [clapping] : )

  2. Image for Sandra Collins Sandra Collins

    I love how you always come up with the coolest ideas. It takes a lot of creativity to look at something and have that vision. I have to admit though, after admiring the arrows, I though "Where did she get the ampersand????"

  3. Image for Fabian Fabian

    I'm an auction gal too! The best bargains and sooooo many possibilities. You did a great job on the filing cabinet....good luck at your next auction! I'm going this weekend too! Fabian

  4. Image for ananda ananda

    wow karianne, you are such an amazing artist! totally gorgeous and unique(you AND the cabinet)!! and those chairs, oh my!!! i also have this eternal dilemma of "to paint , or not to paint" =) xo

  5. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Hey rock star, Could not resist sending you your "greeting" since the letter font you use for "Thistlewood" is the same as used by Sting - the musician! Confirm for yourself at BTW-love the cabinet, will be on the lookout for one now....

  6. Image for Lorey Lorey

    Ok, I am so in LOOOOVE with how this turned out!! So Chic! Now to fine me something to paint like this.... ; D Found you at SHINE Blog Hop!

  7. Image for Design Chic Design Chic

    How in the world do you come up with these amazing ideas…love the new look!! Can't wait to see what you bring home in that trailer!! Happy Memorial Day weekend, KariAnn!!

  8. Image for Diana Rambles Diana Rambles

    Congratulations! This post is going to be featured over at Diana Rambles tomorrow and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest, Tweeted, and Recommended on G+. Please grab a featured button off my button page or via the post guidelines graphic. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

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