Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial: Little Sister's Filing Cabinet

As a writer I'm always trying to find more space for my papers. I tend to horde things, so I was in dire need of a filing cabinet to clear some space in our tiny apartment. I lucked out and found a large-ish filing cabinet for $10 at a yard sale. The only problem: it was UGLY.
This picture does not do justice to the scratches and dings all over it, but you can see how dirty it was. No, those aren't just your imagination, those are other people's grossness all over the front.

So what do you do with an ugly filing cabinet? I thought about painting it, but that would be too time-consuming (I have a two-year old and need only projects that can be done in small stolen moments) and might turn out uglier than before. That's when brilliance struck: CONTACT PAPER! After realizing I'm not talented or patient enough to use contact paper traditionally, in one long strip, I decide to try my hand at what I call Patchwork Contacting.

Here are the supplies you'll need:
  • An ugly piece of furniture you want to make over that has a smooth surface
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Contact paper in your color and pattern of choice (although, for this project I recommend staying away from plaids and squares)
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • Patience
  • A realistic expectation for the level of perfection you desire (my expectation was not perfect at all)
Step 1: Clean the ugly piece of furniture.
Step 2: Decide how big of squares you want to make. I chose to make them all the same length, but different widths, to add variety.
Step 3: Cut a few squares at the same time.
Step 4: Put on the squares, one at a time, using the bone folder to smooth them out and get rid of any bubbles. Keep in mind that the smaller the squares, the less you'll have to worry about bubbles, but the more time it will take.
Have fun with this! You can do them overlapping so it has more of a collage feel; or use several different colors of contact paper. You can cut shapes or use words. Whatever you want to do! I chose to have a small amount of space between each of mine, but still keeping them relatively the same length, and that made it come out with a nice funky look.
Front view.
View of the top.
Side view.
(Notice the baby-proofing I had to do. Gotta keep this sticky baby fingers off my stuff.)

I still feel like it needs something else though. Any suggestions?

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