Upcycled Filing Cabinet


Got hold of an old 2 drawer filing cabinet (for this to work the cabinet has to have a base).
I took out the drawers, attached an inexpensive rubber doormat to front (was the side of the filing cabinet). I used a "no more nails" type of adhesive that is suitable for outdoor use. With this cabinet I didn't need to add drainage holes as there were already some hole sin the back of it.
The beginning stages.
I spray painted it all in a primer/paint all in one spray. This is an off white colour but anything could be used.
Filled with soil, planted some plants! Love it!

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Have a question about this project?

11 questions
  • Keller
    on Dec 26, 2015

    Was the paint you used water resistant? I'm afraid the filing cabinet would rust. Other than that, I'm very impressed with how creative you are and this planter looks great.

    • Jenny Ogg
      on Dec 27, 2015

      @Keller I used a paint that included a primer - plenty opportunity for rust in the Scottish weather and no rust has appeared

  • Nancy Wright
    on Feb 14, 2016

    I'm confused. If you remove the drawers won't the end then be open?

    • Bwarner50
      on Feb 14, 2016

      The front (which was the drawers) becomes the top. The ends and 3 sides remain. You plant the flowers where the drawers used to be. The part where the door mat is now used to be one of the sides.

  • Jane Cole
    on Feb 24, 2016

    Great idea, but how did you enclose the side (bottom) ?

    • Jenny Ogg
      on Mar 5, 2016

      The cabinet I used had a base so I didn't have to worry about this

  • BxGirl231
    on Mar 26, 2016

    Did you use the drawers for other "pots" ?? if not curious what did you do with the drawers? Love the look

    • Jenny Ogg
      on Apr 5, 2016

      LOL - not yet - still trying to think something up. Gathering dust in the shed right now!

    • Grace
      on Apr 15, 2016

      Hi Jenny, have you come up with something for the drawers yet. I'm about to have 20 and need ideas. Thanks

  • Marla
    on Apr 21, 2016

    Did you use any kind of liner or did you put the soil directly into the cabinet? thanks

  • Deb
    on May 18, 2016

    Did you fill it entirely with potting soil?

    • Cindy
      on Jul 15, 2016

      I suggest using filler of old plastic milk bottle etc. Keeps planters lighter and you don't need as much dirt.

    • Marianne Howley
      on Apr 24, 2017

      how do you use plastic bottles as a filler?I did that and they all rose thru the dirt up to the top...i did leave the caps on ...are you suppossed to smash the bottles?help ????

    • Cch3814539
      on Apr 28, 2017

      Cut up pool noodles from the dollar store

    • Karen Hand Laidler
      on Feb 18, 2018

      Packing peanuts are a great filler and the roots love to grow around them and this will lighten the dirt load.

  • Marianne Howley
    on Apr 24, 2017

    how do you guys use plastic bottles as a filler in deep flower pots?
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Dale
      on Jun 7, 2017

      I fill my large planters about half full with plastic water bottles. Saves on soil.
    • Sup13999234
      on Jul 14, 2017

      I too half fill my planters with empty water bottles with the lid on them, and then add mixed soil & flowers. The roots
      grow down in between the bottles. If need, I drill holes
      in the bottom for drainage.
      Works every time 🤗
      Jeannie
    • Jean Jackson
      on Jul 30, 2017

      I sometimes use broken up polystyrene packaging in the bottom of my large pots and boxes. Keeps the pots/boxes lighter to manoeuvre too
    • 11r25968611
      on Aug 10, 2017

      I save my empty prescription bottles and use them. They are more sturdy than water bottles when soil is added.

  • Beddy Doe
    on Jun 25, 2017

    So why did you glue a rubber mat to the front?
    was it just for looks or some other reason?
    • Coa12324535
      on Jul 4, 2017

      Looks like it was for a decorative 3-D effect.
    • Debra
      on Sep 16, 2017

      looks fabulous to me!
    • Smooches
      on Dec 20, 2017

      love it
    • Sandy
      on Feb 19, 2018

      It makes it look so much better than just using a sprayed on stencil. Beautiful job.
    • Carey
      on Feb 21, 2018

      What a great idea!!! I am going to plan to use this. I have a file that is hard to use because the drawers have no extension rollers. Not worth the effort for a file, so this is a great Idea to make it really pretty and a neat planter!! I think that I will arrange to put wheels on it so that it moves easily. I think that I will have to put an end on mine, but I will figure that one out! Thanks for the idea, Jenny!

  • Carla.beier
    on Jan 31, 2018

    First of all, it looks beautiful! I absolutely love the “rubber mat” that doesn’t look like a rubber mat. It has a rod iron, very expensive look. Could you please tell me what kind of paint you used, was it latex or something else? Thanks so much
    • Jenny Ogg
      on Feb 1, 2018

      Hi Carla thank you for your lovely comments! I used a spray paint suitable for outdoor use with a built in primer... Valspar I think. Hope this help! Jenny
    • Kira
      on Jul 26, 2018

      Wrought iron look...lovely!


    • Carla.beier
      on Aug 19, 2018

      Yes🙂 thanks so much for answering and for sharing your beautiful project

    • Heather
      on Feb 11, 2019

      You meant “wrought iron” correct?

  • Rj125816070
    on Jun 25, 2018

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! Thanks so much for sharing! My question is, do you have any creative suggestions for the

    frame of the cabinet that is left?

  • Linda Pepiton Grindstaff
    on Feb 12, 2019

    Love it! What did you do with the drawers?

Join the conversation

2 of 387 comments
  • Red
    on Jun 26, 2018

    Love this. The door mat was brilliant. I could see this as a patio trim for separation of spaces. Great idea.

  • Kar5140389
    on Sep 14, 2018

    Beautiful and clever. Thanks for the idea.

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