Magazine File Holder Upcycle

5 Materials
1 Hour

A simple but effective way to upcycle plain magazine files!

I bought these magazine files from IKEA. They are made from plain plywood and come in a two pack (KNUFF, £7). I wanted them to have a bit more character for our home office and similar ones available in the style I wanted were a lot more expensive.

Apply stain

I took a brown acrylic paint, watered it down and painted it on. You could also use a wood stain but I used what I had available at the time.

Apply one coat and repeat as necessary to achieve desired colour.

Apply white paint

I then took some chalk paint to apply over the top to achieve that weathered, whitewashed wood effect.

Since chalk paint is quite thick this should be watered down to thin it out a little and then applied. The brush strokes naturally show with the brown stain underneath. Depending on the look you want to achieve you can also take a dry brush and brush over it lightly to make the effect more dramatic.

Add some detail

On the inside and on the edges I went back over and applied a little more brown over the top to create a more rustic look. This can be blended as required by taking a dry brush or kitchen towel to blend as necessary.

Seal finish

This is the finish I achieved after applying the chalk paint. For best results seal with a clear wax or polycrylic.


These magazine files are so handy for storing paper and stationary. I love how they keep things organised but blend in with the decor in the room.

They were so cost effective to make since the magazine file holders can be purchased cheaply and I used supplies I already had for the DIY.

Resources for this project:

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