Paint DIY: From filing unit to shoe cabinet

Interior decorator Joanne Roelofsz turns a dull mahogany filing unit into a cheerful shoe cabinet





– A screwdriver
– Turpentine
– Cloths
– Paint stripper
– A scraper or plastic putty knife
– 100-grit sandpaper
– Two clean paintbrushes
– Masking tape
– Two sponge rollers
– Universal undercoat
– White PVA paint and another PVA paint in the colour of your choice
– Plascon Waterbased Glazecoat Matt
– A pair of glass or ceramic door knobs




1. Remove the knobs as well as the glass panels from the cabinet using a screwdriver and keep in a safe place. The glass panels should be easy enough to remove by yourself, but if you’re unsure, enlist the help of someone who’s done it before. Have the glass panels sandblasted in a pretty pattern by a professional. I chose a leaf design.
2. Using a cloth, wash down the entire unit with turpentine.
3. Apply the paint stripper according to the instructions on the container. Remove the old paint using a scraper or a plastic putty knife.
4. Sand down the outside and inside of the cabinet using 100-grit sandpaper. Wipe down with a damp cloth.
5. Seal the top fascia with Plascon’s Waterbased Glazecoat Matt to protect the wood using a clean paintbrush. Once dry, mask the area off so you don’t get paint on it.
6. Apply a coat of universal undercoat to the rest of the exterior and interior using a clean paintbrush. Allow to dry.
7. Paint the exterior with white PVA paint using a sponge roller. Allow to dry.
8. Paint the interior with the PVA paint in the colour you chose using a clean sponge roller (I used Plascon Albany C18-6). Allow to dry.
9. Replace the sandblasted glass panels and fit the door knobs of your choice. Again, this should be easy enough for anyone to do, but ask for help if you’re unsure.