Thrifted Wooden File Bins Receive A French Script Makeover

April 26, 2021

Photo of two wooden file bins
My daughters picked up these two wooden file boxes/bins at Goodwill in the Twin Cities.

They were in decent shape, but I didn't like the reddish wood stain color so they received a makeover.

(When you click on the bold Amazon, Old Sign Stencils or Dixie Belle Paint Company affiliate links you will be taken to the products I used for this project. If you order it does not change the price or service at all. As an Amazon Affiliate, Old Sign Stencils Affiliate or Dixie Belle Paint Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Photo of two wooden empty file bins
First, I removed the metal tag frames from the files (they were screwed on) and wiped them down with hot soapy Dawn Dish Soap water and a rag.
Photo of a wooden file bin with primer
The files seemed like something I could use in my own decor, and since I usually paint my stuff in Drop Cloth, I worried about stain bleed through.  Especially with a reddish stain color.

I brushed a coat of Dixie Belle BOSS in Clear on the outside of the files. Boss works really well to block odors and stains. 

Photo of wooden file bins being painted black
As you can see, I ended up painting the bins with Dixie Belle Chalk Finish Paint in Caviar.

Part of the problem was the difficulty painting the inside of the files. I didn't want to have to apply a lot of coats to cover the dark wood tone.

Photo of a sponge brush attached to a ruler with rubber bands
At one point, I used a sponge brush attached to a ruler with rubber bands to apply paint on the inside of the files.  This didn't work that well.

Next I tried a small sponge roller. Between the two techniques, I painted the interiors!

Photo of the inside of wooden black file bin
Do you have any ideas or tools for painting the narrow interior?
Photo of a Parisian stencil package
I had this stencil in my stencil bin from Michael's.  I have used parts of it before on other projects.  There are 7 pieces.

Photo of French script stencil on wooden file bin
For the bins, I chose the French script stencil.  I have never used this part of the stencil before.

I taped it in the center of the bin.

Photo of stenciled French script on wooden file bin

I did NOT pattern match the stencil.  I don't know French for one thing.  I just tried to make the lines of script even on the files sides, and used different areas of the stencil so it wasn't too matchy.

Photo of card stock with printed file label words
When I print out labels for the metal frames, I print my label on cardstock in different fonts and font sizes.   There is a lot of trial and error.

I made a small template with paper of the hole in the frame.  I then traced the template around the words on my cardstock and cut them out.

I chose "projects" and "garden" for my files.  I will be storing magazines in them.  Magazines that I have been featured in.  This is my second magazine feature holder/display.  I am thankful and excited each and every time I am featured. 

Photo of two file bins stenciled with French script
I waxed the bins with Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax in Clear.

Photo of two wooden bins stenciled with French script stencil
I haven't decided where to put the files yet, but the black will work with my neutral decor.

Photo of French script stenciled wood files
I also added a small crown from the stencil package to the top of the bins.

Photo of crowns stenciled on the end of wooden files
Thanks so much for visiting!

Thanks for reading my blog, Carlene

Sharing is caring

Receive my Posts and Newsletters to your Email

Comment with Facebook


  1. I really like the files. You did a great job!!!

  2. Those are so attractive, Carlene, I really like the black with the script.


Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments! I respond to most comments by email unless anonymous or no reply blogger. I also have a facebook comment box.
By leaving a comment you are consenting to your email being collected for communication purposes only. Your privacy is important to me.