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IKEA Hack: Magazine Files

office IKEA HACK Magazine Files

I needed six, cute, magazine files that would match my new office decor. They needed to be of decent quality and affordable! Well, I thought that would be easy to find, but nope it wasn’t! Magazine files are something I would have rather bought than DIYed but I just couldn’t find what I needed and at the right price! Ha! Isn’t that how it always goes? DIY to the rescue!

I came across these FJÄLLA magazine files from IKEA. They were a pretty good quality (for being made out of cardboard) and I really liked the price ($5 for two)! However, the color and handle finish were not going to work.

IKEA magazine holders before painting

IKEA magazine holders before painting

Note, this post contains some affiliate links for convenience.

Supplies Needed:

1. Prep the magazine files for spray painting the handles.

If you like the original finish on the handles, then you can skip this step and step #2!

If not, prep the magazine files (and top metal edges if doing a different finish than the silver/metal) for spray paint. I used painter’s tape, plastic grocery bags, and post it notes to protect the magazine files from the spray paint. I cut a hole out of the plastic bag for the handles to be exposed and then the bag covered the rest of the files. I stuck a post it note in the label opening part of the files, but this isn’t totally necessary since there will be a label there anyways.

Preparing IKEA magazine holder for spray paint


2. Spray paint the handles and corner hardware pieces, allow to dry completely, then remove the tape and plastic bag.

I wanted a polished nickel finish and after researching the different options, this Champion Sterling Silver Spray Paint (Brilliant Finish) looked like the prettiest and most realistic looking option.

Champion Sterling Silver Spray Paint

spray painting IKEA magazine holder hardware silver


3. Prime.

Prime the magazine files first. Use a good quality brush or the edge of a foam brush to do the paint “cuts” around the handles and metal pieces along the top edges, being very careful.

Then, use a small roller to prime the rest of the magazine file.  If you are working with a thick, dark paint you may not need to prime, but I used both acrylic craft paint and regular latex paint and needed to prime for both.

UPDATE: After completing this project the first time, I repainted two of the magazine files from pink to white, so you will see updated photos below of me repainting the pink files.

foam brush for painting IKEA magazine holders

using foam brush for painting around magazine holder hardware

mini roller for painting IKEA magazine holders

Tip: If you get any paint on the handle/top metal piece while doing the paint “cuts” around them, simply use a damp Q-tip and rub it off while the paint is still wet.

cue tip for cleaning paint off of magazine file hardware



4. Add two coats of paint and allow to dry.

Pick your paint colors. Use a brush or foam brush again to do the paint cuts (should only need to do this once with the paint). Next, using a small roller, paint two coats (or three coats if needed) on the magazine files allowing the paint to dry between each coat.

5. Add your labels and corner hardware pieces and you are all finished!

office IKEA HACK Magazine Files

Updated photo with the pink magazine files painted white:

office IKEA HACK Magazine Files

I also had this 3 draw paper holder that needed a makeover to go with the new magazine files color palette.


paper filer before painting


paper filer after painted makeover

After completing this project, I realized that I loved the look of the final results despite the extra DIY efforts 🙂 For more projects like this and fun updates, join me on Instagram and Pinterest! You can also check out my other DIY & Craft projects!

office IKEA HACK Magazine Files








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