DIY Scrapbook Paper Storage Boxes

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I love to make scrapbooks, and I love scrapbook supplies.

I hate disorganization.

In the 5 years that I’ve been scrapbooking, I’ve accumulated a lot of supplies, mostly from garage sales, or as gifts. Papers, stickers, embellishments, pens, scissors – you name it, I probably have it. For a long time, I kept my supplies in a plastic, Rubbermaid tub, and I was always frustrated because I could never find anything.

Paper storage was a particular problem, because I had a lot of paper in a big stack, which made choosing papers for my layouts very difficult. One year for Christmas, I was given a Michael’s gift card, so I bought this plastic, 12 x 12 scrapbook paper storage file.


It cost 25 dollars.

Being the serious tightwad that I am, I was appalled by this. When I complained to my husband about the cost, he said that he could make something similar for free. Here are some paper storage boxes that my husband made from ordinary cardboard boxes and clear packing tape.


I keep them on this shelf, above my craft table in the basement. My husband made the shelf for free as well, with a combination of found and recycled materials.


He also made some smaller boxes for magazine storage. We keep these on the toy shelves in our basement playroom. One cardboard magazine storage file costs $2.00 at Staples, and holds only about half as much as these, which were free.


Have I mentioned that my husband is really smart? And also capable? And cute?

Anyway, this morning, my sweet, and very accommodating husband agreed to let me photograph him while he made some of these storage boxes, for the benefit of you, my faithful readers.

If you’re interested in attempting this project, here’s what you’ll need:


1) A cardboard box. We like these strut boxes, which can be obtained for free from auto mechanics and dealers. They’re the perfect length and width to make two magazine storage boxes. You can use whatever kind of box you want, as long as it’s wide enough to accommodate whatever you want to store. For example, to make a magazine storage box, you need a width of about 8 1/4″ inches. For 12 x 12 scrapbook paper, you need about a 12 1/2″ width. We used the box that my cast-iron Dutch oven came in. I don’t recommend using cereal boxes. They’re too thin and flimsy to handle the weight of paper or magazines.

2) Exacto knife

3) Clear packing tape

4) Ruler

5) Drinking glass

6) Pen

7) Pizza cutter

To start, tape the end flaps of the box very well. Then, lay the box on its side, and make a mark 5 inches from the bottom.


Make another mark 5 inches from the opposing corner,


and connect the two marks diagonally. Be sure to make this diagonal on the side of the box which is wide enough to accommodate what you want to store.


Turn the box a quarter turn. At the 5-inch mark, draw a horizontal line all the way across.


Now make another horizontal line about 6 1/4″ from the end of the box, like this:


Turn the box another quarter turn, and repeat these steps. The result will be two diagonal lines, one on each side of the box, parallel to each other, with horizontal lines connecting them. Each end of the box will be the bottom of one of your storage boxes.

Next, use your drinking glass to make a curved line 1 1/4″ from each end of the diagonal line, like this:



Next, make your cuts. First cut each diagonal line from corner to corner,


then cut your horizontal lines. The lines closest to the ends of the box are fold lines. Do not cut them. Only cut the lines that are closest to the center of the box (approximately 6 1/4″ from each end).


Then cut along each curved line.


When you complete your cuts, you will have two boxes that look like this:


Stand the boxes up, and tape down the flaps in the bottoms. Then, use your pizza cutter to indent the horizontal line on the front of each box.


Trim off the little corner pieces,


and fold the flap down on the line. Tape it securely to make a smooth, straight front edge.


Use a scissors or your Exacto knife to trim off any rough bits of cardboard on the box edges. The finished boxes look like this:


You can use the boxes as is, or you can paint them to make them prettier. We always have various colors of spray paint leftover from other projects, so my husband dusted ours with two coats of gloss black. You can see in the first photo that I covered one of the boxes with white contact paper, but this was so time-consuming and tedious that I decided spray paint would be much simpler. If you don’t already have spray paint lying around, check to see if your county has a “swap shop” at their solid waste management agency. We’ve picked up lots of free spray paint there.

My husband was able to make 8 of these storage boxes in about 40 minutes. It took another 40 minutes (not including wait time between coats) to paint them. We estimate that we saved $25 on the 12 x 12 box, and $4 on each of the 7 oversized, 8 1/2 x 11 storage boxes, for an hourly wage of $39.75.

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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11 comments… add one

  1. Stam House August 21, 2008, 6:44 pm

    Wow what a neat project!!!! and great job on organizing it all together and not paying much for it!!!!

    Reply
  2. The Miles Family August 21, 2008, 7:23 pm

    I SO NEED SOME OF THESE!!! My scrapbook magazines are OUT OF CONTROL. Currently, they are in giant piles on my scrapbook table… makes it kind of hard to spread out a 2 page layout! :)

    That’s a crafty husband you have there… is crafty too girly a word? Maybe creative and handy are better. :)

    Reply
  3. NeseScott August 21, 2008, 9:15 pm

    These are so cool! My husband is pretty handy (and he’s a “tightwad” also). I bet he’d be thrilled to make a few of these for me, especially when he sees the savings. AWESOME!!!!! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Heather August 21, 2008, 9:59 pm

    Pretty cool! Looks like a good weekend project for hubby – once he gets done laying our new floor!

    Reply
  5. autumnesf August 21, 2008, 10:29 pm

    This is so great! You do have a wonderful husband! Thanks so much for this post…now I just need to find the boxes!

    Reply
  6. Renata August 21, 2008, 10:53 pm

    Your hubby is so talented! I bought some of the cheap magazine holders from Ikea – but they aren’t very sturdy! Thanks for showing the step by step process – the pictures made it easier to understand. I don’t have much scrapbooking stuff, however what I have is shoved into a cupboard – I should show Dave this post(hint, hint!!).

    Reply
  7. carolyn at cranberry crossings: August 22, 2008, 12:03 am

    I think this is such a great idea! When I taught preschool,. we were always making things out of boxes and other free throw-away type things. Gotta love free!

    Reply
  8. Rachel August 22, 2008, 2:18 am

    Thanks you to… I have tackled the paper monster looming on my desk. I made folders within hanging files, all labeled! I showed my husband and his words were, “Wow. You are organized!” :) I gave the thanks to YOU for getting me off my hiney and get it done! It was such a rush to take the pile on my desk, sort and FILE it.. mostly importantly have the file ready and waiting :) I’m totally organized for the kids school papers, bills, house receipts, etc. Whoohooo! Thanks again!!!

    Reply
  9. Sarah August 22, 2008, 6:43 pm

    Wow! I think your husband would have a coronary if he saw the hack job on did on some boxes from Sam’s. Thanks for the instructions. I’ll be trying this out next week as it looks much much nicer!!!!

    Reply
  10. Hilda January 31, 2013, 4:28 pm

    Love this idea as well, what works best for me is a large kitty litter box, I have a cat so I buy the large 28+ lb box and once I use the kitty litter, I repurpose the box by making the paper storage box and is the perfect size for magazines or 12×12 paper. If you would like to see pics, email me at hildachacon001@yahoo. If you don’t have a cat, you can donate the kitty litter to a local pet shelter and reuse the box. ;-)

    Reply
  11. Hilda January 31, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Sorry…I forgot to mention in my previous comment that the kitty litter box has a handle on it, so it comes in VERY “handy”!

    Reply

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