Make Your Own Magazine Files from Diaper Boxes


There are lots and lots of things going on right now that I could write about…but honestly, it all requires a lot of deep thought and confession and me vomiting my emotions all over my computer screen…and I don’t want to deal with that right now.

So, I’m going to post a tutorial. On a Wednesday. With pictures! And DIAGRAMS! And exclamation points!!!

Because this is what I do when I’m really stressed. I make shit. Specifically, shit that I think will help me improve my life.

And since making money is kind of illegal, I’m making organizational stuff and pretty stuff for my house.

dyi magazine file holder

I fantasize about having an organized, pretty office space. Currently, my office is a corner of the dining room, and it usually looks like a scene from a movie right after the kids have been left home alone for a weekend and (predictably) had a party that got out of hand.

And when I see my desk every morning when I walk out of my room, I’m usually wearing the same expression as one of those angry parents returning from vacation to a (somehow completely unexpected) disaster of a house.

But that is going to change…and it’s going to change for very very little money.

So, step one is to organize our magazines. They live in piles all over our house and when I want to reference one for some inspiration, I can never find the one I’m looking for. And I know that what I need is a whole bunch of these:

Magazine file holder

But they’re super expensive…like $7 to $25 for ONE. I would totally pay that for some of the cute ones (like the ones in the pic above, from The Container Store, West Elm and See Jane Work)…if I had the money. But I don’t.

What I do have, though, is lots and lots of diaper boxes. Because I made the mistake of going with disposables, and after paying thousands of dollars in diapers over the past three years (not an exaggeration), I wouldn’t throw the boxes out, so that I would feel like something that I paid for did not go out with the garbage covered in poo poo.

I saw great tutorials all over the internet about how to make your own magazines holders from cereal boxes, but they were just really flimsy. If I put more than three magazines in them, they kind of fell apart. Plus, they were barely big enough for the magazines, and I thought they looked a little puny. Diaper boxes, however, are really sturdy, and have lots of folds already in them, and come in lots of different sizes.

Is that enough explanation? Want some instructions? And maybe some pictures? And more question marks?

Here is the diagram of a standard diaper box. I had four boxes on hand and no two were the same size, so this diagram is just done to some general proportions. You can modify it fairly easily according to the size box that you have. And, of course, you don’t have to have diaper boxes…that’s just what I’ve got.

Right, diagram:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

That’s your box, after you’ve broken it down (completely unfolded it). Or something like your box.

Notice the solid line is anywhere that there is a cut. The dotted line represents folds.

Do you think that I think you can’t read? (more questions marks, yay!)

So, lay your box out flat on the floor or table, and look at the largest panel (there should be two in the same size). Lay a magazine down on top of it and make sure that the panel is at least a quarter to a half inch larger on all sides that the magazine. It’s fine if it’s bigger…just needs to be at least that much larger so that magazine will fit inside.

Then, check out this diagram below.

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

The blue lines are where you’re going to cut. Draw it out with a pencil first, and make sure to work with the folds and cuts that are already there. This will make your life a lot easier. After you’ve drawn it out (with a ruler, yo), you can (should) use a utility knife to make the cuts.

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

These (above) are the shapes you should have after you’ve made your cuts.

Notice that they are not oriented the same way. Technically, they can be oriented the same way, but I wanted to keep the printed side of the box out and the plain side in (so that I wouldn’t have to paint the inside white to cover the diaper logo later). That might be kind of confusing, and if so, sorry. This should maybe clear it up:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

That’s what the pieces will look like, and how they will eventually make this damn thing.

Here is what my box looked like after I made all of my cuts:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

And my pieces:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

I did cut one extra piece that was not on the diagram (sorry…forgot). I just cut off one of the flaps that was not used in the two main pieces. It was a flap that was the same size as the bottom flaps.

So, with everything cut out, I got my trusty glue gun ready and started assembling.

First, I hot glued the pieces for the back together (these are the tall pieces, labeled D in the diagram above).

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

Seriously, just lay ‘em out, add glue to one side, then lay the other side on top of it. Press down, glue dries.

And now, you have this:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

Then, fold the piece on the left up, so you’re looking at the back side of the front piece (the one labeled C”). Add hot glue, then fold the other side up, and lay the corresponding C piece on top.

You have basically just folded the whole thing up to exactly how it will look finished, except with the bottom open.

It should now look like this:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

Then, I turned it upside down, and glued the bottom pieces together. Now, with the back and front, my flaps were the exact same size, because I was just using the flaps that were already there on the box. With the bottom, these are two smaller pieces that were cut from the smaller panels of the box (follow that?), so they did not cover each other completely as the other flaps (front and back) did.

This is why I cut the extra piece. After I glued the two bottom flaps together, I glued the extra piece on top of them. This piece covered the entire bottom, and also gives the bottom some extra support).

And here’s my box, all finished:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

But it wasn’t really so pretty.

So I wrapped it up in some brown craft paper (that I absolutely * l o v e * and use for everything). I just wrapped it like I would wrap a present, but tucked the paper into the hole so it would be long enough that you wouldn’t see the paper ends.

Here, just look:

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

You can see the two diaper box magazine holders I made here (below) on the same shelf with the one I made from the cereal box (it’s the one in the middle). It is cuter in this photo, mainly because of the adorable wrapping paper, but it is a lot smaller (it can only hold National Geographic magazines), and it really needs the diaper boxes on either side to even hold it up.

DYI Magazine file holder diagram

For the next ones I make, I’m going to try to use some fabric so that they’ll be a little more durable, and I’m going to try to add some label/tag holders like in the mass-produced examples earlier in this post. I think that will work much better than the little round hangy tags I’m using now, and will probably make them look a lot more finished. Maybe even cut out some little windows in the fronts?

…And this makes me wonder if I couldn’t make a lot of those little organizer boxes from crap I have laying around (with exclamation points and diagrams, of course)…and for free!!!

DUN DUN DUN…to be continued…

I’m linking up to a linky party…yes, I finally got the balls to do it. Go check out the other amazing projects posted at Today’s Creative Blog Get Your Craft On! Y’all know I love this site, so this is kind of a big deal that I finally feel like I have a project that is worthy of posting over there.

Get Your Craft On Tuesday