Monday, August 11, 2008

Thrifty Magazine File -Tutorial

Crafty Blog of the Day: The Avid Scrapper
Although I'm just a wee beginner at papercrafting and haven't even
began to scrapbook, Carla is such a wonderful artist in this genre
that I can't help but be inspired by her gorgeous work and seeing
her work gives me terrific ideas to play with as I learn this new craft.
I hope y'all check her out and see just her beautiful creations...
and be sure to leave a comment and tell her Craft Junkie sent ya!


Okay, I have an admission to make...

I'm cheap.

No, not just frugal or thrifty but down right cheap.

I shop for everything on sale, when I can't manage to get it for free...I do love me some FREE! Being this cheap allows me to stay home and not work outside the home since I don't spend unnecessarily. I am cheap on groceries, clothes, the bills (yea, I'm as green as possible because I don't like spending the money! lol) and everything else that I can possible be cheap on.

That includes every single thing I craft. EVERYTHING! When I mail out orders from my Etsy shop, I use all recycled mailing materials (why should I put out more things to go into a, I'm cheap!), I buy all my supplies on sale and even recycle some things that I buy at thrift stores. I live on the cheap, I craft on the cheap. I love to trade things out, too (keep this in mind all you thrifty and nifty crafters that are reading this! lol).

So, I have began amassing a load of craft magazines (gifted by a dear friend cause you know I ain't buyin' those expensive bad-boys!) and craft catalogs and I needed some way to store them. Have you looked at how expensive those magazine storage filess are? Holy Cow!!! The one pictured here is from Target and they want $12.99 for it...seriously, just for one of them!

Do what?

Yea, I know you have to be thinking what I'm thinking...isn't that a bit much? No, wait...isn't that wayyyy too much? Well, I think so, even if you guys don't...cause I'm cheap. Sue me.

Besides, I'm crafty, right? Why buy something (at that kind of HUGE price) that I should be able to make for next to nothing! Yea, now we're, my favorite word!

So here is how you, too, can house your magazine/catalogue collection for FREE!

I was trying to figure where I could get cardboard boxes of the same shape and size so that as I make more magazine files, they would all match...then it hit me: The post office. Okay, so they give the boxes out for free so you'll mail something with them but hey, don't throw the word free around so liberally cause there are women like me that will jump on that stuff.

And what do ya know, they make a free Flat Rate Box that is the exact right size for what I needed! Coolio!

The one pictured at right is the flat rate box I told you about and they are the perfect size...but you can use what you have on hand, just check your sizing so your magazines fit.

So, lets get busy making our magazine file (once you've raided your local P.O. for some of these great boxes. *smile*) When getting your boxes, the main thing to consider is that they are big enough to hold your magazines (at least 8 1/2" deep when standing on end).

The first thing to do is to tape your box completely shut.

First close the bottom and secure it shut with packing tape (don't worry about the inside now, we'll get to that later.)

Then flip it over and do the same thing with the top, taping it securely shut. It sounds silly but all you're doing right now is taping up an empty box, making sure to line up the closing parts well to give yourself a uniform and square box to work on.

If any of your lower seams or corners are weak, reinforce them with packing tape to sturdy up your box since it will be holding some weight when full of your wonderful collection of reading materials.

Now that you have a nice empty box to work with, check your magazine size to make sure it will fit.

As you can see, mine will. *smile*

Remember that it's the depth that matters and not the height...we're cutting the top off, but we'll get to that, for now just check and make sure it's deep enough for your magazines and catalogs will fit.

If it looks good, time to continue...

Find the front of your soon-to-be magazine file and about half way down, using a straight edge, cut through all the way across.

I used a square because my lines always wind up crooked but if you can see (and cut) straighter than I do, a ruler should suffice.

Be sure to cut all the way through and, on what will be the sides, cut back about 1" on each.

Now, lay your box on the side (probably what was intended to be the top, but you can see here what I mean) and cut from your 1" in cut on the diagonal to the top corner.

I may not have explained that very well but this picture shows what I'm trying to explain. Be sure to use your straight edge again and cut all the way through.

You are cutting across your taped lines but that's okay, it will hold and we'll reinforce it in a bit.

Flip your box over and do the same thing on the other side. After completing this step, the only thing holding that piece on is the seam across the "top" of your box. Using your trusty ruler/straight edge, cut that last seam away and you should find yourself with a rough magazine file.

Now, to sturdy it up.

Take your packing tape and tape the inside of the seams that you taped the outside of when we began, making sure to run the tape over the top (diagonal) edges to firm it up.

Once you've done that, those flaps on the inside need to be reinforced and taped down.

Using your tried and true packing tape, just tape them tightly to the inside of the box so that your magazines don't catch on them when you slide them in.

By now your magazine rack should be done and ready to decorate! YEA!

Or, if you're in a hurry like me and doing this late at night, you can put off decorating your handy-dandy magazine file box and just fill that baby up with all those great crafting magazines just so you can admire your crafty and FREE new

Tomorrow I will be covering it with some great wrapping paper I scored at the thrift store for 25¢!! (I'll be sure to post pics after I decorate her, too) But for tonight, she looks fine, just like this.

Happy Crafting!!!

Peace & Love,

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  1. I cut the tops off the plastic kitty litter containers to make myself magazine storage. Your idea is better for seeing them. I'd love to make them for my National Geographics.

  2. Your version is a 1,000 times better!I remember making some magazine holders like this ages ago from cereal boxes (I think?). I remember them not being too sturdy LOL

  3. Oh hell, that's not cheap that's brilliant! And the best thing is, you can even save gas lol.Go to the USPS website and they'll BRING these to you!!! FREE!!! Tape and labels too lol.

  4. Well look at you!! I think you've got a little teacher in you!! We are all about the FREE and reusing things in a different way! lol

    Good idea...but can you see me with a box cutter? Seriously???
    Would not be a pretty sight! LOL

    love you, too....just miss you.

  5. Wonderful! I would have never thought of that. I did buy one of those magazine holders and I cried the whole time I was paying for it.

  6. Yeah baby! Thats the way to save money. I am a "get it if it's free" girl from way back. Anything can be repurposed. Cut it in half,,turn it upside down, marry it with something else, paint it white, add a piece, put it on it's side, etc.

  7. That is a fabulous idea! I have a whole closet full of those! PLEASE post your pic after it is done... I can't wait to see how it turns out!

    Renee :)

  8. This is an awesome idea. I am always amazed at what they charge for those stupid magazine holders. I think I might go home and try this.

  9. I've heard of people making these from ceral boxes. never tried it, but I should. I like free too!

  10. What a wonderful idea. You are cheap now aren't you. lol

  11. How cool is that?!!! Great idea hun, thanks for sharing!!!

  12. Love it! What a "crafty" way to make your own magazine holder! This is great!

  13. That will really be useful and less expensive. I have some magazines that rests on my bed i just need a good box now, thanks for that. :)

  14. this made me smile. i just did this using a large sized cereal box. it's not as sturdy but at least i got to save.

    nice site you have here. i'll be a constant visitor, for sure!

  15. I don't suppose you saw that cute little notice that using Priority Boxes for anything other than sending Priority Mail is a Federal Offense?

    Here it is: "I understand that Express Mail, Priority Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International packaging is the property of the United States Postal Service and is provided solely for sending Express Mail, Priority Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International. Misuse may be a violation of federal law."

    Besides, misusing these boxes only raises postal rates for those of us trying to make a living by shipping things out to our customers. Your little project that saves YOU a little change ends up costing us ALL in increased charges. Maybe you should find another way to store your magazines...

  16. I had to read your idea of a magazine holder. I actually bought some years ago at Office Max or some place like that and I got four of them really cheap and they have held up great. But I also have a file folder container and what I used for that was a box that someone sent us a ham in through the mail! Perfect fit! I've cut up boxes to cover my sewing machine and cut up cardboard boxes for other stuff!!! I just cut up a box that an Amazon book came in for a journal cover!!! I almost have a fit when my DH says he is going to through out the cardboard boxes that I have in the shed!!! Never know when I could use one!!!

  17. I have done this before, but I used cereal boxes to make mine! I love this!!

  18. I know that I way behind on this but I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!!! I am trying to organize a bunch of back issues by holiday and want several boxes but there was NO WAY I was going to pay those prices. Now I don't have to. I'll be stopping at the post office in about an hour. LOL

  19. Anyone find a LEGAL source of boxes? I already thought of this and asked the post office if I could use them. They of course told me it was against the law so I'm looking for the same quality cardboard boxes. Any ideas?

  20. The legal source for boxes is to ask ANY retail store for some shipping boxes ans then go home and actually work a little by cutting the appropriate shapes and pasting them together in a REAL crafty way. What was presented here is not craft. It's one instance of theft followed by one instance of destruction of public property and possesion of stolen property.

  21. Barb,

    Great idea. I only came to this post because I saw your other one about the meanie above who posted anonymously.
    So. Since it is illegal to use these boxes in a way that was not intended as the original use, why not use the ones that are sent in the mail and no longer usable for mailing. Then you would be UPcycling :)
    I guess we won't discuss the fact that my daughter builds "polly worlds" out of them.
    If the Postal Service is spending money to prosecute people for this offense, that would make our rates go up as well...hmmm.

  22. Wow. I only came across this post because I was reading the other. It's so sad that someone apparently stalks your blog enough to leave multiple comments but doesn't have the nerve to show her face. You can tell it's the same person who left all three.

    I think it's a great way to upcycle! I have to get rid of those boxes every time I get items shipped to me.

  23. I think your idea is fab! I also think that the person who is so well informed about the laws of the USPS should proudly identify themselves.Since they seem to know so much about how the post office works, perhaps they could tell me how to recoup the losses I've had over magazine subscriptions arriving at my home mailbox looking folded, mutilated and everything but stapled?? What you actually presented was a WONDERFUL way to recycle used cardboard boxes. Kudos sister! Keep up the good ideas.
    PS>>>how about contac paper to cover?

    1. I had a problem with craft magazines not arriving at all. I contacted the publisher and the put some kind of special tracking on the magazines. I asked if the people who work for the postal service would be aware of the tracking and he said they would. That was the end of the problem.

  24. I have to admit that I love the idea, but using the "free" boxes from the USPS did make me feel the way the anony posters felt. It does have a trickle down effect. I think you can do the same thing with a cereal box with a weight on the bottom... I have started collecting the ones that people have sent to me. Anyone have any other ideas?

    1. IKEA has 5 boxes for $1.99. Almost free.

  25. I shared this tutorial on my blog:

    Feel free to grab my Featured Button if you like.

    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Use Milk Boxes ( the ones that can store 10 cartons in a box type) They are pretty a matter of fact I am starting to make one now....

  27. I am thoroughly disgusted with this project. I agree with all the other posters who pointed out that this is misappropriation.

    I would recommend that you take this post down.

  28. Thank you for your comment but, if you read any further, you'll see that I did adjust my instructions. And contrary to your recommendation, I won't be taking this post down. I mean, it's my blog and this post has been wide open on the internet for well over 3 years so I don't think there is any need to take it down.

  29. I think this is a great project, and it is unreal to me why people are being such jerks. The post office offers the boxes for FREE!!!!! You can do whatever you want with them and its a great project! I will be doing this project! If other people don't like you doing this project they don't have to read YOUR BLOG!!!!!! post away girl!!!! rock those crafts! I will be for sure be back to check out your other projects! (and I think I might just sit around today and try to come out up 100 other projects to do with FREE post office boxes!)

  30. I've shared your idea on PINTREST
    ( )
    THANK YOU! I've been looking for an idea like this and your step by step tutorial is WONDERFUL! btw: i didn't have to leave my house for the boxes-they deliver them to your door. ;)

  31. I just had to say something, Since they are government property, it's also a felony to destroy them, so if you get a usps box in the mail, don't put it in the trash, or you will answer to big brother who wastes billions in revenue every year. Jeese people quit nit picking.

  32. what is with the vitriol, people? did it not occur to anyone that rather than get new boxes at the post office, one can reuse a box in which items have been shipped to you? As someone who buys a lot on ebay, I happen to have several. Found some cute wrapping paper and can't wait to start this project!

  33. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great

    stuff indeed. I also wanted to there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

    Magazine Holders

  34. I enjoy art journaling and discovered your blog. We all have plenty of secondhand materials in our homes to use in art projects without having to use new boxes. Simply cover the cardboard with Gesso art primer and paint away. Cereal boxes can be doubled and glued with Ailenes tacky glue for added strength. My fav video tutorial is" jennibellie" on youtube. Enjoy


Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. I am open to any comments, questions, suggestions, critiques, etc, so lay it on me...
Peace & Love,

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