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DIY Desk Organizer from Recycled Materials

Use old cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls to create a unique DIY desk organizer! This craft organizer is perfect if you’re on a budget.

Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see a video of how to make a recycled desk organizer of your very own. You’ll also get two bonus projects in the video: a drawer organizer and a magazine holder!

DIY desk organizer

I’ve been saving some cereal boxes and toilet paper/paper towel rolls for a while. I’m not just some weird hoarder – I had a purpose. A decoupage idea with Mod Podge, if you will.

My goal was to recycle these items in a Mod Podge project. I thought, if everyone else can use these items for crafts, I can too. So I challenged myself! It’s kind of fun to do that sometimes to see what you come up with.

Make a Craft Organizer

Based on what I had in my stash, I created this DIY desk organizer, aka the perfect recycled craft. I just used what was on hand so I didn’t even spend one dollar for this. You and your kids should try it for back to school!

I won’t say it’s totally free because you might have to buy some supplies . . . but you should challenge yourself to see how cheaply you can make it by rooting through the recycling bin.

Before we jump into this wood craft, I want to share some things about this desk organizer you should keep in mind while you’re making it. I hope these help!

Paper to Use

I used a few large pieces of scrapbook paper to make my desk organizer. You can use nearly any paper for this project, but you should keep a few things in mind.

You’ll want the paper to be thick enough so that you don’t see the labels from the boxes through the paper. Therefore papers like tissue paper, wrapping paper, and napkins might be too thin.

There is a way around that though. You can always paint the boxes with a white acrylic paint or primer after cutting them into the desired sizes so that the labels don’t show through. It’s an added step to paint, but it will make your craft organizer look so much better when it’s finished.

Wood plaques

Plaques to Buy

The fun thing about this craft organizer is that you can use any size or style of wood plaque to make it! The wood plaque that I chose was an 11″ x 14″ oval that I purchased from Michaels.

I encourage you to try this in a different shape if you want to. I think even the natural wood slice would look cool for this DIY desk organizer – and you could leave it natural if you so choose.

Formula to Use

I used Mod Podge Satin for this project, but you could use Gloss, Matte, or Hard Coat. You can even add glitter here and there with a little Sparkle or Extreme Glitter Mod Podge. Give the craft organizer several coats of whatever decoupage formula you choose so that it is durable.

You want the toilet paper rolls in particular to stand up to constant putting things in and pulling things out – so I’d say use at least three coats of the formula you select.


Are you ready to make this project at home? Here’s how I made my craft organizer using Mod Podge!

Gather These Supplies

Tips and Thoughts for This Project

I had no idea how to measure the cereal box for my bins, I’m going to be honest with you. So I just cut 1/4th of the box off of the bottom and then proceeded to cut the rest of the boxes in that same manner. I knew I would have a front row and a back row, so I made the “back row” of boxes taller than the front row.

Now this is an optional step . . . but I used some white paint on the edges of my cereal boxes and tubes.

Sometimes my paper doesn’t match EXACTLY and I didn’t want the brown of the tubes or the colors of the box to show (since they didn’t match). If you are particular, you might want to do this. If not, don’t worry about it.

DIY desk organizer

What do you think – are you up for making a DIY desk organizer of your own? Let me know in the comments! There’s also a printable how-to card here:

Yield: 1 organizer

DIY Desk Organizer

DIY desk organizer

Make a desk organizer using recycled materials, and customize it any way you like using this tutorial.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Dry Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $10

Materials

  • Cereal boxes
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Wood plaque
  • Mod Podge Satin
  • Acrylic paint - colors of your choice
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Ribbon in coordinating colors
  • Craft glue
  • Tape

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Pen or pencil
  • Ruler

Instructions

  1. Lay out the boxes and paper rolls to create the compartments for your organizer.Wood plaque, cereal box, and paper towel and toilet paper rolls
  2. Make the compartments by cutting the cereal boxes down and taping them on the outside. The tape will be covered by paper.Finished bin made from cereal boxes
  3. Trim the paper tubes to different heights to add interest.Cereal box pieces and toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls sitting on the top of a wood plaque
  4. Paint the plaque using the colors of your choice and let dry.Painting a plaque with pink acrylic craft paint
  5. Use a pencil or pen to trace each compartment on your scrapbook paper. For the larger compartments you might need to cut multiple sheets of paper to completely cover them.Tracing toilet paper rolls on paper
  6. Cut everything out using a craft knife and mat or scissors.Measuring and cutting paper with an X-Acto knife
  7. Add Mod Podge to the backs of the paper - then proceed to decoupage your compartments with paper and Mod Podge. Work one piece at a time. Hold everything down until it sticks, smooth, and let dry 15 – 20 minutes.Painting Mod Podge on a cereal box to fold down the paper
  8. Give all compartments a top coat of Mod Podge, including the plaque.Adding Mod Podge to a painted wood plaque
  9. Add ribbon to the top edge of each compartment using craft glue.Adding ribbon trim to craft organizer compartments
  10. Glue each compartment down to the plaque using craft glue. It will dry clear. Let dry 24 hours before using.Add glue to the edges of the toilet paper rolls

Recommended Products

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Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!


If you want to check out more recycled crafts, here are other posts that might interest you!

DIY Desk Organizer from Recycled Materials Story

Caitlyn

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

I don't get it... it says to "scroll down to the video" but theirs no video whatsoever! I've tried this site on 2 different PCs, 1 mobile phone, and 1 laptop. Has it been removed or something? Or was this click-bait? Either way it's not worth it.

Amy

Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

Not clickbait! Video is also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6hiYh9KlEw

Dorsey

Wednesday 26th of February 2014

This is wonderful! Thinking of decorating with masking tape as it comes in so many colors and no muss no fuss. Thanks for sharing!!!!

Sinea Pies

Sunday 2nd of February 2014

I love this! Would you stop by my blog this week and share it on Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop? Everyone will love this and it's the right color for Valentine's Day too!!! Blessings, Sinea Ducks ‘n a Row

Lisa

Monday 25th of November 2013

Great project! I'm actually going to make one to organize my makeup and brushes. Great directions too! Thank you!

Jameela Banu

Thursday 12th of September 2013

Such a pleasant sight! love your project :x

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