January 12, 2012

Tutorial: Recycled Cereal Box into Hanging File Tote

As part of my goal to de-clutter our desk-area work station, I found myself in need of some type of "pending" receptacle to hold things like appointment and event reminders, bills that need paid, and other things that need attention or filed in their permanent place within the week.

I've mentioned before that I keep quite a stock of would-be household "trash" on hand for recycled arts & crafts projects, including cereal boxes.  I just scored a pretty blue framed pin-board with a built-in shelf from FreeCycle.  I thought having a little hanging file directly underneath in a complementary color scheme would be great, and because the desk-space real estate is too precious to be spared, moving organizational tools to the wall really makes sense here.

--->  FreeCycle is a recycling Yahoo group on which members post things they'd like to get rid of that are still perfectly usable and other members can get those things for free if they want them.  It's like Craigslist "free" section, but without as many spammers and no-show-ers.  The goal is to get things out of the hands of people who don't want them and into the hands of those that do instead of those things ending up in the landfill and others buying new. Visit www.FreeCycle.org to find your city.

So a family-sized empty box of Kix became the backbone of this easy one-hour-or-less project.  These are so simple and functional and could be used as pending, "to-do" or "to-file" totes, or in the entryway to store permission slips or other kids' paperwork that needs attention, or as a "take me with you" tote to hold things like small library books, coupons or other things you want to be sure to take with you the next morning.  It's lightweight and yet rather durable. And you can't beat the price!  FREE with things on hand.

Step 1-remove side panel.
You'll need:
A cereal box of the desired size
5 sheets of 12 X 12 scrapbook paper
pencil, scissors, glue, ruler
hole punch

Make It:

1.  Carefully cut one side panel from the cereal box, starting at the open top and down to the formed end.  Do not pull open the glued bottom end, and be as  to cut on the edges as possible, you'll want to use this piece later and you don't want your opening jagged.  Then hot-glue the top (opened) flap of the cereal box closed.

Step 2- wrap paper around each side.
2.  Select two pieces of 12 X 12 paper for the sides panels.  Since the box was greater than 12-inches wide I needed some overlap onto the front/rear panels because one sheet wouldn't be wide enough to cover the box.  Wrapping the paper around the side takes care of the gap problem.  Holding the paper flush with the bottom edge, wrap around the side corners until about even on the front/back.  Crease the folds by running your fingers over the box edges.  Extend the crease to the edge of the paper as these will be cut-lines next step.  Carefully glue down the paper in place.  I used hot-glue for the whole project, but regular paper glue would work too, just give yourself ample time between steps to let it dry.

 3.  Cut the extending paper down the creases,

and fold over into the box, gluing in place.

4.  Repeat on both sides.

Box at end of step 4
Front and rear panel in place.
5.  Now take the sheet of paper that will be the front panel, center it, line it up with the bottom of the box and glue it in place.  Fold the overhang into the box and glue down. Repeat in back.

6.  If you would like to cover the side panel that will be the bottom of your tote, use the side panel cut in step 1 to trace onto another sheet.  You can skip this if the bottom will not be seen, but keep in mind even if you hang it eye-level or lower, when you sit down, you might still see the bottom.
Trace cut side to make bottom paper cover.

Measure and mark.
7.  Measure where you would like the handles to be and mark them in pencil on the front and back panels.  Make sure to use the same measurements.  For this box I used 4-inches from the side edges and 1-inch from the top edge.

8.  Punch holes where you marked using hole or rotary punch.
9.  Cut two pieces of ribbon the same length.  Decide how long you want it to hang first to plan how long your pieces should be.  I used 24-inches.  Tie a double knot large enough so it won't go through the punched holes from step 8 at the end of one piece of ribbon.  Feed it from the inside of the box through the hole to the outside, then back into the inside in the other hole.  Tie another knot.  Repeat on the rear panel.  Trim ribbon ends to look nice.  Use pinking sheers if fraying is a problem.

10.  Now you can hang your organizer!  You can print a label for it simply on Word, or use a label from my template HERE.  Just change the text to be whatever you need by downloading a copy.


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