Introduction: Spruce Up Plastic Organizers
I'm sure most everyone has those plastic organizers. Especially those living in apartments or dorms who need easily removable storage solutions for small spaces. But sometimes they just aren't very attractive, especially if they are filled with your underwear and you don't really want the whole wide world to see.
There are a lot of different pictures on Pinterest of these decorated organizers, but very few full length instructions so I decided to take some pictures while I was making mine.
Step 1: Decide on Your Method
There are 3 main methods I found for sprucing up your drawers. Each method has its pros and cons. Personally I started trying to tape the drawers, but I found it was way too tedious. Then I tried mod podge, but I don't have much experience with it and found it was difficult and time consuming. In the end I decided to use spray adhesive since it was fast and easy and I had a lot of drawers to cover.
1. Mod Podge
- Very durable
- The images show through better and look nicer when done right
- Difficult to get the paper to lay flat without wrinkles or creases
- Takes a medium to long amount of time comparatively
2. Spray Adhesive
- Much faster than other methods
- Can leave a tacky film that makes the image look cloudy
- Needs to be done outside or in a ventilated area
- Very forgiving of mistakes
- Removable if you want to change your paper
- Takes a VERY long amount of time
- Tape can peel up or yellow over time
Step 2: Gather Your Supplies
You will need:
- Your drawers (obviously, since this is what we're sprucing up)
- Scrapbooking paper
- X-acto knife
- Spray adhesive, tape, mod podge + paint brushes (depending on what method you want to do)
- Optional - Ruler or straight edge
I personally bought some elmer's extra strength adhesive to try, but ended up going back to my good old friend 3M Super 77 because the elmer's dried too quickly.
As for your paper, something with a busy print will be more forgiving of any mistakes. Glitter and gloss doesn't show through too well.
Step 3: Prep the Drawers
I personally bought a new set of drawers for this, but I had some old ones I spruced up, too.
If you're buying a new set, peel off the label. Clear any residue with goo gone or a similar product.
If you're using an old set, make sure to clean it. You want the paper to stick to the plastic, not any dirt, dust, or fuzz.
Step 4: Cut the Paper to Fit
Using a scrap piece of paper (I just used printer paper), carefully trace around the area you want to cover. Cut it out and make sure it fits nicely. That is a template you can use to cut out your good paper.
Because my drawers have an odd curve, it made it a bit difficult. It is easiest to just cover the bottom part before the curve starts. It might have also been easier to do the curved part and the bottom straight part as two separate pieces, but I was being stubborn.
I wouldn't advise trying to cover the entire curve of the handle. As you can see, I cut out a space for that. Don't worry too much about making the area around the handle perfect as it is a very forgiving space. The plastic hides most imperfections.
Step 5: Attach Paper
If you are using tape:
Place your paper in place and carefully tape around every edge, hiding your tape as best as you can for a neat, clean look. If you are careful, clear tape is mostly invisible against the plastic of the containers.
If you are using Mod Podge:
I am no mod podge expert. Someone said to paint the inside of the drawer, then carefully place the paper over it. Then coat the back of it. However, I found I made much less mess and it was much easier to paint the paper and then stick it on the drawer, then paint the back. Unfortunately, I can't offer any more instruction than that.
If you are using spray adhesive:
Spray the front of your paper. Don't overspray it or your paper may wrinkle and you'll get an icky tacky spot that shows. On my image with the kiwi, I accidentally sprayed too much on the right side because I was spraying with one hand and taking a picture with the other and you can sort of see it in the end.
Working quickly before it starts to dry, place your paper carefully in place and smooth it out. Work from the middle out to avoid air bubbles or wrinkles. Hold it in place as best as you can for about a minute or until the paper stays down.
On my cherries, you can see where I didn't wait for it to dry and it pulled back up. I stuck it back down again, but it left a mark. So be sure to hold it patiently.\
Whatever method you chose, when you are done, trim any edges off with your X-acto knife. If you didn't use mod podge, you may want to go back and cover the back of the paper with some sort of coating to protect against scratching.
Step 6: Optional: Add Paper to the Top
I also added paper to the tops of my organizers just to continue making them pretty.
Like with the drawer, you will want to place some scrap paper over it and trace the shape. Then cut out your final from scrapbooking paper. Most organizers have an indent so they can stack, only fill that indent with paper. Don't try to cover over it or anything you set on top might poke through the paper into the hole.
Spray the bottom of your paper and place it carefully in place, smoothing it out as you go to avoid wrinkles or bubbles.
When you are finished, cover the top with a protective coat. This is especially important as this paper isn't protected by the plastic.