This is a cheap and easy way to keep little papers and pens and whatnots in easy reach and off of your desk, particularly when surface space is limited. Using just a few cardboard boxes, fabric scraps, and sheets of decorative paper, and some Elmer's glue and duct tape to hold it together, you can also add a spatially large splash of color to your dull plaster white apartment wall without paying $100 of your deposit to nail it up.
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Step 1: Overview
Here is your goal. I actually made most of it before I decided to start taking pictures of what I was doing, but I imagine some day I'll go back and redo some things. This one is 30" wide, 35" tall, and less than 4" in profile. The French memo board at top left is 14" wide by 24" tall. I made the memo board in a strange and unnecessary way, so I suggest not using the instructions I will eventually give.
Here's what you need:
2 cardboard boxes
1 fairly large piece of cardboard
several smaller scraps of fabric
ribbons, buttons, small photographs, appliques, and other decorative elements
Elmer's multi-purpose glue
Step 2: Background Board
Disassemble a largish packing box so that it lays flat on the ground. Cut off the side flaps and save them. Cut the flat box in half, so that you have two panels each with two sides of the box.
Align them to form a squarish shape and tape them together on both sides. Cut three 6" wide strips from the side flaps and glue them to one side across the seam to reinforce the board. Secure with some tape the ends of each strip to hold them down while the glue dries.
When the glue has set, you can cover the front in a fabric of your choice. I used a plain black background, since I chose to cover the pockets and memo board with decorative prints. Once upon a time, it was an extra long twin sheet that I needed for one year in a dorm. Lay the fabric out on the floor and place the board on top of it. Cut a panel that is 3-6" larger than the board on all sides.
Place the board reinforcement side down on the ground and apply a generous squiggly mess of glue to one half of the surface. Lay down the fabric, smooth and pull it taut to remove wrinkles and bumps. Repeat on the remaining half.
When the glue has dried, turn the board over and secure the edges to the backside using glue and tape.
Step 3: Flat Pocket
My board has two of these in different sizes. I use them for storing papers and other flat things, like packets of needles and cards.
Cut a piece of cardboard into a rectangle the size you want the pocket to be. The large one is 15" by 6" and the small one is 2.5" by 6.75". The smaller one uses a lighter weight cardboard, since it doesn't need to be as sturdy.
Glue a piece of fabric or paper to one side, securing the edges on the back. If you are using a thick piece of paper or cardstock, it helps to cut the corners off and fold down the trapezoidal edges.
Select or cut a fabric scrap that is at least 0.5" wider than the background. Fold down a 0.5" hem on one long edge and glue or baste in place. Secure one side of the fabric piece to the back side of the cardboard, leaving 1" of background exposed above the hem. Pull the fabric taut and secure the other side to the back of the cardboard. Finally, secure the bottom edge to the back of the cardboard, making sure the fabric lies flat on the front.
These pockets do not need to be square, nor do they need to use only straight edges. Experiment with curves and other shapes, particularly where your materials limit you.
Step 4: Hanging Box Caddy
The main idea here is to form an open-top box, cover it with fabric where it will be visible, and glue the backside onto the backboard.
You may have a box like this ready made, just lying around the house. A single serving cereal box would work very well. If you don't like the size, don't eat cereal, or insist on making trouble for yourself, you can make boxes of any size from plat pieces of cardboard and some duct tape.
Each box will be made out of five pieces: two side pieces, front and back pieces, and a bottom. Make sure the height, width, and depth coordinate on all of the pieces and that you are cutting 90 degree corners. Simply tape the edges together to assemble.
Cut a scrap piece of fabric that is larger than the front face of the box by the width of the box + 1" all the way around. Glue the fabric to the front face, leaving a 0.75" edge to tuck in at the top. Then glue the sides down, securing the edges at the back of the box with some duct tape to keep it in place while the glue dries. Fold the fabric around the bottom of the box so that the edges end up in back, rather like you would fold gift wrapping around a present. You can add some strips of decorative paper, labels, buttons, ribbons, or small photographs to enhance the appearance.
When gluing the boxes onto the backboard, use plenty of glue and weight them from the inside to make sure they stick well.
Step 5: Scissors Holder
This little holster is incredibly simple, but I think it's one of the prettier elements on the board. All it is is a loop of ribbon sandwiched in a strip of decorative paper. When you glue it to the back board, the loop should be on the bottom to distribute the weight of the scissors properly.
Another thing to look out for is that there is enough clearance above the holder to remove the scissors. This is important if you wish to, as I have, but a big box above it. See the pictures for more detailed instructions.
Step 6: Customize It
There are an infinite number of ways this project could be tweaked to suit your decorative and storage tastes. I don't have the time or materials to demonstrate the possibilities photographically, but here are some crayon drawings I've made, depicting themes and other accessories that could be applied to your very own wall organizer. Let me know how this instructable works for you, and if you have any other ideas you'd like me to illustrate. Thank you for flipping through!