Monday, August 25, 2014

Shoebox and Cardboard Tube Organizer

I've been meaning to create an organizer to hold my colored pencil collection for years.  Colored pencils are one of my favorite art media.  I'm not sure why, there's just something very satisfying about having a rainbow of fine tip erasable colors at your fingertips (and the Crayola ones are pretty good and relatively inexpensive).

So the easiest and cheapest way to get my large collection of colored pencils out of the box they were being stored in and into an organizer was to use a shoebox (free! yay!) and cardboard tubes (also free! woo!). I started out by covering my cardboard shoebox with some gift wrap from the dollar store.  I chose this dotted brown craft paper variety for two reasons--it's thicker than regular cheap wrapping paper and it would match the cardboard tubes I was using to divide the box.

I cut the paper in a strip wide enough to fold over the top and bottom edges.  I cut two pieces off the end of the roll.  I could have cut a longer piece so there was only one seam, but I didn't want the odd sized chunk of paper left on the roll.  I applied mod podge to the box with a foam brush and carefully applied the paper and folded the edges over.  I trimmed the corners at an angle to keep them neat. As you can see in the photo--there was some wrinkling.  Don't freak out, most of these wrinkles will disappear as the mod podge dries--just get it as flat as you can and you'll be good to go.

After the sides were covered, I cut a square to cover the gap on the bottom. Then I let the whole thing dry overnight and almost all of the wrinkles magically disappeared. 

Then I filled my box with cardboard tubes. I used a toilet paper tube as a height reference as it was just a bit shorter than the box and I had several of them (I had been saving them for a while) and I trimmed down some tubes from paper towels and wrapping paper and lined them up in the box.

Then I started sorting my colored pencils.  As I loaded my colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and drawing pencils into the box, I noticed that the cardboard tubes leaned, so I crammed more tubes into the box until they didn't shift around--problem solved.  You'll need more tubes than you think, and having some smaller ones to put in the smaller gaps will help you out.

It worked out perfectly after I got all the tubes shoved into the box to keep them all in place, and now I have a fantastic place to keep my pencils that will encourage their use instead of hiding them away all mixed up in a covered box.

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