13 July 2010

diy mini magazine file to corral books for kids

Sometimes I get these sudden {lightbulb!} crafty ideas. They're usually a solution to a problem I've been having, and I have to do them immediately or I'll lose momentum and they'll never get done.

This was one of those ideas. I'm attempting to declutter my house this week, one cluttery station at a time. Station one was the coffee table.
I love our coffee table. It's from IKEA, and has these great cubbies. (Ours is made of very soft wood, however, and has a million little dings in it. I just call it "distressed.") Before kids, we used them to store DVDs. After kids, they've been used for books, toys, and puzzles. But these little magazines, though fabulous for educational purposes (see below), were getting out of control. I needed something to corral them.

I searched the house for a low basket, open box…but found nothing. I didn't want to go out and buy something (or, rather, Hubs wouldn't want me to go out and buy something), so I knew I would have to create my own solution. I did some more looking around the house and saw some magazine files, and then BAM. The solution hit me. I needed a low, wide magazine file. And I had just the box to make it work.

Off I went, crafting away. All my plans for working out and weeding the garden went right out the window. I'll exercise later, I said (and I actually did), I'll weed tomorrow.

I started by taping the bottom of the box back up, because I pulled this box right out of the recycling bin.

Then I measured my cubby, checked the orientation of the books, and made sure my creation would fit. OK, so, maybe I cut the box first, checked it, and then measured and recut. No harm done.

Then came the fun part. I obviously didn't want my mini mag file to scream "Sandwich bags!" So I pulled some paper bags out of the recycling bin, tore them up into small pieces, and Mod Podged them on.

I let the kids help. I'm not sure if this was a good idea, as they ended up with glue all over their clothes and hair. But for the most part, they had fun. And we were outside, so I didn't have to worry about off-body messes. (Note: if you get Mod Podge on your clothes, wash it off right away. If you don't notice it and it dries, it's there forever.)
We painted glue on, slapped on some pieces of paper, and slathered with more glue. Don't be skimpy with the Mod Podge. You want the whole thing, and all the pieces of paper, covered.
It was a warm and dry morning, so it only took about an hour or two for the Mod Podge to dry completely. Good thing--I was really excited to gather up the books and put the mini mag file to work.
Look at that! So much neater. I love it.

The only thing I would change about it is the bottom. I covered the bottom in paper and Mod Podge, and the tackiness of the Mod Podge sticks to the table a little. Not enough to pull paint off or anything, but just enough to make the box difficult for little hands to remove. If it becomes too much of a problem, I'll double-stick-tape another piece of paper over the bottom surface.

By the way, the books (magazines, really...kiddie periodicals) in the mini mag file are Tessy & Tab, Wild Animal Baby, and National Geographic for Little Kids. We love them all so much. Tessy & Tab is Portland-made, and hands down the best way to encourage early literacy. Wild Animal Baby and NG Little Kids are full of animal info, games, fun recipes and craft ideas. Check out the websites, and ask me for more info. All are appropriate for ages 2-4. (The companies behind WAB and NGLK have other publications for older kids as well.)