How to make an art supply organizer for super cheap!


2 Pieces of white foam board (Dollar store) $1.00 each.

Packing tape. 1 small roll. (Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping) $3.49

1 Pack of 400 straight pins (Used for sewing with small tip) $3.00

Exacto Knife. $5.00

Ruler $0.89

1 Pencil (Various pricing based on package size.)

PLEASE read through this at least once before you start making cuts! I’d hate for something to be unclear before you begin ❤

Making the pieces.

The first thing you need to do is cut one of your poster boards in half. Measure half several times across and then cut with the exact-o knife.

You should now have two pieces that measure 20 inches x 15 inches. You want to cut one of the halves down to 9 inches x 15 inches. I have a small desk and didn’t need a HUGE organizer.

*Tip for straight lines: Foam board is made of one piece of foam with two pieces of paper on each side. When you start cutting, line the ruler up with the line you already made with your pencil. Use the ruler as a guide for a straight edge. Then, only cut the top piece of paper and a little of the foam. Then go back and cut all the way through.

Cut two pieces that measure 6 inches x 15 inches. These will be the top and bottom pieces.

Cut two more pieces that measure 6 inches x 9 inches. These will be the side pieces. Take each side piece and cut off 1 cm off the 9 inches to fit within the top and bottom.

Now cut three pieces for the inside shelves. The easies way to do this is to cut out three pieces that are all 6 inches x 15 inches. Since the poster board is ½ cm thick you need to remove 1 cm off the 15 inches length to fit inside. Mark off the 1 cm from each 15 inches length piece and cut.

The inside pieces are easy. You will need 21 of them. They are 6 inches x 4 cm.

The bottom middle piece is made up of 4, 6 inch x 8 cm pieces taped together and then wrapped in a piece of printer paper to hide the edge.

Ok, Once you have all your pieces we have one more thing to do before assembly.

We need to make the inside of the back piece. This will make it easy to line up the shelves and dividers.

Lay the 9 inches x 15 inches piece in front of you so it looks like a rectangle.

Start on the left side that is 9 inches and from the bottom measure up 4 ½ cm.  Repeat until you reach the end. Do the same thing on the right hand side.

Now do the same thing up the middle all the way to the top.

These lines will let you see where to place the shelves. I did mine in a different color because we are going to be making quite a few marks and I didn’t want to get confused.

Now you will need to mark increments across the 15 inches part.  Each compartment is 4cm x 4cm, but since each piece of foam board is ½ cm thick, we need to mark this the same as the 9 inches section. (4 ½ cm from left to right.)

Do this all on the same side of the board so you can easily see what you are doing when assembling.

The last compartment will be a bit bigger than 4 ½ cm. This is ok. I use this space for bigger items.  Bu now you should have your 15 inches x 9 inches piece looking something like this.



Now we assemble!

Lay the 15 inches x 9 inches piece flat on your surface with the marks facing up. 1 of the top pieces and set it so the ½ thick foam is on top of the back piece but even with the top. Should look like this.



Tape it into place with the packing tape.

Now take one of the side pieces and fit that under the top piece and on top of the back piece and tape into place.

Repeat for the other side and bottom.

You should now have a box. With no front.

Get out your ruler again and start measuring on the INSIDE of each side. Start with 4cm from the bottom and then 4 ½ until you reach the top. Do the same for the other side. We are marking these on the INSIDE of the side pieces to line up the shelves with the marks we already made on the back side.

Now comes the time to start putting in the first shelf. Using a straight pin, make sure the shelf is lined up so the bottom of the shelf is lined up with the marks you made. Pin into place from the outside of the box. I used three pins on each side and about 5 or more across the back. Don’t put too many in yet so you can make sure the smaller pieces fit.

Measure across the shelf starting with 4 cm and then 4 ½ cm across. This will help show where the tops of the smaller pieces go. We want to make sure everything is flush and not crooked.

Slide in one of the smaller pieces and line it up with the mark you made on the back, sides and shelf. Use your eye to determine if its straight. Then pin into place under the box and through the top of the shelf. I used three pins on the bottom and only two pins through the shelf.

Repeat across until you reach the end of the shelf and make adjustments as you see fit.



Now we are going to do the same thing for the next shelf. Remember, Once you have things in place you can add more pins for added security.

Do this one more time with the third shelf. You should now have something that looks like this.

Finally slide in the bottom middle piece we made at the beginning in the center of the big open section. Pin into place from the bottom of the box. Ta da you’re done.



You can decorate it with wrapping paper or anything else you want. I haven’t decorated mine yet, but if you do make this I would love to see them! Take pictures and comment below. If you have any questions or if anything seems confusing please let me know!

How many of you would try to make this?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s