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Making Desk Tidies

By: Natasha Reed - Updated: 22 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Children Crafts Desk Tidies Pencil Cases

Kids’ desks get in a mess quickly, so help them to keep tidy by making a useful storage container for their pens, pencils, rubbers, pencil sharpeners and other bits and pieces. If they have made it themselves and it looks fun, then they will be more likely to keep organised - avoiding the endless questions “where is my…?” and “I can’t find my ..?” and hopefully avoid bickering and accusations of brother/sisters stealing stuff!

A desk tidy is also a great opportunity to use recycled items that you have in the house or have already made their way to the recycle bin – egg cartons, yoghurt pots, cheese cartons, kitchen roll tubes and small boxes are ideal. Choose items of differing heights and shapes. Toilet roll or kitchen roll tubes are great for pens and pencils but will need a base added. Crisp tubes come in two sizes and already have bases so these could be used instead. Think of what will be stored in the container and choose small boxes for paper clips, rubber etc. You can recycle papers from around the house such as old magazines or sweet wrappers, to decorate the desk tidy or you may choose to paint it in pretty colours.

The desk tidy can be made as large or small as you wish and painted or decorated in any style.

Papier Maché Desk Tidy
You will need:desk tidy1
  • PVA Glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Pringles tube
  • Insides of envelopes
  • Egg carton
  • Tape
20px breakdesk tidy 2 Here an egg carton was cut and the inner points taped to the sides of a small Pringles crisp tube (empty). Used envelopes with printed patterned insides were collected, and strips of these envelopes were torn.

PVA glue was mixed in a bowl with equal parts of water and then the envelope strips papier mached over the shape, covering all sides. It was then left to dry overnight.

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Always supervise young children when cutting and gluing.

Remember to protect your work surface.

Why not decorate a ready-made plastic desk tidy? These are available cheaply from supermarkets or stationary stores. They can then be painted, stickers applied, or papers glued on. This is a great idea for a Father’s Day present – that Dad can take to work and be proud of!

Pencil Case
A cheap plain pencil case can be decorated by using 3-dimensional fabric paints. These paints come in handy tubes ready to be squeezed onto a project. They come in all colours from bright primary colours to metallics. The paint must be left to dry and then it has a raised effect – 3-dimensional.

pencil case Here a pencil case was personalised with a name using an orange 3-D fabric paint and then patterns and squiggles added. When using a tube of paint it is best to store it upside down to avoid air bubbles. When using paints for the first time squirt a little onto scrap paper first to get it running and to gauge how much pressure to apply. A full tube needs only a gentle squeeze and too much pressure will result in a big blob.

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The 3-D paint should be left to dry overnight. Do not be tempted to put it on a heat source such as a radiator to dry as this is dangerous and if the pencil case is knocked off before it is dry the paints will smudge.

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