Space is at a premium in our small 800 square foot apartment. With less free wall and counter space than our last apartment, my husband and I have been forced to find creative ways to store mail, grocery lists and other odds and ends. Letters and catalogs left on top of the half-wall in our kitchen will invariably get lost, knocked to the ground by one of our three cats. Even our large bulletin board that holds recipes, coupons and grocery lists is not a great option – one of our enterprising cats has figured out how to pull papers down with her paws and even bites thumbtacks to pull them out and drop them on the floor. In an effort to save our bills, magazines and other paper correspondence, I’ve come up with this DIY holiday card and mail holder for our refrigerator and metal front door.
I made my holiday card and mail holders with cardboard boxes found in my recycling bin, some scrap wrapping paper and fabric, Mod Podge, hot glue and a handful of powerful magnets. Depending on what supplies you already have at home, this project could cost very little. It cost me about $3.50 for six magnets.
To make your own holiday card and mail holder you will need:
• Cardboard box(es) (choose a size or sizes that will work best with the cards or mail you intend to keep in the boxes)
• Paper or fabric (leftover scraps of wrapping paper or remnants of pretty fabric are perfect for this!)
• Mod Podge or watered down Elmer’s Glue (for adhering paper)
• Hot glue sticks and a hot glue gun (for repairing/reinforcing cardboard boxes and adhering fabric)
• Pen or pencil
Gather your materials, lets DIY!
The first thing you need to do is prepare your boxes. Make sure the cardboard is clean and that there is no food residue on it. Cut away any ragged edges and reinforce loose flaps with hot glue. Depending on the type and shape of your box, you may need to cut and glue to modify the box to suit your needs.
The next part is more fun – decorating your box! Cut your paper or fabric to size and use Mod Podge (or watered down Elmer’s glue, I like the consistency of 2/3 Elmer’s to 1/3 water) or hot glue to adhere to your box. The process should feel similar to wrapping gifts. If you’d like to Mod Podge the outside of your paper, you can. It will give your box a shinier appearance. Allow your creation(s) time to dry before proceeding to the next step.
Before gluing magnets to your box(es), I recommend testing them on your refrigerator. Hold the box up to the fridge and place the magnet(s) on the inside of the box, on the side touching the fridge. If you have enough magnets, the box will stay in place when you let go. You can use hot glue to adhere the magnets to the box, on the inside or outside, depending on your preference. You can purchase powerful magnets at most home improvement or craft stores. This was my first experience with neodymium magnets. They are extremely strong and can break when they slam into each other. I learned this the hard way – but even the broken magnets are still powerful enough to use in this project!
Use your DIY holiday card and mail holder to display holiday cards, keep your mail organized (each member of the family could have their own box!) or hold small kitchen items like coupons or clips to keep bags of cereal or crackers closed.
With Christmas quickly approaching, this DIY holiday card and mail holder could make the perfect homemade gift for someone special!
Have a healthy and happy holiday!
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