Repurpose a dated magazine rack into a rustic, farmhouse style paper organiser. Great for organising craft paper, important documents, household bills, etc.
Over the last few months I’ve accumulated a decent amount of new craft paper. As a result, my old paper organisation system – a simple document tray on my desk – just wasn’t cutting it anymore. As my collection grew, I found myself spending more time rummaging around for the exact paper I wanted than actually creating stuff.
To fix this, I tried a few different ways of organising my growing paper stash. Unfortunately, none of them really worked.
Enter the humble magazine rack I found put out for collection by the side of the road.
While the finish was a bit ugly, I figured that – with a little paint or stain – I could upcycle the magazine rack into a paper organisation system.
This is what the magazine rack looked like before I gave it a little makeover.
Mmm, yellow orange stain. My absolute favourite.
And this is what the magazine rack looks like now:
I really love how my upcycled magazine rack turned out. It fits perfectly with my decor but – more importantly – it’s super practical. All of my craft paper is now neatly organised into sections, making it super easy to find the exact piece of paper I want.
While I used my upcycled magazine rack to organise my craft paper, it would also work really well to organise other paperwork, such as household bills, important documents, school documents, etc.
As I’m sure I’m not the only one with paper organisation woes, I’ve written a little tutorial that shows you how to upcycle a magazine rack into paper storage.
Upcycle an old magazine rack into pretty paper storage
Disclosure: Some affiliate links are provided below. Learn more.
To refinish your magazine rack, you will need:
- An old magazine rack.
- An orbital sander + 40, 180, and 240 grit sandpaper
- A paint or stain. I used Feast Watson’s Prooftint stain in Elm. I’m not sure how widely available this brand is outside of Australia. This stain from Minwax seems to be a closeish match.
- A paintbrush.
- A rag.
To create the stencil, you will need:
- This zip folder which contains the design in both SVG & PDF format.
- For electronic cutting: An electronic cutting machine, a piece of regular vinyl, transfer tape, and the weeding and scraper tools (get both here)
- For cutting by hand: Scissors, a craft knife, and some sticker paper.
- White paint
- An old sponge.
To begin, use your orbital sander and 40 grit sandpaper to remove the old stain and varnish. Repeat with 180 grit then 240 grit sandpaper. I know it’s kinda boring to have to sand multiple times, but your stain will look so much better if you take a little extra time to make sure your wood is nice and smooth.
Once you’re finished sanding, run a clean, dry rag (or a vacuum cleaner) over the magazine rack to remove any remaining sawdust.
Next, stain or paint the magazine rack in a colour of your choice.
Leave the stain to dry overnight.
Once your stain is dry, the next step is to make your stencil. There are two ways you can do this: By hand or by using an electronic cutting machine. I’ve included instructions for both – simply scroll to the method you prefer.
Cutting your stencil using an electronic cutting machine
To begin, download this zip which contains the SVG cut file you’ll need to create your stencil. Use your cutting machine to cut the design out on a piece of regular vinyl.
Peel your stencil off the backing paper and smooth it out on to your magazine rack. I found that the vinyl didn’t really want to stick to the wood. To help it along, I ran the scraper tool across the design several times until it eventually kinda stuck.
Cutting your stencil by hand
Print the PDF of the design in this zip (click to download) on sticker paper. Lay your paper on a hard surface, such as a wooden chopping board or a craft cutting mat. Use a craft knife to cut out all of the letters.
Next, peel your stencil away from the backing paper. Smooth the stencil on to the wood. Press firmly to ensure the sticker adheres to the wood.
Painting your stencil
Once your stencil is stuck to your magazine rack, it’s time to paint!
Use an old sponge to dab paint in the colour of your choice across the stencil. I used plain ol’ white acrylic paint. I found that the wood absorbed a lot of the paint, so I had to go over the stencil several times.
Let the paint dry about 80% of the way. Very gently peel the stencil off your magazine rack, then leave your paper organiser to dry fully. Depending on the humidity, temperature, and type of paint you use, this could be as quick as half an hour or as long as a few hours.
And that’s basically it! All that’s left is to slot a few paper dividers into your upcycled magazine rack and your paper storage is complete.
Here are some more pictures of the upcycled magazine rack for ~inspiration~
The little divider tabs make it so easy to find the paper you’re looking for.
As the magazine rack is quite large, it fits a decent amount of paper, making it useful if you have 0 self-control when it comes to buying craft paper.
What’s your favourite way to organise your household papers? I’d love to hear your awesome ideas in the comments!
Pin me for later