If you use brand-name powdered laundry detergent, you have the perfect base necessary to make very classy storage boxes for magazines! Laundry boxes make wonderful storage containers because of their sturdy double-wall construction. All that is required to make them blend in with their surroundings on the bookshelf is a bit of covering; in this case, an old grass beach mat, empty aluminum soda cans, brown paper sacks, and some jute twine.
The first thing to do is to carefully remove the lid from the box by cutting the hinge line along the back, but don’t discard the lid. The next step will depend on the size of the box that you started with. Take one of the magazines that you plan to store in the box and see which way it fits best in the box. Some boxes will require alteration for the magazines to fit the way you would like. In the one pictured here, the magazines fit best with the laundry box lying on one end and with the opposite end removed. The lid that was previously cut off was then used to form what would be the back of the new magazine box. Since the box was about an inch too small to be a perfect fit, a piece of cardboard was taped into place to fill the gap.
Most magazine boxes have a tall end and a short end with sloping sides between them. The shape I chose can be seen in the photos, but the overall design is a personal choice and you can design your box however you like. Make your measurements and draw your pattern directly on the box, or make a paper pattern and trace it onto the box before cutting it out.
Once the basic box shape is complete it is time to begin disguising it! Begin by turning a brown paper grocery bag into a flat sheet by cutting along its seam lines. Then, cutting the paper to fit, begin decoupaging it to the inside of the box. Allow the paper to overlap the top edge onto the outside of the box. Not only does this disguise the box, it also tends to cut down on the strong odor of soap that is retained by the cardboard. After the inside is done, continue gluing the paper to the outside as well.
After the brown paper covering has dried, it is time to add an additional layer to the outside. For this step, you really could use any number of things from wallpaper remnants to fabric scraps. I chose to use an old grass beach mat, which turned out remarkably well. If you would like to use a mat as well, you will need spray adhesive, masking tape, hot glue, scissors, and some twine in addition to the mat. Roll out the beach mat onto your work surface and look for holes or tears that need to be worked around. Place your box on top of the mat and “roll” it to all four sides to make sure it will fit in the desired area. You can even use a pencil to lightly mark where it will go. After you know where the box will fit, you need to put a piece of masking tape along any cutting line on the mat that follows the line of the grass and that cuts across the stitching lines, as seen in the photo above. This simply keeps the grass together in a woven form. Cuts that are made parallel to the stitching do not require tape. Spray the outside of the box with adhesive and carefully place it on the mat so that the lines of the box match the lines of the grass. You want to start with a back corner and work your way around the box. Be sure to line up the box exactly where you want it before you let it touch the mat because it will be very difficult (maybe impossible) to get it back off to reposition it! Keeping the bottom of the box even with the bottom line of the mat, continue turning the box onto the mat until all four sides are completely covered. Leaving enough mat to overlap just slightly, trim away the excess mat from all sides.
Now it is time to change glues. Use hot glue to attach the overlapping portions of the mat and then use it along all the top and bottom edges to be sure they are securely tacked to the box. This leaves a rather unsightly edge which will be covered with the jute twine. Cut three lengths of the twine that are four or five inches longer than is necessary to cover the top edge of the box. Secure all three together and braid them. Then, beginning in the center of the back, hot glue the braid to the top edge making sure to cover both the mat and the box. Work your way all the way around the box until you come back to where you began. Cut off any excess and secure the end. If that does not look finished enough, you can always glue an additional single strand of twine to either side of the braid. Make a second braid for the bottom of the box and glue it in place in the same way.
Though the box is functional now as it is, the addition of a label holder on the fronttruly gives it polish. This can easily be made using an empty aluminum soda can. The can can be cut with an ordinary pair of craft scissors. Remove both ends of the can and cut the resulting tube open so that you have a flat sheet of aluminum. For the next step, it is helpful to have the glass from a small picture frame. I used a 2 ½ x 3 ½ inch frame, which was the perfect size for this project. Using the glass, trace the outline of a rectangle onto the printed side of the aluminum. Then using the dimensions listed in the diagram photo, draw the same lines onto the aluminum. The portion that is shaded green in the diagram will be the front of the holder. Lines in red are cutting lines; lines in black are fold lines. The very center portion and the two bottom corners should be thrown away.
Once the aluminum has been cut, you will have to make some folds. Start with the inside pieces first. Place a straight edge on the inside fold line (I used the glass from the picture frame) and pull the inside piece up along the edge of the glass until it bends on that line. Then remove the glass and flatten the fold against the holder, being sure to crease the fold line in place. Do the same for all the inside folds. The first fold to make on the outside edge is the top one which is only ¼ inch wide. This also needs to be flattened and creased along the fold. The next three folds are a little different. Place the glass from the frame on top of the holder and fold the sides up over the glass as though you were making an envelope for the glass. Then, burnish the folds with the handle of your scissors to crease the folds in place. After you remove the glass, the back of the holder should look like the one in my photo. Attach the finished label holder to the front of your box with hot glue and your magazine file box is is complete!
The bulk of this project involved covering the detergent box so that it was no longer identifiable. This reminded me so much of my new life in Christ. Because Christ took my sins on Himself and suffered the penalty of death for me, God credited the righteousness of His dear Son to me so that when He looks at me He no longer sees all my sin, but the righteousness of Christ. This is such an incredible treasure that Paul wrote in Philippians 3 that he counted all his earthly status and gain as nothing compared with being “ found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” The shed blood of Christ has covered all my sin and given me a future that I could have never even dreamed of! “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Psalm 32:1) Amen!