DIY Magazine Holder Makeover

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Customize a magazine holder for keeping your desk space beautiful and organized. A little decorative paper and glue and you can change it up when the mood strikes.

When I taught, I purchased several of the cheapest magazine holders I could find to use in my classroom. Teachers do have to buy all their supplies, which means they’re not always the nicest!

Kids thrive on color, so sprucing them up was a necessity. But it wasn’t hard.

Magazine holder covered in decorative paper of feathers and pinks on desk.
I love the corals and teals.

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Now I have a few of them at home and decided to use one at my desk, which means it needed to be revamped. This magazine holder makeover was an easy way to add some color and interest to my desk space.

It’s an easy way to hide the ugly cardboard, but keep its functionality. These are great for storing Highlights magazines, kids workbooks, notebooks, etc.

It’s really nice for each of the kids to have their own space to keep their pictures, works in progress and what not. Older kids can help decorate too.

Paper covered book or magazine holder with blue stripes.
Since I used paper with multiple patterns, I kept the outside paper the same colors.
Plain brown magazine file cardboard.
Here’s what it looks like to start. Pretty basic, gets the job done but not cute!
Back of magazine holder covered in pink oval paper.
The back is pretty too.
Magazine holder covered in decorative feather and arrow paper on desk.
All finished up!
Paper covered book or magazine holder with blue stripes.

How to Customize a Magazine Holder with Decorative Paper

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $10

Learn how to recover a simple magazine holder. These are great for keeping your notebooks organized on your desk and you can customize it.


  • cardboard magazine holder
  • scrap book paper
  • mod podge


  • foam brush
  • scissors
  • Optional: self healing mat and exacto knife


  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. If you want to use a cereal box to make your own magazine file then cut off the top. DIY cardboard notebook storage from a cereal box trimmed to size.
  3. Next mark 3" in on the top.
  4. You want about 4" high on the bottom, so mark 4" up from the bottom.
  5. Now draw an diagonal line, this is where you'll cut. Cut 4" up from Botton and a diagonal.
  6. Just cut straight at the 4" height on the front spine.
  7. Rep steps 3-5 and cut out both.Cut around marked dimensions.
  8. If you're using a scrap book packet, choose your colors/patterns. I like the books because it makes combining patterns and colors easy!
  9. Next assign each side a specific paper. This is important because each piece will be cut to fit.
  10. Trace: Lay the paper down with wrong side up.
  11. Lay the holder on it (the side it's going to cover).
  12. Trace around the holder on to the paper.
  13. Rep for steps 10-12 for each side.
  14. Cut all your pieces out.Use the cardboard magazine holder as a template to cut the paper.
  15. If you want to cover the inside you can use your pieces already cut and trace those, adding about 1/2" in height to fold over the top of the box and 1/8" on each edge to ovelap your inside corners.Inner scrap book paper glued on and folded over to protect the edges.
  16. Fit and trim: Start with the inside pieces.
  17. Place each piece in place to make sure they fit. Fold over and crease the edges.
  18. Glue: Using your foam brush and starting on the inside, brush the modge podge on one inner panel of the magazine holder. Lay the paper on the glue, smoothing and press with your fingers.Glue on inside of magazine holder box makeover.
  19. I did it from the bottom up, in sections. When you get to the top, glue the paper over the edges and on to the outside panels. Glue in sections inside first press down paper.
  20. Repeat with all the inside pieces. Move on to the outside, gluing and smoothing all the pieces.
  21. Let it dry: Once all your pieces are glued down let it dry, for at least 2 hours. I let mine dry overnight.
  22. Outer coat: After the glue has dried it’s time to add an outer coat of Modge Podge. Using a foam brush smooth on a thin layer of the glue on all the paper covered surfaces. Let this coat dry for 15 minutes.
  23. Let this coat dry for 15 minutes. Then you can add a second coat of Modge Podge, which I would recommend. You might even want to add a third coat, but I’ll leave that up to you.
  24. Now it just has to dry before you can use it! Dry 2 hours, or overnight. These are great at your desk, in kid’s rooms and craft areas. It’s such a useful tool and so easy to jazz up too!

Did you make this project?

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