Saturday, August 1, 2015

21 DIY Acrylic Offce Supplies

Today's project was a combination of finally snagging a wish-list item paired with the desire to play with some new materials.  Although I did ultimately save a little money, sometimes I just enjoy the process of DIY'ing something because it provides a sense of excitement, accomplishment and drives a little creativity.

A few nights ago we were at Home Depot searching for a new screen for our patio door, and I stumbled on a stack of acrylic (also known as plexi-glass).  I about lost it right there in the middle of the store.  I looooooovie me some acrylic!  In fact, everything from drawer organizers to under-the-sink organizers to our new island stools... I just can't seem to get enough of it!  Why you may be wondering?  Aside from the fact that acyclic cleans well and is extremely durable, I also think acrylic organizers and decor are timeless and very chic feeling.

Not all acrylic is created equal, it comes in a variety of thicknesses, sizes and prices.  Because I had a few ideas in mind, I picked up a single 18"x24" sheet of .220 thick acrylic (this stuff is thick and beautiful!)  Home Depot did have another option that may have also worked, it was about half the price and also about half of the thickness, but it just didn't seem to have the same luster and I wasn't sure how easy it would be to work with. 

As far as what I wanted to make?  I had a few ideas but ultimately started out with a clipboard and had plenty left over to also make a pencil cup.  And even some more left over that may end up in another project some day.

The clipboard was my "wish list" item.  I love clipboards in general and keep them stashed in my cars, pantry, file cabinet... They are endlessly handy.  There are a few acrylic options that I have been lusting after, but they always just seemed a little silly expensive for a single office supply.

But part of the appeal is the heavier weighted "glass" appearance and the clean look (no rulers/numbers etched in the side).  And don't get me started on the hardware!  The thing with these is that they are too lovely to tuck away.  These stunners deserve to sit on your desk and be used daily.  Or they can be hung on your walls to display important notes, a calendar and even art.  And don't forget, acrylic is also a prime surface to use with dry-erase markers.

Because I purchased a sheet of acrylic large enough, I could either make two clipboards or a clipboard and something else.  I started with the clipboard first and decided to go from there.  I also decided that it would be fun to try two different cutting methods for the two projects, so I could share with y'all which worked better.

For the clipboard, I opted to try out a plastic cutting knife.

The first step is to clamp the acrylic directly to a straight edge, a scrap piece of wood did the trick for me.

Once in place, I pressed firmly to score the acrylic sheet.  The packaging stated to only score the acrylic to about half of the depth of the plastic, which took quite a few passes of the knife.

I left the protective plastic coating on the acrylic while I worked with it just to be sure I wasn't scratching the sheet from the friction.

Once it was scored to half of the depth of the acrylic, I placed the scored portion just off of the edge of our counter and snapped the acrylic down.  This process created a beautifully clean edge.

I peeled away the plastic and admired my smaller piece.

The edges can be a little sharp, and the corners can be really sharp, so I turned to our Dremel tool with an attached buffing pad.

Very lightly applying pressure to the edge of the acrylic, the buffing pad polished everything up and quickly rounded the edges.

For the hardware, I found two clipboard clips at a craft store for $3.  You can also find a few different options on Amazon.

I took the acrylic and clipboard piece to the local hardware store to find appropriately sized screws and acorn caps (our local store charges per piece so you don't have to purchase entire packages).

I used a standard size piece of paper to determine the location of the clip placement.  Bryan recommended to pre-drill with a small bit first, and drilling in just enough to create a starting point.

Then the proper sized bit for the hardware selected.

And lastly a countersink bit to allow the screw heads to lay flush on the back side of the clipboard.

The hardware and clip received a coat of gold spray paint...

I also added a thin layer of Gold Leafing with a pen and paintbrush.  This gave the clip a more aged appearance.

Once the paint was dry, I attached the clip with the acorn caps.  The end result was just fabulous!!

I gave it a spin with a few of my nearby Time Management Printables, and also with a piece of art.  Both results were exactly what I was hoping to achieve!

Project one, done!  There was still plenty of acrylic for more, so next up was the pencil cup.  For this project, we decided to save some time with the cuts and ran the acrylic though our BladeRunner (which utilized a fine wood blade).

The cuts were smooth, straight and clean, but slightly rougher looking than the score and snap method.

The next interesting fact is that acrylic needs to be glued utilizing a special bonding process.  Standard glues and adhesives don't absorb into the super sleek and smooth material, which causes the pieces to slide around and never fully cure.  There is a very special acrylic cement that is typically used, but it was really expensive online and I didn't see it sold at our home improvement store.  So, I decided to try something that acted in a similar fashion; Loctite Plastics Bonder.

You start by running the activator over each edge of the acrylic being glued.

Let it sit for 60 seconds, and then apply a small amount of the glue on one of the pieces being glued.  I always picked the rougher, cut edge to apply the glue.

I made sure the top of the pencil cup was only factory edges of the acrylic, since that is the most visible portion of the project.

Each side of the cup is 3" wide and 4" tall.  I then placed the sides on a single square bottom piece.

The glue dried clear, and within a few minutes I had myself my very own acrylic pencil cup.  That I made.  So sweet!

And now I am motivated to go and organize my desk, because now I have two gorgeous new office supplies made out of my favorite material.  Made by me!

In the end, I spent about as much as a single high-end clipboard would have cost, but I was able to gain two different supplies that I like even more than the original inspiration.  (Update: Even better yet, I still had enough acrylic from the single sheet to make one more clipboard, so I did!)  Most importantly, I tried something new, worked with a material I hadn't worked with before and had fun doing it.

Have you stepped outside your comfort zone to play with a new product, tool or material lately? 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

23 UHeart Organizing: Taking Command of the School Year

Command center addicts, this post is for you!  And for me!  Do they have support groups for people like us?  I mean seriously, no matter which way you slice 'em, command centers make the organizational world go round.

And what better time to put together your own command center, than back-to-school time?  Once kids become school aged, it is homework, lessons, parties, events.... so much to manage and remember.  Command centers are really wonderful for keeping life in a single family "hot spot".

The best part is that there is no right or wrong way to create a family command center zone.  They can be customized to fit in just about any space and for any style preference.  The incredibly talented Jennifer from The House of Wood blog, is here today to share how she built a menu board, calendar and wall pockets to create the ultimate organized zone.  She is sure to take command of the school year with her new wall-of-awesomeness!

Hi friends! Welp. It's almost that time again. Are you getting ready to do the Back-To-School scramble? Before you know it, you'll be drowning in book reports, school projects and extra-curricular activities, and there will be no rest for the weary. For all you Type A personalities, it's GO TIME!

I've been meaning to set up a family command center for awhile, but now that our firstborn will be entering Kindergarten (*sob*), this task just moved to the top of my priority list. BTW... do they write book reports in Kindergarten? #newbie

While I doubt my little Kindergartner will have much homework to bring home, I love having a dedicated space where she'll be able to have an after-school snack as she tackles school projects when the time comes. Here's how our family command center turned out:

It puts the 'fun' in 'functional,' doesn't it? The chalkboards, cubby shelf, and time zone clocks are all DIY projects that are super easy and inexpensive to do!

To make the chalkboards, I purchased half a sheet (48"x48") of underlayment from the home improvement store. I knew I wanted to make a separate calendar and menu board, so I sent the underlayment through my table saw and cut it into two pieces. Then I rolled on a few coats of chalkboard paint. Don't you just love this navy color? I had it tinted at the paint desk but sadly, after the paint dried, it turned out looking more black than navy. Womp womp.

Oh, and here's a quick tip: if you line the paint tray with aluminum foil, cleanup will be quick and easy. Just roll up the foil when you're done and toss it!

To frame out the chalkboard, I set my miter saw to a 45º angle and crosscut the trim. To get the most precise measurements, I recommend skipping the tape measure and just holding the trim in place, marking it with a pencil, and cutting it to fit.

Then I squeezed some wood glue onto the back of the trim and placed it onto the chalkboard. I used clamps to hold the frame in place while the glue dried. No need for nails or screws here; the glue will be plenty strong to keep that trim on.

Next, I used a Sharpie paint pen to draw the lines for the calendar, using a yardstick as a straight edge. An oil-based paint pen works best because it's permanent and won't wipe away so I won't have to re-draw the calendar every month.

Here’s my calendar grid all drawn out:

I used my Silhouette Cameo to make vinyl decals for the days of the week. I also like to sharpen my chalk with a pencil sharpener to make it easier to write with. It's the little things, right?

Finally, I used a French cleat to hang the chalkboard up on the wall. With a calendar this large, you'd think my husband would know when my parents are coming to town.

Aren't those time zone clocks fun? The tutorial for that can be found here.

The hardest part about cooking is figuring out what to cook - amiright? This menu board makes it simple to create weekly meal plans, stay organized, and just say NO to takeout!

I am in love with this adorable #nomnomnom decal. I made it with my Silhouette Cameo - the font is called 'Imperfect.'

We store mail and other miscellaneous paperwork in this DIY wall cubby. I built it out of scrap wood (read: FREE!) and posted the plans and tutorial here on my blog. It's a quick and easy project that requires minimal power tools so if you’d like to get into building, it would be the perfect piece to start with.

Isn't this striped metal tote oh so stylish? I snagged it at Target (#happyplace!) and loaded it up with school supplies. Am I the only one who gets giddy about buying school supplies? Oh, don't mind me, I'm just hangin' out in the back-to-school section smelling the erasers. #creeper

Then I stash the whole kit and caboodle in a pretty basket and tuck it all away neatly.

So are you ready for the Back-To-School scramble? Do you have a command center that keeps your family organized?


Hello friends! I’m Jen Woodhouse, the author of The House of Wood blog, my creative outlet for all things DIY and design. By trade, I am a performing songwriter based in Nashville, TN - I’ve released three albums, toured the world, and licensed my music to national television shows and films - but more recently, I've added ‘DIY Blogger’ to my eclectic resume. The House of Wood is where I document my adventures in woodworking, interior design, and life as a musician, military wife, and mother of two unbearably adorable babies. When I’m not writing, recording, or touring, you’ll usually find me in the garage building furniture! I’m pretty freakin’ excited to join the iHeart Organizing team and I can’t wait to share a few organizing DIY projects with y’all!
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