Simple and Stylish Magazine Holders

By Chrysti Hydeck

See Chrysti’s studio in Cloth Paper Scissors Studios Fall/Winter 2008.

An organized, streamlined space puts me on Cloud 9, so when faced with the dilemma of storing hundreds of magazines, pads of paper, pads, and similar objects—while staying on budget—I  opted to personalize some inexpensive magazine holders I found at a chain home furnishings store.

As inspiration for my design, I looked no further than the box full of letters from my grandma. What a comfort it would be to catch glimpses of her words and writing daily as I scanned my studio.


  • Gel medium
  • Foam brush
  • Clear spray sealant
  • Ephemera or mulberry cardstock
  • Cardboard magazine files
  • X-acto® knife


  • Burnishing tool (brayer, bone folder, old credit card)
  • Baby wipes

tips for aging ephemera

Take letters from a loved one, awards and certificates, or any other personal document that holds value to you, and turn it into a convincing antique.

Note: If you don’t have a scanner and photo-editing software at home, you can do this at a copy center.

  • Scan the documents at a high resolution.
  • Instantly age the scanned images by changing the toning. Use photo-editing software on your computer, or use a free, online graphics editor like to make it even simpler. I like the sepia tints, but you may prefer another option.
  • Print them with your own laser printer, or at a copy center. You can use an inkjet printer, but you’ll have to seal them so they don’t smear.

additional storage ideas

Storage isn’t just limited to magazines for these beauties; think outside of the box and you will find they make handy storage for all sorts of items.

Some of my favorite uses are:

  • Old book covers that I plan to alter
  • Artist paper pad storage
  • Journals
  • Mat board and chipboard storage
  • Books that you cut apart
  • Folders of paper, or prints you plan to frame
  • Unsightly binders
  • Kits


  1. Cut out your ephemera and consider where you wish to arrange the papers on the plain box.

  2. Spread a generous amount of gel medium over the spine of the holder and also on the back side of the paper. Using a good amount of medium and coating both pieces helps prevent wrinkling and ensures good adhesion. Do not allow this to dry!

  3. Before the medium dries, align paper as desired and press it onto the box, smoothing it from the center outward with your fingertips. Allowing the paper to overlap onto the sides gives the files a cleaner look, and can be easily worked into the design. Repeat this process until the box is covered to your liking.

    Tip: For a clean look over the cut-out circle, simply place the paper over it, as if it were solid. Once it has dried, use an X-acto knife to cut an X-shaped slit through the center of the hole. This will leave you with 4 triangles that can easily be bent over the rim and onto the inside of the holder.  Use gel medium to secure the pieces in place.

  4. Press out any bubbles or wrinkles that may form with your fingers or a burnishing tool. You can also use a tiny pin to release the air. I keep baby wipes handy so I can remove the dried bits of medium from my fingers before they stick to my project.

  5. Use the foam brush to apply a thin, even coat of gel medium over the paper; allow to dry, then give it another coat.

  6. You’ll want to use a spray sealant once it’s completely dry to help avoid any tackiness the gel medium may leave; this is especially important for those of us in humid climates!

  7. Use tags, a label punch, or label maker to label your magazine files.

  8. 8. Stand back and admire you beautiful organization.

for the mulberry paper covers

The steps are practically the same, except you tear the pieces of the mulberry paper instead of cutting it. The torn edges, when wet with the gel medium, form a cohesive surface that helps eliminate the hassle of seams, creases, and wrinkles that may otherwise form throughout the project.

You could also use pretty papers, sewing patterns, or dive into your paper scrap bin and turn these into paper quilts! Fabric, mesh, and old maps also make interesting covers.


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