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DIY Back to School Project - Upcycled Spinning Office Caddy - A Crafting Demo with Napkins and Cans

Updated on September 7, 2014

Can you believe it's already time to go back to school?

Summer has literally flown by. It's almost over. Parents and students across the land scramble to get supplies at the ready for the first day of class. While it should be a fun occasion gearing up for a great school year, it can get really stressful and ridiculously expensive.Follow the tutorial below to see how to make your own spinning office caddy. Personally, I'm going to use this one to store art supplies such as paintbrushes, markers, colored pencils and such for use at home. Being a former teacher, I know just how useful such items can be for students, teachers and parents.Let's face it, with the price of college tuition and books, it's a not so minor miracle that college students can afford to eat or that parents can feed and cloth those in high school. While public education is supposed to be "free and appropriate for all", if you are a parent or student, you know that in reality there is a whole lot of hidden expenses in that "free."Image credits; Vix. All images are my own pictures taken during the making of the project on 8/14/13 and 8/15/13.

School can be a challenge in many ways.

Some of it doesn't have to be.

Below you will find a detailed picture demonstration showing construction of the spinning office caddy seen in the introductory photograph. I got to thinking about what college was like for me the first time around.I've done college once and the universities twice. I can honestly say it just gets more expensive each time. The first time around was the hardest for me. I have found a large component of success is good organization.There are some things that are needed for organization such as supply caddies, pencil holders, binders, charging stations, drop boxes for keys, flash drives and ID's and such that just make things go smoother.

Sammie caught in the act
Sammie caught in the act

My goal is to show you how to make useful items for free, or really close to it.

Look for a series of lenses posted over the next week or so showing how to make all of the items listed above for less than five dollars, guaranteed. For now, let's scope on the office caddy. It's perfect for holding all those supplies for making posters, maps, presentations, banners and the like.Total cost for this project for me was nadda, zero, zilch. I had all the materials. I did have to get one tool, a one hole punch. I don't count that in the cost because I will use it over and over and was replacing the one I seem to have misplaced. After the galleries, substitution lists for the supplies are included.I suspect my kitty, Sammie has appropriated the "misplaced" hole punch. She has "appropriated" many items over the last few weeks :). That's her, as I was working on this, caught red pawed "appropriating" my keys, again.But, I digress. It's time to get to the goodies. I bet you have most, if not all of the materials, too. Let's check it out.

How to assemble a DIY spinning office caddy from cans and napkins

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Materials:  1 regular can, 5 Pringles potato chip cans, Mod Podge, paper napkins, markers, ribbon, pony beads, brads, tape and five large beads.Start by coloring the paper napkins however you want.  You will need one or two for each can depending on the size of the cans you use.I needed six.I covered the cans in uncolored napkins and then went over that with the decorated ones.  I recommend using construction paper instead on the bottom.I had some of the Pringles cans show through after the Mod Podge, so use plain white paper first to prevent any little spots showing.Just roll it around the can and glue.For the interior can, the part that will spin I went plain white.When all of your cans are done, apply two coats of Mod Podge.Be sure to glue down on the inside and bottom of can any overlap.
Materials:  1 regular can, 5 Pringles potato chip cans, Mod Podge, paper napkins, markers, ribbon, pony beads, brads, tape and five large beads.
Materials: 1 regular can, 5 Pringles potato chip cans, Mod Podge, paper napkins, markers, ribbon, pony beads, brads, tape and five large beads.
Start by coloring the paper napkins however you want.  You will need one or two for each can depending on the size of the cans you use.
Start by coloring the paper napkins however you want. You will need one or two for each can depending on the size of the cans you use.
I needed six.
I needed six.
I covered the cans in uncolored napkins and then went over that with the decorated ones.  I recommend using construction paper instead on the bottom.
I covered the cans in uncolored napkins and then went over that with the decorated ones. I recommend using construction paper instead on the bottom.
I had some of the Pringles cans show through after the Mod Podge, so use plain white paper first to prevent any little spots showing.
I had some of the Pringles cans show through after the Mod Podge, so use plain white paper first to prevent any little spots showing.
Just roll it around the can and glue.
Just roll it around the can and glue.
For the interior can, the part that will spin I went plain white.
For the interior can, the part that will spin I went plain white.
When all of your cans are done, apply two coats of Mod Podge.
When all of your cans are done, apply two coats of Mod Podge.
Be sure to glue down on the inside and bottom of can any overlap.
Be sure to glue down on the inside and bottom of can any overlap.

Putting it all together

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Put a Pringles can inside the regular can. If it's hard to get in, duct tape the bottom really tight and it will go. Outer cans connect to it.Punch holes, a minimum of two, on the back of each Pringles can to attach to the center can where you will match the two holes for each.I found a cork screw was easier than the hole punch. The center can will spin inside the regular can with the other cans attached.Connect the cans by inserting brads into the center can. Place on your beads and insert through outer can.Repeat for all cans.It was a little wobbly when spinning, so instead of taking it apart and doing more holes, I glued fat beads between outer and inner cans.Load up your stuff :).
Put a Pringles can inside the regular can. If it's hard to get in, duct tape the bottom really tight and it will go. Outer cans connect to it.
Put a Pringles can inside the regular can. If it's hard to get in, duct tape the bottom really tight and it will go. Outer cans connect to it.
Punch holes, a minimum of two, on the back of each Pringles can to attach to the center can where you will match the two holes for each.
Punch holes, a minimum of two, on the back of each Pringles can to attach to the center can where you will match the two holes for each.
I found a cork screw was easier than the hole punch. The center can will spin inside the regular can with the other cans attached.
I found a cork screw was easier than the hole punch. The center can will spin inside the regular can with the other cans attached.
Connect the cans by inserting brads into the center can. Place on your beads and insert through outer can.
Connect the cans by inserting brads into the center can. Place on your beads and insert through outer can.
Repeat for all cans.
Repeat for all cans.
It was a little wobbly when spinning, so instead of taking it apart and doing more holes, I glued fat beads between outer and inner cans.
It was a little wobbly when spinning, so instead of taking it apart and doing more holes, I glued fat beads between outer and inner cans.
Load up your stuff :).
Load up your stuff :).

Ready made or hand made?

Would you color your own patterns, or prefer using a pre-printed pattern?

See results

Free, found or dirt cheap alternatives to paper napkins for this project:

The goal of upcycling is not just giving things a new life, but also learning to use exactly what you have on hand at the moment. Such thinking will serve you well while saving you time, gas and money.Alternatives: Duct tape, bandannas, comic book pages, old calendar pages, gift paper, newspaper

Alternatives to brads and beads:

For brads: Dowel rods, popsickle sticks, pipe cleaners, zip ties, twist ties, stiff tubing, barrel connectors.For beads: Pebbles, glass, tile, wrapped ribbon, pom poms, blocks, puzzle pieces.

What items would you like to be able to make DIY on the cheap?

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    • Rhonda Lytle profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      ~ peachpurple - Thank you! It means a lot to me that the directions are easy to follow. I hate trying to do a project with directions that make no sense. God love you and most happy craft projects!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love diy stuff, these craft is very easy to follow, voted up