Clutter Monster #4: Cork Board Organizer

Back to the organizing!

Here is a simple Cork Board/Earring Organizer for those, like me, have too much stuff for all those cutesy earring organizers one sees on craft sites. I mean, come on, I know you like twine and lace and all, but I own way more than six pairs of earrings. I’ve made more earrings than that. Don’t get me wrong, these are cute, and if I had a place to use them for decoration I would- but in terms of raw practical storage, I needs more room! I also realized that I keep a lot of bits of paper for things- notes, coupons, schedules, lists. So I also needed to be able to keep track of those without them taking over my table. I had some left-over cork sheets from a dorm decorating kit from years back- bingo! Crafting is equal parts figuring out what you need and creatively using what you have.

The basic idea here is to use a sturdy mesh inside a frame to give you many spots to hang earrings.

The mesh I like best- for practical use and price, is the plastic cross-stitch sheets that you can get at the craft store (plastic canvas). Sturdy and full of holes. You could also use leftover screen from a screen door, a loose weave fabric (like burlap or cheese cloth), and even peg-board would be good.

For frames, a regular picture frame works great. I have one made with the plastic mesh and plain frame that works fantastic. Recycle old frames, or pick one up from a thrift store. For this particular project I wanted to use my left-over cork sheets, and if you want to make one out of cork you can get the same kind of sheets at the craft store or in the dorm section of Target. I needed to back the frame in order to give it depth so that the backs of the earrings had somewhere to go- for this I used thick foam sheets, also cheap and also at the craft store.


  1. Cut-out square from inside cork sheet with a sharp box cutter or exacto knife.
  2. Cut plastic canvas to fit over square with overlap on the margins.
  3. Use hot glue gun to adhere plastic canvas to cork.
  4. Cut foam into strips smaller than the width of the cork frame.
  5. Use hot glue to adhere foam strips to create a back-frame.
  6. Decorate cork: I used acrylic paint and a stencil.

Look at all the room for activities!



DIY Painted Wooden Bead Necklace

So I’ve had this idea sitting around in my head for a few months, it is really quite novel and I’m sure no one has thought of it before: paint wooden beads and string them into an awesome necklace! Put paint on things! Well, apparently Kate Spade beat me to the punch here, which I found from another DIY on painted wooden beads here, and then another one here. Damn. Someone else had the idea to paint things! Balls. (wooden ones. with paint). Also, holyshitthatballnecklaceis128dollars. americandollars. thatslike5euros. So I thought I better get on the ball with this before it swarms pinterest and I’m just another “craft your own painted ball thing.”

This little project was actually quite fun and I’ve done it with two color pallets and with different stringing methods. One of the great things about a project like this is being able to develop a particular color and texture set that you can use on multiple projects to give yourself coordinating accessories. For my first color scheme I’m using the same paint and ribbon from my DIY Summer Glitter Shoes, so I will have at least one thing that will match my shoes perfectly! This project also allows you to experiment with top trending colors (tangerine tango, neons, bright pastels, etc) without having to commit a lot of money to something that will be passe in a few months.

Painting the Beads:

Step 1:  Decide how many beads you want to be painted half color/wood, half color/color, whole, striped, or anything else you can imagine. On the aqua necklace I just randomly picked up beads and painted them, but with the neon one I did the painting more systematically. On the half ones, use the painter’s tape to tape off half of the bead- this is much more difficult than it seems. If you are OCD you may want to not do this part, because it is almost impossible to get it perfectly in half.

Step 2: Paint the beads!! Using the toothpick really helps, and I would also prop up the bead using my nails. Not recommended to do after a manicure.

Step 3: I also decided to glitter some of the beads. While the paint is still wet dip in glitter (this was easy to do with the glitter mixed into a bowl) and gently tap off of the excess. Warning. Glitter will get everywhere and will show up five weeks later still in your hair.

Step 4: Let each bead dry after each step. I found that hanging them between two paint bottles worked the best.

Step 5: When painting half and half beads, first paint one bead a whole color and when the paint is dry wrap it with painter’s tape and then paint the other color. Choose high contrasting colors and paint the second color thick enough to cover the first color- use multiple thin coats instead of one thick one.

Step 6: The same goes with the stripe beads- just use a thin bit of painter’s tape.

Step 7: Use clear nail polish to seal in the glitter (do this!!!) and add to the other beads to give a nice high-gloss finish. This will also smooth out brush strokes and make everything shiny. I suggest trying some with the wood left bare (Aqua Necklace) and some with the wood glossed (Neon Necklace).

Step 8: Let the beads dry again by suspension. Now, marvel at your awesomeness.

Stringing the Beads:

For my Aqua Necklace I did a simple stringing of the beads onto some coordinating ribbons and then used lots of bows to tie them together. See the photos below these instructions. With the Neon Necklace, I used chains and some ribbon along with some basic wire beading to string the beads onto the chain.

Step 1: Look at the awesome beads that are black and neon.

Step 2: The necklace bits: chain, chain with ribbon woven inside of it, and ribbon. I cut the chain to 22″, the woven chain to 24″, and the ribbon I just looped back around to the other side to get a length close to 26.”

Step 3: Wire bits: Get some needle-nose pliers and another set of pliers that you like to use, spacer beads (I chose black), and some straight pins. If you plan on doing more jewelry crafts then I suggest getting a set of jewelry pliers- they sell them at craft stores and bead shops.

Step 4: Find the place on your chain that you wish to attach the wooden bead. Run the straight pin through the spacer bead, then through the wooden bead, and then through the chain link.

Step 5: Use the needle-nose pliers to bend the wire down and then carefully cut the excess with a wire cutter.

Step 6: With the needle-nose pliers, bend the wire into a loop encasing the chain link. Make sure rough edges are not sticking out.

Step 7: Attach chain parts together with a jump ring on each side and tie the ribbon together in a knot. You can dab glue or Fray-Check on the knot to keep it tied. On one jump ring also attach a lobster hook and on the other jump ring attach a bit of left-over chain to make the necklace a bit adjustable.

Finished Products:

note: I used Fray-Check on the cut portions of the ribbons to keep them from unraveling.

I hope you enjoy this little project! Also, credit for the photography and the studio set up goes to Andre LaFleur, go see more of his work.


Clutter Monster #3: Nail Polish Rack

For this installment of the Clutter Monster series I will try and attempt to attack my growing addiction to collecting nail polish by creating a rack You know, to hang on the wall. For organization. and things. and it is pretty. America.

For the Construction:

Photo One: These are the supplies I used to create my rack; I used balsa wood because it is a lightweight material that would be easy for me to cut without major hardware. If you have a larger collection I highly recommend moving up to a much sturdier wood, basic pine, and either having the materials cut for you at the hardware store or borrowing a saw. Hell. Just go ahead and buy a table saw. It is useful. for things. Also handy: measuring tape, wood glue, nails, hammer, level, painter’s tape, paint, brushes, and as you can see I also picked up some decorative trim from the craft store (right next to the balsa wood) to be used as a little railing.

Photo Two: Cutting the balsa wood is fairly easy, use something sturdy with a straight edge and a heavy duty box cutter. The edges will be rough and sand paper will help some, but as you will see later on that rough edges are just going to be part of using the balsa wood. I bought three pieces of 4 inch wide balsa wood that were 36 inches long. I cut them to give me three inner horizontal pieces, two exterior horizontal pieces, and two vertical pieces. The inner pieces were 1/2 an inch shorter than the exterior horizontal pieces to account for the 1/4 width of the wood, so they ended up being 11.5 inches and 12 inches respectfully. The vertical pieces were cut to 20 inches.

Photo Three: Assemblage. I stared on one of the vertical pieces and I first attached the base by applying a line of glue and then two nails. Since the balsa wood is sooooo soft the nails more or less just push in and require a light tap with the hammer to finish them off. Also, I made the measurements and design so that the vertical pieces sit on top of the base rather than to the outside of it. I then spaced the three inside pieces evenly across the inside and applied them in similar fashion: line of glue and two nails. Use the level to hep make sure everything is straight. Mine ended up a bit tipsy. That might have something to do with the beer. Maybe.

Photo Four: Slap the other side on! Not quite that easy, but it isn’t rocket science. Just make sure that the inside places are matching up to the marks they should be hitting and that the shelves are not pitched too far forward or backward. Again use some glue and nails to set everything once you have used a level to adjust the placement. Now the basic frame is done! Grab another beer!

Photo Five and Six: At this point I have decided to use the wood glue as a bit of a sealing agent and a smoothing putty. I gobbed it up on my finger and ran it across the abutting seams and then I used it to coat the inevitable rough side of the cut balsa wood in an attempt to smooth out the shards of soft wood. I probably could have used a second coat on the rough cut bits, but It was successfully painted over, which was the initial goal.

Photo Seven: Attach the rails. The rails are the decorative wood pieces and I just used big kitchen shears to cut them the full length across the front. These rails are to make sure that as you are moving polish on and off the rack you don’t accidentally knock all of the polishes off of the rest of the shelf. Not that I have ever done that. ever. Decide which direction is up and down and use the wood glue to place the rail about 2 inches above the shelf, and then place something heavy on top of the project to let the whole thing dry solid.

You are constructed!!

Here is just a friendly PSA:

For the Decoration:

Obviously this part is really up to you and your tastes, but racing stripes are cool. right? RIGHT?!

Photo One: I decided to go with black as my base as most polish containers have black on them and I thought adding too much color to it could distort the perception of color of the polish. Color theory is a thing I think about too much sometimes. I wanted to use spray paint because it was quick and easy and to give a good base coat. Balsa wood being soft soaks up acrylic paint so having a base coat or primer coat really helps the intended finish shine through. Alas, I ran out of spray paint before the whole thing had a coat on it so I just moved on to my acrylics.

Photo Two: I did a thick coat of Martha Stewart’s Satin Finish craft acrylic paint in black and decided that the sides needed some foofying up. foofying. I said it. Pulled out the painter’s tape once the black had dried completely and laid out a design. Make sure the edges are sealed.

Photo Three: To help remove the tape later fold over the edge so that you make a little tab. This is also helpful to do to the tape still on the roll. Especially if that tape happens to be clear packing tape.

Photo Four: Paint all the things! I used a gold metallic paint because I am awesome enough to use metallic paints.

Foto Phive: Look at the gold paint!!!

Photo Six: Pull off the paint while the paint is not quite dry yet. This is my favorite part! It is like watching a magic trick! except without the fear of being chopped in half. That is a good thing.

Photo Seven: I glued some felt to each the corners to help keep the rack from scratching the wall. It is a good life hack for those who want to protect their walls, or their apartment walls, or their parents walls. You’re welcome Mom.

Photo Eight: It is almost finished!! I covered the project with a coat of Krylon clear gloss spray paint as a nice little varnish. To hang: If you have a small collection (who does that really?!) a basic nail mount will work, but mine was too heavy for that. I used a picture frame mounting system: little triangle tabs attached at the second from top shelf that sit on nails in the wall.

Hang and Enjoy! Happy Crafting!!


Clutter Monster #2: Plastic Drawer DIY

For this second installment of the Clutter Monster feature is a decoupage face-lift of a ready-made organizing gem: a tabletop plastic drawer. These little plastic drawers are just perfect for organizing desks, craft spaces, and jewelry spaces, but their major drawback is the garish white plastic blob they leave on the the table. At first I tried to spray paint it, but that didn’t quite fix the problem so I have decided to use this as an opportunity to show you how the traditional craft of decoupage can liven up your organizing space.

Decoupage is really about the simplest craft you can do, and depending on how dedicated you are to the project supplies can range from the simple to to the Cadillac variety.  The first thing you need is a surface to decorate, and if you are using plastic like me, then I suggest priming the surface with some spray paint to even out any color changes and it also gives a texture for the adhesive to stick to. As far as decorations, really any paper product will work. I just loved the look of the antique maps so I picked up a wall calendar at an after Christmas sale at a bookstore. The next thing you need is an adhesive- diluted craft glue will work just fine, or you can pick up Modge Podge for decoupage. The method is simple but it does take some patience, something I desperately need more of in my life. Ha- maybe crafting will give me some zen. Essentially, apply a layer of adhesive to the surface and then the paper and then smooth the paper onto the surface. You will have to brandish out air bubbles as it dries and thicker paper will cause more bubbles. You can use a sponge or a Popsicle stick or even your au naturale finger to press the air out from underneath the paper. The adhesive mixture will act like a varnish to cover your project but I also covered mine with a coat of clear gloss Krylon paint spray- one of my best friends!!

I wanted to add a little more design to the end product so I used some rubber stamps and gold ink. This kind of project is great for mixed media and using leftover parts from past craft projects. It is also a good way to use any “pretty paper” you might have collected along the way: cards, wrapping, scrapbook,calendars, or just about anything.

Happy Crafting!


DIY Clutter Monster Solutions

Clutter MonsterI am ashamed to admit this, but I must… I have an infestation of the clutter monsters. These cute and cuddly beasties live primarily on horizontal surfaces, my floors, and (big shock) my brain space. They thrive off of a healthy diet of mail, bobby pins, and yarn scraps. Not to mention their affinity for collecting missing earrings and craft ideas. I tried calling the humane society but they were a little preoccupied with ‘gators and Mardi Gras revelers to deal with my infestation. So I decided to take action- it was getting desperate, I swear one of them whispered “resistance is futile” while I was drifting off to sleep. Alas, this brings us to the first of (I hope) many DIY projects to help you combat your own clutter monsters.

Enter: The Necklace Board

This simple project came to me out of frustration- namely, not being able to find jewlery organizers that held enough of the good stuff (really, who only has three necklaces?!?) or not finding anything that would be attractive and simultaneously cost effective (I’m looking at you Urban Outfitters…).  This was easily put together in one night from supplies gathered at le locale crafte shoppe.

Supplies (Step 1)

  • One piece of wood section- for the base
  • Decorative wood molding- for the front (seen on the bottom of the photo)
  • Plain wood molding- to make a ridge on the back (seen on the top of the photo)
  • Wooden pegs and peg-hole disks
  • Wood glue (other super-duty glue would work just fine)
  • Acrylic paint in your pallet
  • Sand paper
  • Beer
  • Optional: Cat (see photo)

Instructables Step 2: Use the sand paper or even an emery board to smooth off any big nicks or rough spots on the wood. Apply a line of wood glue along the decorative molding and secure in place- binder clips work great! Let dry.

Step 3: Grab a beer. Pet the cat. Run wood glue along the pegs and insert into the wagon wheel looking guys. Use a q-tip to wipe up any over-gush of glue, it will dry clear but this will help it look nice.

Step 4: Prime with plain white acrylic paint. This is not vital, but seeing as wood is porous and absorbs paint, and that I was using a metallic gold that I wanted to pop, I recommend priming your surface for even coverage.


Step 6: Paint designs as you see fit- I wanted a big-ole stripe of my favorite aqua blue so I just slapped it on there with some painters tape. Suggestions: chevrons, zigzags, stripes, decoupage… extra ten points for bead-azzling.

Step 7: I wanted to tone and texture the piece and give it some of that shabby-chic-antique look so I watered down some black acrylic paint and swiped it over the project using a wet paper towel. Lightly put on- lightly wipe off again- just so the black got into the nooks and crannies.

Step 8: Dab wood glue on the back of the pegs and arrange on the board- be careful not to use too much because glue-gush at this point could interfere with the paint job. Again, a damp-ish q-tip is great for clean up. Place a heavy book on top to add pressure and let sit overnight in a cat-free zone.


Damn! look at those clutter monsters go! Just to point out some of the other great clutter-combatants featured here: Chez-small square bowls, antique mirror tray from my grandmother’s house, ugly plastic drawer. Hmm…. I should be able to do something with that ugly drawer…