Craftapple has a brilliant idea: the car organizer, a box that sits in your car and holds all that stuff that normally gets dumped somewhere in the backseat or the glove compartment. You can buy the pattern and make it just like they did, or…
…you can opt for my version, which involves no working with fabrics.
The essentials of the box are:
- That it’s sturdy enough to stand up with whatever you’re going to put in it
- If you want to use it in the middle of the backseat, have a strap on the back which the seatbelt can go through to hold it in place.
Beyond that, you can pretty much do what you want. If you’re not into working with fabric, or you’re afraid the kids will just mess it up so you want something easier to replace or clean, you could cover a cardboard box in recycled paper or old gift wrap. To make the divider, use another piece of cardboard and tape it into place with durable tape, then cover it with paper, too.
For extra durability, apply Mod Podge all over it – within 10 minutes, it seals the finish against spills and tears.
The seatbelt strap is also pretty simple: just put a thick strip of something – paper, fabric, whatever – vertically along the back, glue into place and then Mod Podge it. If you want pen holders on the side, you can do the same thing.
- A box
- Scissors or box cutters
- Newspaper or other recycled paper
- Mod Podge (or a similar art finish product)
- Glue stick or glue
The detailed steps:
- Find a nice sturdy box that’ll hold your stuff. Figure out how many dividers you want, and whether you want a seatbelt strap and/or pen holders.
- Cover the outside of the box (four sides and bottom) in your recycled paper. Use a glue stick or glue to smooth the paper into place for now. Trim rough edges. One layer will do, but you can use more to make it sturdier or to achieve the look you want.
- Make your seatbelt strap. Cut several straps of paper (roughly two inches wide by 8 inches long) and glue them to each other, leaving enough slack to fit the seatbelt handle through, but no more than that. If you’re using newspaper, I’d go for at least 5 layers. Glue it onto the back.
- Make your pen holders and pockets. If you’re only going to have pens with clips, you can do this the super easy way – just a little strap of layered paper (like in the last step), maybe an inch wide. Put a pen against the box and mold the strap around it. Glue it into place or use tape if the glue doesn’t work well with your paper at that size. If you want to hold pencils (or sunglasses), make your layered strap of paper, put whatever you want to hold on the side of the box and mold the layered paper around it. TIP: if the newspaper is hard to work with for molding your pockets, dampen it a little. Glue won’t hold it in place if it’s damp, but it should dry quickly. Or you can use tape.
- Make your divider from another box – this is just a piece of cardboard cut to fit vertically into your box. Put it inside the box. Use strong tape to fix it into place.
- Line the inside with paper. Do this just as you did with the outside. If you have trouble smoothing the paper around the top edges, remember the dampening trick. Glue it all into place.
- Mod podge it! Paint it with the mod podge according to instructions on the bottle, then let it dry.