Tea Storage Box

The Problem: I have a lot of tea.

Lots of tea
Okay, so is having a lot of tea really a problem? Definitely not! Is having nowhere to put it because I can’t seem to drink it fast enough a problem? Yeah probably. Side note: yes, that flower box is full of tea.

Welcome to part two in my series of “How on Earth do I Organize my (not) Ikea Storage Cubbies?” Honestly, I use the things I need to store as inspiration for how to use the cubbies. For this storage box, the inspiration was my tea!

If you have not yet seen Part 1: Storing my First Aid Supplies, you can check it out here. You don’t need to do that project in order to do this one, though.

Without further ado…

The Solution:

 

Cubby Storage 2
I’ve been drinking tea like a crazy person since I made this – it’s just so easy to get to now!

Step one: Measure out and tape together your pieces.

Layout
When it says “minus material thickness”, it means to measure how thick whatever material you’re using is (in my case I’m using foam core which is generally 3/16 inch) then subtract it from your height/depth. For example when I calculated my bottom piece, I did 11-(3/16) which is 10 13/16.

When you tape the pieces together, you’re going to want to run packing tape all the way around the seam, front and back. That’s going to make a sturdy hinge. The most important part, though, is to leave room between your pieces so that it bends well. Ideally, you should leave your material thickness times two between your pieces (for example since my material thickness is 3/16, I’d leave 6/16th or 3/8th between my pieces. If you’d like you can see how I did that so that my pieces would be parallel here.

Step two: Decorate the front! Below is the box in the cubby with everything in it, then I realized, of yeah, I should probably make it prettier than just a white piece of foam core… It’s definitely not ideal to decorate it when it’s all done because then you can’t work on a nice flat surface. What a pain in the butt. So here’s where I’m gonna show you how I decorated mine in hopes that you won’t make my same mistake – finishing the box then having to decorate on a vertical surface.

Decorating
I used this wicked awesome textured felt I found on sale at Michaels, but it’s not big enough to cover the whole front and if I used two pieces, there’s no way I could get the textures to line up. The way I solved this problem was to cut the felt to width, then cut a slice off the top, glue the bigger piece to the bottom of the front and the smaller piece to the top of the front and use the empty space as a label! I covered the empty space with some black paper (because I wanted it black) and wrote “Tea” on it. I then used an antique looking button, glued a smaller button on the bottom of it to give it some height, and glued the whole thing on to act as a door pull.

Step three: Create a shelf on the door. Before I did that, I wanted to see if my tins would fit on the door widthwise. My little cutting mat tip is that you can use it to measure spaces. I lined my tins up on it and could see that they would fit in a 10.75×2-inch space, with a little breathing room. I use this measuring method all the time.

Measuring how many tins I can fit_Width
My other little tip: that Get Happy tea is phenomenal. I’m obsessed.
Building a shelf
Heres the bottom and sides of the shelf. Remember when you’re making the bottom, you can make it the width of your cubby ONLY if the sides sit on top of it! I chose to run the sides of my shelf down so I had to account for that material thickness when measuring my shelf bottom.
How far the shelf needs to be from the top
Here I’ve already added a bar to hold my tins in. Next, I want to measure how far up my tins reach from the top of the bar. That way when I glue the shelf on, I can put it low enough.
Gluing on the shelf
Not only did I have to account for the height of the tin when I glued the shelf on, but I also had to account for the swing of the door. If I’d glued the shelf so that the tins reached the top, the door wouldn’t swing open. I added about 2 inches of extra space at the top, but I probably could have gotten away with leaving closer to an inch.

Step four: Add a storage slot to use up the space under the shelf.

Adding a storage slot
Now that the shelf is where it needs to be, there’s some space under it I could add a little slot for small stuff. I cut some sides that are the same height as the shelf, but the length of them doesn’t take up the entire space from the shelf to the end of the foam core piece because I need to put a bottom piece on the slot. My side pieces are the length minus my material thickness. The bottom piece (laying down to the right) is the entire width of the box.
Making sure it bends closed
There we go! One shelf pointing up, one slot on the side, no material hanging over the edges (making it so it doesn’t fit into our cubby) and the bottom of the slot doesn’t stick out making the pieces unable to bend at 90 degrees!

Step five: Add a shelf onto the bottom.

Testing the depth
Holy bananas. I could not have made that box fit better if Id planned it… which I totally did… Side note: I can never craft without something in the background. I think I’m watching that new show Lore by Aaron Mahnke, based on his podcast of the same name. I love the podcast and the show is wicked good too! Definitely creepy though, not for kids I don’t think.
Adding the shelf top
Creating the bottom shelf was pretty simple – I just had to add a couple sides up against the edges of the bottom (that were the height of my box) then lay a piece of foam core the width of the box on top. Key things to remember: the bottom shelf couldn’t take up the same space as the front shelf when the front shelf was angeled all the way up, and the bar on the front shelf (to hold the tins in) sticks out so if the shelf is as high as that bar, it needs to be even smaller depthwise.
Testing fit
Check it out! It all fits! Guys, I honestly didn’t think I would be able to get it all to fit. That giant container of rock sugar?? All of it’s in there! See the bit of space between the bottom shelf and the front shelf with the bar squished in between? That’s what I was talking about earlier, accounting for that bar.
It all fits in!
Voila! It all fits in! This cubby box doesn’t even need to be taped in or anything – it just slides in and the weight of what you put in it holds it in the cubby!

I’m having so much fun with these cubby boxes; they’re just so inexpensive and fun to make! Plus little by little my room’s getting less and less messy! That’s definitely a fringe benefit.

Please make, make changes, update, and let me know how it goes! Collaborative projects make for the best projects!!

xxEGinny

First Aid Box

 The Problem: My first aid things are way too difficult to get to.

What a mess
Yup, most of it’s stored in Birchboxes and a Milano cookie box. What a pain in the butt.

To be honest though, the majority of my storing problem comes from the fact that I use those Ikea (admittedly, Ikea knockoff) storage cubbies. They’re great, but a little too deep and tall for most of what I want to store. I could use baskets, but then I have to dig through other stuff to get to the bottom. I could just add shelves into them, but then they’re too narrow and deep. So how could I use that storage space most efficiently?

Cubby Storage 1
When its closed its a clean, flat surface. Then the top of the front opens for quick access, then the bottom comes out for quick access for larger things, then in the back I can store things I only need sometimes! I’ve been using this for a while now and I love it!!

How it works is actually pretty simple. There are four sides (top, back, bottom, and front) and the top is taped onto the top of the cubby so that when it’s pulled out, where it’s taped on top acts like a hinge and when it’s pushed back in, the ridgity of the sides push each other back into place!

Step one: Cut out the pieces

Pattern
When it says “minus material thickness x2”, it means to measure how thick whatever material you’re using is (in my case I’m using foam core which is generally 3/16 inch) multiply it by two (3/16 x 2 = 6/16 or 3/8) then subtract that number from your height/depth. For example when I calculated my back piece, I did 11-(3/16 x 2) or 11-(3/8) which is 10 5/8.

Step two: Tape the pieces together. You’ll tape them in the same order that they’re laid out in above!

Taping the pieces together
The reason why you needed to subtract material thickness from the pieces is because they need room to move around, stack, and manipulate in the cubby. Here’s where you’re going to put that thickness back in! You want to add that space (material thickness x2) in as open space between your pieces. The easiest way I found to do that was to use scotch tape to tape one side down exactly parallel on a mat, then tape the piece you’re taping it to however far away it needs to be (material thickness x2). Once the pieces are where they need to be, you can tape over the whole thing with packing tape (the scotch tape should be under the packing tape and therefore not show in the end. After that, you can lift both pieces off the mat and continue the packing tape all the way around for a solid seam.
Taping all the pieces together
Here all the pieces are taped together. If the pieces had been taped together without any space between them, they wouldn’t be able to end like that.

 

Test the fit
For my own piece of mind, promise me that you’ll test the fit after this step. Please? Too many times I’ve thought, “oh this is totally gonna work I’m gonna finish it before I test it out because it’s gonna be so cool to do a big reveal of it all done” … then it doesn’t work.

Step three: Decorate the front. I opted to do this now because the box is still flat which makes it easier. I used felt and glued it down.

Look at this awesome textured brown felt! On sale at Michaels #SuperFind
Lay your box on top of the felt to measure the width that you need your felt. It tends to be more efficient and accurate than using a ruler believe it or not! I learned the magic of a Rotery Cutter way too late in life. I can 100% vouch for how much easier having a rotary cutter will make your life and that Olfa is an excellent brand if you’re looking to add to your collection!
Make sure to hot glue on either side of your seam in front so that it still bends nicely.
There’s a method to my madness here: my felt wasn’t big enough to cover the whole front. To fix that, I cut my brown piece into two pieces and laid a pink label band between them (slightly overlapping). Then not only do I have a place to put my label, but it looks like the whole front is covered in the brown felt, shh… Also pictured is my wonderful Chalk Wheel which I used to draft my letters!

Step four: Make an open box for the bottom of the box… for lack of a better term.

Bottom Box
Put some sides onto the bottom piece. Note that you have to subtract material thickness for this too. The whole thing has to fit inside of the original box sides or they won’t fold up! My sides are roughly 3.5″. Why, you ask? That’s what I left over from the foam core I cut the pieces out of. I’m cheap lazy frugal.

Step five: Make a box for the back of the box… I really gotta figure out more descriptive terms.

Marking where the second box goes
To make the second box, you have to fold up the backside and mark here your first box goes up to so that they don’t overlap. Once you have that, you can make the box just like you did the one on the bottom.
Creating a window
Since the box on the backside will flip up, it needs to close. The lid I created used the semi-sturdy plastic from the packaging of a mug I recently bought. I then framed it in foam core.
Taping the window on
To make the lid flip up and down, use packaging tape to tape the bottom of the door then go ahead and put the lid on. Youll notice the tape is going the wrong way, so tape over that tape sticky to sticky) and stick it to the box. In the above picture, you can see the top of the lid out from under which protrudes some tape with another layer of tape over it ready to be taped onto the backside box.
Gluing the tab on
I cut a tab out of the mug packaging I had and used that to create a box latch, but any piece of plastic with a crease in it will do. I simply glued the tab to the underside of the top then glue some velcro onto it and the box. Some advice: the velcro does not need to be terribly strong. If it’s too strong like mine was) it will simply pull up the hot glue rather than come apart!
Measuring dividers
Measuring dividers is as simple as finding a piece of foam core and cutting it to fit. My suggestion, since the backside box tips up, is to use dividers the same height as the sides so that nothing slips from one side to the other as things get jostled around.
Measuring where dividers go
Tip of the day! Fabric measuring tapes can help you measure in tight spaces! Maybe this is an obvious one but I struggled with a straight ruler for way too long before realizing this…
What can go where
When your second box is done, tilt it up and see where it protrudes out to. I drew a line in my bottom box to remind me where I can put things that are taller than the sides and where they have to be shorter.

Step six: Make some small stuff storage.

Creating small containers
I found this egg carton in the recycling bin and got an idea… First, I had to make the top flat by cutting all the extra stuff off.
Cutting container top out
Next, I laid my now flat egg carton on top of some extra foam core and cut around it.
Measuring the doors
I wanted each egg compartment to have its own little door so I measured out 12 doors on the foam core. I used the side of a piece of foam core to measure the 3/16 inch distance around the door, because who has the time to use a ruler?
Corner cutting the doors
After cutting three sides of the doors (so the fourth is a hinge) I cut a 45-degree angle on the closing side of the door to make it easier to open and close.
ProTip
ProTip: if you’re gonna cut yourself, do it while making a first aid kit. Talk about easy band-aid access!
Adding handles
Once the doors are all cut out, glue the top onto the egg carton and glue the egg carton onto the top half of the door. I used little cut out pieces of foam board to little handles, but there might be something easier to grasp onto. As you can see, I’m already putting my things into it to see how it’s all going to fit!
Making sure it all fits
Test test test! This is just about everything I need to store and the box closes up nicely so everything fits! Woohoo!!

Step seven: Attach the storage into the cubby.

Attaching it to the cubby
Insert the box into the cubby and since the top is about 2 inches shorter than the cubby, you can simply use packaging tape to tape the top in like a hinge. Once thats done, take a small piece of foam core and hot glue it to the top of the cubby and hot glue some velcro onto it. Put glue on the other side of the velcro and close the box door, holding it shut on the velcro until the glue dries. Attaching velcro this way helps to make sure everything lines up!
Unexpected blessing
You learn something new when you do something new, right? I got lucky on this one! See how the piece of foam board in the back (technically the top piece) is bent? It definitely didn’t occur to me when I was building that the second box would collide with the top piece when it all got pulled out… Thankfully it simply creased the top piece and it all worked out great! Phew!

 

Please make, make changes, update, and let me know how it goes! Collaborative projects make for the best projects!!

 

xxEGinny