Wood Magazine File

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 09/22/2011 - 00:32
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Make your own wood magazine files with bookplates and decorative faces for $2.50 each! These quick and easy magazine files will create order and style in your home!

UPDATE: When I figured the 18 magazine files per sheet of 1/4" plywood, this was assuming a 45 degree angle on the sides. But I choose a 30 degree angle because it is easier to cut with a standard sliding 10" mitersaw. With a 30 degree angle, you will only be able to make 15 magazine files from a sheet of 1/4" plywood. If you would like to maximize the number of magazine files you can make, cut the ends at a 45 degree angle, longest point 12".

It is always the most simple of projects that require the deepest thinking. What's the term? 

Deceptively simple.

Believe it or not, it's taken me three go arounds to finally get to the point where I'm not just confident about posting plans for you, but making eighteen more for myself!  Finally, magazine file plans that are easy, inexpensive and sturdy - but not bulky or heavy!
And no longer deceptively simple!  Thanks to my numerous attempts (two to be precise that did not work out so well) making your own magazine files is not just cheaper but also easy to do!  Read on!
This is just a sneak peak of what my office is becoming (I'm pretty excited!) and these DIY magazine files with pretty fronts and book plates are certainly not hurting!
And if you want a more contemporary look at an even cheaper budget, try just painting the ends with chalkboard paint.  

$2.50 Each!!!

For solid wood!  With book plates!  Now everywhere I look, you can't buy the cardboard ones for under $10! And these ones are going to last you forever and ever.
I used scrap 1/4" PureBond Plywood (remember I'm committed to no more Formaldehyde furniture in my home), but to be fair, I'll give you an estimate of what each could cost if you were to go and buy all the materials today.

$1 in Wood Per File

You can make 18 magazine files from 1 full sheet of PureBond Plywood - so a little over a $1.00 in wood.

$.25 Per Bookplate

Book plates were found in the scrapbooking aisle at Joanns and cost $0.25 each.  I don't know why I haven't been using these for furniture!  They are the real deal, but cheap and come in a variety of sizes.  Mine came with brads, but you may need to purchase screws or brads.

Scrapbooking Paper is Pretty AND Cheap!

I used 1/3 sheet of scrapbooking paper for the decorative faces, amounting to $0.15 each.  I loved this stack called Linen Closet.

Other Stuff

We'll estimate the remaining $1.10 is for the bottom 1x4 board, nails and glue and modge podge.  
So how bout that?  Two and a half bucks and your precious magazines that you just can't quite bear to toss can now look pretty and organized in your office!  
How should we organize, by season or by title?
Dimensions are shown above. Sized to fit standard letter size with room.


Shopping List

1/4" plywood (for 9, use 1/2 sheet - for 18, use full sheet)
1x4 @ 8 feet long - 1 for 9, 2 for 18
Glue (Gorilla glue would be great here)
1 1/4" finish nails
Painter's Tape
Book Plates and fasteners
Modge Podge
Scrapbooking Paper (3 sheets for 9, 6 sheets for 18)

Cut List

Per File:
2 - 10" strips @ 12" long, one end cut at 30 degrees off square, longest point measurement (see diagrams in step 2)
1 - 1x4 @ 10" (bottom)
1 - 4" strip @ 12"
1 - 4" strip @ 6 1/4"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Have your hardware store cut your plywood into strips as shown in the diagram. Otherwise cut your plywood with a tablesaw into strips as shown in the diagram.

By cutting into strips, you can be sure that the plywood grain is all in the right direction, and your wood pieces are consistently the same width.

Step 2

When you cut your sides, you will be able to use the same cut for both sides as shown in diagram. I used one side as a pattern to cut all of my sides from.

Step 3

When you are finished cutting the pieces, nail the sides to the bottom as shown above with glue and 1 1/4" nails.

Here is a trick I do quite a bit when I'm working in the garage alone.  Since the 1x4 and 2x4 are the same height, I just put a scrap 2x4 under the unsupported half of the side I'm fastening, and then can dedicate my attention to nailing the side to the bottom.

Step 4

Once both sides are on, attach the front. You can only nail to the 1x bottom board. Glue the sides and tape with the painter's tape, getting the tightest possible joint.

This is actually the back shown, but you get the idea.
If you would like your magazine files to have a lower front, certainly, just cut the sides at a steeper angle and make the front lower.  No biggie!

Step 5

Step 6

For the decorative fronts, cut pieces of the scrapbooking paper to the size of the fronts (should be exactly 1/3 sheet of scrapbooking paper). Apply a coat of modge podge, apply the paper, followed with another coat of modge podge. Let dry.

Step 7

Mark the desired location of the bookplate holes.

Step 8

Drill holes with a bit matching the holes in the bookplates at the marked location.

Step 9

Attach bookplates to magazine files with the brads or screws if using screws. If using brads, use a hammer to flatten the brads inside the magazine file.

Step 10

Fill with magazines and enjoy!

Step 11

And for a more contemporary look (not to mention cheaper and easier) simply paint the faces with chalkboard paint!

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Kathy Webster-Link (not verified)

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 07:44

These are beautiful! Thank you for the plans and instructions. I forsee some beautiful craft room organizing in my future.


Thu, 09/22/2011 - 07:48

Wow - thanks, Ana! Gone are the days when I buy the ugly, flimsy ones from Ikea! And, I love that you used scrapbooking book plates for hardware - that is such a great money saver!

Guest (not verified)

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 09:49

I love this project as a mom of a young-not-so-rolling-in-the-money family I love that this project is affordable to make and personalize and cheaper than buying! Plus I love (underlined, maybe twice) the curtains that are in the corner of the final pic. If you don't mind sharing I would love to know where you got those!

Cherie Heltne (not verified)

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 09:51

Your office is looking beautiful! You just made my day! I have a ton of 1/4 plywood in the garage just begging to be made into these fabulous organizational tools! Can't wait to build some this afternoon!

Ana White

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 09:56

Thank you everyone, truly an easy project!

The curtains are DIY - I actually haven't quite finished them yet, but will let you know the fabric is available at Joanns and is the Modern Essentials print. Will post more details on that too!

Lori Ferris (not verified)

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 10:17

We keep some gardening magazines in our community garden shed for reference and enjoyment. The cheap ones just don't hold up to 40 families, but these will be perfect!

Thanks Ana!

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