Inspired Office Accessories

Blueprint, May/June 2007

Designer Stephanie Wenzel turned her no-frills apartment into a inspiring office and home with a little help from her local hardware store.

Here, she shares her favorite DIY projects.

Wall Storage Unit
To organize fabric swatches, Stephanie created this storage unit (left) on the wall by screwing wooden magazine files into a sheet of plywood.

Tools and Materials
18 "Knuff" magazine files from Ikea,
2-by-4-foot piece of 3/4-inch-thick birch plywood (custom cut from a 4-by-8-foot sheet)
One box 100 steel #8 countersunk finish washers
One box 100 flathead 8-by-3/4-inch Phillips sheet metal screws
Howard Citrus Shield Natural Paste Wax,
Four 4-by-3/16-inch toggle bolts,


File Organizer
To tame her folders, invoice binders, and catalogs, Stephanie created custom desktop organizers by screwing U-bolts into blocks of 1/2-inch-thick fiberboard.

Tools and Materials
1/2-inch-thick Homasote fiberboard, cut into a 9-by-18-inch pieces
Five 5/16-by-2 1/2-by-5 5/8-inch U-bolts, with their accompanying plates and hex nuts,
Ten 5/16-by-1/2-by-17/32-inch nylon acorn nuts,

File Organizer How-To
1. Lay the fiberboard flat on a worktable, with one of the long sides facing you (like a computer keyboard).

2. Using a ruler and a pencil, measure and mark where the U-bolt rods will pass through the fiberboard: Make the first mark 3 inches down from the top edge and 1 inch from left edge. Then measure 2 13/16 inches down from the first mark and 1 inch in from the left edge, and make another mark.

3. Mark the next pair of holes 4 inches to the right of your first set, and repeat until you have 5 sets of marks.

4. Using a 5/16-inch bit, drill a hole at each marked point and remove any debris.

5. Now take one U-bolt and screw a hex nut onto each of its rods, twisting them up about one inch from the bottom of the rods. Slide a plate onto the pair of rods, then feed the ends of the rods through the first pair of holes in the fiberboard.

6. Attach an acorn nut to the end of each rod (to keep them from scratching your desktop). Adjust the nuts until all pieces feel secure. Repeat for each U-bolt.

File Organizer How-To
1. First, drill two holes in the bottom of each magazine file using a 5/32-inch bit; the holes should be centered, about two inches in from each edge. Lightly sand the holes and the edges of all the magazine files.

2. Sand the plywood, then apply Howard Citrus Shield natural paste wax. Place the plywood on a worktable and position the magazine files as shown (evenly spaced, you'll have about 1 1/4 inches between each pair vertically, and about 1 inch between the horizontal pairs). Mark the plywood where the magazine files' drilled holes rest. Using a 5/32-inch bit, drill holes through the plywood at those points.

3. Attach magazine files to the plywood using #8 x 3/4-inch screws. (Add #8 countersunk washers to the screws before putting them through the wood for a more finished look.)

4. To mount the unit, first use a 3/16-inch bit to drill a hole near each corner of the plywood. Have a friend help you hold the unit where you would like it to hang, and mark the wall through the holes you just drilled. Then, drill a hole in the wall at each of those points, large enough for a contracted toggle bolt to pass through. Insert the screws from four toggle bolts into the holes in the storage unit and attach the toggles to their ends. Once again, have a friend help you hold the unit in position, and insert the toggles through the holes in your wall.

5. When all four toggles are in place, use your drill to tighten the screws.


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