Organizing Ideas: Colorful Magazine Files + Free Labels

Looking for colorful home office storage? Today I am showing you how I made colorful magazine files with free labels for the shelves I have above my library file drawers in my studioffice

Organizing Ideas The Container Store Magazine File Knock-off tutorial

Lots of organized and labeled storage!  I got my inspiration from the colorful magazine files The Container Store sells. I love all the juicy colors, but didn’t want to spend $9.99 a piece for them when I knew I could make something similar for about $3 a piece.

Organizing Ideas How to make your own Container-Store-Magazine-File

I used some of my stash of favorite gift wrap to cover cardboard file boxes I bought at the office supply store.  IKEA also sells these magazine size holders – 2 per pack.

I know they are called Magazine Files, but I store more than magazines in them. They are the perfect way to store lots of items neatly while keeping them easily accessible.

OrganizingIdeas Book-Shelf-Organization with DIY Labels

I am loving all the colors against the white wood – just my style –…la.


I also found pretty and colorful new file folders at Walmart – 3 for $1.00.  I will use them in a portable clear file I store on these shelves.

CarolinaPad pretty file folders

I could not decide which pattern I liked best so I bought all three.  Aren’t they yummy?

Home Office Storage Idea

They are from When I got home from Walmart – I went online to check out their website – lots of pretty stuff to help you organize your life and more.

If you have been reading my blog for a while then you know I collect square and rectangular baskets to use to store and organize all sorts of stuff around my house.

Above is one way I use them: to neatly organize and stack the different types of paper we use in the computer printer.  Since they are stacked, they take up less room and can be moved easily to get to the paper you need.

Since half the battle of getting organized is being able to stay organized, I am a big believer in labeling everything, even my DIY paperweights on my desk.

I attached the labels with large jewelry making jump rings, but a piece of wire or ribbon would work just as well.

How To Cover a Cardboard Magazine File with Gift Wrap

supplies needed:

  • Cardboard Magazine File – I found mine at Office Max. They are called Bankers Boxes and are extra wide.
  • Giftwrap
  • Spray glue
  • Scissors
  • Acetate sheets  – Acetate is used to protect the labels. I save box top packaging that is made of clear acetate. – Boxed cards, Christmas ornaments come with it.  Don’t throw it out – save it.  If you don’t have any -you can buy acetate sheets at a copy shop for a few cents a sheet
Optional:  craft knife and ruler if you need to cut the height of the file holder to fit your shelf height.

.pdf of Free Printable Labels

Download here:  Labels with Names or Blank Labels

Free Printable Magazine File Labels { inmyownstyle-com}
How-to-cover-a-magazine-file box

Optional:  I needed to cut the file boxes to fit the height of my shelf. I used a straight edge and a craft knife to cut away a half inch from the top edge.


1. Carefully open the box as shown so that it is flat. Once you cover it with gift wrap you will glue it together again.


2. Lay file box flat and cut gift wrap slightly larger than the box.

Giftwrap-covered-magazine-file tutorial

3.  Lay gift wrap right-side face down. Spray glue on outer side of file box, let it get tacky and lay it on wrong side of gift wrap. If there is a pattern on the gift wrap, make sure it is straight.   Cut excess gift wrap into tabs, spray glue around edge of box, let it get tacky and then fold the tabbed gift wrap over to secure. Note: If gift wrap is thin – don’t use spray glue on the back of it as it may bleed through – just spray it on the box.


4. Once you have the box covered, use a line of hot glue (as shown on tab above) to glue it together again.

Home Office Organizing Ideas

5. Fold opposite side on top of hot glue.  It will go right back into place.  Place something heavy on top of it until the hot glue cools.

Container-Store-Knock-Off-Magazine File Box

6. Fold box following instructions on the bottom tabs

How to Make The Laminated Labels

Free-Printable-Magazine-File Labels

1. Print out .pdf of labels on card stock. If you want to use fonts on your computer for your labels, open the .pdf in a program where you can write over them. I know you can do this in Photoshop Elements. If not, use a pen and write directly on them. I used the font Engravers MT. Place a piece of acetate over it and then cut around the border of the label so the acetate and the label are the same size.


2. Use a hole punch to make two holes in the label.


3. Mark on the box with a pencil where the brass fasteners will go. I held the label up and made a mark on the box with the pencil point into each hole on the label.  I removed the label and used the tip of the pencil to make the hole a tad bit bigger.


4.  Attach to the box with brass fasteners. Spread the tips out inside the box to secure.


There are many ways to attach labels to things  – brass fasteners, glue dots, jump rings, wire, and ribbon are a few that I have used.

Containter-Store-Magazine-File Knock-offs

I have posted about a few different types of free printable labels. You can find them all here in my Free Printable Gallery


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  1. devenir millionnaire says:

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  4. Hi!

    I just discovered your website! I like the magazine file project and the organization tips. I, too collect rectangular baskets for paper organization! I do have a question-I have been looking for the lidded Pandan boxes like the ones you have on your shelf. Where did you find yours? I have been looking high and low for that size!!

    Thank you in advance!


    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Janice – I wish I could find more of the Pandan boxes in the same size I have. I bought mine at HomeGoods a few years ago. The Container sells larger ones, but they are pricey. I am always on the lookout for more. Hopefully I will stumble upon a few again.

  5. polly plum says:

    Thank you very much for the helpful ideas and kick in the ‘tush’ that I needed!The labels are great, for being labels on my file boxes and for helping me think of things I need to organize.I’m going to look for some colorful file boxes/containers at an office store and Michael’s or ACMoorerather than cover my old ones with pretty paper. Your shelves look wonderful with the pretty paper, but it seems kind of labor-inetnsive.
    Thanks, again!!!

  6. I love you, Diane! My dining room table serves multiple functions and is right in the middle of the house. It’s always littered with at least three projects, my purse, notes, etc. I don’t have a desk, so it serves as that, too. I typically keep current paperwork stacked on a cookie sheet (trying to keep some kind of order) and recently put same-subject papers in folders on the tray. Your file boxes have inspired me!!! I already have a trip into town planned for tomorrow and am adding the office supply store to the list. Thank you, thank you!! I don’t know if I have commented on your blog before; I’ve been reading it for a couple of years now. Thank you for sharing all your fresh ideas! Have a beautiful night!

  7. Elia Agreda says:

    I absolutely love your brain! I love creative, pretty shiny things lol. However, i have ALOT of things on my mind, and unfortunately i dont have the time to create my own things or muster up enough energy to think creatively. I didnt want to buy something that i know i could easily make and make it look great for half the cost: so i thought time to use the internet!
    All of my furniture is black, so metallic colors would fit it the most or pastel colors…we shall see which one i want to use :)

    Thanks once again :)

  8. Love the article but have you considered using cereal boxes and covering them like you did these? As a teacher I often covered and used cereal boxes for a filing system.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      I have used cereal boxes and even have made desk organizers using old VCR tape boxes. I love to find ways to repurpose. I even like to make mats for picture frames by cutting out one side of a cereal box and then covering it with fabric or pretty paper to create a colorful mat.

  9. Traci@BeneathMyHeart says:

    Hi Diane!
    I LOVE your organizing ideas for your cabinet! It looks so beautiful and fresh. :)
    I would love to feature this post on my organizing blog, Organize and Inspire. Would that be okay? I would use one picture, and give you full credit with a link to your blog.
    Just let me know!

  10. Thanks for this super easy and fun organizing tip, also the tags are just lovely, and exactly what I was looking for.
    Thanks Again :)

  11. I’m so excited about your blog – i want to make ALL your projects! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Your ideas are so great and your instructions very clear and easy to follow. Thanks for the great labels!

  13. Where did you find the acrylic file organizer??? I have been looking for one for a while now. I found one at The Container Store, but wanted to see if there were more options out there before I purchased. Thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      I found the clear acrylic file holder at Walmart.

  14. Just discovered you from simply, i love you. Thanks so much for showing your DIY techniques. I’m trying to prepare for 3 boys starting school in the next 2 weeks and I think I’ll become a copy cat. THANK YOU!!!!

  15. Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I also came to your site via iheartorganzing. I am curious how you organize the items inside magazine files?

  16. Hi! I just found your lovely blog from IHeartOrganizing. I have a silly question. =o) How did you mount the labels on the woven boxes on the very top shelf? I have the same lidded boxes and they desperately need labels. Thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Alathia – Thanks for stopping by. I used glue dots. The brand I used is called Zots singles to attach the labels on the woven boxes. I think they are made to use in Scrapbooking and are made by Therm-0-Web. They sell them in the craft store. I used the large size which are about the size of a dime. They are easy to remove and won’t damage the surface.

  17. Patty Chisholm says:

    This was very helpful. I am about to redo my craft/computer room and this gave me some great ideas to use. Thank you.

  18. Love the 3 small “plants” on top of your shelving – where did you find them?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      They are a pretty recent find. I could not resist buying them. I found them at Marshalls.

  19. Mel the Crafty Scientist says:

    I LOVE this idea and the free labels! Thank you so much for sharing them! The colors look gorgeous too! : )

    -Mel the Crafty Scientist

  20. Wow! You did a great job…so pretty to look at! I love how you stacked the baskets – I would have never thought of that! Thanks for all of these great ideas.

  21. Lauren from MomHomeGuide says:

    I like the idea of using cereal boxes to create the magazine boxes — we eat a lot of cereal in my house!

  22. Lauren from MomHomeGuide says:

    This is a fantastic tutorial — thanks so much! I am going to use your tips (and labels) to neaten and pretty up wall-to-wall bookcases that are in an upstairs loft area in my home. :)

  23. wow! Thanks for solving my problem this morning. I’ve been needing some filing boxes like these but didn’t want to spend so much on them! These are great.


  24. I am in love with this shelf. I can pour through websites all day just looking at pretty boxes.
    What do you have in between your wicker baskets to keep them from sinking into one another?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Donna – The paper inside each basket holds them up. When it get low and I don’t have any new paper to refill – I add some pieces of cardboard in the basket until I get more paper.

  25. Michelle Hilton says:

    Wonderful article, I look forward to all your posts because they are always filled with great ideas. I never thought about saving the acetate from packaging. I moved recently, organizing is my New’s Years resolution, great article to get started with. Hoping you might have some kitchen/pantry organizing tips to pass along. Thank-you for the tags template, so helpful. I saved it as a photo & used Picmonkey (quick & easy) to make my tags. They have lot’s of fun fonts & colors.

  26. These are all great! Thanks for the printables and for showing off the great patterns available. You’ve inspired me to try projects like this again!

  27. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    Diane, your organizing is not only very functional… but very very pretty! Thanks for all the great tips and hints and the file cover DYI! Those labels are wonderful!!!
    Please stop over at StoneGable and share your great ideas at TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS, going on now!!! WOW!

  28. Leanne: A Little Bit Fabulous says:

    Oh I absolutely LOVE this – so cute and a great way to brighten up an office area! FABULOUS!! xx

  29. Katharine from Kat's Almost Purrfect World says:

    I’ve been thinking of doing this to my plain IKEA folders. Using the hot glue when putting it together is a good idea. I have this pretty wrapping paper I’ve been saving and wanted a special project for it. I wish the dollar tree still carried it. It has a soft blue background with tea cups all over it. I used wrapping paper for the back of my book shelves. I got a white damask like paper from Papyrus (I love to look at that store). Thanks for sharing another project. P.S. Is your hole puncher smaller than the standard size?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Katharine – Yes, the punch is smaller -it is 1/8″. The standard size is 1/4″. You can buy it at any craft or office supply store. They even sell them on Amazon. I use it more than my standard punch.

  30. Barbara @ DIY Home Staging Tips says:

    You really do the best tutorials. And have the perfect combination of projects that deliver great results, are practical, but do-able and thrifty. I really appreciate that. Thanks for the incentive to gussy up my own office space. I have cut down cardboard wine boxes to use as magazine holders, and used wallpaper to cover just the part that shows — totally tacky, and I’m tired of it!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hey Barbara – I get tired of things, too. Sometimes too quickly :) I love to change things around, especially this time of year. New and different is always fun. Wine boxes are made of nice sturdy cardboard so I think you are pretty smart to use them. Maybe just cover them with some new paper to refresh and update the look.

  31. Serena @ Thrift Diving says:

    Great job, Diane! They look yummy, indeed!

    Thrift Diving

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Serena – Thanks. I do love to see colors all mixed together. They are so appealing and eye catching – just like a goodies in a bakery window. I want them all. :)

  32. Patricia in Denver says:

    I did the same thing for the magazine files, but I used large cereal boxes instead of buying them. I simply cut them to size and they work fine. Thanks for the labels!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia – great idea to use cereal boxes, plus it is always good to recycle and repurpose – Love that! Will have to try making a few. Thanks for sharing.

  33. LOVE! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas! I absolutely love your website….

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks so much Beth XO

  34. Hi, Diane

    I just love you! You are always thinking about all the small details that goes in every project. You are a woman after my own heart. LOL, Thank you so much for sharing this project and for the labels. Plan on using these lovelies for my reorganization of my office as well.

    You Rock!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Vanessa – I love the details, they are the easiest way to take something basic and make it your own. It feels good to clean out, purge, and set things up in a new way for the new year – enjoy the process of reorganizing your office.

  35. Pam Clark says:

    I had to get all 3 file folder patterns at Walmart when I saw them too! I’m 3rd grade teacher, so I use lots of them and am a sucker for pretty, colorful additions to my stash!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pam – when I saw the display I got excited and thought, “how am I ever going to be able to choose a pattern”, then I saw the price and brought them all home. I am a sucker for all things office or school supply related. Pretty pens, papers, tablets, note cards…I love them and have to restrain myself sometimes, but in this case – $1 for 3 really pretty file folders was quite a deal that I could not pass by.

  36. Athena at Minerva's Garden says:

    I love all your great organizing ideas in this post, Diane! I like the square and rectangular baskets too, and have used a few for organizing items on our new bookshelf in the dining room. I also really like the labels–I’ll have to use them in my office area! Also want to let you know that I got the cute trio of autumn cookie cutters from the dairy today–they are great, and thank you so much for the nice giveaway!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Athena – thanks for telling me the you received the cookie cutters. I hope you get to make and enjoy many cookies with them for your family and friends.

  37. Aisha Johnson says:

    I love your magazine files. They are really cute! How much would you estimate you saved by making your own?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Aisha – I made 6. If I bought them they would have cost me $60, plus tax. I made 6 for under $20. Each box costs around $2.50. The gift wrap and the spray glue costs very little as you don’t need much. I didn’t have to go out and buy any gift wrap. IF you did, figure it would cost a few dollars more.

  38. Kerry@homecrush says:

    Love these, and love your paper storage baskets too! I’m going on a hunt for those file folders and some baskets for my new office tomorrow!

  39. Jenna, SAS Interiors says:

    Great ideas and the labels are awesome, Diane! I’m jealous of that gorgeous paper you have – where I’d you get them. I’ll have to look for those files at Walmart. Love the designs. xo Jenna

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jenna – I am always on the look out for decorative paper and never spend more than $ 3 or $4 a roll. I find it a Marhall’s, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, and Walmart.

  40. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    Love these, Diane! The colors are so bright and cheery looking. Those magazine files are on my list of things to get when I finally get myself to Ikea.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathy – I love the storage the files provide – they keep anything that fits into them out of site, easy accessible and in pretty order. :) Enjoy your trip to IKEA. I am sure you will end up walking out with a few more goodies. Hard to pass up all the stuff they have right near the check-out lines.

  41. Chrissy Farnan says:

    Love these!! So clever.

  42. I love this idea! Great money saver and still pretty and practical. Thank you for the printable labels.