I made this DIY Desk Organizer project a few years ago – it even got featured in a German ladies’ magazine!

German-CouchCompositeIt’s really simple, and I love the way it looks.  I hate to throw away interesting containers- even cardboard oatmeal containers! I’m always trying to figure out a way to “upcycle” them instead of just throwing them in the recycling bin. I watered down my paint to get a pretty “stain” effect, so you can still see the ruler markings. I used a few different colors, but you could use just one color if you wanted. You could try covering other surfaces like boxes with the paint stained rulers- you could make a whole desk-organizing set…


  • *Round cardboard container  (such as oatmeal or breadcrumb box)
  • *Approximately 7-  12” wooden rulers (I found these at Target for 27 cents each!)
  • *Acrylic craft paint in 3 or 4 different colors
  • *Piece of ribbon or trim, about 1/2” wide x 15” long
  • *electric saw for cutting rulers, needlenose pliers,  sandpaper, scissors, glue gun, newspaper, paint brushes, bowls for paint

If rulers have a metal edge, use the needlenose pliers to remove the metal strip. Cut rulers in half at 6” mark. Lightly sand edges if necessary.


Cut off top of container so that it is about  5 1/2”  tall.


Put a couple of drops of paint in bowl. Add several drops of water and mix so that paint is very thin. Paint rulers and place on newspaper to dry. You want to be able to see the numbers and markings though the paint. If paint is too thick, you can wipe away excess with a paper towel.


Remove label from cardboard container and paint the container.


Apply glue to back of rulers. Glue rulers to container, making sure that they are straight.


Glue ribbon or trim to inside of caddy to cover the cut edge of the cardboard container.


How cute and easy is that?! You can click here to get a printable PDF of this tutorial.