Empty the recycling bin and get organised in one fell swoop with this fun desk tidy project

If you’ve got kids then this is a great desk tidy project to get them involved in, and you never know it might even encourage them to keep their arts and craft supplies in better order too!

Think about which room you’re going to use your desk tidy in before you choose your paper. This way you can ensure everything looks good together, and that your desk tidy works with your overall theme.

The great thing about this project is that you can make it as simple or complicated as you like by adding, removing the amount of cans you use, alternating the sizes of each compartment and varying the paper you choose to wrap each one in.


  • Empty tin cans
  • Permanent marker
  • Hammer and nail
  • Assorted wrapping paper
  • PVA glue
  • Bradawl
  • Gardening wire
  • Stix 2 Anything Masking Tape


1. Pick a large can to be your central holder, then work out how many smaller cans will fit around it. Wash cans, remove labels, fill with water and freeze (the ice prevents the can losing its shape).

2. Mark the outside of the cans with a permanent pen 1.5cm from the top and 2.5cm from the bottom. Hammer a nail on the marks to puncture the tin. Do the same to the large can 1.5cm from the top and 2.5cm from where the smaller can’s bottom will fall. Space cans equally around the large can.

3. When the ice has melted and the cans are dry, cut wrapping paper to fit round each one. The paper sits below the rim and overlaps at the puncture holes. Glue into place with PVA. Break through holes with a bradawl. Varnish with PVA when dry.

4. Cut lengths of gardening wire, poke them through the holes in the small cans and twist tight inside large can. Tape ends to inside of large can with masking tape.