DIY: 3 easy projects for a trendy but well organized homework space

by Maria Métivier

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As parents, we all have our children’s academic success at heart. As soon as they’re back at school, homework time becomes a big part of our day-to-day life and everybody has to pitch in. Of course, children (as well as parents!) sometimes need a little boost to help them get through the day.

To reward their hard work and motivate them to succeed, we suggest you create an organized workspace just for them. Here are 3 small, easy DIY projects that the whole family can work on together. The result: a neat, practical, and oh-so-cool study environment for your kids.

To make your life easier, we even tell you exactly what tools and materials you’ll need, and where to find them. No need to be a DIY pro to create a trendy yet functional space!

If you haven’t chosen a desk as yet, we suggest you check out our website. We have a large collection of desks – perfect for your kids – right here!


PROJECT 1: An old picture frame recycled into a chalkboard:

A chalkboard, added to a homework space, can become a useful tool. Your kids can use it the way they do in school: to solve math problems, practice calligraphy, illustrate their thoughts, etc. Once you have it, you won’t be able to do without it… and neither will they!

What you’ll need

- 1 picture frame: You can recycle an old one or buy one at a flea market, Michaels, or Omer DeSerres.

- Chalkboard paint: You’ll find some at Michaels or Omer DeSerres.

- Acrylic paint in the color of your choice: Choose your  favorite at Michaels or Omer DeSerres.

- 2 paint brushes (one for the frame, the other for the chalkboard); a lot of varieties are sold at Michaels and Omer DeSerres.

Steps

- Apply acrylic paint to the edges of the frame, and let it dry for 24h. Add a second layer of paint, if needed. If you like the original design of the frame, you can leave it as-is and save yourself a step!

- Take off the glass, but keep the back part of the frame. Paint the background using the black chalkboard paint. Let it dry for 24h, then apply a second layer. Let it dry completely. 


PROJECT 2: Bookshelf made of wooden crates:

 We suggest you free up some desk space by creating your own bookshelf out of wooden crates. No more gigantic piles of books at the edge of the desk – that’s all in the past! Whatever you use your bookcase for – be it textbooks, notebooks, general reading, or dictionaries – this handsome piece is a great way to keep all your kids’ school supplies in one place.

What you’ll need

- 8 wooden crates (found at Michaels or at any flea market)

- Sandpaper (available at Rona, Canac, or Home Depot)

- Drill with screws (sold by Rona, Canac, and Home Depot)

- Wood stain or paint (easy to find at Rona, Canac, or Home Depot)

Steps

- Group your wooden crates the way you want them set up and use the drill and screws to attach them together. You can arrange them all in one direction or alternate horizontal and vertical! 

- Lightly sand the wood to get smooth surfaces (especially if the crates were used before). Watch out for splinters!

- Paint or varnish the bookcase in the color of your choice. Let it dry over 24h, and add a second coat, if needed.


You can also decorate the piece and arrange your books the way you like. If you’re putting the bookcase in an open space, why not add some fairy lights to create a soft, magical night-time ambiance? And if your kids love to read, you can place a reading chair next to the bookcase, where they can sit and read in peace and quiet. 


PROJECT 3: Hanging Mason jar pencil holder:

Who among us can never find a pen when it’s needed? Because we’re all in the same boat, we suggest you make your own pencil holder out of Mason jars: it can’t hurt to have one! No more pens scattered all over the desk and all around the house. Your kids will have their pencils, scissors, rulers, and other tools needed for their homework right at their fingertips.

What you’ll need

- 3 or 4 Mason jars (reuse old ones or buy some at Walmart or Dollarama)

- 3 or 4 hose clamps (easy to find in any good hardware store or in the Plumbing section at Home Depot, Rona, or Canac)

- 1 wooden board (about 7 inches wide by 2 feet long). You can recycle one you have at home, or buy one at Home Depot, Rona, or Canac)

- 2 picture hangers (from Home Depot, Rona, or Canac)

- Wood stain or paint (from Home Depot, Rona, or Canac)

- Drill and screws, which you can buy from Home Depot, Rona, or Canac

Steps

- Paint or varnish the wooden board the color of your choice. Let it dry completely (24h) and apply a 2nd coat if needed.

- Using the drill, screw the hose clamps onto the wooden board as shown here. We suggest you put the screws in 6 inches apart.

- Nail the 2 picture hangers to the back of the board, so you can hang the pencil holder on the wall.

- Fasten some screws on the wall the same distance apart as the hangers on the board, and install the wooden board on them.

- Insert the Mason jars in the hose clamps and tighten them until the jars are stable on their own.


A DESIGN TIP: For all 3 DIY projects, paint and decorate your materials to match the style you want for the room. After all, we want it to be trendy and blend nicely! Choose light or pastel colors for a cottage style, or go bold with brighter colors for a global style. Mixing colors is becoming trendy again right now – so don’t hold back!

And there you go! You now have the perfect setting for homework – an organized, practical, uncluttered space. We’re excited about using our new homework space – what about you?