DIYdiy projects

DIY Clay Desktop Paper Holder

by Grace Bonney

For a long time, I’ve had a tall stack of scrap notepaper in my desk drawer. The paper started out as single-sided notes from college, but years later when I was ready to recycle them, I cut them into smaller squares to reuse instead. They come in really handy for writing notes and directions that I don’t deem worthy of cuter notepads (because trust me, I’ve got a whole separate drawer for that stash).

The problem is that the pile of papers became a mess in the drawer every time I opened and closed it, so I came up with this notepaper box to put atop my desk. I’m a huge fan of the handmade pottery and ceramic trend that’s been going on lately, so I decided to give it a try. I’m really pleased with the result, and my desk drawers are a lot tidier, too. —Kathleen



-oven-bake clay
-clay roller
-craft knife
-parchment paper
-clear varnish
-strong glue
-cutting mat


Step 1: To make your templates, cut a piece of paper 3 1/8” wide and 3 ¼” deep – this will be the base. For the two sides, cut a piece 3 ¼” long and 2 1/2” tall. For the back, make a piece 3 ½” long and 2 ½” tall. Finally, for the front two panels, make a piece 1 ¼” wide and 2 ½” tall.


Step 2: Roll the clay out onto the parchment paper so it’s about ¼” thick. Arrange the paper templates onto the clay. You may want to do this over a cutting mat if you are working on a nicer tabletop.


Step 3: Use the craft knife to cut out the shapes. When finished cutting, you should have one base, two sides, one back and two front panels. Place flat onto parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake according to package instructions. Let cool.


Step 4: To assemble the box, start by gluing the two sides to the base, then the black, and then the two front panels. Let dry according to glue instructions.


Step 5: Dilute blue paint with water and use a sponge to apply onto the box in an abstract, cloudy-type pattern. Let dry.


Step 6: Using dark blue paint, use a small brush to make a stripe of dots and speckles across the middle of the box. Let dry completely. Apply a coat of varnish if desired. Let dry and fill with note paper.





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  • Love this idea and how it turned out with the cute black dots around the edges. Also, please please tell me where you got that black & white pen/pencil with the brass top? I’m obsessed.

    • Hi Hallie, I got that pen from the Dollar Spot in Target but it was over a year ago I believe. It’s one of my favourites too!

    • Hi Karen, it’s actually just a plastic toy from the dollar store that I spray painted gold!

  • What are your thoughts about using caulking to fill the gaps between pieces? Will it adhere to this clay?

    • I hadn’t thought of that – sounds like it’s worth a shot! I haven’t tried it, so I can’t say for sure if it would adhere. I tried hot glue first and that was hit and miss for me, so if you try the caulking let me know how it goes!