My Mess-Free Desk


Paperclips…colored pencils…erasers…coins. What a jumble! Recycle plastic containers into an organizer that brightens up your desk!


1. Gather up recycled items to put together a neat desk storage unit. To make one like the picture, you’ll need a cardboard roll, recycled plastic containers, and a tall tissue box for the center pillar. Cut the cardboard roll into two or three different lengths with Crayola® Scissors.

2. Choose a cool theme or color scheme. Decorate enough paper with Crayola Gel Markers to cover the tissue box and cardboard rolls. Glue the paper on with Crayola School Glue. Arrange the decorated pieces and recycled plastic containers however you choose. Glue everything together.

3. While the glue dries, construct a base for your organizer with Crayola Model Magic. Blend color from a Washable Gel Marker into white Model Magic to create colors that complement your containers. Flatten the Model Magic to fit under and beyond the edges of your organizer. Press pieces of Model Magic on the damp base to make a raised (relief) design. Glue the storage unit to the base. Cut a colorful construction paper doily to go under everything. Glue it to the base. Air-dry your organizer overnight.

4. Fill cups with small items. Use the rolls for markers and pens. When the tissues are gone, store scissors, rulers, or other tall things inside.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Recycled Cardboard Tubes—Use paper towel tubes, gift-wrap tubes, or long cardboard tubes that can be cut to any length. Health professionals caution against using recycled toilet paper tubes for arts & crafts projects because of the potential fecal contamination.

Recycled Containers—Must be clean and safe. Do not use containers that contained bleach or other harmful chemicals (for example, household cleaners, dishwasher or laundry detergents). Do not use recycled metal cans that have sharp edges (for example, lids removed by household can openers).

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Pair up in teams to visit each other’s houses to do a study-area organization assessment. Or bring pictures of your study area to school to analyze. Focus on study habits and smart school skills.
  • Build desk organizers to raise money for a class or school project.
  • Make a desk organizer for a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or other gift occasion

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Gel Markers
  • Model Magic®
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled tissue box
  • recycled plastic containers
  • recycled gift wrap or paper towel roll



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students construct a desk organizer with recycled materials.

  • Students decorate their organizer in a unifying manner and mold a base for their unit.

  • Students experience a more organized study area.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards