Easy DIY Desk Organizer Ideas with Tin Cans

Make any desk a little more fun with this colorful and inexpensive DIY Desk Organizer.

I can't believe I'm already thinking about back to school and all that entails. This time of the year always makes me a little sad. Do you feel that way, too?

DIY Desk Organizer tin cans

I only have one child that I'm still homeschooling *sigh* and even though it's just one desk space that we're using we have to keep supplies organized and there's no better way to do that, that I know of, than a homework station to keep everything in one place.

This DIY organizer desk idea is so simple to make and the ideas are versatile. You can use the decorated tin cans as a pencil holder, for all your office and school supplies, in your craft room, kitchen, bathroom...just about anywhere you need a little order.

Save your tin cans and use them to organize a colorful and useful back to school homework station.

DIY Desk Organizer Idea

This DIY organizer will take you less than 15 minutes to get together from start to finish.

How To Make an Upcycled DIY Desk Organizer

Upcycle Tin Cans to organize and create a back to school homework station


How to make a colorful back to school homework station - start with a plant move from IKEA, yes, a plant mover!

Lazy Susan (the one I am using is actually a plant mover from Ikea) that works well. A tray would also work.

Upcycled tin cans for a colorful back to school homework station

Empty tin cans and jars that have been washed - various sizes (If you're reusing jars and need to remove the labels, here's a simple way to do that!)

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Elmer's School Glue

Fold Up Ruler

Various types of Post-it notes

Everything for this handy desktop organizer below is from my local Dollar Tree (links below for purchasing online) and I love how C O L O R F U L they are!


Brightly Colored Pencils

Pencil Top Erasers

3-Ring Binders

Magic Cover for book cover rolls

Jot Spiral Bound Index Cards

Create a colorful back to school homework station with items from the Dollar Tree

Other than arranging everything, there is only one other step.

Cover and Arrange the Tin Cans for Your Organizer

Covering tin cans for a colorful back to school homework station

Cover your cans with the book cover rolls, washi tape, or duct tape, and fill with erasers, paper clips, crayons, pencils, office supplies, etc., and arrange on your tray or lazy Susan.

Create a colorful back to school homework station with upcycled tin cans - cover with sticky book covers from the Dollar Tree for an added pop of color!
Bottom of tin cans upcycled to organize back to school supplies

The only thing that won't fit are the binders but you can keep those neatly stacked next to the turntable.

Organize back-to-school supplies with empty tin cans

I like to keep the binders color coded to go along with the spiral bound index cards:

Colorful back to school homework station made with upcycled tin cans and items from the Dollar Tree

Math = Green

Language and Spelling = Orange

History and Science = Pink


  • Spray paint the cans inside and out rather than covering
  • Use washi tape around the rims of the cans
  • Tuna cans would be great to use as a desk drawer organizer or in the kitchen (wrangle junk drawer chaos with a decked out tuna can!).
  • Cardboard boxes or a cereal box can be used as well (here's a post explaining the how-to)
  • Pretty scrapbook paper can be wrapped around the cans. Glue or tape can be used to hold the paper in place.
Organize back-to-school supplies and create a colorful homework station with items from the Dollar Tree and upcycled Tin Cans.

That's it! What are your favorite tips for getting and keeping things organized for school?

Colorful Back to School Supplies. Organize and create a back-to-school homework station with inexpensive items from the Dollar Tree and upcycled Tin Cans

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  1. Angie Holden says:

    This is great Mary Beth! Thanks for joining!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks so much, Angie, and thanks for letting me join in the BTS creativity. 🙂

  2. I love an organized work station!! <3

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Me, too, Carolina! xo

  3. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    I love how easy it is and bright and colorful! And you are so clever to color code everything, Mary Beth. Gosh, this summer is going way too fast!!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      The summer is going way too fast. I always get sad when a new school year begins but once autumn is in full swing I love the cool weather and the colors.