Acrylic Frames Become Memo Holders
Looking for quick and easy volunteer appreciation gifts? Or maybe a craft activity for a group of kids (scout troop or school classroom) for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? Or maybe an inexpensive teacher gift? Here is an idea for you!
It is very easy to make these cute little memo stations that feature sticky notes, magnets, and (optionally) a matching pen. The materials cost less than $5 per station — you could even get the cost under $2 if you skip the pens and use the cheapest possible materials. (See suggestions below.)
This idea came from my sister, Cindy, who received one of these as a gift. She says it is one of the most useful gifts she has ever received, as a frequent volunteer. I’ve added a couple of twists of my own. Here’s how to make them…
What you will need
4″ x 6″ acrylic photo frame
You can get this at a dollar store, but if your budget allows, it is better to spend a couple of dollars on a sturdy frame that can withstand a little more weight resting on it. It should be oriented horizontally (wide rather than tall).
Sticky notes — the standard 3″ x 3″ size
Colors are fun, but standard yellow ones are cheaper, especially if you buy them in multi-packs.
2 magnets per frame
I used what I had on hand, but if you don’t have any, you can get the button-type magnets. For kids, you may want self-adhesive ones, but be sure they are strong enough to hold a piece of paper between them. I had doubts about some of the ones I had to use! Please remember that magnets are not suitable or safe for really small kids.
12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper
One sheet will make at least two memo stations, and will make five if the paper is two-sided. Be sure to use paper rather than cardstock if you are making the optional matching pens. When choosing the design, think about your recipients and where/how they might use them at home.
This could be almost anything that coordinates with your scrapbook paper. For my memo stations, I used a variety of embellishments including bottle caps, buttons, charms, and chipboard scrapbook accents.
This is actually optional — you can use adhesive strips or mounting tape if you’re working with a group of kids.
Pen with a transparent barrel
This is optional, but makes a nice set.
Ruler, scissors, and pencil
Once you have assembled all your materials, you are ready to start crafting!
Step 1: Create the “background”
Measure and cut a 4″ x 12″ strip (if your paper is one-sided) or a 4″ x 6″ piece if you are using two-sided scrapbook paper.
If you used one-sided paper, fold the strip in half so that it will fit in the 4″ x 6″ frame and look pretty from both sides.
Now, insert it into the frame. Make sure that the frame is laying down so that it will create a slanted writing surface. If your paper has a definite top and bottom, make sure it is oriented correctly so that the top of the design will be at the top of the memo station.
Step 2: Add the Sticky Notes
I used a glue gun to attach the sticky notes — one line of glue across the top.
If you are working with kids, you could probably just use double-stick tape and avoid working with the glue gun. You might even be able to just remove the last sheet from the pad of sticky notes and adhere the pad directly to the frame.
Position the pad so that it is straight and the top, left, and bottom borders are approximately equal. If you are a real perfectionist, you could probably even insert a carefully-measured template into the frame to guide you in positioning the pad.
Step 3: Attach the magnet
Use the glue gun (or alternate adhesive, such as mounting tape) to attach the magnet to the frame. Position it midway between the right edge of the pad and the right edge of the frame, with the top lined up with the top of the pad.
The one in the picture above may appear to be positioned too low. But because the magnet on the back of the embellishment isn’t at the top edge, the top edge of the embellishment will properly line up with the top edge of the pad.
Step 4 (optional): Make the matching pen.
Measure the barrel of the pen, and figure out how to open it. The pens I had were made by Pentel and the bottom ends unscrewed, which made it very easy. Some other types of pens may be harder to open; you may need to carefully pry them open at the bottom.
Cut a matching piece of scrapbook paper, the length of the clear barrel and about an inch wide.
Wrap the paper around a pencil or dowel rod, to create a tube shape.
You can roll it between your hands, as if you are forming clay into a snake shape. The edges should overlap, and the tube obviously must be small enough to fit into the barrel. Once it is the right shape, insert it into the barrel and re-assemble the pen.
Place the pen across the top, so that it rests on the pad and magnet. Your gift is now complete!
To give you an idea of the variety of designs and embellishments that are possible, view the pictures below.
When I presented them, I wrote a little note on the top sheet.