I love magazines. I get in trouble at the grocery store all the time because my husband is already checked out and waiting on the other side of the registers while I’m still scouring all the new magazines for any good cover stories, fashion trends, or celeb gossip I may have missed. We definitely like to do the same at our studio and keep up with home and recipe trends. So a sleek magazine holder for our living room sounded like just the ticket. I’ve been wanting to learn to use a jig saw for a while now, and our resident carpentry expert Josh agreed to help me navigate some new woodworking territory to make my magazine holder dreams come true.
-4 16” long wooden dowel rods (5/8” thick)
-2 wooden boards 8” x 18”
-small bowl about 5.5″ wide
-leather (real or faux) 13.5” x 42”
-5/8″ paddle bit
-leather needle for sewing machine
First, you’ll want to cut (or have the lumber store cut) your dowel rods and your wood sides to the appropriate sizes. Take your small bowl and trace half the bowl at the bottom of the wood side piece. Trace the entire bowl 4″ above the top of your bottom half circle and draw a straight line from the sides of the circle to the top of the wood piece.
Use a jig saw to cut the shapes from your side piece. Since it was my first time using the jig saw, I assumed it would be difficult to use. But I’m happy to report that it was no big deal at all! I just followed the pencil lines when it was my turn to try cutting, and it came out really well. Just make sure that your board is secure so it doesn’t move at all while cutting (I had Josh stand on the other end while I cut, and it made it a lot easier than trying to hold it myself.) Once your shapes are cut, trace the finished side piece onto your uncut second side piece and cut those shapes out as well.
Now we need to make holes for the dowel rods. Using a pencil, make a mark in each corner 1.5” from the top or bottom of the boards. Place a scrap piece of wood underneath and use a 5/8″ paddle bit to drill a hole at each of those marks. Just drill until the point of the bit pokes through to the other side and then flip the board and finish drilling that hole from the other side (this will give you a cleaner edge.)
Once your shapes are cut and your dowel holes drilled, sand off any rough edges and apply your stain evenly on all your wood pieces with a cotton cloth. Allow the stain to fully dry and add another coat if desired.
While the stain is drying, use a rotary cutter (or an X-Acto knife or fabric scissors) to cut your leather to the appropriate size. Once the size is cut, make a paper template that is 6” x 8” and center it 2” from the end of each of your sides. Cut around this template with an X-Acto knife (you can use masking tape to keep it in place while you cut). Place some fabric glue on the inside of the leather about 1” from the outside edges. Fold each side inward, lining up the cutouts, and allow the glue to dry (the glue helps keep the leather in place while you sew across the leather.) Using a leather needle on your machine, finish your open pocket sides by sewing ½” from the inside edge of your folded piece. Now you have an open pocket on both sides of your leather that you can put your dowel rod through to hang the leather piece on your wooden frame.
Once you put your dowel rods through the leather pockets, continue to assemble the magazine holder by putting the dowels into the corresponding holes at each corner (with the dowels holding the leather at the top corners.) Pull each dowel slightly out of its hole and add a small amount of wood glue all the way around the dowel and put the dowel back into the hole to dry. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag and allow the glue to set.
It’s always a win when your project comes out as good as you had hoped, but I have to say that this one came out even better than I imagined! I think it’s definitely an item that will surprise people when they find out it was a DIY project, and it’s an added bonus that it doesn’t require a super experienced woodworker. Several of us are already itching to make other versions in different colored leather or painted wood for our own homes. Think you’ll give it a try? xo. Laura
Credits: Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman & Sarah Rhodes, Project Assistant: Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with .