Work can be boring and predictable, even if creativity is part of your job description. In the interest of stress reduction and general happiness, I've collected a few of my favorite office-themed DIY projects to help you make over your office, stave off boredom, and generally improve morale. These are all culled from Instructables.com, and range from the practical to just plain fun.
The first thing to do is personalize your office space. Unless you were lucky enough to swipe gear from a failed dot-com, you're probably stuck with boring standard-issue office furniture. Start by building some great divider panels for about $25/eayou can personalize them with a bit of paint, or leave them white for double use as projection screens. Can't afford Herman Miller? Build a custom chair from your favorite car seat, or give your cheap chair a make-over. Finally, you need a great laptop stand. You can go for snazzy design in acrylic or laser-cut wood, or go ultra-cheap with solid cardboard construction or PVC. If you're really feeling the need to prove your geek street cred, replace the fluorescent tube lights above your desk with LEDs, or build yourself a fabulous mirrored tube desk lamp.
If your office mates have a decent sense of humor, April 1st (or even their vacation) can be an excellent opportunity to show how much you care. We at Instructables are easily amused, so after Randy redecorated the offices one empty Friday we turned his office into a beach. The 100% foil-wrapped Silver Surfer office is another time-consuming classic, but you can fake a packing peanut-filled office in no time flat. My personal favorite requires a bit of advanced planning, but it's well worth it to welcome someone home from vacation with a sprouted green keyboard!
Office politics can get dicey, so best to confront any potential problems head-on. Whether you're going on the offensive or just building a prudent desktop-defense system, there are plenty of simple but effective office supply weapons you can build in no time flat. My personal favorites are the 3" paperclip trebuchet, capable of hurling blu-tac balls up to 4 feet, and the trip wire booby trap slingshot. Add a pair of Newspaper Nunchucks, and your stapler will never go missing again.
Still have a bit of time on your hands, and feeling crafty? Raid the supply cabinet, and build the starship Enterprise, hide your flash drive in a pink eraser, recycle used paper into blank books, or make a last-minute squid costume for the office party. You could even add a natural gas sensor to your chair and connect it to Twitter, but I really wouldn't recommend it.
Christy Canida earned her SB in Biology from MIT, and worked in transgenic mouse labs, an aquarium, and big biotech before joining Instructables as the community and marketing director. She really hates working in boring cubicles.