Make: Projects

Drawer Organizer

Make a custom organizer for your kitchen, workshop, or desk.

Drawer Organizer

Store-bought drawer organizers hardly ever fit my drawers. They’re not the same size as my drawers, nor are they as deep. So, they don’t actually organize all that well.

But it’s possible to make a custom drawer organizer for any drawer in your kitchen, workshop, or desk. Here’s how to do it easily and inexpensively.

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Steps

Step #1: Measure the height, width, and depth of your drawer.

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Drawer Organizer
  • My drawer is 19¾" long, 10¼" wide, and 2¾" deep. Then draw a picture and decide how you want to divide it up.
  • Now measure each compartment, taking into account the thickness of the material being used as dividers.

Step #2: Write up a materials list.

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Drawer Organizer
  • I used 1/8" clear acrylic (plexiglass) because it looks clean and is washable (as opposed to wood). My measurements came out as follows. The 8 smaller pieces are for the 2 end pieces and 6 interior dividers. (Bottom 19¾"×10¼", 2 sides 19¾"×2⅝", 8 pieces 2⅝"×10")
  • The drawer is 2¾" deep, but the sides and dividers are only 2⅝" deep because they’ll rest on the 1/8"-thick bottom piece. The same math was used to determine the divider widths.

Step #3: Obtain your plastic or other material.

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Drawer Organizer
  • I got mine cut to size at a TAP Plastics store, so I didn’t need any tools (you can also order from http://www.tapplastics.com).
  • You’ll also need glue and an applicator.

Step #4: Glue the first corner joint.

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Drawer Organizer
  • Peel the masking off one face of the bottom piece, and off both faces of one of the long side pieces (19¾"×2⅝").
  • Place the side piece on the unmasked face of the bottom piece. To keep a right angle, I used a couple of pieces of plastic with a corner cut off so they wouldn’t touch the glue joint.
  • Gently squeeze the applicator bottle and drag the needle along the corner formed by the 2 pieces. Glue will flow into the joint and set in a few minutes.

Step #5: Glue the rest of the joints.

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Drawer Organizer
  • Glue the pieces together in the order shown.
  • Peel the masking off one end piece and glue it in place.
  • Add the dividers, the other end piece, and finally the second side piece.
  • Weights will help maintain better contact between the pieces, to make stronger glue joints.

Step #6: Flame-polish (optional).

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Drawer Organizer
  • To give the divider a professional look, you can flame-polish the edges. A MAPP gas torch works best, but you can also do it with a propane torch.
  • Quickly move the flame along the edges and watch them go from dull to polished. Make sure you wait a couple of hours for the glue to fully dry first.

Step #7: Use it.

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Drawer Organizer
  • Give the glue at least 24 hours to build up strength.
  • Remove the masking from the bottom, then put the divider in the drawer and enjoy!
  • There are some great free how-to videos at http://www.tapplastics.com with more ideas.
  • Special thanks to Jim Beddow at TAP Plastics in San Rafael, Calif., for his help and advice.

Conclusion

This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 19, page 126.


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