The quickest & cheapest storage tray I could make. It holds little hardware & electronics stuff. Great to sort with …. sort buttons .. sort electronics … sort springs … sort gears …. screws, nuts, bolts … you name it.

If it fits in the cup it can be sorted, stored, and then ignored!

Project Steps

What you will need

a cardboard box, some paper cups, some glue, a box cutter / utility knife to cut cardboard to size, and an ink marker.

Find a box for the base of your tray. I am using a wine box since our local grocery store has them at the checkout lane for your purchased goods.

How tall are your cups? I am using 3 oz but you may want a 5oz tray also. I cut my tray just below the height of the cups so determine where that is on the box. My wine box already has a nice line defined in the printing.

Cut your tray to height following all known & sane safety guidelines … preferably on scrap cardboard or other cutting surface and not your favorite antique table.

Cut out cardboard liner for tray.

Let’s add a cardboard liner to bottom of the tray. This way we glue all cups to the liner rather than the tray. If you drop bits down between the cups you can lift out the whole thing to get to the bits … or you can turn tray over to expel.

Cut liner to fit inside tray.

Add cups (no glue yet) to see best arrangement & number. With this box one way gives me 20 cups another gives me 24 … the more the merrier!

Put some glue on a used lid or paper plate and dip the cup bottoms into the glue and press onto liner …. or you can brush glue to the cardboard liner and add cups … your call.

Let glue dry.

I like to put a heavy book or something to press the cups down onto the liner while the glue dries.

You could use a hot glue gun instead of white glue if you don’t want to wait for the glue to dry. I did not use one in order to cut costs, and also my glue gun skills leave wispy threads of spider glue all over my projects … creating a clean-up step if I use it … I let the glue dry while I do something else.

After glue dries you can remove liner from tray to see if all cups secured well. If not add more glue and reattatch. Put back into tray.

Insert storage cups into tray cups.

Why add another layer of cups to our tray of glued-down cups? So we can remove 1 (or more) cup(s) and use at our project space.

Before you add storage cups mark the bottoms of the glued-down cups. Make some sort of mark so you know that the storage cup has been removed. This way you don’t put parts into it and you don’t try to remove the glued cup from the tray.

Add your bits & call it quits!

Enjoy your new DIY storage system!


stack trays inside another box for storage or cover / wrap with plastic wrap or plastic alternative for transport / long term storage.