There are two drawers in our kitchen that get the most use because they contain our most frequently used utensils. The first is the silverware drawer and the second is the cooking utensils drawer. After we moved into the house, we chose two drawers that we thought were the best location for these kitchen items. In the chaos of moving, all of these items were basically dumped into their new drawer homes.
As you can tell, this created a complete mess. Every time I opened the drawer it was stressing me out. The silverware drawer wasn’t any better but I forgot to take pictures of it. Just picture in your head a pile of forks, spoons, and knives.
I had plans in my head to buy the perfect drawer organizers from the store and create a harmonious system for organization. Unfortunately, this never happened and I kept pushing off organizing these areas. Every time I saw drawer organizers in the store I was tempted to buy them, but I was always worried they wouldn’t fit perfectly and I didn’t want any wasted space. Finally, I decided that the best idea was to make my own custom wooden drawer organizers.
I’ve seen some beautiful kitchen organization inspiration with perfectly fit drawer organizers and everything item in its place. Most of the time, these inspiration ideas have come from custom kitchen designs with custom designed drawers. Anything “custom” normally ends up being really expensive. Well, for this project, forget what you know about “custom,” because these wooden drawer organizers were super budget friendly and the results were amazing! Let me show you how we did it.
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DIY Custom Wooden Drawer Organizers
- Unfinished Poplar boards (2.5” x 1/8”)
- You can find these at Lowe’s
- Clear Dry
- Measuring Tape
- Miter Saw
- or handsaw
- Square Tool
The first step in creating custom organizers for drawers is to determine what you want in each drawer. For our utensils drawers, we emptied everything out and organized the items by type. Using some trial and error, we selected one item of each “type” and placed it into the drawer to get an idea of where we wanted things to go. This helped us to visualize where the compartments should be in each drawer. After determining where we wanted each “type” of item to go, we placed all of the items back into the drawer in their compartment location. Here’s the layout we came up with for our cooking utensils drawer.
The silverware drawer was grouped in an obvious way – by forks, spoons, and knives.
Next, we measured each of our invisible compartments to get an idea of how long to cut each wooden piece. We found that the best way to do this was to measure the largest item in that compartment and add in some additional space. We also took into account the thickness of our boards which was ¼”.
We found it helpful to draw a sketch of the compartments on some paper and write down the measurements of each piece as we went. Once we had the layout drawn and measured, we made our cut list. When making a cut list, be sure to cut the largest pieces first and then the small pieces after. That way you do not run out of wood.
Using our cut list and working one piece at a time, we marked the length needed using a pencil and the straight edge on the square tool.
Then we lined up the edge of the saw with the line to make sure we were getting an exact cut.
After making each cut, we measured the piece to also make sure the cut matched our cut list. Then we repeated this process – measure, mark with pencil, cut, measure – for each piece on our cut list. This is kind of a slow process, but it is worth it to make sure all of your pieces fit perfectly, just like custom drawer organizers would.
Once we had everything cut, we brought all the pieces into the kitchen and dry-fit them into the drawer. Then, we made pencil marks where each board intersected another. That way we could assemble to pieces outside of the drawer and would know where to put the Loctite glue.
Here is the dry-fit layout of the silverware drawer.
We used our pencil markings and the layout picture that we made before to glue the boards into place to create the compartments.
We let each piece dry for a few minutes so that it wouldn’t fall apart. Then we moved the compartments into the drawer and used the Loctite again to glue the compartments to the sides of each drawer.
Some of the pieces had to be glued individually once the main compartment structure was in place.
Every drawer layout will be different, so the best way to assemble the dividers is to place the largest component first and then build onto the structure from there.
Here’s the finished silverware drawer.
And here is the finished cooking utensil drawer.
These turned out perfectly and exactly how I imagined! Now there is a compartment for everything and each item has a designated place. Keeping the wood unfinished makes the dividers look like they came with the drawers, just like a custom design.
Just for fun, a little before and after comparison of the cooking utensil drawer.
These custom drawer organizers are perfect for kitchen drawers, but can also be used in so many different places in your home. I’ve got so many ideas for where I could use them in the future. If you have deeper drawers, you can always get wider boards to create taller dividers. Because you create the layout, the options are limitless.
Let me know in the comments where you could use some DIY custom drawer organizers!
Oh, and if you are looking for some kitchen utensils to fill up your custom drawer organizers, check out Amazon! They always have great deals on kitchen items. Here are some of my favorites:
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